Last Modified: October 3, 2023

The need for a museum in Harpers Ferry began when the Harpers Ferry Area Heritage Society (HFAHS) was first incorporated in 2013 and a community survey of all residents of the 52146 Harpers Ferry Zip Code indicated a strong desire to preserve, educate and share the area history, culture and lore. “History Days” were held with a great response and a group of enthusiastic volunteers have been collecting oral histories, artifacts and genealogical records for the Harpers Ferry area. It soon became apparent there was a great need for a facility to house the collection so it could be shared. Harpers Ferry also conducted a Community Visioning process in 2015 that identified preserving the town and area’s heritage as a priority. Harpers Ferry has no available or empty facilities and several sites were explored to build a facility for the museum. We have toured other facilities, including the museums in Caledonia, MN, and attended conferences on Iowa Historical facilities.

The first heritage project undertaken by the Harpers Ferry Area Heritage Society was the Oil Springs School, a one-room rural schoolhouse and outhouse located on the Great River Road just north of Harpers Ferry. The school was moved to Harpers Ferry in 2016, restored and opened for the public to enjoy in 2018. The Oil Springs School took two years to relocate, preserve, restore and furnish all with donations and gifts. It is located in the Martelle Heritage Park near where the Harpers Ferry Museum will be located. Adults and children alike have enjoyed the school from many states and countries. We were pleasantly surprised about the enhanced interest in the school and history of the area from children and youth, ages 6 to 15 years of age.

HFAHS involved various community organizations, churches and civic groups in planning the facility and exhibits. The Harpers Ferry Mayor and City Council as well as the Allamakee County Board of Supervisors have been kept informed of the project. Several special artifacts have been donated and many are available that are essential to the preservation of the area history which also adds to the great need we have for a facility. We also have equipment such as computers, cameras, cataloging software, printers, scanners and file cabinets that need a place to be stored so they are accessible. We have a building committee that has people with construction knowledge and they have overseen the building plans, cost estimates and will oversee the construction.

Recent Updates

Classmates Reunite for A Photo Recreation

Historic Stories, Oil Springs School

Oil Springs School Moves to New Location

Historic Stories, Oil Springs School

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