For some months since the people of our section of country have looked forward to this expected sale of the valuable government property at Harper’s Ferry with much interest, and we are glad to chronicle that the same has occurred with the most gratifying result. In this connexion it may not be out of place to mention, that as long since 1794, this spot was selected by Washington as a site for a National Armory, and Congress petitioned and the Legislature of Virginia granted permission, to purchase land not exceeding in extent 640 acres. The first purchase under this grant was from the heirs of Robert Harper, he having died in 1782, leaving his property to John Wager, Sr., the heir of his neice Sarah. Hence, the lineal descendants of the latter still retain much of the valuable property at that point, the sale and distribution of which is so essential to the further progress and improvement of the town. Another purchase of 310 acres was made by the government from Mr. Rutherford, and a lease obtained in perpetuity from Lord Fairfax, ceding “the right to all the timber growing and to grow on a track of 1395 acres on the Loudoun Heights immediately adjoining Harper’s Ferry.” In 1796 Mr. Perkins received the first appointment as Superintendent, which he held until 1810 when he was succeeded by Col. Stubblefield. Under the successive administrations that followed, the original purchase became changed by sale and otherwise, until but a moiety of the first grants remained. This, however, by the liberal expenditure of government, and the enterprise of the people, was rendered vastly more valuable and attractive than it had ever been otherwise, until the fate of war visited desolation and destruction in its wake. For years, the village has prescuted but a crumbling monument of its former self, but like cities of more renown in antiquity than it aspires to equal, it is in a fair way to regain its former position, lengthen its chords and widen its sails, and we most heartily congratulate its people and bid them be of good cheer!
The sale on Tuesday last, was attended by parties from various sections of the country, and some of the largest manufacturing interests, with that mammoth corporation, the Balto & Ohio R. R., had representatives in attendance. S. Howell Brown, Esq., by survey, plat, &c., had admirably arranged the large amount of property to be offered, and under the direction of Capt. Young of the Ordnance office, J. D. Potterfield, auctioneer, and A. M. Kitzmiller, clerk, the sale rapidly progressed– the whole being disposed of by Thursday noon. The bidding in many instances was quite spirited, and the greatest anxiety was felt as to lots No. 1 and 2, embracing the Musket and Rifle Factories. Mr. Wilson, representing the Baltimore railroad was the competing bidder, having gone to $175,000 for the one and $29,000 for the other. We copy from the “Catalogue”, the descriptive sale of the following, including blocks A and B, on Shenandoah street, and had expected to furnish an entire report as to the whole, but as there were 243 houses and lots, besides those noted, it is beyond our power to do so. The first offered was
No. 1. The water-power entire of the Potomac River, as held by the United States, embracing site of old armory buildings, or musket factory, Byrne’s Island, and all that strip of land and bluff bordering on the Potomac River, and lying between said river and the streets and lots as laid down on map of 1869. Purchaser, Capt. F. C. Adams. Price, $176,000.
No. 2. The water power entire of the Shenandoah River, as held by the United States, embracing the site of the rifle factory, with all the appurtenances, thereto belonging. Purchase, Capt. F. C. Adams. Price, $30,000.
No. 3. The Shenandoah ferry, with a tract of land containing 68 1/2 acres, on the south side of the river, and a ferry lot on the north side, with front on river of 243 feet ; on Teil street, 193 feet ; on Hamilton street, 66 1/2 feet ; and on Bridge street, 83 feet. Two stone houses, south side of river. Purchaser J. W. Neer. Price, $1,790.
No. 4. The perpetual right to cut and remove wood from a tract of 1,395 5/8 acres of mountain land, lying on the south side of the Shenandoah River, adjoining the ferry tract. Purchaser, Charles King. Price, $3,600.
No. 5. The right to dig iron ore upon a tract of 1,600 acres of land, bordering the Potomac River, known as “Friends’ Ore Bank,” acquired from Henry Lee and others by deed dated May the 8th, 1800. Purchaser, W. C. Bradley. Price, $13,100.
Block A, on Shenandoah.–Map, 1852.
No. 1. Northeast end of arsenal lot, having on it the old superintendent’s office. Fronts 33 feet 10 inches on Shenandoah street, with Wager line, east 184 feet to the Shenandoah River; extending across the Winchester and Potomac railroad, binding 73 feet thereon, and running with northeast line of lot No. 2, 179 feet. Purchaser, Mrs. Bridget Boerly. Price, $2,025.
Five lots in old arsenal yard, each 30 feet front of Shenandoah street; same width through to Shenandoah River; intersected by an alley at railroad embankment 10 feet in width; 179 feet deep for No. 2, 145 feet deep for No. 6; the other intermediate depths to the rest were purchased respectively, No. 2, by Capt. C. F. Adams. Price, $1,650. No. 3, Purchaser, J. M. Decaulne. Price, $1,800. No. 4, Purchaser, J. M. Decaulue. Price, $2,000. No. 5, Purchaser, Capt. F. C. Adams. Price, $2,059. No. 6, Purchaser, M. Walsh. Price $2,025.
No. 7, 24 feet front on Shenandoah street, extending same width through to the River Shenandoah, parallel to the last-mentioned lots, and fronting whole length on Washinton street. Purchaser,—– Conway. Price, $2,085.
Block B, on Shenandoah— Map 1852.
No. 1. On south side of Washington street, continued: 30 feet front on Shenandoah street, 147 feet deep to embankment of Winchester and Potomac railroad, 30 feet with embankment, and 143 feet back to Shenandoah street. Purchaser, John Hodges. Price, $1,850.
No. 2, 70 feet front on Shenandoah street, running back with No. 1, 143 feet; with railroad embankment 78 feet to No. 3, and with it 134 feet to Shenandoah street. Fine brick house; residence of Dr. O’Donnel, and office of ordinance storekeeper. Purchaser, William Young. Price $6,100. *
No. 3. 88 feet front on Shenandoah street, 122 feet front on Market street, running back to embankment of Winchester and Potomac railroad, with it 106 feet to lot No. 2, and with it 134 feet to Shenandoah street. Fine brick house and other buildings. The last three lots have an alley 10 feet wide along embankment of railroad, from Washington to Market street. Purchaser, William Young. Price, $5,150. *
[*The first of these was retained by the Government, and the second transferred to Mr. James W. McGraw, of Harper’s Ferry.]
The entire sale aggregated $204,444 50, which is regarded as a most advantageous sale to the Government. Much speculation is abroad as to the uses to which Capt. Adams designs to convert the valuable water power, but so far he has kept is councils to himself. —
He professes to represent capitalists of Washington city, New York and Boston, the former of whom it is rumored and generally believed design establishing the most extensive Paper Mills in the country, on the Island property, the Company being the Government contractors for the supply of the same. It is hoped and expected the “Musket Works” will be converted into woolen, cotton and other manufactories, but of this more anon. We shall hope for the best, and keep our readers advised as to any progress in so much to be desired direction.
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