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Harpers Ferry may take over, renovate historic train station

December 14, 2000

Harpers Ferry may take over, renovate historic train station



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. - The future is looking brighter for a historic train station here.

The superintendent of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park said CSX has approved an offer that would allow the park service to take over the 107-year-old station on Potomac Street.

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, said Superintendent Donald Campbell.

Campbell said Thursday that the deal could be finalized later this month.

"It will be a beautiful restored station and it will continue to be an active station," Campbell said.

The station, although in need of repair, remains a stopping point for the MARC commuter line and Amtrak.

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 Train Station Foundation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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It harkens 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 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.

Earlier in the summer, Gov. Cecil Underwood awarded $350,000 to the town of Harpers Ferry to help save the station.

About $1 million is needed to install a new roof, gutters and downspouts, windows and doors on the station, said Harpers Ferry Mayor Walton "Kip" Stowell.

Campbell said he is hoping the National Park Service can come up with the remaining money needed to restore the station.

Both the park and the town have indicated an interest in having programs in the station. Under the current plan, the town would have some history displays in the station and the park would have a transportation history exhibit there, Campbell said.

Stowell declined to comment Thursday until final details are worked out. But he was upbeat about the project.

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