My first full day at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (that's a mouthful...how about HFNHP?) was full of activities and meeting new people, and of course, working that camera!
The Civil War Trust had two projects planned here for its Park Day 2015 event. This is an annual event when members and volunteers get out and get their hands dirty....all to help maintain important Civil War battlefields and historic sites. Here at HFNHP, one group was doing maintenance on the Appalachian Trail, where it passes through a section of historic Harpers Ferry. Steve Lowe, the Park Landscape Architect, was the lead person, with six or seven volunteers working with him. I photographed the group as they trimmed roots, removed old landscaping cloth, and spread a fresh layer of mulch. It was so cold that some of the mulch had frozen overnight!
The former outdoor flea market, located near the Schoolhouse Ridge South Battlefield, has been purchased by the Civil War Trust. However, there was still a lot of leftover tables and other flotsam and jetsam. Sam Zurbuch, the Park Volunteer Coordinator, worked with several volunteers, including a group from the high school ROTC. The grounds and grass looked great when everyone was done.
During the weekend, the Park was the host to a Women's History event. Participants in the living history weekend included the Frederic Ladies Relief, the Atlantic Guard Soldiers Aid Society, and Shepherd college students. All were "in Character," dressed in clothing and uniforms from the mid-1800s. The Provost Marshall's office was staffed, bread was baked outdoors, shoppers were greeted at the Franken Brothers men's clothing store, a Wilcox & Gibbs sewing machine was demonstrated in the Dry Goods Shop, while ladies quilted and discussed the nature of men in the upstairs of the Stipes Boarding House. all of these participants and settings were fantastic opportunities for photography!
In anticipation of summer, there is a program to develop a Fife & Drum Corp at the Park, and I was able to sit in on some of their practice. Finally, the day wrapped up with what was billed as the "First" Annual Harpers Ferry Neighborhood Film Festival! One of their "features" was a documentary on Storer college, a school built in Harpers Ferry for the purpose of educating former slaves after the Civil War. This was an excellent film, and those attending overflowed the original setup of chairs.
I was on the run with my camera all day, but had quite a nice selection of images...which I am still reviewing!
Ron Gaskins, Artist in Residence, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Thursday, April 2, 2015