Nearly 160 years after John Brown raided the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, the National Park Service is welcoming the gift of another 13 acres that help tell Brown's story.
The American Battlefield Trust purchased property known as Allstadt’s Corner, which includes Allstadt’s Ordinary, and transferred it to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.
The donation comes during the park’s yearlong 75th-anniversary celebration, noted park superintendent H. Tyrone Brandyburg.
“The events at Allstadt’s Corner shaped our nation,” Brandyburg said.
“This generous donation to the American people allows the National Park Service to preserve this important place, its lessons, and its stories forever. It’s an honor to be entrusted with its care.”
Allstadt’s Ordinary, built circa 1790, played an important role in John Brown’s 1859 raid on the federal arsenal, and the surrounding farm saw action during the 1862 Civil War Battle of Harpers Ferry.
The Ordinary later stood witness as industrialization and mining transformed the landscape in the 1900s.
Lt. Gen. Richard Mills of the American Battlefield Trust said the partnership between park and trust is critical.
“The donation of Allstadt’s Corner is just the latest example of the trust working alongside Harpers Ferry National Historical Park to protect the critical landscapes involved in some of the most dramatic chapters of American history,” Mills said.
“Since 2002 we have joined together with fellow conservation groups to add 342 acres associated with the 1862 battle to the park.”
The American Battlefield Trust purchased Allstadt’s Corner with an exceptional gift from Elliotsville Plantation Inc., a grant from the NPS American Battlefield Protection Program, and from private donations from individuals.
The National Park Foundation, the State of West Virginia Division of Culture & History and the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission provided additional support.
Roxanne Quimby, co-founder of the Elliotsville Plantation Inc., said she was grateful to work on the project and visit the park, which is renowned for its natural beauty.
“It was particularly rewarding to work with the NPS and the American Battlefield Trust to preserve this unique and fascinating historic structure,” Quimby said.
“I learned a great deal about the era and the story of Allstadt’s Ordinary and enjoyed having the opportunity to admire the beautiful landscape of the region. It’s gratifying to see the culmination of our efforts come to fruition.”
The American Battlefield Trust has protected 542 acres at Harpers Ferry, much of it along Schoolhouse Ridge. Of those 542 acres, 342 have become part of the national park and the rest serve as viewsheds protected through conservation easements.