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Thomas Jefferson once said that the passage of the Potomac River past this spot was “one of the most stupendous scenes in Nature.” Today, Harpers Ferry is a protected national landmark and a center for outdoor activities. The city was a notable center of industry in the 19th century and the site of John Brown’s abolitionist uprising in 1859.
Visitors today can see John Brown’s Fort and the remains of Storer College, which was one of the first integrated schools in the United States. Recreational opportunities abound here, and visitors can fish, boat, and whitewater raft. The 2,300-mile Appalachian Trail passes through the town, which is roughly midway on the trail as its winds from Georgia to Maine.