The Harpers Ferry Town Bandstand or Gazebo was originally one of the structures on Island Park. This amusement park was created and operated by the B&O Railroad from 1879 to 1909 on Byrne Island in the Potomac River just below the Hilltop House. Island Park was a well known tourist attraction at that time, with a steam driven merry-go-round and ferris wheel, dance pavilions, midway, wading beaches, boat rentals, and picnic areas. Gilbert Perry, a town resident, was quoted in 1880: "Island Park is every bit as gay as Coney Island." The B&O ran excursions from Baltimore and Washington, DC for $1.00, offering post Civil War city dwellers a means of escaping the city summer heat to socialize and recreate in a wonderful natural and historic surrounding.
After years of flood repairs, the B&O Railroad ceased operating the amusement park in 1909, but kept the the park open for picnicking. Also in 1909, the Citizens Concert Band (CCB), a local brass band, helped save the bandstand from destruction by purchasing and moving it to the lower town at the corner of Potomac and Shenandoah Streets. The CCB had frequently played on Island Park for many of the annual excursions that were held there by groups such as the B&O Railroad Employees Union, the YMCA, and the Odd Fellows. Two members of the CCB at that time were relatives of Dr. Anthol Shewbridge (who donated this photo), his uncle Ewell Shewbridge, and his great grandfather Will Everheart.
The town of Harpers Ferry bought the bandstand from the CCB in later years, and moved it to its current location. The Bandstand, or Town Gazebo, is currently used for a number of annual Town gatherings including: the Easter Egg Hunt (run by the Harpers Ferry Parks and Recreation Association), the Herb Fair (run by the Harpers Ferry Woman's Club), the Fourth of July Band Concert and Picnic, and the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.
Island Park was completely destroyed by floods in 1942. The Bandstand is the only surviving structure from Island Park.
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