Harpers Ferry History
Explore historical Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Harpers Ferry was visited by George Washington on his very first surveying expedition at the age of 17. It was also cited by Thomas Jefferson, after a visit, as such a beautiful spot that it was worth a trip across the Atlantic. It was the site of three Civil War battles, the major one involving over 30,000 troops on both sides which resulted in the largest surrender of U.S. troops until Bataan in WWII.
It served as starting place of the Lewis and Clarke expedition and was the site of the first crossing of the Potomac by a railroad, on the first structural steel bridge in the world. Harpers Ferry is most famous for its raid by John Brown, which accelerated the Civil War. It has also been cited by art history experts as the most “painted town” in America due to its beautiful scenery.
Harpers Ferry Park offers an array of activities for families and individuals. One may tour on their own or go through a ranger-guided tour, visit a variety of museums, exhibits, and hike the beautiful trails including the C&O Canal Towpath. The Harpers Ferry Historical Association's Bookshop also has a wonderful stock of books, artwork, postcards, and more. Rangers and volunteers at the Visitor Center and Information Center are available to assist you and answer any questions you may have.