- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 29, 2002

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. (AP) The Trust for Public Land will buy a 99-acre farm, where Civil War soldiers once fought and black leaders met before forming the NAACP, in a deal that kills plans for a subdivision with 188 houses.
Instead of becoming the Murphy's Landing development, the historic farm will be transferred to the National Park Service, which runs the adjacent Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.
The selling price was not immediately disclosed but may be released after closing, trust officials said Monday.
"The Murphy Farm is freedom fighters' land," said Kweisi Mfume, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "It should be preserved, revered for the benefit of all."
Civil rights activists and environmentalists have long challenged the development of Murphy's Landing, suing Jefferson County planners and complaining to environmental regulators to stop it.
Developers had planned to discharge 70,000 gallons of treated sewage daily into Alstad's Run, a tributary of the Shenandoah River. The Harpers Ferry Conservancy sued the Jefferson County Planning Commission, saying the subdivision would ruin the rural landscape.
"After over 15 years of painstaking historical research and restoration on the Murphy Farm, I am overjoyed that the public will be the ultimate beneficiary of our family's stewardship," said Jim Kuhn, a descendant of Alexander Murphy. "Inclusive history was always my goal."
The Murphy Farm, located at the tip of West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle, was the site of an 1862 assault by Confederate Gen. A.P. Hill that led to the surrender of 12,000 Union troops.
In 1906, W.E.B. DuBois and other members of the Niagara Movement, an organization of black leaders, made a barefoot pilgrimage across the Murphy Farm to the restored fort of abolitionist John Brown. The Niagara Movement later became the NAACP.
The Trust for Public Land is buying the farm from Josephine Murphy-Curtis and Karen Dixon Fuller, the current generation of heirs.
"We're extremely gratified that the National Park Service recognizes the farm's significance to both Civil War and civil rights history," they said in a joint statement.
Nationwide, the trust has helped protect more than 1.4 million acres as parks, community gardens, urban playgrounds and wilderness.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide