1914 Automobile Directions to Harpers Ferry

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Harpers Ferry in 1915
Harpers Ferry in 1915

This is a fun article that we came across in The Washington Post, printed on September 6th, 1914. The best part of the article is the listing of directions to get from Washington to Harpers Ferry (here’s a great book from Amazon about the town). This is way before the ease of GPS and Google Maps. It’s way before easy directions and street signs, when someone would say “pass the old farmhouse, take a right on the dirt road, and it’s a mile past the wooden bridge.” Good luck finding anything. I’m sure it was quite an adventure to follow the instructions in the paper.

Remembered by Washingtonians largely because of its having been the scene of former annual encampments of the District National Guard, Harpers Ferry, since its abandonment by the War Department has become less frequented by visitors from the National Capital. Harpers Ferry, however, has lost none of its unrivaled scenic beauty or cordiality for strangers. For motorists who enjoy the beauties of nature and enjoy a good dinner at the end of the journey no better objective point could be selected than the little West Virginia town nestled in the mountains and forming the gateway to the Shenandoah Valley.

The roads to Harpers Ferry on the whole are all that could be asked for. There are one or two short stretches that are rough, but not bad enough to deter one from making the trip. There are many reasons why the Washington motorist should include Harpers Ferry in his itinerary. The scenery in and around Harpers Ferry is the most picturesque in this section of the country. Our own Potomac wends in and out of the mountains like a silver thread, and the view at Harpers Ferry is inspiring.

Harpers Ferry forms an ideal basis for short one-day excursions into the mountains and to the battlefields of Maryland. It is but a short distance from the battlefield of Antietam, the bloodiest one day’s fight in the history of this country. For the motorist who delights in fishing or natural beauties the trip to Harpers Ferry will prove ideal for Labor day.

Click on the image below for a larger version. And, don’t miss our awesome 1865 photo of the town.

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Washington Post - September 6th, 1914
Washington Post – September 6th, 1914

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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