Since Steam’s opening in October 2011, I have been asked often about the name: “Why Steam at Harper’s Ferry?” then I explain how important Harper’s Ferry was to the B&O’s expansion west, the awesome steam trains that traveled on rails along both the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, steam-powered canal boats and the water-generated industries whose clamor echoed between the mountains.
For those familiar with steampunk, there’s not much to explain. The indicia surrounds them in the space – an owl here, a raygun there, fleur de lis homages to Jules Verne, and props (keep your fingers crossed! Chris from Steampunk Styles may be coming to Steam with a raygun display in the coming months!) from the Seth Foreman’s video project Steampunk Stacie, some of which was filmed on the premises. But I’ve been at a struggling to bring Civil Rights/War history together with the town’s Victorian and Industrial past and making that connection to a steampunk present (except in my mind, of course!).
On a whim recently, I purchased a promotional photo of James Mason portraying John Brown in a Playhouse 90 production released in 1960 entitled “John Brown’s Raid”. It was no coincidence that the film’s release was 101 years after John Brown’s October 1859 raid on Harper’s Ferry. A fitting centennial remembrance.
But wait, there’s more!
It was filmed on location in Harper’s Ferry! This somewhat obscure production was made on the heels of two iconic steampunk films in which James Mason appeared. “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” (1954) and “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” (1959)
So it was destiny that this little steampunk gallery in Harper’s Ferry exits today. Thank you James Mason!
Also, not coincidently, these book titles and DVDs are available at Steam at Harper’s Ferry.