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Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Closest available address
171 Shoreline Drive, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425
Grounds = daylight hours. Buildings are open 8-5. Park closed some holidays.
Under a day
Best time to visit
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is approximately 4,000 acres and preserves historical sites and buildings mostly from the mid 1800s. Harpers Ferry is situated at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. The park area includes forested mountains, scenic river gorges and unspoiled country.
The construction of an armory at Harpers Ferry in the 1790s spurred the town’s early growth. Additional growth came from canals and then railroads in the area. Harpers Ferry’s most famous event took place in 1859, when John Brown led an ill-fated attack on the armory to precipitate a slave insurrection. The town was devastated by the Civil War but regained some popularity as a weekend retreat from Washington, D.C. in the early 1900s. Large floods and changes in leisure tastes caused the town to again lose ground before a monument was established in 1944.
Harpers Ferry offers a range of historic sites and related activities; the park is a very popular travel destination so expect some company. The Lower Town area appears as it did at the start of the Civil War and includes small museums, restored homes and shops. The most interesting museums and/or films are John Brown, A Place in Time and the Civil War. If you arrive early, you can park at the railroad station which is an easy walk to Lower Town, otherwise the park offers a shuttle from the visitor center. The park also has lectures and guided tours so check their website prior to visiting. Harpers Ferry includes hiking trails as well. Murphy’s Farm has easy walks and includes signs about the Civil War battle and the early Civil Rights movement. Maryland Heights has longer and more difficult hikes.
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