The Point

Visit where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet! From this location, known as The Point, you look upon three states - Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia - as well as the confluence of the two rivers. We invite you to visit in any season to gaze upon the magnificent sight of this water gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

 
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Duration:
30 seconds

This May 2016 (sped up 20x) video shows the view at The Point as the morning light emerges during a cloudy, slightly rainy day.

 

Getting to The Point
To access The Point from the Lower Town shuttle bus stop, walk along the sidewalks of Shenandoah Street toward the buildings. When you reach the end of Shenandoah Street, turn right, walk past John Brown's Fort, and continue along the gravel path up the slight incline. Once you can see the rivers, you have arrived at The Point.

 

History of The Point
When the Wager family, heirs to Robert Harper, sold land to the government for the Armory in 1796, one of the two parcels of land they retained was the "Ferry Lot Reservation" (the other tract was the "Six-Acre Reservation" which comprised the heart of the Lower Town). The ¾-acre "Ferry Lot Reservation" sat at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, and became a bustling commercial area as the town of Harpers Ferry grew.

A major contributor to the prosperity of the "Ferry Lot Reservation" was the completion in 1836 of the B&O Railroad viaduct across the Potomac River. By 1859, structures at The Point included The Gault House Saloon, the Wager House Hotel, the Potomac Restaurant, and several other small shops and businesses. The B&O Railroad and Winchester & Potomac Railroad also maintained passenger depots here.

But the prosperity of the "Ferry Lot" ended with the Civil War. On June 14, 1861, Confederate troops blew up the B&O Railroad bridge. Eight months later, on February 7, 1862, Union troops burned all the buildings on The Point to prevent Confederate sharpshooters from using them for cover.

During the course of the Civil War, the railroad bridge was destroyed and replaced nine times. After 1862, the B&O Railroad began erecting new iron spans designed by Wendell Bollman. By 1870, this "Bollman Bridge" was completed. Bollman’s iron spans carried the B&O mainline until 1894, and continued to serve as a highway bridge into the present century. Floodwaters in 1924 swept away three iron spans, but these were promptly replaced. Twelve years later the record Flood of 1936 destroyed this bridge for good.

Last updated: September 23, 2016

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
PO Box 65

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425

Phone:

(304) 535-6029

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