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In 1747, Robert Harper purchased land on the northwestern frontier of Virginia at the junction of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. He established a ferry across the Potomac in 1761, opening a trade and travel route to the rich farmland of the northern Shenandoah Valley and setting the foundation for a small town which would alter the course of American history. In 1794, George Washington nominated Harpers Ferry as the location of the second domestic arsenal and armory. He was familiar with the area from his stint as a surveyor and his family who lived nearby; his brother Charles had founded nearby Charles Town in 1787.
Construction of the United States Armory and Arsenal in Harpers Ferry began in 1799 and it was manufacturing guns by 1801. It would produce over 600,000 pistols and rifles over the next 60 years. The success of the armory was suddenly interrupted on the evening of October 16, 1859, when John Brown and his band of 21 abolitionists invaded and seized the arsenal. Citizens, employees, and a local militia fought back and cornered them in one of the buildings. John Brown and his surviving followers eventually surrendered to the Marines under the command of Robert E. Lee, and John Brown was hung for treason in December of the same year.
In April 1861, Union soldiers set the Armory on fire to prevent it falling under Confederate control. Employees and residents of the town saved most of the equipment, however, and it was relocated to Richmond, Virginia. Also in 1861, Harpers Ferry would become part of what is now West Virginia when Virginia formally seceded from the United States. During the Civil War, Harpers Ferry changed hands eight times.
Now in 2015 manufacturing of Harpers Ferry Armory firearms resumes at our Ranson Complex located at 301 N Mildred St Ranson, WV 25438. The first site of Harpers Ferry Armory is now a national park. Our Ranson Complex is just seven and a half miles away from the original armory.
Our retail shop offering many brands of firearms, ammunition and accessories is scheduled to open March 3rd. We will also provide onsite gunsmithing and customization including Cerakote™ and other firearm coatings. Production of Harpers Ferry Armory auto loader pistols and tactical rifles are scheduled to begin early spring of this year. Our Heritage line of flintlock and percussion rifles is scheduled for early 2016.