Copyright © 2006, Patricia Lowhorn
The town of Harpers Ferry is situated at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, along the borders of Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia. George Washington authorized the establishment of the first U.S. Armory & Arsenal here in the 1790s. John Brown attempted (and failed) to take over the armory and start a slave insurrection in 1859; his attempt fueled further divisions that led to the Civil War. During the war, the town changed hands eight times. Afterwards, a school and subsequent college for African American students was established here, which was closed after desegregation in the 1950s. In 1906, the second conference of the Niagara Movement (a civil rights movement spearheaded by W.E.B. DuBois) took place in the town. A portion of the town and the surrounding area are included in a National Historical Park. This photo shows Shenandoah Street, with the meeting of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers in the upper left-hand corner.