Protest Against American Revolution Center at Valley Forge National Historical Park Planned for May 15

Will Gen. George Washington return to his Valley Forge headquarters next week? A protest against the American Revolution Center, with "period re-enactors," is planned for May 15. Photo by Hendricks NY via flickr.

Don't be surprised if George Washington returns to Valley Forge next week. A grassroots group is planning a rally for May 15 to protest plans to develop a portion of 78 acres of rolling land pressed on three sides by Valley Forge National Historical Park. Part of the protest will feature "re-enactors in period costumes."

According to a release announcing the event, "local residents will rally to show their opposition to and increase awareness of the American Revolution Center’s plans to build an over-sized commercial complex within Valley Forge."

"Valley Forge National Historical Park’s historic landscape is imminently threatened by an ill-considered development proposal on private land in the park," adds the release. "The American Revolution Center proposes building a commercialized museum complex, including a hotel and conference center, which will have a detrimental impact on the park. Valley Forge is not only an important part of Lower Providence Township, but also a national icon that must be protected."

As the release indicates, some folks believe the American Revolution Center's planned development is grandiose and will jeopardize the setting and possibly impact historically significant land that was utilized by General George Washington's troops.

The rally is scheduled to run from noon to 1 p.m. at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania. For more information, check out this site.

Comments

God. Another protest to protect our esteemed blah blah blah blah. I am an evironmentalist. I walk to shop, donate to causes, pick up litter in the parks, etc.

But, I don't see anything wrong with building something to enhance the visitors experience and bring in a little money to help support the area those people are screaming and protesting about keeping the same.

People need to be educated when visiting our National Parks and such. They don't get it in the schools anymore and unless they are history buffs - most of the people show up - see an empty field and leave - stopping at McDonald's on the way out of town. I gave tours and worked with two National Monuments and a group with Yosemite - if you don't offer the beautiful welcome center and have an introductory video (download it to your IPOD) - you lose them.

And, if you say - you don't care - your a moron. If you can't get the average person to care - you are eventually going to lose it - either to budget cuts and disrepair or a sale or trade of the land you are trying to protect.

The structure can be built "green". Because it is east coast, it will be easier to sink some items and put them underground so as not to spoil the view. There could be underground parking so that there is no sea of asphalt. If there is a parking garage - it could be terraced and landscaped with a walking park on the roof with trees and flowers.

I hate to quote Mr. Gingrich but he said that we defeated our enemies and took care of ourselves in less than five years with World War II, it took 27 years for them to get everything they needed to build an extra runway at Atlanta's airport. I agree something is wrong.

Don't protest - ask to be involved in the planning session. Protest to get involved but, save your energy to protesting Darth Vader and his boss who still have 8 months left to destroy this country.

Jerry Lenfest is the owner of this property, not the National Park Service. The proposed ARC museum is absolutely beautiful and is giving over 100 acres of open space while only developing on 19.5 acres. What other developer would give you that? This land will be resold to a housing developer for top dollar if the ARC project is thwarted. The artifacts of the ARC collection are fabulous and deserve to be represented in a museum. Isn't it a shame that our country has no museum to honor and educate about the revolutionary war?
Those who protest it are simply residents who live near the site and don't want the museum in their backyard. Unfortunately, they do not own this land, nor does the National Park Service. I for one, am thrilled so see such a beautiful attraction proposed for this land site and encourage everyone to really do their homework on this project. The members of the ARC have gone above and beyond what they needed to do to give us a museum that not only educates, but is environmentally friendly and keeps a majority of the land as-is. They should be commended for doing so.

I am a professional historian with a personal research interest/ focus in the American Revolution era, and I believe the American Revolution Center is a needed resource. It will enhance the public's understanding of what it took to become a free and independent nation. It will enhance the visitors' experience and appreciation for, and will not harm or encroach upon, the priceless cultural resource that is Valley Forge National Historical Park. In fact, it will put the events of the Valley Forge winter into proper context. Children in school get precious little about the history of our great nation in class these days, and even less about our War for Independence. History education often falls victim to "self-esteem" raising activities and other social concerns, or gets hijacked by the "blame America first" factions in popular culture and media all too often enough. A better and deeper appreciation of our national heritage would of itself raise the self-esteem of every American, young and old alike. If we are going to leave the job of instructing our next generation of citizens that freedom isn't free, or patriotism isn't a passé concept, to the parents of America, then we must give them the resources to do so. SUPPORT - DON'T PROTEST - THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION CENTER!

There is already a welcome center for Valley Forge Park located near King of Prussia. Expand on that (underground preferably) to include the history of the Revolutionary War (which it already does), but don't ruin the beautiful landscape that is the lesser known part of Valley Forge. There is very little nature left in America untouched. Why should we ruin that (destroying the very habitats an alleged 'environmentalist' should care about preserving) to develop more infrastructure, edifices, and walking paths?

As an environmentalist, you should know that even a so-called 'green' design will still destroy the environment in which it is constructed. Even the most 'environmentally friendly' building designs will have a major impact on the area. On the most basic level, increased human traffic, both pedestrian and vehicular, will damage surrounding vegetation as parking lots/roads are paved and people trample in areas where they ought not to go. Gas emissions from cars/buses, other pollutants, and what will undoubtedly be carefully landscaped grounds of the ARC (and intended hotel) will only further eliminate the currently pristine [natural] greenery. The inevitable slovenliness of human beings will be of increased detriment to the areas with which they come in contact; littering and irresponsible outdoor practices of the common person will further the negative impact of such a project to Valley Forge.

The area should be sold to the National Park Service/US government so that the Valley Forge George Washington knew in the winter of 1777-1778 may be preserved. I would consider a vision of the park as close to that which the soldiers experienced in the 18th century an essential part of the visitor's experience! A tourist's visit can be enhanced by improving the welcome center, including introductory video, that ALREADY exists. I've been there; I've experienced it. What you're looking for according to your post is already there, and if you have suggestions for its improvement, I suggest you go there--not ruin 78 acres of beautiful park land so we can progressively destroy every square inch of our planet. At this rate, there will be nothing left.

For once, be a true environmentalist and don't let money guide your decisions.

This is just my 2 cents worth, but I think that the American Revolution Center should be at Yorktown, not Valley Forge. Most of the same men that were at Valley Forge also marched South to defeat Cornwallis at Yorktown, VA. Yorktown is the real capstone of the Revolution, not Valley Forge.

I do think that something should commemorate Valley Forge, but I think that an entire center on the war is going way too far. I think the state of PA ought to put money into buying battlefield land for preservation. I was really dissappointed to learn that most of the Brandywine battlefield is lost entirely to development while visiting a few years ago. Even the French and Indian War "Braddock's Defeat" site is lost to a sports park. Brandywine could have been another site like Gettysburg! Not to mention the nearby Wyeth studio as a major tourist draw etc.

The beauty of a battlefield park is that the land is preserved from development, so reforestation and habitat can flourish without the fear of destruction from development. My wife and I loved to walk Manassas battlefield park in Virginia to see the herds of deer grazing and do some birdwatching. All of which would be lost if the state didn't preserve the land as a battlefield.

The whole plan for the ARC is a commercial undertaking, where the museum is the pretext to build a themed hotel and conference center. The poll that the ARC conducted and that they say found 70% in favor focused on bringing money and jobs (hundreds!) to the area, not on whether the project needed to be this oversized, or on the destruction of one of the last extended stretches of quiet nature in the middle of suburbia. They also failed to mention that if their projected numbers of 1 million visitors per year actually do show up, traffic on the feeder roads that are already congested would come to a grinding halt. If, as I hope and expect, their projected numbers are a wild overestimation, the whole project will not bring jobs and money, but rather become a millstone around the necks of the local tax payers. Build a museum to the Revolution at the park, but keep the scale reasonable and non-commercial, and do it where the effects on the surrounding infrastructure are kept to a minimum: at the visitor center, next to the turnpike, 422, 202, and an existing hotel and conference center. Should that hotel/conference center not be enough, than more space can be found at for example the Valley Forge Freedom Foundation or other hotels close by, who would love and could use the extra business.