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Lower Town

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Harpers Ferry's steep, picturesque site precluded any sort of grid plan. The Lower Town, at the tip of the peninsula, consists of Shenandoah and Potomac streets, paralleling the river for which each is named, and High, or Washington, Street. Washington intersects Shenandoah Street, then leads uphill to the Upper Town and the adjoining community of Bolivar. The National Historical Park focuses on the Lower Town and has a somewhat tenuous relationship to the upper stretches of Washington Street. Boundaries are all too easily observed: buildings under National Park Service jurisdiction, carefully restored to their appearance at the time of John Brown's raid, have something of an antiseptic quality, while privately owned structures uphill, many equally old, have been converted to enterprises aimed all too blatantly at tourists.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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