Fast Backward: The Stone House, Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia

If you’ve never been to Harper’s Ferry, WV, I highly recommend it.  Despite being one of the most history-rich areas I’ve ever toured, it’s also stunningly beautiful–a classic old American town built into the side of mountains overlooking the convergence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers.  What’s more, it’s a perfect place for someone such as myself, who finds a certain allure in the abandoned and ignored.

Though a large percentage of the town and the surrounding area are actually contained in a National Park, I’ve found that due to the NPS’s tendency to let ruins be ruins, the fact that these locations are not perhaps as remote or neglected as others I’ve explored doesn’t detract from the mystery of what they once were.

While there are several abandoned places I might take you in Harper’s Ferry, I figured I’ll start with my favorite location: the Stone House.

This is Lock 33 on the C&O Canal, which runs alongside the Potomac River on the northeastern side directly across from Harper's Ferry.
This is Lock 33 on the C&O Canal, which runs alongside the Potomac River on the northeastern side directly across from Harper’s Ferry.  It’s a shady, somewhat isolated place that used to be bustling with activity when Lock 33 was an active lock on the C&O Canal.  Now just populated by walkers and bicyclists, I certainly didn’t expect to find what I did as I descended the steps and took a left…
My first view of the structure at Lock 33, which sits perched above the lock and across Harper's Ferry Road.
My first view of the structure at Lock 33, known as The Stone House, which sits perched above the lock and across Harper’s Ferry Road.

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Undaunted by the canal and the road, I crossed both and arrived to this view.
Undaunted by the canal and the road, I crossed both and arrived to this view.
Just the shell of a house, I was immediately curious as to what this had once been and what circumstances had led to its ruin.
Just the shell of a house, I was immediately curious as to what this had once been and what circumstances had led to its ruin.
Looking toward the front of the house from the inside.
Looking toward the front of the house from the inside.
Looking to the right side of the house (when facing it), where a stone chimney and two doors remain.
Looking to the right side of the house (when facing it), where a stone chimney and two doors remain.
Looking to the left end of the house.
Looking to the left end of the house.
A look out one of the front windows, which still contains the original wood paneling, though it's been many a year since this window has held a pane.
A look out one of the front windows, which still contains the original wood paneling, though it’s been many a year since this window has held a pane.
The front door, with the original wood frame still intact.
The front door, with the original wood frame still intact.
Looking out the front door to the left along Harper's Ferry Road.
Looking out the front door to the left along Harper’s Ferry Road.
Looking out the front door to the right on Harper's Ferry Road.
Looking out the front door to the right on Harper’s Ferry Road.
View of the window sill and frame.
View of the window sill and frame.
Closer view of the front door side paneling.
Closer view of the front door side paneling.
Looking up at the chimney on the right side of the house.
Looking up at the chimney on the right side of the house.
On a subsequent trip less than a year later, I returned for more photos.
On a subsequent trip less than a year later, I returned for more photos.

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Two stacked doors to the left of the chimney and fireplace.
Two stacked doors to the left of the chimney and fireplace.

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Looking out the side door.
Looking out the side door.
Looking up through what used to be the second story.
Looking up through what used to be the second story.
Looking above the structure at Maryland Heights.
Looking above the structure at Maryland Heights.
Another view of the lock.
Another view of the lock.

As much as I’d love to tell you all I’ve learned about the history of this interesting home, I’ve found myself inundated by the sheer amount of research I’ve located.  Due to this fact, I will be writing a second post on this house, dedicated solely to the history.  Stay tuned!

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