HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. — Close but not quite. Harpers Ferry dodged a bullet over the weekend when rain-swollen rivers threatened the historic town.
Dennis Frye, the chief historian with Harpers Ferry National Park, said after drenching rains on Thursday and Friday, they kept a close eye on the water over the weekend.
“The Potomac certainly did back up much of the Shenandoah but not quiet enough to get into the park buildings,” according to Frye.
However, he and his staff weren’t taking any chances before the rivers crested. They moved thousands of exhibits out of park buildings in a hurry to higher ground. The historian stressed they weren’t sure how much time they would have.
“You could just hear it coming closer and closer. You could hear the roar of the rapids and the lapping of the waves just getting closer all night long. But you can’t see and that makes it more frightening,” explained Frye.
But by daylight the danger was over. First thing Monday morning, it was time to get everything back to normal.
“We’re spending most of today trying to put back in what we evacuated,” said Frye. “It’s a very tedious project and a difficult process,” according to Fry. “It always seems like things come out faster than they go back in.”
Frye said he was prepared for the worst simply because they’re long overdue for a major flood.
“The history here, on average, about every 12 to 15 years we get nailed. It looked like this would be the time it would happen. But we barely escaped,” said the historian. “We know it will happen again in the future, there’s no doubt about that.”