History of Harpers Ferry, WV
According to www.NPS.gov/hafe: “The history of Harpers Ferry has few parallels in the American drama. It is more than one event, one date, or one individual. It is multilayered — involving a diverse number of people and events that influenced the course of our nation’s history. Harpers Ferry witnessed the first successful application of interchangeable manufacture, the arrival of the first successful American railroad, John Brown’s attack on slavery, the largest surrender of Federal troops during the Civil War, and the education of former slaves in one of the earliest integrated schools in the United States.” See www.NPS.gov/hafe for additional information.
HISTORY OF THE MOUNTAIN HOUSE at 175 High Street (circa 1820)
Federal I-house. Coursed rubble stone exterior, metal roof, course rubble stone foundation. Three stories, three front bays. Low pitched end gable metal roof abuts a large side chimney. Mouse tooth frieze accents the roof wall junction. Ranked bays contain 2/2 double-hung sash windows. Eyebrow windows decorate the third floor. Second-floor porch features wooden millwork railings and columns that are a twentieth-century addition. Very ornate jigsaw trim and frieze on the gallery. There is a coursed rubble stone wall at street level. Two-story, two-bay addition on the right side of the building. Originally owned by Edward Fitzpatrick, then by Mrs. Richard D. Doran in 1859, and rented to Rodman Burk, a stone cutter and mason. Circa 1820 ~ one contributing building.
COMMENTS BY KARAN (the owner)
This inn-credible property housed a store selling antiques and jewelry on the first floor in 2007 when I rented it from Tommy Jones with the goal of complementing the property next door at 179 High Street that my son and his wife had purchased. As a former commercial real estate appraiser, I had concluded that the highest and best use of both buildings was as an Inn that provided year-round lodging, dining, and shopping to visitors and local residents When my lease ended in November 2012, I moved out of the Mountain House. The Inn consisted of only the Heritage House until May 2014 when I purchased the Mountain House and commenced extensive repairs and renovations. The Mountain House has five guest rooms and the Marketplace Country Store & Self-Serve Café, which is open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. The little Marketplace Country Store features hiker resupply products ~ local snacks and beverages ~ local arts and crafts ~ gifts ~ toiletries ~ souvenirs ~ books ~ and more!
HISTORY OF THE HERITAGE HOUSE at 179 High Street (circa 1840)
Greek Revival building. Coursed rubble stone exterior, metal roof, rubble stone foundation. Three stories, three ranked bays. Low pitched side gable roof engages a pair of flush chimneys. Transom illumines the center hall and 6/6 double-hung sash windows feature bold wooden lintels and sills. Low pedimented portico is supported by two Doric columns, and two Doric pilasters engage wooden spindle railing. Metal railing traces the front stairs and stoop. Brick chimney tops suggest damage during the Civil War. Two-story rear extension enclosed rear porch in 2007. Stone patio and terrace enclosed by iron fence. Michael Doran was the original owner of this building. Circa 1840 ~ One contributing building.
COMMENTS BY KARAN (the owner)
The Heritage House was the Callar Family residence in the 1970s. Donna Callar established the Mountain House Café on the premises in 1980. Ms. Callar died in 2003, and the House was abandoned for several years due to probate litigation. My son Jason and his wife, Ana, bought the property in February 2007 so I could establish the Town’s Inn. After extensive maintenance, repairs, and improvements, the Inn opened and has provided year-round lodging, dining, and shopping since 2007, with two guest rooms on the second floor and a guest room and parlor on the third floor. The Fisher Family leased the first-floor restaurant from 2007 to 2011. I cared for the restaurant from 2011 to 2015. Jason and Ana took over the restaurant in January 2016 and engaged Executive Chef Christian Evans. Together, they renovated the restaurant and opened Bistro 1840 in April 2016. The Bistro closed in November 2017. Anthony and Jeremiah Brooks leased the restaurant from April 2019 through March 2020 and called it Hamilton’s Tavern. In 2020, my daughter, Sarah, and her husband, Richard, converted the restaurant to a seasonal Old Town Patio Grill featuring the superb barbecue prepared by Richard, who is a Grill Master Extraordinaire.
HISTORY OF THE TOWNS FAMILY (former owners)
The Inn is currently owned by the Townsend (sounds like “Town’s Inn”) Family and was owned by the Towns Family in the past. The William Oliver Towns Family are the great grandparents of local resident Lynn Vaughn.The Vaughn Family welcomed the Townsend Family to their “ancestral home” — and together we are delighted to welcome you to the Town’s Inn in the middle of historic Harpers Ferry. The Towns Family resided in this house in the early 20th century. William Oliver Towns was born on May 24, 1850, in Wardensville, Virginia (Hardy County), now West Virginia. As a young man, he moved to Mount Jackson, Virginia, and married Clara Virginia Walters. They moved to Winchester, Virginia, for eight years, then to Lewistown, Pennsylvania, then to Toms Brook, Virginia, and in 1900 to Harpers Ferry, where they resided with their family at 179 High Street. Their children were Clara May, Lillie Irene, William Garnett, and Earl Cleveland Towns. Mr. Towns had a photography studio and print shop (The Towns Studio and Publishing Establishment) in what is now a restaurant across the street from 179 High Street. He was the editor and publisher of the Harpers Ferry Times, a weekly newspaper in the early 1900s, and he was active in the Camp Hill Methodist Church as well as in the Prohibition Movement. He died on August 14, 1924, and is buried in the Harper Cemetery.
HISTORY OF THE INNKEEPER
Born in Texas in 1949, Karan Townsend has devoted her life to God, family, and career. Her doctorate degree is in education (curriculum and instruction), with post-graduate studies in law, real estate, and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). Her experience ranges from raising three wonderful children in Texas to serving as Director of Research and Development at the English Training Center of New Horizons (a computer training company) in Kuwait and Director of English Studies at Salzburg International Preparatory School in Austria. In 1997, she purchased a home on Capitol Hill and has been employed as an ESOL professor at Washington Bible College and Capital Bible Seminary, Northern Virginia Community College, and Oakwood English Language Institute (a private school that has had a twenty-year contract with the Saudi Arabian Embassy to provide English instruction to Saudis in Washington, D.C.). Her primary professional interests have been teaching English to internationals, teaching remedial English to Americans, and teaching business English in both academic and “on-the-job” situations.
Karan moved to Harpers Ferry on 21 February 2007 to establish the Town’s Inn in a historical house (circa 1840) that her son and his wife bought and the adjoining house (circa 1820) that she first rented and then purchased in 2014. She savors life in Harpers Ferry and has enjoyed participating as a member of many organizations, including Fellowship Bible Church, Harpers Ferry Planning Commission, Harpers Ferry Historic Town Foundation, Harpers Ferry Trail and Town Alliance, Harpers Ferry Merchant Association, Harpers Ferry Woman’s Club, Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, Jefferson County Development Authority, Jefferson County Convention and Visitor Bureau, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and more. Eight of Karan’s ten grandchildren live on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC (60 miles up the Potomac River) — and they enjoy traveling “over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s House” in beautiful Harpers Ferry.
Karan’s goal as owner of the Town’s Inn is reflected in Scripture: “And above all things have fervent love for one another; for love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:8–10).
Résumé: Karan Townsend, Ed.D.
Address: 175 High St.; PO Box 1412; Harpers Ferry, WV 25425
or 114 3rd St. NE, Washington, DC 20002
Tel: 304.702.1872; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Doctorate of Education, University of Houston, 1979
- Master of Education, University of Houston, 1974
- Bachelor of Science, University of Houston, 1971
2007-present, Innkeeper/Director/Consultant, Town’s Inn / English House / The American Health and Heritage Adventure Academy (AHHAA), Washington, DC; Harpers Ferry WV
2002-2006, English Faculty/Consultant, Oakwood English Language Institute, Arlington, VA, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale, VA, Prince Georges Community College, Largo, MD
2001, English Faculty/Consultant, Unit Arab Emirates University, UAE
2000-2001, Director of EFL Research/Development, New Horizons ~ Kuwait
1997-2000, ESL Director/English Professor, Washington Bible College ~ Lanham, MD
1996-2003, ESL Instructor/Consultant, EuroCentres/Diplomatic Language Services ~ Alexandria, VA
1993-1995, Director of ESOL/Teacher, Salzburg International Preparatory School ~ Salzburg, Austria
1989-1993, Director of ESOL/Consultant, Baylor School of Medicine, Texas Medical Center ~ Houston, TX
1986-1993, Real Estate Consultant/Researcher, Landauer; Cushman & Wakefield ~ Houston, TX
1981-1993, Law Office Manager, David Townsend, Attorney-at-Law ~ Houston, TX
1974-1981, Program Development Specialist, University of Houston, Texas
1970-1974, Public School Teacher, North Forest Independent School District, Pasadena Independent School District ~ TX
- Extensive English language and teacher training program development and instructional experience, serving as a professor and program development specialist in culturally diverse American, European, and Middle Eastern colleges, language schools, businesses, and governments
- Extensive research and development experience, serving as consultant in the USA, Europe, and the Middle East in matters regarding general education, language education, business/professional education, and interpersonal/cross-cultural relations, particularly in the area of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
- Law, business, real estate management and consulting (business owner)
- Innkeeper/Restaurateur (owner) of the Town’s Inn in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
- Board member of Jefferson County Development Authority & Harpers Ferry Bolivar Merchants Association. Active in Fellowship Bible Church and numerous other community-centered nonprofit organizations. Served on Planning Commission (seven years) and boards of Jefferson County Convention & Visitors Bureau (10 years), Harpers Ferry-Bolivar Historic Town Foundation (seven years).
- Founder & Director of the American Health & Heritage Adventure Academy (AHHAA).