West Virginia July 24, 2018
A Trip To This Little Known Ancient Ruin In West Virginia Is Truly One In A Million
West Virginia doesn’t have many ruins, but the ones we do have reflect a time when our country was in turmoil. A country with undefined borders and divided loyalties. The remnants of what we used to be, damaged but not forgotten.
There are few places in West Virginia with ruins like these. St. John's Episcopal Church defiantly stands atop a hill in historic Harpers Ferry, a sturdy edifice of the past.
It's really no surprise that such ruins would be found in Harpers Ferry. As one of the most historic towns in the state, it has about 100 structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places, essentially encompassing an entire neighborhood.
The town is essentially the same as it was when many of these structures were built, taking cues from many European cities who maintain old structures rather than attempt to replace them with new ones.
Thew town itself was established in 1763, though its origins stretch back to the establishment of a ferry at the same location in 1733. The town rose up around this lone ferry, and history followed along, thorough the American Revolution and the Civil War.
St. Joseph's was built in 1852 atop a small hill near the confluence of the Potomac and the Shenandoah rivers, probably not far from the ferry that was established there more than a century before.
However, during the Civil War, the church was damaged by unspecified means. The church not only served as a house of worship, but it was also a hospital and barracks during the war, which probably made the church a target to its enemies.
Despite the damage to the structure, the church was repaired after the war. The church continued to operate until 1895 when a new church of the same name was built to replace it.
After that, the former structure remained untouched.
Since then, time and the elements beat away at the structure, and it began to crumble. But Harpers Ferry is not a town that tears down old structures. It is a town that keeps the past alive.
Now, these ruins are part of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, one of many structures that encompass this incredibly historic area.
If you ever have occasion to visit Harpers Ferry, be sure to add this location to your list of sites to visit. Like all the other structures in the town, this old church has a story to tell, if you only take a moment to listen.
The ruin of St. John's Episcopal Church is located at at the end of Church Street near the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers.
Have you ever been to Harpers Ferry? Did you visit the church ruins while there? Feel free to comment below and join the discussion.
Would you like to read more about this historic area? Check out
this historic small town that everyone should visit at least once.