Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Travel Guide

  • downtown
    downtown
    by doug48
  • battle of harpers ferry
    battle of harpers ferry
    by doug48
  • bolivar heights
    bolivar heights
    by doug48

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Things to Do

  • visitor center

    the visitor center is your best first stop on a visit to harpers ferry. from the visitor center you can take a bus to the harpers ferry historic district. there is a small parking lot at the train station in the historic district but it is almost impossible to find a parking space there. other than the train station there is no parking in the...

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  • a. p. hill's attack

    while union general miles was preoccupied with lawton's attack at bolivar heights confederate general a. p. hill attacked miles' exposed left flank from the south. at the same time harpers ferry was being bombarded by the artillery of general lafayette mc laws from maryland heights and colonel stapleton crutchfield's artillery from loudoun heights....

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  • john brown's "fort"

    harpers ferry railroad fire house also known as john brown's fort is the most famous building in town. in october 1859 brown and his twenty one man "provisional army of the united states" tried to take possession of the united states armory and arsenal at harpers ferry. brown had come to steal and distribute the 100,000 rifles of the arsenal to arm...

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  • bolivar heights

    during the battle of harpers ferry in september 1862 boliver heights was the site of a fake attack on harpers ferry. confederate general alexander lawton attacked union general dixon miles' defensive line on boliver heights which distracted him from the main confederate force of general a. p. hill to the south. while mile's troops were involved in...

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  • provost marshal's office

    the federal provost marshal of the harpers ferry district office is located on shenandoah street in the historic district. this building is open to the public and has a small museum. worth a look when in downtown harpers ferry.

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  • savery mill

    pictured is the ruins of savery mill. in 1888 on the former site of the shenandoah locks, thomas savery built a large pulp mill to produce wood pulp for the paper industry. by the 1920's savery mill had the capacity to produce 15 tons of wood pulp per day. the mill closed in 1835 and was destroyed by a flood in 1936. this was the last water powered...

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  • site of the federal armory

    in 1794 the united states congress passed a bill "for erecting and repairing of arsenals and magazines". president george washington selected harpers ferry for the location of an armory. in 1799 construction began on the national armory and three years later the mass production of muskets, rifles, and pistols began. the average annual production...

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  • The Galleries

    On a hot summers day, this southern town would have been steamy. Only the breeze coming up from the river would have provided some relief and that may have been minimal with the armory down below. Open porches to get out in the air would have been ideal. Those perched high above the surrounding town would have been ideal. These look down on High...

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  • Harper House (#23)

    The oldest structure in town is the Harper House. The building includes displays on the life of a worker at the Armory.

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  • Lower Town

    This is where you'll spend most of your time. Here, you'll find a variety of museums and places to visit. As you move up the hill or away from Shenandoah Street, you'll leave the park and find a variety of shops selling souvenirs, food, and other items (clothing) of interest.

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  • Information Center (stop #1)

    The park information center is a good place to begin. It provides information on the growth of town and the events surrounding John Brown's Raid.

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  • Museums (#15, #16, #17)

    #17 - Harpers Ferry Wetlands (corner building)Information on the floodplains of the Shenandoah River. The richness of natural resources and what you can see today on Virginius Island.#16 - Allies for Freedom (2nd floor)Talks about the 5 African-Americans who joined John Brown on that fateful Sunday.#15 - John Brown Museum (building with white...

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  • Shenandoah Street (Stops #8 & #9)

    As you walk into town from where the bus drops you, you'll be looking down Shanandoah Street.Harpers Ferry: A Place in Time (Stop #8) is the first building on the right as you approach. Here, you'll learn about the town itself. Why Harper set up his ferry here, the story of growth and the floods.Provost Marshal Office (Stop #9) is the next...

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  • History comes alive (Stops #21 & #22)

    The Civil War Museum (Stop #21) (brick bldg on the right) was closed on this February visit. On previous visits, it told of life in this border town during 4 years of war. The numerous times, that it changed hands, the build-up of troops and the final removal of the Armory.Black Voices (Stop #22) uses spoken stories of the struggles and triumphs of...

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  • John Browns Fort (Stop #13)

    John Brown's RaidJohn Brown believed he could free the slaves, and selected Harpers Ferry as his starting point. Determined to seize the 100,000 weapons at the Arsenal and to use the Blue Ridge Mountains for guerrilla warfare, Brown launched a raid on Sunday evening, October 16, 1859. 21-man in his "army of liberation" seized the Armory and several...

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  • St Peters

    High on a bluff overlooking the Lower Town, St. Peters Catholic Church has been a witness to the life and events that have swirled through these vallies. The church has become a symbol of Harper's Ferry after nearly a century of standing over the town.

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  • Maryland Heights and the overlook

    Do you ever wonder where that postcard view of Harpers Ferry is taken from? This overlook area on Maryland Heights is indeed the spot to be. it is a good uphill hike from town and it begins by crossing the pedestrian bridge to the Maryland side. You must turn left and follow the road until you see the trail leading up through the woods. It does...

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  • Explore the Old Town

    Visitors who are driving to Harpers Ferry must first pay the entrance fee at a lot a couple of miles from the old town and then ride a park service shuttle into the town. There are many buildings that contain historic exhibits as well as places to eat and buy gifts. It can become quite lively in the summer as this is a good family destination.

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Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Restaurants

  • doug48's Profile Photo

    by doug48 Written Nov 29, 2011

    the coach house grill n bar is located on high street in the historic district. good lunch spot in the heart of the historic district. in the rear of the restaurant is a very nice garden which is a good spot to eat if the weather is nice. i ordered a hamburger that was good but a bit pricey. as far as i know this is the only restaurant in the historic district.

    coach house grill n bar
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture
    • National/State Park

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Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Off The Beaten Path

  • execution site of john brown

    for those interested in the john brown raid may want to visit the execution site in nearby charles town. john brown was executed on this site on december 2 nd 1859. for more information on this historic event see my charles town wv pages. charles town is located seven miles west of harpers ferry on US 340. the site of the execution of john brown is...

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  • jefferson county courthouse

    for those interested in the john brown raid the jefferson county courthouse in nearby charles town is worth a visit. john brown and his co-conspirators were tried and convicted at the jefferson county courthouse in november 1859. the jefferson county courthouse was also the location of the 1922 trial of union leader bill blizzard. for more...

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  • The Point (Stop #14)

    I list this area in 'Off the Beaten Path' because I'm always surprised how many visitors don't take the walk under the railroad trestle out to "The Point". The Point is the junction between the Potomac (on left) and the Shenandoah (on right) Rivers. You look down river (the Potomac) towards Washington. The view is much the same as it was in the...

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Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Favorites

  • Additoinal Information

    For more information about the area, see VT's Harpers Ferry, West Virginia page. Here are listed other views about the park, lodging, restaurants, and attractions in the area.

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  • Don't miss Shepherdstown

    While most of the focus in this part of West Virginia is on Harpers Ferry, there are other nearby towns, worth a visit. Charlestown (not Charleston, the capital) is just up US 340 and offers a variety of stores and restaurants. It's best known for it's horse track. Up on the Potomac River is Shepherdstown which retains an older atmosphere and...

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Explore Deeper into Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Storer College
Off The Beaten Path
Jefferson Rock (#24)
Off The Beaten Path
Charles Town
Off The Beaten Path
Railroad Bridges
Things to Do
Jefferson Rock
Things to Do
Map of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

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