Shepherdstown is the oldest town in West Virginia. The first settlement was recorded in 1730. Thomas Shepherd obtained a land grant in 1734 and was soon followed by other settlers. The town was originally named Mecklenburg in 1762, but then later changed to Shepherdstown in honor of its founder. Many of the first settlers were German and the town had a German School in the community as early as 1762. The main street in Shepherdstown is still to this day called German Street.
The town is historically remembered for James Rumsey's invention of the steamboat in 1787. The Rumsey Monument commemorating this event can still be visited in Shepherdstown.
Shepherd University was founded in 1871 as a private college in Shepherdstown to instruct students in language arts and sciences. Today Shepherd University is the fastest growing college in West Virginia with over 4,000 students.
Shepherdstown is also centered in the Historic Civil War area. Three miles northeast of Shepherdstown is Antietam Battlefield, where the bloodiest single day's battle of the Civil War was fought. Ten Miles to the southwest is Harpers Ferry, famous for the capture of John Brown. During the Civil War Shepherdstown became an impromptu hospital for Robert E. Lee's retreating Confederate Army.
Today Shepherdstown is a small college town, population 1800, perched confidently on a bluff overlooking the Potomac. A stroll through town reveals a mixed collection of beautifully maintained old homes, quaint stores, and coffee shops.
For a complete list of shops, activities and recreation in Shepherdstown visit the Shepherdstown Visitors Center website.
Click here for the Shepherdstown Visitors Center website
The Historic Shepherdstown Museum
The Historic Shepherdstown Museum is located in the Entler Hotel, at the corner of Princess and East German Street in Shepherdstown. In 1983 the Historic Shepherdstown Museum was founded to preserve and display artifacts, furniture, and historic documents that might otherwise have been lost.
The museum is open from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturdays and 1:00 to 4:00 pm on Sundays from April through October and the two weeks of Christmas in Historic Shepherdstown. Admission is free but donations are gratefully accepted.