Following the Civil war there were over 30,000 newly freed slaves in the Shenandoah Valley. Recognizing the need for education, the Freedman’s Bureau, the Freewill Baptists of New England and John Storer came together and Storer College was born. The school survived for 88 years, enriching the lives of hundreds of students. The first building to open its doors to students was the Lockwood House, formerly the U.S. Armory Paymaster’s home. In 1865, as a representative of New England’s Freewill Baptist Home Misssion Society, Reverend Nathan Brackett established a primary school in the war-torn building and began teaching reading, writing and arithmetic to students. From Harpers Ferry, Rev. Brackett directed he efforts of dedicated missionary teachers, who provided a basic... View Article
Following the Civil War, the Reverend Dr. Nathan Cook Brackett established a Freewill Baptist primary school in the Lockwood House on Camp Hill. Brackett’s tireless efforts to establish freedmen’s schools in the area inspired a generous contribution from philanthopist John Storer of Sanford, Maine, who offered $10,000 for the establishment of a school in the South. The donation was offered on the condition that the school be open to all regardless of sex, race or religion. On October 2, 1867, “Storer Normal School” was opened, and two years later, in December 1869, the federal government formally conveyed the Lockwood House and three other former Armory residences on Camp Hill to the school’s trustees. Frederick Douglass served as a trustee of... View Article
In 2017, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the founding of Storer College. Throughout the year the park will host special events and programs that tell the history of Storer College and recognize the legacy of the institution, which was the first school in West Virginia to welcome students of all backgrounds. Bookmark this page and check back often to discover the web pages we are building about Storer College history and to see updates about the 150th anniversary special events. Read more at NPS: Storer College 150th Anniversary!
From remote hideaways to coastal harbors, discover the towns that topped our list this year Your favorite small town probably doesn’t look quite like how Norman Rockwell drew it. Small towns may be united by their modest population sizes, but they’re remarkable for their diversity of character. And so for the sixth-annual round of Smithsonian.com’s America’s Best Small Towns, we set out on a quest to find 20 great slice-of-life (and if you’re Rockland, Maine, also award-winning slice-of-pie) small towns full of unique flavor. To help us on our task, we once again consulted geographical information company Esri (which sorts towns with a population under 20,000) to identify tiny towns chock full of local culture, history and natural beauty. We... View Article
Hello, In last month’s newsletter, I left off at Bears Den Hostel after Day 5 of my hike to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. The folks sitting in front of the glowing fireplace when I arrived at sundown were two steps ahead of me – well fed and clean. Bears Den has a $30 hiker special: shower, laundry, pizza, pint of ice cream, bunk, and pancake breakfast. Built in 1933 for a physician, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy purchased the rock mansion and sixty-six acres in 1984. The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club manages it. In the morning, Go Girl, one of the women I had met at Mountain Home Cabbin, flipped pancakes for all takers. Before leaving, I boiled water for my... View Article