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The two RV Gypsies took a day trip from Virginia into West Virginia
and learned some history at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
171 Shore Lane, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425
July 14, 2023

USA map showing location of VirginiaUSA map showing location of West VirginiaWest Virginia map showing location of Harpers Ferry National Hisorical Park

Below: Entering West Virginia, Karen Duquette saw an older car being towed and liked the quote on the back of it, so she snapped a photo. It is just basic travel entertainment to snap photos along the way.

Welcome to West Virginia sign

Just having fun car
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Note from

Everyone must park in specified parking lots and take a bus in and out of the area. The park closes at 5 p.m. The main parking lot at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is located at 171 Shoreline Drive, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425 and can accommodate several hundred vehicles. At this location is also the park’s Visitor Center and starting point for the shuttle bus service to Lower Town. *NOTE: pets are not allowed on park shuttle buses or in park buildings.*

While other parking does exist in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, it is extremely limited. It is strongly recommended that visitors who plan to explore museums and exhibits or are hiking a trail that begins in Lower Town use the main parking lot and shuttle bus. Doing so reduces vehicle congestion in Lower Town and provides for pedestrian safety.

*NOTE: If you pay to park in the metered street parking maintained and monitored by the town of Harpers Ferry, and you visit the park, you are still responsible for additionally paying the park entrance fee.*

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park sign
Voyage across the Atlantic

Below: The shuttle bus took the two RV Gypsies from the Visitor Center to the Lower Town district of the park. Riding the bus is included in the park entrance fee, which is paid at the Visitor Center. The shuttle bus runs every 10-15 minutes every day that the park is open. Pets are not permitted on the park shuttle busses.


The bus photos shown above and below was taken from the internet. But Karen Duquette took a photo of St. Peter's Catholic Church steeple that is shown above the bus in this photo and the photo she took is posted below.

bus seats

Below: As the two RV Gypsies exited the bus, Karen Duquette looked UP and took a couple of photos. The top of the St. Peter's Catholic Church steeple shown in Karen's photo below on the left can also be seen above the bus in the above photo from the internet. There was also a house up there.

St. Peters Catholic Church steeple house

History book - quote from ers_Ferry_National_Historical_Park - which includes much more information than what is just quoted here.

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, originally Harpers Ferry National Monument, is located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers in and around Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. The park includes the historic center of Harpers Ferry, notable as a key 19th-century industrial area and as the scene of John Brown's failed abolitionist uprising. It contains the most visited historic site in the state of West Virginia, John Brown's Fort.

The park includes land in the Shenandoah Valley in Jefferson County, West Virginia; Washington County, Maryland and London County, Virginia. The park is managed by the National Park Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Originally designated Harpers Ferry National Monument in 1944, the park was declared a National Historical Park by the U.S. Congress in 1963. Consisting of almost 4,000 acres, it includes the site of which Thomas Jefferson once wrote, "The passage of the Potomac through the Blue Ridge is perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in Nature" after visiting the area in 1783.

Due to a mixture of historical events and ample recreational opportunities, all within 50 miles of Washington, D.C., the park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. In 2017, the Park's Superintendent was Tyrone Brandy burg.

The park was originally planned as a memorial to John Brown, responsible for what is by far the most famous incident in Harpers Ferry's history, his 1859 raid and capture of the federal armory. NPS officials in the 1930s focused on John Brown's raid and the Civil War to justify acquiring parts of Harpers Ferry for a historical and military park. Like the figure of John Brown himself, this proved enormously controversial, with opposition from white supremacist organizations such as the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park sign Harpers Ferry National Historical Park sign

Below: The two RV Gypsies began their walking tour along Shenandoah Street, which is full of history. The Lower Town has about four street blocks lined with museums and exhibits that now occupy restored 19th century buildings. Many street signs help show the "now" and the "then" changes.

Yes, a few cars were driving around, but they could not park anyplace except designated parking lots.

Shenandoah Street
Shenandoah Street 1880 photo
brick divider bar

Harpers Ferry changed hands 8 times during the Civil War. Most of the time the town was under Union control. The Provost Marshal regulated military and civilian life and could jail, punish and execute offenders. Below is the Provost Marshal's Office on High Street.

Provost Marshal building
inside the Provost Marshal building
inside the Provost Marshal building

Below: USA flag and chalk board sign inside the Provost Marshal's office shown above.

USA flag inside the Provost Marshal building
brick divider bar

Below: The Master Amore's House - NOTE: There is an accessible entrance located on the left side of the building toward the back of the building, which of course, the two RV Gypsies did not need.

The Master Amorer's HouseHarpers Ferry story

history book Below quote from

The strategic location of the Master Armoire's House made it ideal for the headquarters of the commanding officer at Harpers Ferry. The Master Armorer's House is at the junction of Shenandoah and High Streets only one block from the Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) Railroad Bridge and the Potomac River pontoon crossing. The Master Armorer's House was easy to find and a nerve center for communications during the Civil War.

Completed just before the John Brown Raid in 1859, the Master Armorer's House was one of the newest buildings in Harpers Ferry at the outbreak of the Civil War.

The most famous general who stayed in the Master Armorer's House was Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. Grant only spent one night in the house, on September 16, 1864, when returning from a strategy meeting in Charles Town with his Shenandoah Valley commander, Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan. During Grant's stay, the building was the headquarters of Union Brig. Gen. John D. Stevenson. Stevenson commanded the Military District of Harpers Ferry along with managing Sheridan's logistics operations during the 1864 Valley Campaign. Stevenson was known to control Harpers Ferry, and the surrounding region, with a "hard-hand" of martial law. Stevenson also combated Confederate guerillas; he even entrapped John Mobberly, his nemesis, and killed him just before the end of the war. Stevenson also displayed Mobberly's corpse at the Master Armorer's House, as a reminder of the war's ruthlessness.

Union commander Col. Dixon S. Miles, who opposed Stonewall Jackson during the Battle of Harpers Ferry on
September 12-15, 1862, also used the Master Armorer's House as his headquarters. Miles was mortally wounded during the battle, and died here on September 16.

The Master Amorers House

Below: There were a lot of interesting, historical maps, signs and exhibits on the walls of The Master Armorer's House. But there were a lot of people in the building, so Karen Duquette was unable to get photos of the interior. However, she did get pictures of things on the walls.

Harpers Ferry sign Harpers Ferry sign
High Street in 1886
High Street in 2023
Harpers Ferry sign
story of two rivers
location map
Early travel sign railroad bridge in 1950s
sign about The Race to the Ohio sign about The Race to the Ohio
The Iron Horse sign The Iron Horse sign
Mule Falters story
Lock 33 1876 Canal information
divider bar

Below: Leaving the historical building, the two RV Gypsies continued on in the town and approached The Potomac Railroad Bridge at Harpers Ferry. Hopefully, double photos of signs help viewers read the signs better.

three National Trails meet three National Trails me

Below: The Potomac Railroad Bridge at Harpers Ferry

Potomac Railroad Bridge at Harpers Ferry Shenandoah River

Below: The two RV Gypsies walked across the Potomac Railroad Bridge at Harpers Ferry and Karen Duquette took photos of the Shenandoah River. Railroad tracks were behind a chain link fence on the left side of the bridge, but the right side of the bridge provided scenic views.

railroad bridge and fence Potomac Railroad Bridge at Harpers Ferry

Below: Karen Duquette enjoyed views of the canal, which operated from 1828 to 1924 and provided a vital waterway link with areas up and downstream prior to and during the early years after the arrival of the railroad.

Karen Duquette and the Shenandoah River Karen Duquette and the Shenandoah River
Shenandoah River Shenandoah River

Below: Approaching the tunnel, everyone had to either turn around or go down some stairs so they could walk under the bridge and do some hiking via the canal towpath and park, which provide access to the Maryland Heights section of the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park - The two RV Gypsies chose not to hike on this date.

The canal towpath and park provides access to the Maryland Heights section of the Harpers Ferry NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK and can be accessed by foot from this footbridge that was constructed by the National Park Service, or via car by traveling east from Harpers Ferry on U.S. Route 340 to access points near Sandy Hook, Maryland.

Harpers Valley tunnel
Harpers Valley tunnel Harpers Valley tunnel

(The photo below on the left was actually posted at the beginning of the bridge walk, but Karen Duquette posted it here to show what the length of the hiking trails).

The two RV Gypsies did not want to hike, so the photo below on the right shows a person who did want to hike as he walked down below to the left of the bridge.

Appalachian National Scenic trail sign Appalachian National Scenic trail

Below: Then Karen Duquette took a picture of the bridge on the return trip since nobody was on the bridge at that time. Obviously it is the return trip because now the railroad tracks appear to be on the right.

divider bar

Harpers Ferry Natiional Historical Park Lower Town sign

Harpers Ferry Natiional Historical Park Lower Town
Harpers Ferry Natiional Historical Park Lower Town town and church
time line
sign about the Armory grounds
Armory Grounds photo
armory grounds Lewis and Clark sign

Below: The White Hall Tavern - visitors can look inside, but could not go inside.

White Hall Tavern White Hall Tavern sign
a look inside White Hall Tavern White Hall Tavern sign

Below: It was time for the two RV Gypsies to buy some ice cream and relax.

ice cream treat sign

Below: Then the two RV Gypsies walked up a steep hill to view several stores. Karen Duquette photographed a few Historic Items that caught her attention in one of the stores.

old typewriter beautiful but old clock

look below

go to the next adventure of the two RV Gypsies Skyline Caverns in Virginia (a combination of 2014 & 2023)


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