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STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS POH

While George Washington may have kept the new republic ready to defend itself against its enemies by proposing that the nation build its second armory at Harpers Ferry in 1794—the task of keeping those employed there ready to fend off those forces that would conspire against the welfare of the mind, body and soul of a man would be taken up by lesser known patriots. Certainly for the men who produced over 600,000 muskets, rifles and pistols from 1801 through 1861 at this Virginia facility, the snug quarters across the road, under the proprietorship of Frederick Roeder, offered a respite from the toil, drudgery and long hours. Sadly though, both the White Hall Tavern and its well respected publican would become the early victims of the bitter and brutal struggle between the North and South.

On July 4th, 1861 Frederick Roeder, an anti-secessionist and a supporter of Mr. Lincoln’s cause, ventured out onto the banks of the Potomac with the hope of catching sight of the Stars and Stripes flying over the Maryland side of the river. A single discharge from the gun of a Union soldier would make this German born immigrant the first citizen of Harpers Ferry to fall during the conflict. Soon after, his home and business holdings, including the little tavern of Potomac Street, would be confiscated and utilized by Northern forces. The rounds of ale and whiskey as gentleman engaged in conversation and leisurely games would be replaced with rounds of shot and artillery as men in uniform made plans for a much more serious contest.
    



Historic Photo Collection, Harpers Ferry NHP.   
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia as seen in American Public House Review
THIS 1862 PHOTO FROM THE MATTHEW BRADY COLLECTION SHOWS  THE MUSKET FACTORY RUINS AT HARPERS FERRY. A UNION PONTOON BRIDGE IS UNDER  CONSTRUCTION ACROSS THE POTOMAC RIVER.




Department of the Interior    
Hatrpers Ferry, West Virginia as seen in American Public House Review
HAPRPERS FERRY, WEST VIRGINIA SITS AT THE CONFLUENCE OF THE SHENANDOAH AND POTOMAC RIVERS.






White Hall Tavern in Harpers Ferry, WV as seen in American Public House Review
Interior of the White Hall Tavern in Harpers Ferry, WV as seen in American Public House Review
Bar at the White Hall Tavern in Haprpers Ferry, WV as seen in American Public House Review
THE WHITE HALL TAVERN EXHIBITS A LOOK BACK AT EARLY PUB LIFE AND SOME INSIGHT INTO THE LOCAL ABOLITIONIST MOVEMENT AS WELL





Four years of war would destroy much of Harpers Ferry, and the attempts to rebuild the town in the ensuing years and decades were impeded by a number of devastating floods. The general disposition of both man and nature had turned what once was a model of industrial prosperity into a scene of ruin and abandonment. The hope of the community would be in the hands of those that sought to preserve its significant history and to protect the overwhelming natural beauty of the lands at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers.

In 1944 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the legislation establishing the Harpers Ferry National Monument. An act of Congress signed by President Kennedy in 1963 would then change its name to the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, and in 1979 the entire town would be designated as a historic district.

During the 1990s I journeyed to Harpers Ferry on two occasions. Both visits included a fair amount of time navigating the town’s countless steps and many inclines in the midst of summer’s heat. While the experience always quenched my thirst for knowledge, intrigue and scenic splendor, it did little to quench my thirst for good beer. Back then there was nary a place where one might divert their perambulations in favor of a proper pint. Thankfully now, that all has changed.

This past spring I booked a room at The Town’s Inn at Harpers Ferry. I chose these accommodations not only because of the prospect of spending the night in a fine old antebellum stone residence; but also because located on the ground floor of that edifice was the delightfully pleasing Town’s Inn Pub & Eatery.

Now it has been my experience over the years that the average tavern has somewhere between 8 - 14 barstools, whereas most home bars provide seating for  2-3, and what I like to refer to as the “little pub” can comfortably accommodate 4-7 at the bar. While I do not consider myself as the definitive source of information concerning capacity at the rail, certain aspects of my compulsive leanings—which includes the need to count things—combined with my proclivity for entering public houses has made me somewhat of an authority on this particular subject. Thus I would certainly award the quaint tavern at the Town’s Inn the designation of being a “Little Pub.”

What I love about these downsized drinking parlors is their ability to foster camaraderie and intimacy amongst their patrons. I suppose it’s akin to sharing a foxhole or a lifeboat; both situations tend to bring out the more noble aspects of humankind. This was certainly my experience during my afternoon at the bar. And when I had reached that inevitable personal point in my day of having the need to experience a bit less closeness and a tad more solitude, I withdrew with pint in hand to the outside patio. After a few short breaths of Blue Ridge Mountain air, and few long sips of my Mountaineer Pale Ale, I became immersed in the sublime picturesque view overlooking High Street. I was quite content with my choice of the Town’s Inn Pub & Eatery—a little pub worthy of high praise!  



The bar at Town's Inn in Harpers Ferry, WV as seen in AQmerican Public House Review
THIS LITTLE PUB IS PERFECT FOR A LUNCHTIME BEER



Night time bar at Town's Inn in Harpers Ferry,WV as seen in American Public House Review
OR A ROMANTIC EVENING'S REPAST
















THE TOWN'S INN PUB

AND EATERY



179 HIGH STREET


HARPERS FERRY, WEST VIRGINIA 25425



877 489 2447


www.thetownsinn.com


DIRECTIONS











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