Park Brochure

Cover of the Harpers Ferry national park brochure showing old house on the left and a view of the water gap in the blue ridge.
Cover of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park official brochure. The oldest building in Harpers Ferry is the Harper House (left). The town is located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. The Potomac River is visible between the river gap in the blue ridge.

NPS 2016


The park brochure is available in a variety of formats including braille, audio description, and text-only.


Print Version

Request a paper copy of the official park brochure

Braille Version

Choose one of these two ways to get a braille version of the brochure.
  1. Download this brochure as a printable Braille file to view or print with your braille compatible software or equipment.
  2. Request a printed braille copy

Audio-Described Version

An audio described version of the brochure can be accessed three ways.

  1. Download the UniDescription app which includes all park brochures that have been audio described under the UniDescription partnership project with the University of Hawaii. The app is free and available on the iOS platform and Android platform.
  2. Download a folder of audio files (9.1MB Zip). Open the files in your preferred mp3 player to listen to each section of the brochure.
  3. Access the following text version.

Audio-Described Version (Text Only)

OVERVIEW: About this audio-described brochure

Welcome to the audio-described version of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park's official print brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos, illustrations, and maps, this version interprets the two-sided color brochure that Harpers Ferry National Historical Park’s visitors receive. The brochure explores the history of the park, some of its highlights, and locations of interest within the park. This audio version lasts about 30 minutes, which we have divided into 17 sections, as a way to improve the listening experience. Sections 3-7 cover the front of the brochure and include information regarding the historical significance of Harpers Ferry and highlights of the Lower Town area of the park. Sections 8-17 cover the back of the brochure which consists of map of the entire park, brief descriptions of each area of the park, and a timeline of historical events.

OVERVIEW: Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, located in West Virginia, Virgina, and Maryland, is part of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior. The 3,500 acre park is located at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers and is about 60 miles northwest of Washington, DC. This park, established in 1944, is the only national historical park in West Virginia. Each year, over 250,000 people visit to enjoy the unique experiences that can only be experienced at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. We invite you to explore the park's historic setting and natural environment. Listen to the birds singing, the rivers quiet roar, and the trains passing through town. Visit in the morning to feel the mist of the fog before it lifts above the mountains. Feel the brick and stone exteriors of restored buildings, which withstood the Civil War, numerous floods, and abandonment. For those seeking to learn more about the park during their visit, a tactile map of portions of the park also can be found at the visitor center. To find out more about what resources might be available or to contact the park directly, visit the "Accessibility" and "More Information" sections at the end of this audio-described brochure.

OVERVIEW: Front side of brochure

The front of the brochure is comprised of a color panoramic photograph, text, ten historic images of which eight are black and white and one is a color painting, and an artist rendition of a bird’s-eye view map. The top quarter of the brochure is the panoramic photo with text underneath that reads Revolution, Freedom, Civil War, Education, Civil Rights, Freedom, Civil War. The second quarter of the brochure is text with the historic photos interspersed, all of which are described in their own sections. The final half of this side of the brochure is the full color bird’s-eye view map with key buildings, locations, and amenities.

IMAGE AND TEXT: Harpers Ferry

DESCRIPTION: Panoramic view showing portions of Lower Town, Harpers Ferry. In the foreground and to the left is the Harper House which is a three-story stone building painted white, with a double chimney, a slate roof, and six windows facing the camera. A two-story open porch is on the right end of the building facing an adjacent lawn, which is surrounded by a white picket fence. The middle and right of the photo shows several rooftops of historic buildings. In the background a river flows through a gap in the mountains. It is springtime and trees in the town and on the mountains display bright green foliage.

CAPTION: View toward Lower Town and Potomac River gap, Harper House (town's oldest building) at left.


RELATED TEXT: Revolution, Freedom, Civil War, Education, Civil Rights, Revolution, Freedom, Civil War

IMAGES and TEXT: Harpers Ferry overview

IMAGE 1 of 5: Armory Grounds

DESCRIPTION: An 1800s painting of the United States Armory, Potomac River, and surrounding mountains at Harpers Ferry. The natural landscape is most prominent in the painting. In the foreground to the right, a group of seven people take in the view from the green hills overlooking the armory buildings. The surrounding mountains in the background are gray rock cliff faces with green trees on the crests. The armory buildings in the middle of the painting, of which there are about two dozen, vary in size with the largest ones standing out due to their bright orange brick color. The armory complex is nestled between the banks of the river to its left and the hillside to its right.

CAPTION: Armory Grounds, late 1820s

CREDIT: Maryland Historical Society

IMAGE 2 of 5: John Brown

DESCRIPTION: An 1859 portrait of John Brown, showing his chest to his head. His body is facing slightly to his left and his head and gaze are toward the photographer. He wears a collared shirt, a dark buttoned vest, and a dark coat. His beard contrasts with his attire. His beard is white, somewhat unkempt, and reaches to about where his collarbone is. His expression is serious. His eyes are somewhat shadowed due to his prominent brow ridge and deep set eyes, and there are visible bags beneath his eyes. The hair atop his head is a mix of light and dark. It is close cut near his ears but thick and tall at the crest of his head.

CAPTION: John Brown, 1859

CREDIT: Library of Congress

IMAGE 3 of 5: Militiaman

DESCRIPTION: A United States Civil War infantry soldier poses for a photograph next to a cannon. His body faces forward and his head and gaze are toward his left. He wears a kepi or cap, a dark wool jacket, wool pants, and leather boots. He carries a knapsack with a blanket roll atop it on his back. He stands at an at ease position with his rifle held by his right hand but cradled against his left shoulder, with the gun’s butt upon the ground. The soldier stands in front of the wheel of a cannon. Gear like a ramrod and ropes are attached to the cannon. In the background of the photo are two artillery ammunition wagons sitting between a large painted brick house and some trees.

CAPTION: New York State militiaman on Camp Hill, 1862

CREDIT: Library of Congress

IMAGE 4 of 5: W.E.B. Du Bois

DESCRIPTION: Four African American men in suits and ties pose for a photograph and face forward to the photographer. They have mustaches and all have a look of thoughtfulness upon their faces. They wear rectangular ribbons which are attached to their jackets’ lapels. Three of the men are standing behind a bench and one is seated on the bench in front of them. The seated man is W.E.B. Du Bois. He is bald, wears a lighter colored suit, and has a shorter mustache than the other men.

CAPTION: W.E.B. Du Bois, seated, with Niagara Movement leaders at Storer College, 1906

CREDIT: University of Massachusetts

IMAGE 5 of 5: Don Redman

DESCRIPTION: A young adult African American man poses for a college graduation photo. Don Redman is the 19 year old man in this 1920 photo. He has a serious look upon his face. He wears a dark colored cap and gown and his collared shirt is peeking above the gown.

CAPTION: Pioneering jazz musician Don Redman, the ”little giant of jazz,” at his 1920 Storer College graduation.

CREDIT: Jane O. Clark

RELATED TEXT: Here at Harpers Ferry, where the Potomac River cuts through the Blue Ridge, you encounter the past and its stories in magnificent expanses and hidden quarters. In the force of these rushing waters George Washington envisioned military strength and chose Harpers Ferry as the site for a US Armory. Factories from the early 1800s witnessed innovations that fueled the Industrial Revolution. Here abolitionist John Brown struck a blow against slavery, and soon the Civil War trapped the town between North and South. In the wake of war’s devastation, legendary Civil Rights leaders met at Storer College and claimed “every single right that belongs to a freeborn American.” From The Point, where the two rivers meet, you can see the V-shaped water gap. People on the move found their way through this natural corridor—first American Indians, then European settlers. Robert Harper started a ferry across the Potomac here in 1747. By the early 1800s the rivers powered the armory complex and commercial mills. The revolutionary method of manufacturing with interchangeable parts was perfected at the Halls Island rifle factory. See Industry Museum, US Armory site, and Virginius and Halls islands.

In October 1859, determined to arm enslaved people and spark rebellion, John Brown and his followers seized the armory and several other strategic points. The raid failed, with most men killed or captured. Brown’s trial and execution focused attention on the issue of slavery and propelled the nation toward civil war. John Brown’s Fort stands near its original location; nearby is the John Brown Museum. Explore wartime Harpers Ferry at Civil War and 1862 Battle of Harpers Ferry exhibits. Visit the battle sites where Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson forced the war’s largest surrender of US troops at Bolivar Heights, Schoolhouse Ridge, and the Murphy-Chambers Farm.

John Brown’s raid made Harpers Ferry a symbol of freedom. Visit Black Voices and John Brown Museum. After the war Baptist missionaries founded Storer College to educate students of any race, male or female. Meet alumni like Don Redman and Coralie Franklin Cook in the Storer College exhibit and explore the former Storer College Campus. Harpers Ferry also attracted national Civil Rights leaders and organizations. Visit the Niagara Movement exhibit and the Murphy-Chambers Farm.

Stroll on a level riverside path; climb to a hilltop vista point; join up with the long-distance Appalachian Trail, C&O Canal towpath, or Potomac Heritage Trail. A climb to Jefferson Rock, Loudoun Heights, or Maryland Heights will reward you with vistas of the town and its dramatic natural setting.

IMAGES: Harpers Ferry in the 1800s

IMAGE 1 of 5: Potomac Ferry

DESCRIPTION: An early 1800s painting, printed for this brochure in black and white, depicting the river confluence at Harpers Ferry and the surrounding area. The view is from the perspective of someone standing on the hillside above the scene. The mountains on either side of the painting are prominent with high rock cliffs with trees around and above these cliff faces. The rivers flow through the middle of the scene, cutting between the mountains. A small almost flat boat, the ferry, is on the river. A long three-story building is situated at an angle near to where the rivers meet. It is the United States arsenal building.

CAPTION: Potomac ferry crossing and US Arsenal, ca. 1803.


IMAGE 2 of 5: Flood Damage

DESCRIPTION: The aftermath of the 1889 flood on Shenandoah Street in Lower Town Harpers Ferry. The street is still covered by water with many logs and wood debris floating in it. Buildings line either side of the street. The buildings on the right have about eight people standing on the second floor porches. The people are looking out to assess the damage. In the foreground, one man stands on a log that the flood waters placed on the street. In the background in the middle of the street a wooden building is on its side and broken apart. Two men are atop the remnants of this building, one sitting and one standing.

CAPTION: Flood damage on Shenandoah Street, 1889.


IMAGE 3 of 5: New York Militia

DESCRIPTION: Several dozen United States infantry soldiers, carrying rifles at their sides, stand in rows facing the photographer. The landscape behind them is a rolling hillside dotted with a few trees and about four buildings, including homes and a church. A white building is behind the soldiers to the right. The church is behind the soldiers to the left. To the far left in the background are tents, likely the encampment of troops. In the farther distance a mountain rises behind the rolling hill’s landscape.

CAPTION: 22nd New York State Militia on Camp Hill, 1862.

CREDIT: National Archives

IMAGE 4 of 5: Refugee Slaves

DESCRIPTION: The armory's fire engine house, now known as John Brown's Fort, sits just above the center of the image. It is a small brick building with three doorways along the front, each with arched windows above them. A white wooden cupola sits on top of the building. Behind and to the right of John Brown’s Fort are several brick and stone structures of Lower Town Harpers Ferry. To the right and in front of John Brown’s Fort are stone pillars and iron fencing that surround the armory yard. Within the armory yard and at the foreground of the image are five small canvas tents, believed to be an encampment for African Americans who escaped slavery and who were refugees during and after the Civil War.

CAPTION: Refugee slaves camped by John Brown’s Fort, 1865.


IMAGE 5 of 5: Colored Women's League

DESCRIPTION:A group of about twenty African American women, men, and a few children pose for a photograph in front of John Brown’s Fort. More than half of the group is sitting in the grass while the others stand behind them. About eight people in the group are holding umbrellas to provide shade. A couple of horses and carriages stand in the background to either side of the group. In this image, the John Brown Fort building stands upon a different location than the previous described image. It is in a field and a mountain ridge is behind it far in the distance.

CAPTION: Colored Women’s League trip to John Brown’s Fort, 1896.


MAP and TEXT: Historic town and park highlights

This is a bird’s-eye view map of Lower Town, Harpers Ferry, and some portions of the Virginius Island and Camp Hill areas of the park. It is primarily a wayfinding map, with information designed to get people around the park and to show broad spatial relationships between buildings and places. The map is oriented, unusually, with the right side of the map representing the north. It shows the most visited area of the park, which is situated between the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. The Potomac flows past the park on the north, and the Shenandoah flows past it on the south, with Harpers Ferry in the middle, until those rivers converge into a single waterway at Lower Town, flowing east from that point as the Potomac. This map is centered on Lower Town, along Shenandoah Street. Active railroads are present in Lower Town, and visitors should be cautious when crossing the tracks or when walking near the tracks. A tactile map of this portion of the park is located at the visitor center.

This next section of the description delves into deeper detail about the map, including in this order: Site highlights by area of interest, a description of the map's illustrations, roadways and trails, amenities, and a description of the map legend.

Site highlights by area of interest -

Most of the northern part of the town is shown as monochrome and otherwise unlabeled homes, shops, and restaurants. The core area of the town, near the intersection of Potomac and Shenandoah streets, though, is varied in color and architecture to correspond with the physical structures. On the western edge of town, there is the private St. Peter's Catholic Church and a nearby set of ruins.

A path of stone steps leads past Harper House, into Lower Town, where highlights on this map include the Bookshop, The Green, the John Brown Museum, Arsenal Square, John Brown's Fort, the Original Site of John Brown's Fort, the U.S. Armory Site (musket factory), a Train Station, and a section of the Appalachian Trail, all near The Point, where the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers converge.

Three other distinct sites of ruins are shown, in the south, on Virginius Island, across the Shenandoah Canal. An active (and dangerous) Winchester & Potomac railroad line splits Virginius Island. A note indicates that Halls Island (a former rifle factory site) is nearby this area, and so is a Visitor Center, park entrance and shuttle-bus parking, the distance of which is 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from Lower Town Harpers Ferrry.

North of Viginius Island and west of Lower Town is the former Storer College campus, which includes Lockwood House and NPS offices in Brackett House, off an access road called Fillmore Street.

Illustrations - This map is an artist’s rendition of the Lower Town and surrounding areas. Each building and each cultural feature (such as ruins) on the map appear in the same color and shape as their real life counterparts. In the top left corner of the map an eagle soars in the air, as a reminder that this map is from a bird’s-eye perspective. Because of the perspective the map does not have a distance scale and some differences in terrain and elevation are not depicted.

Roadways and Trails - Parallel to the rivers of the same names, Potomac and Shenandoah streets frame Harpers Ferry, converging at The Point, where the rivers and the roads converge, at the easternmost edge of the town. Near The Point, there also is a portion of the Appalachian Trail, which leads across a footbridge that crosses the Potomac and connects with the C&O Canal and Maryland Heights. John Brown's Fort, Arsenal Square, and the John Brown Museum also are nearby The Point. The Winchester & Potomac Railroad line roughly parallels the Shenandoah River here, too, while the railroad along the Potomac River, on the other side of town, is called the CSX Railroad, formerly known as the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.

The only other major roadway on the map is High Street, which roughly parallels Potomac Street, before veering west at the end of town and becoming Washington Street, leading to Bolivar Heights and a Park Visitor Center.

A small Public Way access road also connects St. Peter's Catholic Church and Harper House to the rest of the town.

Amenities –

These amenities are listed by location.

Bus stop - located along Shenandoah Street, between Virginius Island and Lower Town.

Bookshop - located along Shenandoah Street; it is the first building on the left when walking from the bus stop toward the historic buildings; drinking water, restrooms wheelchair accessible, non-accessible restrooms located in the building next door (to the north) of the Bookshop.

Lower Town information center - located along Shenandoah Street in the middle of Lower Town and is the fourth building on the right when walking from the bus stop; a staffed location where more information about the park is provided.

John Brown Museum - located at the corner of Shenandoah Street and Potomac Street and is the last building on the left when walking from the bus stop; outside of this building and to the north across Potomac Street is an outdoor drinking water fountain.

St. Peter’s Catholic Church - not a park building but a prominent building on the landscape, sitting on the hill just above Shenandoah Street; accessible by walking up a set of uneven stone steps along the Appalachian Trail; behind the church along the roadside is an outdoor water fountain.

Train station - located on Potomac Street across from the privately owned food and shopping establishments in the town of Harpers Ferry; a parking lot is on two sides of the building, train tracks are along another side; accessible restrooms are inside of the building.

Map Legend:

The legend has symbols for amenities and wayfinding and also a list of museums and exhibits that correspond with a letter labeled on the map. Amenities symbolized include: public restrooms (a stock universal man and woman symbol); shuttle bus stop (a yellow bus symbol); drinking water (a cup symbol); information (a question mark, with a circle around it). Symbols for wayfinding include: A park building (any building on the map that is in full color); homes, shops, and restaurants (any building on the map that is tan in color); trail of walking path (a thin, green dotted line symbol); shuttle bus route (a thin, solid yellow line symbol). Films, museums and period exhibits correspond with a letter labeled on the map:

A: A Place in Time (film)

B: Provost Marshal Office (first floor) and Boarding House (2nd floor)

C: Dry Goods Store

D: Industry Museum

E: Philip Frankel and Co.

F: Reading an Old building

G: Black Voices: African American History

H: Wetlands

I: White Hall Tavern

J: Meriwether Lewis at Harpers Ferry

K: Confectionery

L: 1862 Battle of Harpers Ferry

M: A. Burton: Fine Watch Repair

N: Storer College and Niagara Movement

O: Civil War Museum


OVERVIEW: Back side of brochure

This side of the brochure is comprised of text and a map. The text is divided into multiple sections and briefly explains information related to visiting the park, including a short description of each of the park areas as well as details about safety, park regulations, and contact information. A timeline of important events in Harpers Ferry is along the bottom of the brochure and is described in its own section. About eighty percent of this side of the brochure is a map that depicts almost the entire park.

MAP AND TEXT: West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland

This map is an overview of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. It is both a map that highlights features and information about this place, but it also can serve as a broad wayfinding map. Unlike the other map on this brochure, this map is oriented with north at the top and represents the 3,500-acre park and the private lands adjacent to the park, showing the connection of three states. Part of Maryland is shown in the upper right quadrant of the map, with part of Virginia, on the other side of the Potomac River, to the south, taking up more than the lower-right quadrant. Part of West Virginia is shown as most of the other half of the map, the left side, or the west side. This map shows clearly how the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers come together, like a Y-shape, on its side, with the stem of the Y being the converged Potomac River, running off the right side (or east side) of the map, and the original Potomac arm of the Y eventually curving off to the north, and the Shenandoah arm of the Y eventually turning to the south. The park’s visitor center is located just west of the center of the map, along Shoreline Drive and near US340. There is no tactile version of this map available.

This next section of the description delves into deeper detail about the map, including, in this order, site highlights by area of interest, amenities, and a description of the map legend.

Site highlights by area of interest –

In the West Virginia portion of the map, the far left of the map, or the westernmost edge, is defined by the Schoolhouse Ridge South and the Schoolhouse Ridge North, on the west side of Highway 27 (Millville Road / Bakerton Road). On the eastern side of Highway 27, the area is divided into a section north of Highway 340 and south of Highway 340, with Highway 340 entering the map on the west from WV 230, Charles Town, and Shepherdstown and exiting the map, in Maryland, on the way to Frederick. North of 340, in West Virginia is Bolivar Heights, which includes the Jefferson County Visitor Center and Bolivar Community Park but also the core of the Harpers Ferry attractions, such as the former Storer College (now the NPS's Mather Training Center), the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Visitor Center, the Lockwood House, Jefferson Rock, Harper Cemetery, and all of the Lower Town landmarks, including John Brown's Fort. For more detail about this area, please listen to the UniD description of "MAP and TEXT: Historic town and park highlights." In the area on this map south of 340, in West Virginia, the park's Visitor Center and entrance is highlighted with a large green label. This Visitor Center is near the intersection of Shoreline Drive and Murphy-Chambers Farm Trail. In this vicinity also is a trail to Lower Town and a shuttle route. In the other direction, the trail that leads to Murphy-Chambers Farm connects overlooks, Earthworks, and the John Brown Fort Foundation, with Entrance Rapids and Bull Falls near that foundation, in the adjacent Shenandoah River.

In the mostly Virginia portion of the map, the Blue Ridge spine, topped by the Appalachian Trail, serves as the state line between Virginia and West Virginia. The West Virginia portion of the land mass is mostly undistinguished, aside from a reference to Loudoun Heights and the Loudoun Heights Trail, an offshoot of the Appalachian Trail. The Virginia side of the spine primarily is composed of an area called Loudoun Valley, bisected by Highway 671 (also called Harpers Ferry Road), which leads to Leesburg and the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship. At the northernmost part of the Loudoun Valley, on the banks of the Potomac River, is the Potoma wayside and a waterfall, which is about a half of a mile from the Split Rock Overlook (607 feet, 185 meters)

In the Maryland portion of the map, the area is defined by the Blue Ridge mountains and Maryland Heights in the center spine of the line, with Pleasant Valley to the east and the Fort Duncan site to the west. Near Fort Duncan is a reference to the Harpers Ferry Road that leads to Kennedy Farm. In Pleasant Valley, Highway 340 leads to Frederick and Sandy Hook Road. Three National Park System areas (Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, and Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail) share a section of the Appalachian Trail. The Blue Ridge spine here shows Stone Fort Overlook (1,435 feet, 443 meters), 100-Pound Battery Overlook (1,388 feet, 423 meters), 30-Pounder Battery (1,181 feet, 360 meters), Naval Battery Overlook (679 feet, 207 meters), and Overlook Cliff (627 feet, 191 meters), along a trail system that includes the Overlook Cliff Trail and the Stone Fort Trail.

Amenities -

Amenities listed by location.

Visitor Center and around - shuttle bus stop, information, restrooms, parking, and picnic area, hiking trails.

Murphy-Chambers Farm - parking, hiking trail

Schoolhouse Ridge South - parking, restrooms, hiking trail

Schoolhouse Ridge North - parking, restrooms, hiking trail

Lower Bolivar Heights - parking, hiking trail

Bolivar Heights - parking, hiking trail

Bolivar (town) - restaurants, picnic area

Harpers Ferry (town)- picnic area, hiking trail

Lower Town - shuttle bus stop, information, restrooms, restaurants, hiking trails

Maryland Heights - hiking trails

Loudoun Heights - hiking trails

Halls Island and Virginius Island - hiking trails


The legend has symbols for wayfinding and amenities. Wayfinding symbols include: NPS land (denoted by the area of the map shaded green); Hiking trail (a thin green dotted line); Distance indicator (a green triangle and green text with miles and kilometers). Amenities symbols include: Shuttle stop (a yellow bus symbol); Parking (a letter P symbol); Restrooms (a universal man and woman symbol); Information (a question mark inside of a circle); Picnic area (a picnic table symbol); and Restaurant (a fork and knife symbol).

TEXT: Visiting Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

The park is open dawn to dusk every day except Thanksgiving, December 25, and January 1. To visit the Lower Town, park at the visitor center and take the shuttle bus or walking trail. Stop at the visitor center or the Lower Town information center to plan your visit and get site maps of individual park areas and trails. Lower Town buildings are open until 5 pm daily.

TEXT: Explore the Park

Lower Town

1800s town, John Brown’s Fort, armory site, period shops, films, exhibits, Appalachian Trail, C&O Canal, confluence of Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. Shopping and restaurants nearby. See detailed map on other side.

Virginius and Halls Islands

Ruins of 1800s industrial complex, scenic views, trails. Jefferson Rock Steep steps and trail to panoramic river view.

Camp Hill

Harper Cemetery, restored historic buildings, Storer College campus, Curtis Freewill Baptist Church, scenic views, trails.

Maryland Heights

Panoramic view of Lower Town, Union fortifications, trails.

Loudoun Heights

Panoramic river views, trails.

TEXT: Safety

Use caution as you explore the park. Rivers can be swift and dangerous. • Lower Town roads are open to car, bus, and truck traffic. • Some park trails go through rugged backcountry. Be prepared.

TEXT: Park Regulations

Federal laws protect all natural and cultural features in the park. • For firearms laws and policies, and for additional park regulations, visit our website.

TEXT: Self-guiding Battlefield Driving Tour

Exhibit panels at sites give detailed information.

1. Bolivar Heights: Site of five Civil War engagements. Panoramic views, trail.

2. Lower Bolivar Heights: Site of 1862 skirmish near present-day road. Earthworks, trail.

3. Schoolhouse Ridge North: Site of Gen. Stonewall Jackson's line during 1862 battle. Trail.

4. Schoolhouse Ridge South: Site of Confederate flanking maneuver in 1862 battle. Trail.

5. Murphy-Chambers Farm: Civil War and civil rights stories came together here. Panoramic views, trails.

Timeline: Harpers Ferry History (1740-2000)

Note: The timeline across the bottom of the map spans from 1740 to 2000. Decade numbers are printed to represent every 20 years. A second timeline is slightly above the main timeline. This second timeline highlights some of the events between 1859 and 1866 that happened before, during, and after the American Civil War. The visual effect of the timeline shows that a great deal of history occurred in Harpers Ferry. The following is the text of both timelines.

Evidence of first human occupation here 10,000 years ago

1747: Robert Harper begins ferry service across Potomac

French and Indian War

American Revolution

1783: Thomas Jefferson visits

1796: George Washington proposes federal armory site

1799: Armory construction begins; armory is soon producing small arms

1803: Meriwether Lewis buys arms for expedition

War of 1812

1823: John Hall’s rifle works makes breech-loading rifle

1833–34: C&O Canal, B&O Railroad reach Harpers Ferry

Mexican War

1848: Cotton factory opens on Virginius Island

1859: John Brown's Raid

1860: Lincoln elected president

1860: South Carolina secedes

1861: Lincoln takes office

Civil War

1861: Arsenal Burned

1861: Battle of Bolivar Heights

1862: Battle of Harpers Ferry

1862: Battle of South Mountain

1862: Battle of Antietam

1863: Emancipation Proclamation

1863: West Virginia becomes a US state

1863: Battle of Gettysburg

1864: Battle of Monocacy

1864: Sheridan's Valley Campaign

1865: Civil War ends

1865: Lincoln assassinated

1867: Storer College opens

1870: Flood kills 42, destroys mills and homes

1894: Maryland Heights railroad tunnel completed

1896: Colored Women’s League pilgrimage to John Brown’s Fort

1906: Niagara Movement holds first public meeting at Storer College

World War I

1925: Potomac hydroelectric plant built on paper mill flumes

Great Depression

1936: Record flood 36.5 feet

World War II

1944: Harpers Ferry National Monument established

1955: Storer College closes

1963: Harpers Ferry National Historical Park established

1991: Hydroelectric plant closes, ends Harpers Ferry water powered industry

OVERVIEW: Accessibility

We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. For information ask at the visitor center or check our website.

OVERVIEW: More information

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is one of over 400 parks in the National Park System. To learn more about national parks and National Park Service programs in America’s communities, visit

ADDRESS: Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, PO Box 65, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425

PHONE: 304-535-6029


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Last updated: June 28, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
National Park Service
PO Box 65

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425


304 535-6029

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