• Interior of the John Brown Fort

    Harpers Ferry

    National Historical Park WV,VA,MD

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  • Temporary Suspension of Reference Collection Research

    Due to the park archives and research room/library space move, new public research requests will not be filled until at least May 30th, 2014.

  • Change in Park Hours

    The park is currently open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the last shuttle bus departing Lower Town at 5:45 p.m. More »

Soils

Common soil associations found within the park include the Berks-Weikert, whose shaly silt loams are very conducive to erosion and located in patches throughout the town itself. From the Potomac River northwest of Harpers Ferry to Bloomery Road, the Benevola-Frankstown-Braddock Association can be found. The Benevola series is clay, whereas the Frankstown series is shaly silt loam, and the Braddock series is gravelly loam. Most of the Benevola-Frankstown-Braddock Association is underlain by limestone and quarried by steel corporations for use as blast furnace flux. The Braddock-Landes-Ashton Association lies along the banks of the ShenandoahRiver, where its Landes series, which is a fine sandy loam, is subject to occasional flooding.

On the foothills below the
Blue Ridge Mountains, the Dekalb-Laidig Association is found running from the Virginia state line to the Potomac River north of BolivarHeights. This soil is well-drained, containing stones throughout. Slopes in this Association are steep, restricting intense land uses. Adjacent to the Blue Ridge Mountains is the Weikert-Berks Association, with shaly silt loams that are severely eroded as a result of streams dissecting the Association on their way to the ShenandoahRiver. Occupying the footslopes, the side, and the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains is the Edgemont-Laidig-Steep Rockland Association. Soils in this Association are a shaly silt loam underlain by shattered shale and fine-grained sandstone. The only local alluvium in the park is the Huntington silt loam of the Duffield-Frankstown-Huntington Alluvium Association. Generally this Association is suited to dairy and general farming, and orchards, but can also be used for residential development.

Did You Know?

Robert Harper was granted an exclusive ferry concession in 1861.

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.