75th Anniversary of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

logo starting Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, 75th anniversary, 1944-2019
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park 75th anniversary logo

created by the Harpers Ferry Park Association

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is celebrating its 75th anniversary as part of the National Park Service in 2019!

In partnership with the Harpers Ferry Park Association, we are planning a monthly speaker series from February to November and a three-day event weekend on June 28-30.

We hope you will join us for this celebration!

Below you will find the detailed schedule of events for the 75th anniversary weekend set for June 28-30, 2019. Please note, the schedule is subject to change.

Jump to: Ongoing | Friday, June 28 | Saturday, June 29 | Sunday, June 30 | Interactive Event Map

 

Ongoing

Harpers Ferry Park Association Sales Tent
Times: Friday, 4 pm–9 pm; Saturday, 10am–9 pm; Sunday, 12pm–5 pm
Description: Get your limited edition Harpers Ferry NHP 75th anniversary commemorative items and books and CDs of the weekend’s presenters! Purchases at the HFPA tent support programs and events at Harpers Ferry NHP.

Meriwether Lewis Museum
Times: Saturday and Sunday, 11 am–4 pm
Description: Stop by the museum and meet Lewis & Clark Heritage Trail Foundation volunteers. Discover the little-known yet important role Harpers Ferry played in the Corps of Discovery Expedition.

Resource Management Tent: “Through the Decades”
Times: Saturday, 10 am–5 pm; Sunday, 11 am–5 pm
Description: Enjoy a variety of displays highlighting the park through the decades, including a display of then-and-now photos from the park archives, a look at park brochures through the years, and a map display documenting the expansion of the park from its inception until today. A three dimensional model of Harpers Ferry as it appeared in 1859 will also be on display.
 
black and white photo of two buildings in need of repair full color photo of same two buildings in present day, restored as museums and exhibits
Park buildings on Potomac Street in the 1950s Harpers Ferry NHP Modern Photo Collection, HAFE-1359_NHF197
Park buildings on Potomac Street in 2019 NPS Photo



 
Poster comprised of color drawings of women working in gardens or on farms; text on poster reads "Pitch in and Help!" and "Join the Women's Land Army of the U.S. Crop Corps"
World War II era poster

Hosted online by Northwestern University

Family & Youth Discovery Tent
Times: Saturday, 10 am–5 pm; Sunday, 11 am–5 pm
Description: Have fun and learn about 1944, Harpers Ferry, and Smokey Bear! This tent features many family and youth activities suitable for all ages.
Victory Garden
Description: Plant seeds for the start of your own victory garden! Learn why US citizens during World War II grew their own fruits and vegetables at home.

Rationing
Description: It’s 1944 and there is a shortage of food. Victory gardens help to feed families but some foods, such as sugar, coffee, cheese, and meat, are limited. How will you make your rations last?

Sew Smokey Bear
Description: Smokey Bear also turns 75 this year! Make your own paper Smokey Bear to take home as a souvenir.

Smokey Bear Meet & Greet
Meet Smokey Bear and wish him a Happy 75th Birthday! Stop by the Family & Youth Tent to have your photo taken with Smokey during the following times:
Saturday
10 am–10:30 am, noon–12:30 pm, 2pm–2:30 pm, 4pm–4:30 pm

Sunday
11 am–11:30 am, 1 pm–1:30 pm, 3 pm–3:30 pm

Playtime in the ‘40s
Description: Discover how the children of the 1940s occupied their time. Experience the toys and games from that era.

Then and Now
Description: Harpers Ferry has gone through a lot of changes since it became a park. This is especially evident when looking at the historic buildings. Can you spot the differences in the photos from the past compared to those of the present?

Design a Logo
Description: Express what Harpers Ferry means to you through art! Design your own Harpers Ferry 75th anniversary logo to be on display in the Family & Youth Tent or take it home as a souvenir.

Selfie Station
Description: Almost every big party nowadays has a photo booth or a selfie station. Celebrate Harpers Ferry NHP’s 75th anniversary by posing for your photo with props and signs. A limited number of giveaway instant photos will be available as souvenirs.
Back the Attack!: 1944 Citizens and Soldiers
Times: Saturday and Sunday, 11 am–4 pm
Description: Join living history rangers and volunteers to learn how Harpers Ferry citizens supported the war effort during World War II. Discover what life was like in 1944, the year that Harpers Ferry National Monument was established.
WWII Dogs for Defense
Location: Living History Tents on Arsenal Square
Description: The Dogs for Defense Foundation was in Harpers Ferry during World War II. Citizens who wanted to support the war and help save American lives, could enlist their pets in the service of the armed forces. Today, living history staff and BARK Rangers demonstrate WWII wartime dog training efforts to support the troops. Join in with your pet to see if it can pass the test to serve during WWII. Or learn about the BARK Ranger volunteer program and how participants help park visitors and their pets enjoy the park.

Storer College Students Supporting the War
Location: John Brown’s Fort
Description: Storer College students who served their country, soon discovered that they were fighting World War II on two fronts — one in Europe and the other fighting racism at home with Jim Crow and legal segregation. Discover the history of John Brown’s Fort as a museum on the Storer campus and see WWII era artifacts.

The Road to Resistance
Location: John Brown’s Fort
Description: Around the time the park was established more and more people visited Harpers Ferry by automobiles. African American travelers and tourists utilized the 1944 Green Book, called then the "Negro Motorist Handbook," to find safe and welcome lodging, food, and gas. Discover more about the travel experience of the Jim Crow era, when segregation was legal in the United States.

D-Day Tent
Location: Living History Tents on Arsenal Square
Description: Step back to 1944 Harpers Ferry. Start your visit here to better understand Harpers Ferry during World War II and to place D-Day into context.

Ready -- Join U.S. Marines. Land. Sea. Air.
Location: Living History Tents on Arsenal Square
Description: Step up to a 1944 United States Marine Corps recruitment table and discover more about recruiting and enlistment during World War II.

Stretch Your Rations! A Food Preservation Demonstration
Location: Roeder’s Confectionery
Description: Join a cooking school home economist of the National Livestock and Meat Board to learn about food preservation. It was of vital interest to every home-maker in the 1940s to learn how to make rationing points go further and how to cook meat to the best advantage.

Iron Scrap: Recycling the Weapons of War at Viener and Sons
Location: Blacksmith Shop
Description: Overseas scrap was collected from both US citizens and the battlefields of Europe. Demolished tanks, trucks, and guns from overseas were shipped to different parts of the United States and remelted for new weapons of war. Learn how the local company of Viener and Sons was a part of this effort.

Pinch a Penny
Location: Dry Goods Store
Description: Wartime rationing on sugar, wheat, and meat forced shoppers to make do with less. During World War II the Jefferson County Rationing Board helped citizens afford food and goods by holding down inflation. Step into the store, and see what you could afford.

Don't Tear It Down! Preserve It!
Location: Living History Tents on Arsenal Square
Description: In the 1940s there were local efforts to preserve buildings for the establishment of Harpers Ferry National Monument. Learn about the Jefferson County, WV citizens who were on a mission to preserve buildings and land to be part of the new national park.

We Have a Victory Garden
Location: Living History Tents on Arsenal Square
Description: Over one thousand Jefferson County, WV citizens planted vegetable gardens in their yards to help relieve the food and manpower shortage during World War II. Check out the types of plants and seeds used in victory gardens in 1944.
Opening of Artist-in-Residence Exhibition "Invisibles"
Times: Open to public everyday 9 am–6 pm; informal discussion with the artist, Saturday and Sunday, 11 am–4 pm
Location: John Brown Museum, Second Floor
Description: Experience a series of portraits commemorating 24 of the men and women who actively supported John Brown's 1859 raid on the US Armory at Harpers Ferry, featuring live discussion with the park’s 2018 Artist-in-Residence, Peter Cizmadia. Cizmadia seeks to encourage viewers to consider the motivations and background of all these individuals, and consider what drove each of them to risk so much in the fight against slavery.
 
photo of Tim Lancaster
Tim Lancaster

Photo provided by musician

Friday, June 28


“Stones, Rivers & Trains”
Time: 11am–noon, 1 pm–2 pm
Location: Alcove
Description: Listen to the live music of Tim Lancaster, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park’s Artist-in-Residence from summer 2016. Experience how the Harpers Ferry story influenced Tim’s songwriting.

Pinch a Penny
Time: 11 am–4 pm
Location: Dry Goods Store
Description: Wartime rationing on sugar, wheat, and meat forced shoppers to make do with less. During World War II the Jefferson County Rationing Board helped citizens afford food and goods by holding down inflation. Step into the store, and see what you could afford.

Fiddlin’ Dave and Morgan
Time: 11 am–5 pm
Location: Lower Town
Description: Find folk artists Dave Van Deveter and Morgan Morrison in the park throughout the day, blending the sounds of fiddle, octave mandolin, and banjo.

Harpers Ferry: The Eye of the Hurricane
Time: 2 pm–3 pm
Location: The Green
Description: Years before he became one of HFPA’s Certified Tour Guides, Jim Prentice was already fully involved “behind the scenes,” growing up in the park as the superintendent’s son during the 1960s. Join Jim for this special walk through history and personal recollection.
 
photo of superintendent Tyrone Brandyburg
Tyrone Brandyburg, Superintendent of Harpers Ferry NHP

NPS Photo/Volunteer E. Doll

Opening Ceremony
Time: 5 pm–6:30 pm
Location: Gathering Tent
Description: Kick off this special anniversary weekend with opening remarks by Tyrone Brandyburg (Superintendent, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park), Robert G. Stanton (Member of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and Former Director, National Park Service), Joy M. Oakes (Senior Regional Director, National Parks Conservation Association), Rebecca Harriett (former superintendent, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park), and others.

Swing Band Concert with the Howard Burns Orchestra
Time: 7 pm–9 pm
Location: Gathering Tent
Description: Step back in time to 1944 when the world was at war and Harpers Ferry National Monument was born. Swing music filled the USO dance halls and brought welcome relief to soldiers overseas and those on the homefront. Stop by the HFPA tent to purchase snacks and candy like your grandparents used to get. Vintage attire and dancing encouraged!

Saturday, June 29


Urban Artistry: Dance and Dialogue
Time: 10 am–4 pm
Location: Living History Tents on Arsenal Square
Description: Working through the lens of interdisciplinary urban dance, the public can experience becoming advocates of cultural preservation and artistic innovation as they discover dance, vocal, and instrumental traditions that have endured through the United States’ history of enslavement, Civil War, and civil rights. This internationally recognized 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the performance and preservation of art forms inspired by the urban experience will engage visitors with the history of Harpers Ferry through various forms of dance.
 
A river flows around a tall bridge ruin made of stone, with trees growing atop it
Bridge ruins in the Shenandoah River
NPS Photo/Volunteer E. Doll
Empower and Imperil: Rivers, Industry and Floods at Harpers Ferry
Time: 10 am–11 am
Location: Gathering Tent
Description: Professor of Legal Studies at the University of Central Florida, James Beckman discusses how the natural landscape of Harpers Ferry was a blessing and curse to this small village—allowing an industrial boom but also bringing devastation time and again.

19th Century Virginius Island Tour
Time: 11:15 am–12:30 pm
Location: The Green
Description: Author David Gilbert (A Walker’s Guide to Harpers Ferry; Waterpower: Mills, Factories, Machines, and Floods at Harpers Ferry) takes visitors past the ruins of factories and dwellings, discussing how the island—now consumed by nature—was once a thriving industrial and residential tract.
 
book cover for "Ruth and the Green Book"
Ruth and the Green Book

Image provided by author Calvin Ramsey

“Ruth and the Green Book”
Time: 1 pm–1:45 pm
Location: Family & Youth Discovery Tent
Description: Award-winning author and playwright Calvin Ramsey reads from his critically-acclaimed book "Ruth and the Green Book," relating the history of the Green Book, a guidebook listing places that welcomed African Americans traveling across the United States in the era of Jim Crow and segregation.

Health, Sanitation, Archaeology, and Newspapers: A Look at Harpers Ferry’s “Trying Climate” During the 19th Century
Time: 2 pm–3 pm
Location: Gathering Tent
Description: Former park archeologist Dr. Eric Larsen leads a walking tour through the Lower Town of Harpers Ferry from curbside to backyards. This interpretive tour will cover topics relating to the town’s health, sanitation, and state of medicine from the early days of the armory through the turn of the 20th century. The past is encountered through archeological evidence as well as surveys of county records and local newspaper stories and advertisements. The tour will revisit significant sites where archeological digs revealed 19th century living and sanitary conditions, as well as social and class habits.

Confluence: Harpers Ferry as Destiny
Time: 3:30pm–4 pm
Location: Gathering Tent
Description: Join Dennis Frye and Catherine Magi Oliver for informal discussions about their new book, Confluence: Harpers Ferry as Destiny (HFPA, 2019).

Writing Harpers Ferry
Time: 4 pm–5 pm
Location: Gathering Tent
Description: Professor, author, and prolific speaker Jonathan Noyalas moderates a discussion about the inspiration and process of researching and writing about this unique place. Panelists: Dave Gilbert, A Walker’s Guide to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and Waterpower: Mills, Factories, Machines & Floods at Harpers Ferry; James Beckman, Harpers Ferry Postcard Book, “To Emancipate the Mind and Soul”: Storer College 1867-1955 (contributor); Dr. Merritt Roe Smith, Harpers Ferry Armory and the New Technology; Kathleen Ernst, Night Riders of Harper Ferry.
 
photo of Dwight Pitcaithley
Dr. Dwight Pitcaithley

Image provided by Dr. Pitcaithley

Why Harpers Ferry?
Time: 5 pm–6 pm
Location: Gathering Tent
Description: Dr. Dwight Pitcaithley, Professor of History at New Mexico State University and retired National Park Service Chief Historian, discusses key events in America’s struggle for freedom and equality that happened at Harpers Ferry and why they are significant today.

Reception and Book Signing
Time: 6 pm–7 pm
Location: Harpers Ferry Park Association Sales Tent
Description: Join us for light refreshments while the speakers and presenters of the day sign their respective books.

18th Annual Don Redman Jazz Heritage Awards & Concert
Time: 7 pm–9 pm
Location: Gathering Tent
Description: This concert commemorates Don Redman, the internationally acclaimed and influential 1920 graduate of Storer College, and honors living legends of jazz who embody Redman’s commitment to service and education. The concert features performances by 2019 honorees Gary Bartz and Jon Faddis, the Howard Burns Quartet, and the 2019 Don Redman Next Generation Jazz Scholars.
 
black and white photo of a ranger putting a flag out on a balcony
Ranger Rizzo putting out the flag
Harpers Ferry NHP Modern Photo Collection, HAFE-1359_NHF3284_004

Sunday, June 30


Alumni Panel Discussion
Time: 11 am–12:30 pm
Location: Gathering Tent
Description: Jefferson County historian Doug Perks joins fellow former park rangers to discuss the unforgettable moments they experienced while wearing the green and gray at the young Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

“Ruth and the Green Book”
Time: 11:30 am–12:15 pm
Location: Family & Youth Discovery Tent
Description: Award-winning author and playwright Calvin Ramsey reads from his critically-acclaimed book "Ruth and the Green Book," relating the history of the Green Book, a guidebook listing places that welcomed African Americans traveling across the United States in the era of Jim Crow and segregation.


19th Century Virginius Island Tour
Time: 12:45 pm–2 pm
Location: The Green
Description: Author David Gilbert (A Walker’s Guide to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia; Waterpower: Mills, Factories, Machines, and Floods at Harpers Ferry) takes visitors past the ruins of factories and dwellings, discussing how the island—now consumed by nature—was once a thriving industrial and residential tract.

Marching as to War: On the Homefront
Time: 1 pm– 2 pm
Location: Gathering Tent
Description: The Indiana Brass Band, a nonprofit organization committed to the preservation of period instruments and study of Civil War-era brass bands, returns to Harpers Ferry as a citizen band boosting morale and enlistment during wartime.
 
photo of men in 1860s period clothing playing brass instruments
Indiana Brass Band

Photo provided by the musicians

Health, Sanitation, Archaeology, and Newspapers: A Look at Harpers Ferry’s “Trying Climate” During the 19th Century
Time: 2:30 pm–3:30 pm
Location: Gathering Tent
Description: Former park archeologist Dr. Eric Larsen leads a walking tour through the Lower Town of Harpers Ferry from curbside to backyards. This interpretive tour will cover topics relating to the town’s health, sanitation, and state of medicine from the early days of the armory through the turn of the 20th century. The past is encountered through archeological evidence as well as surveys of county records and local newspaper stories and advertisements. The tour will revisit significant sites where archeological digs revealed 19th century living and sanitary conditions, as well as social and class habits.

Confluence
Time: 3:45pm–4:45 pm
Location: Gathering Tent
Description: Author and recently retired Chief Historian Dennis Frye weaves a tale of drama, trauma, and romance that led to the birth of a national park.

1944 anniversary and birthday cupcakes!
Time: 5 pm
Location: Gathering Tent
Description: Join us in wishing happy birthday to Harpers Ferry NHP, Smokey Bear, other 1944 birthdays, and other June 30th birthdays.

“Back to Harpers Ferry”
Time: 5 pm–6 pm
Location: Gathering Tent
Description: Join us for a musical performance by Magpie, the folk duo featuring Greg Artzner and Terry Leonino. The award-winning recording artists, singers, songwriters, musical historians, playwrights, actors and social activists, return to Harpers Ferry where their music tells the stories of John Brown, Harpers Ferry, and the mountains and rivers that surround the historic town.
 

Harpers Ferry NHP 75th Anniversary, Event Map

This interactive event map shows locations of programs, presentations, and amenities. Click on the pins/icons for more information.

 
 

Last updated: June 16, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
PO Box 65

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425

Phone:

(304) 535-6029

Contact Us