Our Haunted Travels Location Collection


Mennen's Borated Toilet Powder Harpers Ferry

When you look over the river towards Maryland from Harpers Ferry, you see this image painted on the side of the mountain. The sign was originally painted in 1906 out of a mixture of milk and whitewash and it used to read, "Mennen’s Borated Talcum Toilet Powder." In May of 1963, the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) attempted to hide the sign at the request of Park Superintendent Joseph Prentice. Prentice said that looking at the sign was “like looking across the Grand Canyon and seeing a Coca-Cola sign.” The PATC and the superintendent were not the only ones who disliked the sign. Many local residents believed it to be a “desecration of nature.” Eager to eradicate the sign, PATC volunteers scaled the cliff and attacked the old sign with paint remover and carbon black. However, only four years later the sign was visible once again and has since been left alone. Much like John Brown, the sign has been a polarizing icon through the years. Some people want it removed because they feel it mars the natural view, and others wish to protect it because it is a historical artifact.

Digital Photo.

Type: Photograph

Museum Item#: 1361

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Archived/Storage Location: Google Photos

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Mennen's Borated Toilet Powder Harpers Ferry
Mennen's Borated Toilet Powder Harpers Ferry
Mennen's Borated Toilet Powder Harpers Ferry


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