Published: December 30th 2006December 21st 2006
Wang Peng and Nancy
The walkway on the railroad bridge is also the Appalachian Trail crossing the Potomac River.
Visiting was a spur of the moment decision. As we neared Harpers Ferry, driving along Rt. 340, Nancy said, "I need a cup of coffee to stay awake."
"Should I drive to the visitor center where we can ride the bus to town?" I asked since there is, for all intents and purposes no parking in Harpers Ferry.
"No," she replied. "I noticed a restaurant in Bolivar the last time we were here. Let's go there."
Bolivar is a small village that lies between Rt. 340 and Harpers Ferry. It was at Bolivar Heights, above the town, that Stonewall Jackson set up his artillery effectively blocking the Union forces in Harpers Ferry and led to their surrender. Jackson then raided the U.S. armory taking much needed supplies, 73 pieces of artillery, 13,000 small-arms, and other stores. This was during Lee's campaign that ended with the battle of Antietam.
As we had our coffee we agreed to take our friend, Wang Peng, to Harpers Ferry. This would be her only chance to see this historic town. Because it is now winter, there were very few people in the town and most of the restaurants were closed for the
Nancy and Wang Peng at Jefferson Rock
Bill and I walked up this same hill on Aug. 13, 1962 on the first stop of our honeymoon. It was interesting to observe that as I recall it the walk was shorter & easier to make at 66 than it had been at 22. Obviously we are more physically active now than as young folk.
winter. We were fortunate in finding a parking place at the railroad station and from there we walked around the town. We walked up to the enormous stone called the Jefferson Rock and took pictures in true 'Chinese' fashion to prove that we were there. That means we didn't just take a picture of the rock but we took a picture of 'ourselves' in front of the rock. We took a walk across the river on the bridge which carries the hikers who are doing the Appalachian Trail. It was fun to share this part of American History with Wang Peng.
Harpers Ferry may be a small town, but it has a large history. An important town in colonial times and up to the end of the Civil War, Harpers Ferry now survives on this history that draws history buffs and tourists from around the world. The attempted takeover of the U.S. arsenal by John Brown in 1859 sealed Harpers Ferry as a historical spot for the ages to come.
John Brown, of Bleeding Kansas
fame, and his men planned on establishing a base in the Blue Ridge Mountains that they would use to aid runaway slaves
The Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers join at Harpers Ferry
The Rivers can be seen coming together behind Nancy and Wang Peng.
and from which attacks would be made against slave holders. During his attack at Harpers Ferry, he and his men killed seven innocent people, ironically one was a freed slave, they also injured at least ten others. A second irony is that Robert E. Lee, later the commanding general of the Southern Confederate forces in the Civil War, was the officer in charge of the U.S. Army forces sent to capture or kill Brown.
After the Civil War the Niagara Movement was founded here. The movement was led by W. E. B. Du Bois, John Hope, and William Monroe Trotter. Founded in 1905, the movement renounced Booker T. Washington's accomodation policy. In 1909 the Niagara Movement became the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
There are more photos below