Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
South Atlantic States
West Virginia Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Harpers Ferry was established as a town in 1763.

The federal government bought 125 acres of land in 1796 and began construction of the Harpers Ferry Arsenal in 1799.  The first water works in Harpers Ferry was built in 1810 to provide fire protection for Arsenal buildings.

The Harpers Ferry Water Works, Inc. was incorporated in on December 23, 1935 by Thomas Rutherford Moore of Charles Town and William Franklin Andes and Henry T. McDonald of Harpers Ferry.  McDonald was president of Storer College in Harpers Ferry.  No information about their system has been found.

The Corporation of Harpers Ferry bought the system in 1950.

Water is provided by the Corporation of Harpers Ferry.

1935 Charleston Gazette, December 24, 1935, Page 2.
State Charter Issued. The Harpers Ferry Water Inc., yesterday was granted a charter by the secretary of state, authorizing the issue of 200 shares of no par value stock. The list of incorporators consists of Thomas K. Moore of Charles Town and W. F. Andes and Henry T. McDonald of Harpers Ferry.

1949 "Purchase of Water Works Authorized," The News (Frederick, Maryland), June 30, 1949, Page 11.  Sold for $12,000.

1980 History of the Physical Plant of the U.S. Armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, Its Evolution and Development, by Charles W. Snell

2016 Archeological Investigation of the Armory Street, Lower Armory Grounds, Harpers Ferry Armory 46JF518: Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, by Darlene Hassler and Justin Ebersole
Page 57:  As an example, records demonstrate that protecting the finished arms was the major priority since the very first system installed in 1810 consisted of water "conveyed from the foreboy of the Armory by pipes to the hard in front of the arsenals into a large cistern."  By 1829 wooden pipes were installed to convey water to hydrants for use by the fire engines.  Once again the arsenals were the main target for the water pipes but the installation of six hydrants suggests that a fire suppression system began within one of the tailraces and was channeled throughout the Armory grounds by the use of pipes and a series of hydrants place near each of the buildings.

2017 Morris A. Pierce