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Engaging the Community on First Zion

In 2016, the Foundation purchased the historic First Zion Baptist Church building at 1030 West Ridge Street in Harpers Ferry. First Zion was one of three African-American churches that served the thriving Black community in Harpers Ferry through the first three quarters of the 20th century.

The Foundation’s first priority was to save and preserve this community landmark for Harpers Ferry and Bolivar and to honor its important role in the African American heritage of…

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Historic First Zion Baptist Church in Harpers Ferry

By Lynn Pechuekonis (Vice Chair, Harpers Ferry – Bolivar Historic Town Foundation)

The congregation of worshippers known as First Zion Baptist Church first planted their roots in Harpers Ferry in the early 1890s, having made their way over from Virginia. John Henry Napper, known for his “great zeal for serving God” was one of the church’s co-founders and first deacons. The small group met for a while in the basement…

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Harpers Ferry Home Preservation Earns 2024 Honors

The rehabilitation of a nineteenth-century home in Harpers Ferry has been recognized with an Excellence in Preservation Award by the Harpers Ferry – Bolivar Historic Town Foundation. The annual award in 2024 highlights the work of Jay Premack and Erin Hurley for their contribution to maintaining and enhancing the architectural, historical, and cultural heritage of our community. Their preservation work on the exterior of the house at 490 Fillmore…

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Agnes May Greene Twyman Day

Our communities lost a beloved treasure of a lady in January, and we are so pleased that her legacy will now be honored in a special way. Both Bolivar and Harpers Ferry have officially proclaimed January 15 to be Agnes May Greene Twyman Day. Agnes Twyman was born on January 15, 1924 and passed away on January 15, 2024, her 100th Birthday. For these 100 years, Ms. Twyman…

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In case you missed it, we learned at the beginning of January that the Foundation is the recipient of a $100,000 grant from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, a program from the National Trust for Historic Preservation!

This funding will support ongoing repair and restoration of the exterior shell of the historic First Zion Baptist Church, located on 1030 West Ridge Street in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.  The…

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A Perfect Ending to 2023

This holiday season was certainly full of tidings and good cheer for the Foundation!

Our Holiday Tour of Historic Homes broke our record for the most tickets sold – over 170! We are grateful to the hospitality businesses and homeowners who participated by opening their homes to all the tour participants. We are likewise also thankful for the local bakeries and restaurants that donated the refreshments enjoyed at each tour…

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Upcoming Events

We have a few exciting events coming up in the near future. Make sure to buy your tickets and mark your calendars!

Lantern Cemetery Tour

December 2 and 3, 6 p.m.

The Foundation’s own Bonnie Zampino will lead a lantern tour of Cedar Hill and Pine Grove Cemeteries. Cedar Hill is the historic African-American cemetery that serves as a final resting

place for former…

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A Heartfelt Thanks for the Step Up

All of the Foundation’s good work is thanks to the generous donations of time, funding and supplies. We would especially like to highlight Panhandle Paints for donating primer and McCormick Paints for donating paint for the front steps of First Zion. When we approached these two businesses with our mission, they were eager to help, and we are thrilled with the results! See the dramatic before and after below.

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Warrior Expeditions

This past summer, the Trail and Town Alliance, a standing committee of the Foundation, coordinated the hosting of 15 veterans hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT) through Warrior Expeditions. Warrior Expeditions is a veteran nonprofit outdoor therapy program that helps veterans transition from their wartime experiences through long distance outdoor expeditions. The Warrior Expeditions veterans who chose to hike the AT required support with a place to rest and…

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Taking Our Work to New Heights

We are making great progress at First Zion! Water damage to the ceiling revealed a tantalizing peak at a handsome wooden bead-board underneath the drywall. We could not evaluate the condition of the bead-board without pulling down the drywall, so the Foundation hired Brad Chandler to remove it. As anyone involved with historical restoration knows, surprises are par for the course, and usually those surprises are bad. However, while…

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