Our first stop, about a 4 and a half hour drive from home along I81 was in Falling Water,West Virginia. We had camped there a month before on our way to and from Skyline Drive in Virginia. We knew that we were only a short distance from Harper's Ferry National Park and wanted to visit. Harper's Ferry is a small town at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers.
It was made famous by John Brown's unsuccessful raid on the U.S. Arsenal just prior to the Civil War. The town's importance in American history goes well beyond Brown's abortive attempt to free the slaves. The U.S. Armory created by Congress at George Washington's insistence was more then a repository for weapons. Over 600,000 muskets, rifles and pistols were manufactured there and at its most productive they employed 400 workers. Three railroad companies converged on Harper's Ferry and a canal system brought local commerce to the area. After the Civil War W.E.B Du Bois and other leading African Americans created the Niagara Movement to educate freed slaves. Their first meeting was in Harper's Ferry and Storer College an African American college was located here until it closed in 1954 when segregation was made illegal. We started our visit at the visitors center and hiked down a very steep hill to the town which has limited parking although people still live there.
Our return to the truck was somewhat easier as we took the shuttle bus.
We drove back to the campground in the dark and the next morning we went over to the C & O Canal on the Maryland side of the Potomac for our walk.