Harpers Ferry offers deal for CSX station

July 19, 2000

Harpers Ferry offers deal for CSX station

By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. - Harpers Ferry National Historical Park has offered a deal to CSX that would allow the park to take over a historic train station in town, according to the park's superintendent.

Under the deal, the park would acquire the train station and two other historically significant areas in exchange for several acres of federally-owned land in Cumberland, Md., in which CSX has been interested, Park Superintendent Donald Campbell said Wednesday.

Campbell described the deal as a final offer to CSX.

CSX officials could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.

Last summer, the 107-year-old train station on Potomac Street was named one of the Top 10 Most Endangered Stations in America by the Great American Station Foundation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

It dates back to the early 20th century when trains were one of the primary sources of travel in the country.


The local train station often welcomed passenger trains like the Metropolitan, National and the Diplomat, which brought people from metropolitan areas to Jefferson County to get respite from heat and congestion, park officials said.

Park and town officials said they want to renovate the train station, believing it could boost tourism in the area.

Although park officials said last summer they were interested in teaming up with the town to buy the station, Harpers Ferry Mayor Walton "Kip" Stowell said this week he thinks the town should own the building.

Stowell said nearby Harpers Ferry National Historical Park already has enough historic buildings in the area.

The town needs to find some other sources of revenue because its tax base has nearly disappeared, Stowell said.

"Otherwise we will have to constantly be begging for money. And we're a proud town," Stowell said Tuesday.

If refurbished, the train station could be an excellent location for the town to hold festivals and other events, which could provide new revenue sources for the town, Stowell said.

Campbell said the town could use the station for events if the park owns it.

Last Friday, Gov. Cecil Underwood awarded $350,000 to Harpers Ferry to help save the train station. Stowell said he is not sure what the $350,000 will be used for.

The park service has indicated it is willing to help the town renovate the station, Campbell said. The money could go toward the purchase of train station, but Stowell said he wishes CSX would consider donating the train station to the town.

The building needs a new roof, gutters and downspouts, windows and doors, and the total renovation cost could approach $1 million, Stowell said.

Under the deal the park has offered to CSX, the park also would acquire nearby land where an old U.S. Armory once was located and the original site of John Brown's fort, Campbell said.

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