In the decades leading to the Great War, Harpers Ferry became a focal point of the Free States movement. Skeptical of the U.S. government vault program, the group used the town as a staging area and supply point for the construction of personal bunkers across the Mire. The movement's conspiracy theories and ideals unnerved patriotic visitors, disrupting the small tourism-dependent town's economy.
As the Sino-American War escalated in 2077, minor conflicts between the Free States, loyalists, and police began to grow into open violence, catching the eye of the government. Soon, local Harpers Ferry business owners were visited by government agents and coerced into providing the names and addresses of suspected Free States members. By May, the clinic began to refuse services to those known to be involved with the group. By June, the military staged a propaganda campaign in the town and began to seize the property of Free States members, citing seditious activity.
After the Great War, Harpers Ferry was largely abandoned as emergency services and local survivors struggled to cope with the influx of refugees. In 2078, Vault 94 opened and sent an ambassador to the town to invite survivors back to the vault. By November, the mayor of Harpers Ferry, Miranda Vox, agreed to sent a group of survivors with an ambassador to investigate the vault's claims. Certain that the dwellers' hospitality was a trap, the Harpers Ferry group massacred the vault's leaders and attacked its G.E.C.K. unit, triggering a massive nuclear explosion and further mutating the Mire.
After the Free States members emerged from their bunkers in 2079, the mayor contacted the leader of the movement for assistance. Despite previous conflicts, the movement agreed to provide aid. The rebuilding effort began, turning the town into a major fortress and trading post near the heart of the Mire. By 2084, the town was a prosperous outpost, providing support and food to those in need.
Already struggling with an ongoing mass paranoia about an outbreak of an unknown "disease" causing people to change into ghouls, Harpers Ferry was hit hard by a new outbreak in 2086. The Scorched Plague reached the town, causing some Free States members to abandon the town and return to the safety of their bunkers, abandoning their seven year project to help the people of Harpers Ferry. After scorchbeasts breached the automated anti-air perimeter and began to spread into adjacent regions, Harpers Ferry was rapidly destroyed, forcing the remaining members back into their bunkers as well. The leader of the movement, Raleigh Clay, issued a general order to abandon all recovery efforts of the town.
Harpers Ferry is a large town consisting of densely-packed residential buildings with a number of overlooks created through the damaged structures. The residences are marked with ascending or descending address numbers, depending on the street or avenue. The hill surrounding the local church-turned-barracks is fortified with large defensive barriers and guarded by automated turrets. The barricades extend to enclose the street northeast of the hill, though they have fewer defenses. A large armory lies to the southeast of the fortified hill.
At the northern edge of town, a Free States trading post lies at the end of Shenandoah Street behind a cluster of buildings. It once contained vendor bot Wallace (who has since moved to the Berkeley Springs Station) and has a nearby chemistry station to the north.
The outer areas of Harpers Ferry are bounded by Route 65 to the west and two converging railways to the north- and southeast. Train cars line the town's eastern perimeter, with several having been derailed onto the adjacent road. Manhole covers leading to the Burrows can be found near the town's western perimeter.
Harpers Ferry sits at the confluence of two rivers, where the Shenandoah River flows into the larger Potomac River. The Potomac River, located northeast of the town, can be crossed by using the railroad bridge leading into a collapsed tunnel. At the mouth of the tunnel is a wooden walkway leading under the bridge and to a path between the cliff and the water which leads to the ransacked bunker.
Points of interest
- St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, an 1896 Gothic Revival church, serves as a prominent feature on the fortified hill. It contains the Free States barracks and two workbenches for weapons and armor. Slightly to the north lies a small garden and cooking station.
- The Harpers Ferry Clinic can be found near the southeastern gate of the fortified area. The trapped bottom floor contains a medical lab and chem storage area.
- Harpers Ferry Armory, an early 19th-century arsenal, is found to the south of the town. Requiring an access code, the complex contains a sizable amount of weapons and loot, along with three different types of workbenches.
- Harpers Ferry Trainyard, a ruined trainyard located in the northern area of the town.
- Harpers Ferry tunnel
- John Brown's Fort, a mid to late 19th-century firehouse, can be found on the eastern outskirts of the town. In 1859, the building was used as a last stand for the abolitionist's militia during his raid on Harpers Ferry. It has since been turned into a museum with numerous civil war-era items.
- Jefferson Rock, a buttressed stack of shale rock on which Thomas Jefferson stood in 1783, lies to the west of the church.
- A dead Vault 94 ambassador can be found sitting on an upstairs sofa in the northern side of the town.
- A safe haven - Holotape, found on a desk in the same house as Lydia's journal page 20.
- Ella's log: Harpers Ferry - Holotape, on a table inside the church.
- Harpers Ferry postcard - Note, obtained during the quest A Mark in the Past - Harpers Ferry.
- Jesus Sunday's holotape - Part 1 - Holotape, on an end table on the roof of house #402.
- Jesus Sunday's holotape - Part 2 - Holotape, found next to the south gate terminal by the clinic.
- Leonard's journal entry - Note, found upstairs in the building next to the clinic, besides several flasks and test tube racks.
- Letter of resignation - Note, on the second-floor desk of the clinic.
- All five of Lydia's journal pages - For note locations, see the respective page.
- Restoring order - Holotape, next to the north gate terminal.
- Sharon's angry letter - Note, on a desk in the church.
- C.H. Monthly, October - Note, found on the ground floor of a house (#106).
- Relocation notice - Note, at the former trading post, at the end of Shenandoah Street behind a cluster of buildings.
- Fortifications key - On a table in the middle of the church. Opens various doors.
- Potential weapon mod plan - Inside the church, to the right of the weapons workbench, on a makeshift metal table.
- Three potential armor plans:
- On the first floor of house #394, inside an open display case on the northwest wall.
- On the third floor of house #394, next to the bathroom, inside an open square display case.
- Inside the church, to the left of the armor workbench, on a metal barrel. (Armor mod plan)
- Three potential recipes:
- On the third floor of house #394, inside an open display case on the northwest wall.
- On the third floor of house #106, on the shelf of a set of lockers.
- On the roof of house #402, on top of an end table.
- A significant number of chems can be found in the basement of the clinic.
Harpers Ferry appears only in Fallout 76.
Behind the scenes
- Harpers Ferry is based on the real-world Harpers Ferry, situated where the Shenandoah River flows into the Potomac River. Although Harpers Ferry is located on the border with Virginia and Maryland, far from the game's other major locations, it was moved over to fit into the map as the game developers wished to include it in the game.
- While the game was in development, lead artist Nathan Purkeypile took his brother on a trip to Harpers Ferry, ostensibly for its unique history, though he was actually scouting out the town for Fallout 76.
- Harpers Ferry is extremely close to the Capital Wasteland; the real-life distance between Harpers Ferry and Washington, D.C. is roughly 20 miles shorter than the distance between the Capitol and the Enclave headquarters at Raven Rock Mountain Complex.
- Fallout 76 loading screens: "Paranoid that the government was lying to its people about the Vault program, the Free States movement built their own concrete bunkers to survive in case of nuclear devastation."
- Harpers Ferry terminal entries; manager's terminal, 11.16.76
- Fallout 76 loading screens: "Harpers Ferry was a small town that depended on tourism. This put them at odds with the growing "Free States" movement, whose conspiracy theories put off patriotic visitors."
- Harpers Ferry terminal entries; manager's terminal, 01.01.77
- The Sam Blackwell interview
- Harpers Ferry terminal entries; manager's terminal, 03.20.77
- Harpers Ferry terminal entries; Ella's terminal, The Carson Family
- Charleston Capitol Building terminal entries; Senator Blackwell's terminal, Subject: No Luck
- Vault 94 terminal entries; exterior security terminal, User Log - 10/24/78
- Harpers Ferry terminal entries; Miranda's terminal, Vault 94
- Vault 94 terminal entries; reception log, 11/20/78
- Vault 94 Community Council recording
- Vault 94 G.E.C.K. recording
- Vault 94 terminal entries; G.E.C.K. monitoring station terminal, G.E.C.K. System Log
- Charleston Capitol Building terminal entries; Holbrook's terminal, They've left their bunkers
- Raleigh Clay's bunker terminal entries; Raleigh's terminal, All Clear
- Harpers Ferry proposal
- Harpers Ferry terminal entries
- Abbie's bunker terminal entries; Niraj's terminal, The Scorched
- Raleigh Clay's bunker terminal entries; outgoing notifications station, Scorchbeasts
- St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church on Wikipedia
- John Brown's Fort on Wikipedia
- Jefferson Rock on Wikipedia
- The Making of Fallout 76 - Noclip Documentary
- Nate Purkeypile on Twitter: "Fun 76 fact: I once took my brother to Harpers Ferry because it has 'cool historical stuff'. He had no idea I was scouting stuff for the game. :)"