Valley Forge NHP: Washington Memorial Chapel

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Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T! 

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Washington Memorial Chapel at Valley Forge»

Valley Forge National Historical Park preserves the site of George Washington’s Continental Army’s winter encampment. From December 1777 to June 1778, the army camped, trained and suffered through a hard winter. The troops were decimated by disease, starvation and desertion due to the harsh living conditions.

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After stopping at the visitor center and watching the introductory film, we got directions for the 10-mile Encampment Tour. This is a self-guided driving tour with nine stops. Stop number 9 is the Washington Memorial Chapel.

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The Washington Memorial Chapel was dedicated to George Washington in 1903 on the 125th anniversary of the Continental Army’s exit from Valley Forge. Though the chapel sits in the middle of the park and is a National Memorial, it is not part of the NPS. It has an active congregation and is owned by the Episcopal Church.

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By 1921, the main part of the church was completed. The interior woodworking was provided by a Belgian-American cabinet maker. The stained glass panels depict figures including George and Martha Washington and Alexander Hamilton, rather than traditional biblical scenes.

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The National Patriots Bell tower was added to the chapel in 1953 through fundraising by the DAR. It lists those who served in the Revolutionary War, showcases the Justice Bell (cousin to the Liberty Bell) and houses a carillon. The carillon has 58 bells which are played in regular concerts throughout the year.

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Valley Forge posts:

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Location: Route 23, Valley Forge, PA 19481

Designation: National Memorial, NRHP

Date designated or established: May 1, 2017

Date of my visit: 10/4/2019

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