Tidying Up the Past

A history tour at Harper’s Ferry suggests that “commemoration” and “desecration” might be two sides of the same coin.

Bertha’s wheel. [Photo: Ed Ayers]
On the rocks above the B&O Bridge at Harpers Ferry, the remnants of a painted sign can still be made out. [Photo: Ed Ayers]
Mennen’s sign as it appeared in the early 20th century. [Photo c/o National Park Service]
Harpers Ferry Armory [Photo: Ed Ayers]
Padlocks on the Harpers Ferry Bridge. [Photo: Ed Ayers]
Gunsmithing equipment at the Harpers Ferry Armory [Photo: Ed Ayers]
Plaque at the site of the Heyward Shepherd Monument [Photo: Ed Ayers]

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Ed Ayers

Ed Ayers is a historian and president emeritus at the University of Richmond.