Welcome to Harpers Ferry
The historic town of Harpers Ferry is the most visited tourist
town in West Virginia, seeing thousands of visitors each year.
Located at the junction of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, the
town is named after the ferry that landowner Robert Harper
established across the Potomac Rover in 1761, just 11 years after
receiving a patent on 125 acres (51 ha) of land at the present
location of the town. The ferry became the marker of the starting
point for settlers traversing the Shenandoah Valley and western
United States and the rest, as they say, is history.
Historically though, Harpers Ferry is best known for
abolitionist John Brown's raid on the Armory in 1859 when he
started a liberation movement among enslaved African Americans,
during which time assisting fugitive slaves was illegal. He was
eventually tried for treason against the state of Virginia, as well
as the murder of five proslavery Southerners and was hanged.
During the early 1900s Harpers Ferry was a fashionable weekend
getaway destination for high society people who came by train from
Washington DC and Baltimore. Socialites would enjoy lazy days
bowling, picnicking and relaxing in the scenic countryside town,
while lovers frequently eloped here to be married at the Ferry by
the toll-taker, who happened to be a retired parson, and enjoy
their first few days of matrimony in the Hilltop House Hotel, where
guests such as Mark Twain, Carl Sandburg and Alexander Graham Bell
stayed. But after the depression, the tourist trade in Harpers
Ferry faded and by 1944 most of the town became part of the
National Park Service.
An outdoor enthusiast's paradise, Harpers Ferry is famed for its
national park, which makes up the southern portion of the town and
many visitors are just starting out or ending their leg of the
Appalachian Trail, one of the most famous hiking trails in the
world. Enjoy the breathtaking beauty and scenery while white water
rafting, canoeing or inner tubing along the rivers in the Harpers
Ferry National Park. Hook a Smallmouth Bass on a fly on the Potomac
or Shenandoah River, or even a trout while fishing in the streams
of the nearby George Washington National Forest, while wine
connoisseurs will be pleased to know that within 30 minutes drive
they can sample some of West Virginia's finest wines.
Information & Facts
English is the most common language but Spanish is often
spoken in south-western states.
The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into
100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are
widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely
accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid
hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.