Thursday, October 10, 2013

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

One of our last stops in America was a quick trip through Harpers Ferry. The town became famous for abolitionist John Brown's raid on the armory in October 1859. He was planning to arm the American slaves and lead a revolt in the southern United States. His plan failed; his band of raiders never made it out of Harpers Ferry. He was executed on December 2.

Recreation of the building Brown used as his fort when pinned down in town

John Brown memorial

The town is a strategic location because the Shenandoah River joins the Potomac River here, eventually flowing past Washington, D.C. Bridges still connect the three states (Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland) in the area.

The meeting of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers

The town is also underneath high ground on each riverside. The town itself slopes steeply up a hill.

Harpers Ferry seen from the parking lot at the bottom of town

Train station at the bottom of town

Up the hill is St. Peters Roman Catholic church. We walked up hoping to see inside but it was locked. The church was built in the 1830s by Irish immigrants who worked on the railroads. During the Civil War, the pastor flew a British flag to announce their neutrality! The church was barely harmed during the war. Mass is still celebrated on Sundays.

Stairs leading to church

St. Peters, Harpers Ferry

View from the church

We did get inside John Brown's fort, which now has some vintage fire-fighting equipment.

J with a fire wagon that's little more than a hose

We had lunch at one of the local restaurants and bought some candy from a shop that sold candy in styles from the 1700s to now. It was interesting to see lollypops that were basically candy canes wrapped into circles. Some of the candy bars had vintage wrappers, which was also fun to see. The fellow even used a vintage iPad 1 as his cash register!

Plenty of Civil-War themed museums are scatted throughout the town but we didn't see any since we had to head on to Grandma's house. We had another fun weekend there before departing back to England to enjoy the rest of our summer.

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