HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. (WDVM) — One of the real special tourist destinations in our region is Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. The town has a milestone it is about to celebrate.
The National Park Service is about to celebrate its 105th birthday at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. There is a lot of spectacular scenery in the DMV, but Harpers Ferry has to count among the best. At the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, a magnet for tourists in the charming historic town’s own backyard, or visitors from all corners of the U.S. and worldwide too.
“Harpers Ferry is just chock full of amazing stories,” says Leah Taber with the Park Service. “If you want to know the history of our country, this is an epicenter.”
But the past year, year-and-a-half has presented many challenges for the Park Service. Covid, for sure. But then there was a Christmas season CSX train derailment right on the bridge at the scenic overlook. That just added to delays in Park Service plans for facility upgrades. But with 105 years in the town, the National Park Service has rolled out the welcome mat.
“If people have heard of Harpers Ferry,” says Isaac Wickenheiser with the Park Service, “they’ve heard of John Brown’s grave. But there are a lot of different layers beyond John Brown’s grave. The Civil War history, the national heritage, and industrial history and the civil rights story as well.”
Taber with the Park Service sums it all up: we’ve got something pretty special right here for us to enjoy. “This is your national park right here in your backyard,” she exclaims. “And we are a crown jewel as a national historical park. So please come out and enjoy it.”
Mark your calendar: Wednesday, August 25, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. The Park Service is waiving all parking fees on Wednesday. Park at the visitors center parking lot and you can take the free shuttle bus into town.