Temporary Suspension of Reference Collection Research
Due to preservation and maintenance work scheduled for the park archives and research room/library space, new public research requests will not be filled from June 1st to at least January 30th, 2014.
Change in Park Hours
Beginning November 1, the park will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the last shuttle bus departing Lower Town at 5:15 p.m. More »
John Brown Fort
National Park Service
John Brown’s Fort, as the structure became known, was the only Armory building to escape destruction during the Civil War. In 1891, the fort was sold, dismantled and transported to Chicago where it was displayed a short distance from The World's Columbian Exposition. The building, attracting only 11 visitors in ten days, was closed, dismantled again and left on a vacant lot.
In 1894, Washington, D.C. journalist Kate Field, who had a keen interest in preserving memorabilia of John Brown, spearheaded a campaign to return the fort to Harpers Ferry. Local resident Alexander Murphy made five acres available to Miss Field, and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad offered to ship the disassembled fort to Harpers Ferry free of charge. In 1895, John Brown's Fort was rebuilt on the Murphy Farm about three miles outside of town on a bluff overlooking the Shenandoah River.
In 1903, Storer College began their own fundraising drive to acquire the structure. In 1909, on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of John Brown's Raid, the building was purchased and moved to the Storer College campus on Camp Hill in Harpers Ferry. [Learn more about Storer College].
Acquired by the National Park Service in 1960, the building was moved back to the Lower Town in 1968. Because the fort's original site was covered with a railroad embankment in 1894, the building now sits about 150 feet east of its original location.
Did You Know?
Robert Harper operated a ferry across the Potomac River in 1747. His heirs, the Wagers, maintained the operation until 1824 when a bridge was built across the Potomac.