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Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Entry 13 of 21

Built in 1851-1852, St. John's Episcopal Church was one of five early churches in Harpers Ferry. During the Civil War the building was used by the Union Army as a barracks and hospital, and was heavily damaged during the conflict. The congregation rebuilt after 1865, but structural deterioration and fires caused them to built a new church on Washington Street. The original church was abandoned in 1895 and afterwards fell into ruins. It is now administered by the National Park Service as part of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.


  • Sky, Plant, Natural landscape, Grass
  • Building, Sky, House, Water
  • Water, Sky, Black, Rectangle
  • Building, Window, House, Black-and-white
  • Water, Sky, Photograph, Mountain
  • Water resources, Water, Watercourse, Body of water
  • Building, Slope, Rectangle, House
  • Picture frame, Rectangle, Building, Slope
  • Building, Black, Urban design, Neighbourhood
  • Building, Water, Black-and-white, House
  • Building, Plant, Tree, House
  • Plant, Building, Tree, Natural landscape
  • Building, Window, Branch, Snow
  • Building, Black, Tree, Rectangle
  • Building, Tree, Plant, House
  • Window, Black, Building, Snow
  • Building, Window, Tree, Branch
  • Sky, Plant, Natural landscape, Tree
  • Plant, Sky, Tree, Natural landscape

Description from the 1980 National Register of Historic Places Nomination:

“The site of this church, at the east end of Camp Hill overlooking Shenandoah Street, was the site of the earlier Harpers Ferry Free Church from 1825 until its destruction by fire in 1845. The U.S. Government, which owned the lot, next leased the site to the congregation of St. John’s Protestant Episcopal Church. In 1851-52 this congregation constructed a one-story stone church, 17’ high to the eaves, over an elevated basement. The walls of the 37-1/2’-by-60’ building were covered with a concrete facing. A small annex at the rear probably contained the altar. The gable roof was covered with wood shingles. There was no belfry. The Union Army used the church as a barracks and hospital during the Civil War, at the end of which only the stone walls and roof remained. The congregation spent $1,200 to rebuild the church in 1882, then sold it and moved to a new location in 1895. (The Government paid the congregation $1,700 for the wartime damage in 1915.) The church buildings began to deteriorate to ruins at some date after 1907. In 1961 the national park Service stabilized the open ruin by consolidating the bearing under the walls, reducing them to a safe level, and capping them.”

"History." St. John's Episcopal Church. Accessed August 16, 2021. https://www.stjohns-harpersferry.com/about.

"National Register of Historic Places Inventory--Nomination Form: Harpers Ferry National Historical Park." Accessed August 16, 2021. http://www.wvculture.org/shpo/nr/pdf/jefferson/66000041.pdf.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Google Maps. Accessed August 17, 2021.

"Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Bridges." Dave Gilbert Graphic Design. Accessed August 17, 2021. http://www.dgilbert53.net/?page_id=871.

"Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Bridges." Dave Gilbert Graphic Design. Accessed August 17, 2021. http://www.dgilbert53.net/?page_id=871.

"Harpers Ferry." Crossroads of War: Maryland and the Border in the Civil War. Accessed August 17, 2021. https://www.crossroadsofwar.org/galleries/harpersferry/.

"Harpers Ferry." Crossroads of War: Maryland and the Border in the Civil War. Accessed August 17, 2021. https://www.crossroadsofwar.org/galleries/harpersferry/.

"Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Bridges." Dave Gilbert Graphic Design. Accessed August 17, 2021. http://www.dgilbert53.net/?page_id=871.

Historic American Buildings Survey, Creator, and Druscilla J Null, Boucher, Jack E, photographer. St. John's Episcopal Church Ruins, Church & Cliff Streets, Harpers Ferry, Jefferson County, WV. Jefferson County Harpers Ferry West Virginia, 1933. Documentation Compiled After. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/wv0251/. Accessed August 17, 2021.

Historic American Buildings Survey, Creator, and Druscilla J Null, Boucher, Jack E, photographer. St. John's Episcopal Church Ruins, Church & Cliff Streets, Harpers Ferry, Jefferson County, WV. Jefferson County Harpers Ferry West Virginia, 1933. Documentation Compiled After. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/wv0251/. Accessed August 17, 2021.

"St. Peter's Church & Rectory Lower Town, Harpers Ferry, circa 1895." History of St. Peter's Church. Accessed August 17, 2021. http://www.histarch.illinois.edu/harper/hf-0099.html.

"Lower Town." Dave Gilbert Graphic Design. Accessed August 17, 2021. http://www.dgilbert53.net/?page_id=448.

"Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Bridges." Dave Gilbert Graphic Design. Accessed August 17, 2021. http://www.dgilbert53.net/?page_id=871.

"St. John's Episcopal Church Ruins; Harpers Ferry, W. Va." West Virginia History OnView. West Virginia & Regional History Center. Accessed August 17, 2021. https://wvhistoryonview.org/catalog/042599.

Historic American Buildings Survey, Creator, and Druscilla J Null, Boucher, Jack E, photographer. St. John's Episcopal Church Ruins, Church & Cliff Streets, Harpers Ferry, Jefferson County, WV. Jefferson County Harpers Ferry West Virginia, 1933. Documentation Compiled After. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/wv0251/. Accessed August 17, 2021.

Historic American Buildings Survey, Creator, and Druscilla J Null, Boucher, Jack E, photographer. St. John's Episcopal Church Ruins, Church & Cliff Streets, Harpers Ferry, Jefferson County, WV. Jefferson County Harpers Ferry West Virginia, 1933. Documentation Compiled After. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/wv0251/. Accessed August 17, 2021.

Historic American Buildings Survey, Creator, and Druscilla J Null, Boucher, Jack E, photographer. St. John's Episcopal Church Ruins, Church & Cliff Streets, Harpers Ferry, Jefferson County, WV. Jefferson County Harpers Ferry West Virginia, 1933. Documentation Compiled After. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/wv0251/. Accessed August 17, 2021.

Historic American Buildings Survey, Creator, and Druscilla J Null, Boucher, Jack E, photographer. St. John's Episcopal Church Ruins, Church & Cliff Streets, Harpers Ferry, Jefferson County, WV. Jefferson County Harpers Ferry West Virginia, 1933. Documentation Compiled After. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/wv0251/. Accessed August 17, 2021.

Historic American Buildings Survey, Creator, and Druscilla J Null, Boucher, Jack E, photographer. St. John's Episcopal Church Ruins, Church & Cliff Streets, Harpers Ferry, Jefferson County, WV. Jefferson County Harpers Ferry West Virginia, 1933. Documentation Compiled After. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/wv0251/.

Highsmith, Carol M, photographer. Ruins of St. John's Episcopal Church in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Harpers Ferry United States West Virginia, 2015. -04-29. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/2015631403/. Accessed August 17, 2021.

Highsmith, Carol M, photographer. Ruins of St. John's Episcopal Church in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Harpers Ferry United States West Virginia, 2015. -04-29. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/2015631402/. Accessed August 17, 2021.