Harpers Ferry Historical Association A National Park Service Coooperating Association

2015 Historic Trades & Music Academies

Many of these workshops require pre-registration and payment with the Harpers Ferry Historical Association. To register, select "Living History Workshops" in the National Park Bookshop or contact the Harpers Ferry Historical Association at 304-535-6881.


"Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread"
June 13, 2015 | 11:30am to 1:00pm | Lower Town, Masonry Beehive Oven

Instructor: Dave Larsen Memorial Fund Intern and Melinda Day
Workshop Fee: $15.00 per adult covers instruction, techniques in beehive oven baking, and bread ingredients. Pre-registration closes on June 6, 2015. After that date inquire at the Bookshop or call 304-535-6881 about available space.
Class Size: Limited to 20 participants
Description: Bread, called the “staff of life,” was made by local bakers and confectioners like German immigrant Frederick Roeder. Participants will bake and eat leaven rolls or street corner food, large soft pretzels, in a large masonry “beehive oven”.

In 1809, Harpers Ferry boating merchant John Wager Jr. began a flour shipping business from Harpers Ferry mills into the federal city 60 miles away. Harpers Ferry in Jefferson County, Virginia, was part of the early republic breadbasket that fed the bigger cities with local grain and flour. Local flour production and bread on the table proved the town on two rivers was no longer the frontier, but civilized. The citizens no longer needed to hunt, kill or gather to achieve each meal. At its height, 20,000 barrels of flour were staged along the Shenandoah River for shipping down river.

At Roeder’s Confectionery, Mr. and Mrs. Roeder could track their cooking and baking consumption out of the family flour barrel of hard and soft wheat, today’s equivalent of “all purpose flour”. From 19th century statistics, the average baker and cook could achieve this array or yield per month from their flour barrel; “ 34 loaves of bread, 17- 6 quart pans of doughnuts, 17 messes of biscuits, 94 pies, 7 loaf cakes, 1 ½ dozen tart crusts, 3 dozen gingersnaps, and one mess of pancakes.”


Industrial Revolution: As American as Apple Pie
June 20, 2015 | 1:00pm to 4:00pm | Lower Town, Roeder's Confectionery and Bee Hive Oven

Instructor: Dave Larsen Memorial Fund Intern and Melinda Day
Workshop Fee: $25.00 per adult (minimum age to participate, 12 years) covers baking ingredients and instruction in oven management. Pre-registration closes on June 13, 2015. After that date inquire at the Bookshop or call 304-535-6881 about available space.
Class Size: Limited to 20 participants
Description: Step back in time and make pie the 1860 way. Enjoy a slice of hot fruit pie that you’ve made in the beehive oven. Learn how the industrial revolution changed forever the diversity and nutritional value of American apples. Registered participants will receive additional information prior to workshop.


1865 West Virginia Union Ladies Aid Society Grand Strawberry & Ice Cream Festival
July 4 - 5, 2015 | First class: 12:00 to 2:00 pm | Second class: 3:00pm to 5:00pm | Lower Town, on the Green across from Bookshop

Instructor: Carol Anderson, 19th century foodways expert
Workshop Fee: $15.00 per person each class. Child under 6 years old free with paying adult. Pre-registration closes on June 27, 2015. After that date inquire at the Bookshop or call 304-535-6881 about available space.
Class Size: Limited to 15 participants per class
Description: Join the 1865 West Virginia Ladies Aid Society and Mr. Kern’s Proprietor of the Ice Cream Saloon, to make ice cream and enjoy with strawberries. Cool down with your results!
From the 1860s newspapers, “On the hottest days of the season, the thermometer being 90 degrees in the shade, ice cream saloon establishments are popular resorts especially arranged for the convenience and accommodation of the ladies.”


Beat the Heat: Arctic Soda Fountain Beverages
August 15 and 16, 2015 | 1:00pm to 4:00 pm | Lower Town, Roeder’s Tavern

Instructor: Carol Anderson, 19th century foodways expert
Workshop Fee: $20.00 per person each class. Children under 12 years old $10.00 and must be accompanied by an adult. Pre-registration closes on August 8, 2015. After that date inquire at the Bookshop or call 304-535-6881 about available space.
Class Size: Limited to 15 participants
Description: Learn to make Victorian cooling beverages at Roeders Tavern. Soda drinks began to appear in Harpers Ferry before the Civil War and were aimed at the hot, dusty travelers and local citizens. From the 1860s newspapers was this report, “In anticipation of warm weather, the proprietors will put in full blast their Soda Fountain, from which they are at any time, during the summer months, prepared to draw the coolest and most delicious beverage, flavored with almost endless variety of elegant syrups to contribute to the comfort of those who may be nearly or entirely overcome with the heat.”


Tinware for the Masses: Bright, Shiny, Decorative and Useful
Two-day workshop | November 14-15, 2014 | 10:00am to 4:00pm | Lower Town

Instructor: Scott Devers, Living History Ranger
Workshop Fee: $100.00 per person. Pre-registration closes on November 7, 2015. After that date inquire at the Bookshop or call 304-535-6881 about available space.
Class Size: Limited to 8 participants, minimum age 18 years old
Description: Today, most American homes boast a wide array of plastic house wares versus 150 when tinware ruled supreme. Tinware utilitarian items burst upon American markets offering affordable cookware, drinking vessels, and tinned canned foods. Join Living History Ranger Scott Devers, for this two-day workshop. Make your own traditional tinware with period methods and tools.


While Visions of Sugar Plums Danced in Their Heads
December 5 and 6, 2014 | First class: 11:00am to 1:00pm | Second class: 2:00pm to 4:00pm | Lower Town, Roeder's German Confectionery on High Street

Instructor: Carol Anderson, 19th century foodways expert
Workshop Fee: $25.00 per person, children under 6 years of age free with attending adult. Pre-registration closes on November 28, 2015. After that date inquire at the Bookshop or call 304-535-6881 about available space.
Class Size: Limited to 4 participants per class
Description: Learn the art and mystery of the confectioner’s Yuletide trade and treats from Carol Anderson, 19th century foodways expert, while exploring the world of sugar work and the making of clear toy candy.