Byrd dedicates Harpers Ferry renovation

June 28, 1997


Staff Writer, Waynesboro

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. - Saying he wants to preserve Harpers Ferry, "where the paths of history converge," U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., Saturday dedicated a $5.5 million renovation of seven buildings in the National Park's Lower Town on Shenandoah Street.

Byrd said he secured the money for the projects in Congress "so history will not be lost."

Work on the buildings, which will make use of their second and third stories for the first time since the town became a national park in 1944, began eight years ago.

Work was interrupted for a year in 1996 when two major floods inundated the Lower Town buildings.

The restoration of the buildings includes adding steel reinforcements, internal drainage systems, movable exhibits and waterproof paint to reduce the damage "when the waters rise again, as they will," Byrd said.


The buildings were officially reopened Saturday with Byrd's dedication. His remarks were heard by more than 200 people including invited guests, local residents and park visitors.

The Shenandoah Street Restoration Project also includes a new museum which replaces the old ranger station. Called "Harpers Ferry: A Place in Time," its exhibits will tell the town's history from its days as an Indian hunting ground, through its early industrial growth in the 18th century, its Civil War history and the numerous floods that ravaged the town over the years.

Park officials expect the museum to be one of the most popular stops for tourists. It is one of the first buildings they will enter when they get off the shuttle buses.

Other buildings restored were the Dry Goods Store and Provost Marshal's Office, the Officer's Quarters and the James Taylor Room.

Saturday's activities included an author fest with 28 authors invited to sign and sell their books, demonstrations and a fireworks display at night.

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