Armory Grounds

  • 1794 – Congress approves a bill “for the erecting and repairing of Arsenals and Magazines.” President George Washington selects Harpers Ferry, Virginia as the site for one of two national armories (Springfield, Massachusetts is the other site).
  • 1799 – Construction of the “United States Armory & Arsenal at Harpers Ferry” commences, with completion of the first workshops on December 26.
  • 1803 – Meriwether Lewis procures weapons and hardware for his transcontinental expedition at the Harpers Ferry Armory.
  • 1845-1854 – The Armory undergoes a complete renovation, including construction of new work-shops, acquisition of new machinery, and installation of new Boyden turbines.
  • 1859 – Abolitionist John Brown leads a raid on the Armory & Arsenal. U.S. marines commanded by Col. Robert E. Lee capture Brown in the Armory fire engine and guard house.
  • 1861 – U.S. troops set fire to the Arsenal and several Armory workshops as Virginia militia approach Harpers Ferry. Confederate forces subsequently confiscate the Armory’s ordnance stock, machinery, and tools before burning most of the remaining workshops.
  • 1894 – Armory Grounds covered with a railroad embankment and new train depot by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.