Harpers Ferry Area, Jefferson County
State preservationists got some good news last fall with the announcement that the entire 99-acre Murphy Farm at Harpers Ferry would be purchased by the nonprofit Trust for Public Land on behalf of the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. This critical purchase rescued the Murphy Farm, site of the climactic 1862 Confederate attack and capture of Harpers Ferry, from being developed into a 188-house residential subdivision. In 1895-1910, the farm served as the location of the Harpers Ferry engine house that abolitionist leader John Brown used in his abortive 1859 attempt to spark a slave uprising. The Brown fort was sent to Chicago for the 1893 Columbian Exposition, and, upon its return, Alexander Murphy deeded five acres to rebuild the structure on his farm. In 1906 W.E.B. DuBois and other leaders of the Niagara Movement, a predecessor of the NAACP, "made a barefoot pilgrimage" across the farm to the engine house. The engine house was later returned and placed within park boundaries near the confluence of the Potomac & Shenandoah rivers. More good news was recently released when the National Park Service announced that it is adding the farm property to existing park acreage, thus guaranteeing its preservation for future generations. Murphy Farm is saved!
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