A Spring Day at Valley Forge

As our Easter break with the kids off and Mr. Rosemary Lane home for the last week comes to an end, this past weekend we decided to take a little day trip down to historic 3,500 acre Valley Forge National Park. To be honest it has been decades since I was to the park last, probably not since I was in the 3rd or 4th grade when we visited the park on a class trip.

The park is most significantly known as the site of General George Washington's 1777-1778 winter encampment of the Continental Army. The cabins you see above were constructed of wood and clay, housing 12 men in each cabin. Before the cabins were constructed the army brigades lived in tents.

We witnessed the reenactment of rifle loading process and subsequent shooting of firearms. It took approximately 20 seconds to load and fire thus each patriot would fire three shots off in a one minute time period.

The National Memorial Arch was constructed between 1914 and 1917 in the honor of George Washington. It was dedicated on June 19, 1917. Eighty years later the arch underwent extensive renovation due to it's poor condition. The funds used for the renovation we donated by the Masons and the arch was rededicated in 1997.

General Washington's headquarters, also known as the Isaac Potts House, was where Washington and his family lived during the encampment of the Continental Army. The house at the time was being rented by a relative of Potts, Deborah Hues. The British Military custom of confiscating private homes for their use violated Americans' sense of privacy and ownership. Washington, wanting the support of civilians during wartime, offered to pay for his lodgings and encouraged other generals of the Continental Army to do the same. Mrs. Hues agreed to rent the entire home including all of its furnishings to the General.

 We were allowed to photograph the interior of Washington's headquarters. I am guessing photography was permitted since the furnishings and other items are not original to the house.

Washington's headquarters could be referred to as the "Pentagon" of its time since it was the place where Washington and his highest ranking officers lived and worked.

Next to Washington's headquarters is a mill where iron was forged. In pre-revolutionary times the iron produce in Valley Forge was actually pig-iron, a mid-point product of iron making. Due to England's strict trade policies with its colonies, the colonist were not legally permitted to produce their own "finished" iron products, they had to purchased them from England. Therefore the pig-iron the colonist produced was sent to England where it was melted down and cast into products of cast iron, wrought iron and even steel. Due to the facts that England didn't strictly enforce their policy and that Pennsylvania was rich with raw iron ore, by the time of the Revolutionary war the colonist produced approximately one sixth of the world's iron products.

Cabins built to house the guards of Washington's headquarters.

In 1913 the Valley Forge train station was erected to serve passengers along the Reading Railroad. No longer in use as it was originally purposed, the restored century old station now houses a collection of exhibits highlighting Washington's leadership.

In the winter of 1777 Rhode Island Brigadier General James Mitchell Varnum and his staff arrived at the home of David Stephens. Stephens owned this stone farmhouse in which he and his wife Elizabeth raised their three children. Varnum did not confiscate the home from Stephens but instead, as suggested by General Washington, offered to rent the property and Stephens accepted. Varnum had a highly active office during the encampment, therefore there were many military personnel frequenting the Stephens home.

The Washington Memorial Chapel was built in 1903 to honor George Washington's as well as the entire Continental Army's contribution to our nation and as a wayside chapel for visitors of Valley Forge National Park. It is also the home of the Episcopal parish which worships at the chapel.

The day we were visiting there happened to be a wedding about ready to take place.

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of one of our nation's most historical parks. We enjoyed a beautiful day of learning and quiet contemplation. Now it is back to the regular week as the kiddos head off to school and Mr. RL goes back to work.

Hope you are enjoying a wonderful start to this first full week of April!

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  1. Beautiful!! I've always wanted to visit Valley Forge and now you've made me really want to go there!! Thank you!

  2. Oh i loved this!! Thanks for the history....sure enjoyed this as i have not been there. Maybe someday!

  3. I am so glad you took this trip and documented it too! I live NOT FAR from VF Park and have never been there!!!! I grew up in Philly and haven't seen mANY of the things there. I need to fix that! Thanks for all the info!!!

  4. Thanks for the tour! Interesting

  5. I love history. Your tour of Valley Forge was inspiring. Thank you for all the information and beautiful photography!

  6. Thank you, this was very informative. The photos are outstanding. I enjoyed traveling with you.

  7. Love that area and have visited many times.....!!

  8. I love history so thanks for this wonderful tour and thanks for sharing at SYC.

  9. What Beautiful Photography Barbara! Some of your pictures, no many of them are suitable for framing!

  10. Barbara, hubby and I love history and would love to go there! Your pictures are wonderful. Love stepping back in time. About 8 years ago we visited Williamsburg in VA and loved every minute of it. Pinning Thanks for sharing with SYC.


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