National Geographic : 1957 Mar
408 Library of Congress Brown's Raiders Fire Through Loopholes as United States Marines Batter Their Fort At dawn October 18, 1859, a dozen picked men stormed the fire-engine house where the insurgents stood barricaded. Lt. Israel Green (sword in hand) was the first to penetrate the hole gouged by the heavy ladder. The marine following him was killed. Brown was captured and two of his men were slain. Eleven days later Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper published this "sketch made on the spot by our special artist." and people could go to more places. Excur sion trains went out of style and amusement parks, too-at least Island Park did. "And then we kept having floods," he added unhappily. Next morning I went to see the Hilltop House. It was boarded up, and rusted rain gutters swung drunkenly from the eaves. But since my first visit the old hotel has been renovated and reopened. Its new proprietor, Mr. D. D. Kilham, stages summer-stock the atricals, and has talked with me about his hopes for putting on a permanent historical pageant to dramatize Harpers Ferry history for visitors to the National Monument. In his feeling for the town Mr. Kilham typifies its 825 present-day inhabitants, who pin their hopes for the future upon a growing interest in the Ferry's dramatic past. That past began more than a century before the Civil War, in days when only Indian trails wound through the Shenandoah and Potomac Valleys, and early settlers kept their weapons at hand as they cleared virgin forest into small homesteads. At "The Hole," where the Shenandoah and Potomac meet, a man named Robert Harper, a millwright from Philadelphia, ferried foot travelers across the rivers in a small boat. Harper, following a little-known trading route into the Shenandoah Valley, had been so taken by the potentialities of The Hole that he decided to settle. From one Peter Ste phens, who had operated a ferry there for more than a decade, Harper bought a log cabin, a corn patch, and a canoe. Flood Named for Indian Pumpkins That same year, 1747, a flood drove Harper to higher ground. He built another house. Six years later bright orange pumpkins from Indian gardens bobbed past on the crest of another inundation, known ever after as the Pumpkin Flood. The little settlement that grew up at the ferry was at first known as Shenandoah Falls.