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Things to do in King of Prussia

    Valley Forge National Historical Park Valley Forge National Historical Park Pennsylvania
    Valley Forge National Historical Park preserves the site where the Continental Army would endure the winter of 1777-1778 by Valley Forge, Pennsylvania in the Revolutionary War, containing 3500 acres and welcoming more than 1.2 million visitors every year. The park was created to preserve the important site as well as interpreting the history of that encampment and the hardships that had to be endured by the brave men of the Continental Army. The park was originally named, the Valley Forge State Park until 1976, almost two centuries later, when it would be designated a national park. It has memorials, recreational areas, historical structures and recreated encampment buildings that the visitors can view and learn more about that debilitating winter. There is a marvelous welcome center and museum that showcases the original relics found at the site, offering a historical and authentic introduction to the revolution and the encampment. There are activities held throughout the year, as well as tours and programs, with 26 miles of biking and hiking tours that have been connected to the outstanding regional trails system. The Schuylkill River is located close by and is a perfect place to enjoy boating, fishing and wildlife watching. The encampment began on December 19,1777 and lasted until June 19,1778, with the main army of the colonies that included some 12,000 men and officers, who would be camped out in Valley Forge because it was between the Continental Congress in York, the supply depots in Reading and the British army that had been stationed in Philadelphia some 18 miles away. It would the most arduous period of the army, but a time of retraining and recuperation for the hard fighting troops. The shared distress of the situation for both officers and men, as well as the professional military training offered by Baron Friedrich von Steuben would become a key period for the following successes of the army and began a turning point in the Revolutionary War. Valley Forge would become a National Historic Landmark in 1961 and then listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. The area that these listings includes contains four houses of historic value, where Lafayette and various officers would be quartered. The state of Pennsylvania would give the nation the park as a gift for the Bicentennial in 1976, and after Congress passed a law, President Gerald Ford signed it into authorization on July 4, 1976 adding the park to the National Park System. The welcome center has enjoyed a major rejuvenation and include a museum with relics discovered at the excavations that occurred at the park, as well as Ranger led gallery programs, an interactive muster roll of Continental soldiers camped out at the valley, a visitor information desk staffed by the Valley Forge Convention and Visitors' Bureau, an encampment store with all kinds of books and souvenirs, a photography gallery, walks and a storytelling program. One of the featured exhibits at the park is the restored colonial house that General George Washington used as his headquarters while camped, and the grounds around the home were restored in 2009; which also included the restoration of the old Valley Forge train station that was transformed into an information center, with new guided tours, renovation of the historic landscape and new exhibits placed throughout the landscape. The other generals quarters are also included in the park for Varnum, Knox, Huntington, Lord Stirling and Lafayette. All through the park, reconstructed log cabins have been placed, of the kind that historians believed were used, including a big log cabin hospital. You can view the earthworks, that would never be needed, for the defense of the camp that includes four redoubts, a reconstructed abatis and the ditch for the inner defense lines. The original forges, that had been burned by the British three months before the army occupied the area, but the Upper Forge and Lower Forge sites have never been rebuilt. The Washington Memorial Chapel and National Patriots Bell Tower carillon are situated on top of a hill by the center of the park, with the chapel a legacy of Rev. Dr. W. Herbert Burk. Although these are not a part of the park, they do offer spiritual needs for the community and the park; with the tower housing the DAR Patriot rolls, that lists the names of those that served in the Revolutionary War, while the chapel grounds house the World of Scouting Museum. The park had been the site of the National Scout Jamboree in 1950, 1957 and 1964.  

    Morgan Log House
    Morgan Log House Kulpsville, PennsylvaniaThe Morgan Log House is a perfectly restored example of the early log houses and domestic architecture, located on land that had been owned and farmed by Daniel Boone's grandfather, Edward Morgan, a Welsh Quaker, and operated by the Welsh Valley Preservation Society for Towamencin Township. There are numerous exhibits of colonial period outstanding antique furniture, decorative arts, metals and household implements from the early Germanic and Welsh traditions of the state. The deed research that was done on the land that the Morgan log house was constructed on shows that the commissioners of William Penn, granted the 600 acre patent to a merchant named Griffith Jones in 1702. Then six years later, in 1708, a Welshman named Edward Morgan would buy 309 acres of the property from Jones with an extant structure listed on the sale records. In 1723, Morgan would deed 104 acres to his son, John Morgan, and this tract included land that held the house. In 1741, John Morgan deeded the 104 acres to Evan David, who would deed the property to a Schewnkfelder named John Yeakel in 1770. Some four years later, John Yeakel would deed 82 acres of his land to a Mennonite named Yellis Cassel in 1774, whose family would own the parcel for another 99 years. In 1873, 62 acres of the Cassels original 82 acres would be deeded to Frederick Bower, until 1965, when William Nash bought the 17 remaining acres, who planned to subdivide it; with the house staying on the property, vacant, until it would be condemned in 1967. The house would then be realized as a historic structure and plans made to keep it from destruction; and eventually saved to be restored by the newly formed Towamencin Historical Society. It was restored in 1976, with much restoration and fine tuning to bring it up to standards for that period. It is a magnificent specimen of historical importance and today operated by the Welsh Valley Preservation Society after they had changed their name for the Towamencin Historical Society so that they could expand their historical programs. The society had researched the history of the house and discovered that Edward Morgan and his wife Elizabeth had descendants that included Daniel Boone, Revolutionary War Brigadier General Daniel Morgan, journalist/broadcaster Lowell Thomas and mutual fund industry pioneer, Walter L. Morgan. The log house would be listed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1973.

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    Winter Encampment Winter Encampment Valley Forge, Pennsylvania
    The Winter Encampment at Valley Forge in December of 1777 was one of the worst, most difficult and dangerous periods for the Continental Army, living in bitter cold winter weather, without any amenities like clothing, blankets, and many without proper shoes. What food there was or hunted, would be consumed almost immediately, as the starving troops waited to see what the British army would do that was stationed in the city of brotherly love, warm and cozy, with plenty to eat and drink at the hands of the very people that they were determined to keep under their greedy thumbs. In mid-December, the British troops formed a battle line in front of the embittered troops, but just as quickly as they had arrived to form the line, Sir William Howe, retired his troops back to the comforts of Philadelphia, leaving the American troops still in the valley, freezing and befuddled; but nonetheless glad. It was a very bad time for the army and it poorly clad and shoed soldiers, with more deserting and resigning every day, but General Washington was determined to keep as many as possible, otherwise, the entire effort and war would be finished. The fact that these brave men stayed says a lot about the charisma and resolve of Washington, as well as the thoughts of freedoms that danced around in their heads. George's presence there did much to quell the desertion and resignations, as he met with his battalion troops one by one. In a written general order to the troops on December 17, 1777, George would thank his men for their continued fortitude and determination, as well as undaunting courage, for continuing the good fight. "The Commander-in-chief, with the highest satisfaction expresses his thanks to the officers and soldiers for the fortitude and patience with which they have sustained the fatigues of the campaign. Although, in some instances, we unfortunately failed, yet upon the whole heaven hath smiled on our arms and crowned them with signal success; and we may upon the best grounds conclude, that by a spirited continuance of the measures necessary for our defense we shall finally obtain the end of our warfare, independence, liberty and peace. These are blessings worth contending for at every hazard. But we hazard nothing. The power of America alone duly exerted, would have nothing to dread from the force of Britain. Yet we stand not wholly upon our ground. France yields us every aid we ask, and there are reasons to believe the period is not very distant, when she will take a more active part, by declaring war against British crown. Every motive therefore, irrestibly urges us, nay commands us, to a firm and manly perseverance in out opposition to our cruel oppressors, to slight difficulties, endure hardships, and contemn every danger.  The remainder of that general order can be read at the site, or a site on the internet, but the words weren't very encouraging, and the situation was certainly in dire straits, since the area was very hard to provision, and to make matters worse, the Congress believed that the local citizens should be providing the troops with provisions or any other help that they would need. Washington chose not to take matters into his own hands, not wanting to create local enmity to the army, and the site chosen had been his and Brigadier General Anthony Wayne's as the ideal location. But it wouldn't be. Washington had wanted a more remote location with shorter supply lines in an area that hadn't been scavenged for food and forage. So, he was forced to accept the political realities of the time that would contribute to a much harsher winter encampment for his troops than would have otherwise been done. The Pennsylvania Executive Council had sent a letter to the Congress "insisting" the army stay in the area around Philadelphia to give protection from the British foraging parties that went around and ravaged the people living in the area. They said that they would stop their financial support and troops if Washington left the area since he was a deterrent to the British army in the area. The Congress had made the threat public, which caused Washington to stay in his location, which was the best choice because of the political ramifications. The council's decision meant that two armies would be foraging the region instead of just one, putting more burden on the local populace that would have been the case otherwise. It would become ironic, since the Americans were without food and became weakened physically, which of course wouldn't be much of a deterrent to the British, thus creating the very situation that they none wanted.

     Varnums Quarters
    Varnum's Winter Quarters Valley Forge, Pennsylvania
    General James Varnum would spend the winter at the home of the Stephens family, in an excellent example of early 18th century architecture, at the Elizabeth and David Stephens farmhouse that was constructed in 1711. The house is rather tallish, more narrow than the homes of later periods, with an extremely pitched roof to keep the snow from piling up too high that could cause cave-ins, and the random placement of the windows, which is quite atypical of the homes constructed in the first third of the 18th century. The house, today, has been renovated quite extensively, while the majority of the stonework and woodworks are considered to be original. The house would be the home of the Stephens family for decades, even while Varnum used it to be quartered in. Varnum was an officer with quite a bit of military experience, and because of that, he was regarded very highly by the other officers and men. He commanded the Rhode Island brigade that would be camped near the house, and any court marital would be held in the house with General Varnum presiding, and it is believed that he vacated the property in February of 1778, although there aren't any records that state that and the army itself would remain in Valley Forge until June of that year. The inside of the marvelous old house has been refurbished with many antique and period furnishings but at the moment not open for tours or visitors.

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Local Restaurants in King of Prussia

    The King of Prussia Inn
    Entrees; beef tenderloin medallions served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes in portabella & balsamic cream sauce; chicken parmesan is breaded chicken breasts baked in provolone cheese & marinara sauce, served with spaghetti marinara; crab & shrimp cannelloni is roasted red peppers, asiago cheese sauce & seasoned breadcrumbs; House famous rigatoni 'D' is rigatoni pasta, herb-roasted chicken, mushrooms & caramelized onions, tossed in marsala cream sauce; chef's KB's lobster carbonara is spaghetti, lobster, smoked bacon, snap peas & garlic cream sauce; crab & shrimp tropheo is hand-twisted pasta, grape tomatoes, zucchini & lemon garlic sauce; linguine Di Mare is lobster, shrimp, mussels, clams & spicy lobster tomato broth; rustic chicken & shrimp is ziti, prosciutto, asiago cheese & red pepper cream sauce; braised beef cannelloni is braised short ribs, asiago cheese & balsamic cream sauce; chicken & spinach manicotti is manicotti filled with spinach, chicken & ricotta cheese, baked with alfredo sauce; chicken pesto linguine is linguine tossed with roasted chicken, pesto & pine nuts in parmesan broth with hint of lemon; mushroom ravioli al forno is ravioli stuffed with mushrooms, onions, marsala wine & parmesan cheese, baked with alfredo sauce; veal & mushroom ravioli al forno is ravioli filled with ground veal, mushrooms, marsala wine & asiago cheese, topped with bread crumbs & baked, served with alfredo sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, basil & parsley; chicken & truffle tortellacci is tortellacci stuffed with chicken, baked in garlic & white wine cream sauce with smoked ham, asiago cheese & fresh spinach; veal parmesan is breaded veal cutlets baked with provolone cheese & topped with marinara sauce with spaghetti marinara.

    Sullivan's Steakhouse
    Entrees; chili crusted ribeye, filet duxelle, filet oscar, filet & lobster, Sully's meatloaf, roasted chicken picatta style, filet mignon 8oz., filet mignon 12oz., NY strip 12oz., NY strip 16oz., ribeye 16oz., bone-in ribeye 22oz. cowboy cut, bone-in KC strip 18oz., porterhouse 24oz., lamb chops-triple cut, veal chop, broiled Australian lobster tail, broiled salmon steak, seared ahi tuna steak, sautéed sea scallops, shrimp scampi, pan seared sea bass Hong Kong style, Alaskan king crabs, daily seafood feature.


Beef Tenderloin Medallions The King of Prussia Inn, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania


Crab & Shrimp Cannelloni The King of Prussia King of Prussia, Pennsylvania





Roasted Chicken Picatta Sullivan's Steakhouse King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

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    Old Augustus Lutheran Church Old Augustus Lutheran Church Trappe, Pennsylvania
    The Augustus Lutheran Church in Trappe, Pennsylvania was constructed during the period from 1743 to 1745, and is the oldest unchanged Lutheran church in the nation that has been continuously used by the same congregation. This outstanding church was constructed for only 200 pounds sterling and designed by Heinrich Melchoir Muhlenberg. Every bit of the interior fittings, except those for the English made pulpit, were made from materials found in the local area. The church itself is constructed of local sandstone, faced with stucco, and the eastern end is formed into a half-hexagon. The roof was framed with local lumber and covered in wooden shakes, replacing a nearby frame barn, and then sometime later, a stone schoolhouse, as the local center of worship. There is a cemetery located behind the church that has stones dating from 1736 and earlier periods, along with the graves of Muhlenberg, his wife, Anna Maria Weiser and their son, Peter. On the west end of the church is a monument that commemorates the unknown soldiers that are buried there.  The shell was completed by 1743, although the church wasn't consecrated until 1745, and in the Revolutionary War, it would be used as a camping site and hospital for the Hessian troops in the vicinity. The church's congregation had outgrown the ld church by 1850, and a newer brick structure would be built and consecrated in 1852, so the old church would become the scene of the Sunday school. Later on in the 19th century, a freak thunderstorm would damage the roof badly, and destroy the organ. They decided to rebuild the roof in its original configuration, and add a cast-iron stove to add heat to the church that didn't have it before. During the 1920s, more restorations were done that brought the church back to its original condition, and then, in the late 1950s, services would once again be held during the summer months and on Christmas eve, a wonderful tradition that is continuing today. In the early 1990s, the organ would be restored, and in 1967, it would be made a National Historic landmark.

    Longwood Gardens
    Longwood Gardens Kennett Square, PennsylvaniaLongwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania contains over 1,050 acres of beautiful gardens, meadows and woodlands in the Brandywine Creek Valley, and is considered one of the finest botanical gardens in the nation, open all year around so that visitors and the community can enjoy it all the time. The gardens offer exotic plants and horticulture indoors and out, with seasonal and themed attractions, educational lectures, workshops, events, courses and performances. The land that the gardens occupy had been originally bought from William Penn in 1700 by another Quaker called George Peirce, and turned it into a working farm. Twin brothers, Joshua and Samuel Peirce would plant the first specimens of an arboretum in 1798 and call it, Peirce's Park, with it being open to the public since then; and by 1850, the brothers had created one of the best collections of trees in the country. In 1906, Pierre S. duPont bought the property from the Peirce family so that the magnificent park and arboretum wouldn't have to be sold for lumber, and he made it his personal estate, from 1906, until 1930s, during which time, he would add extensively to the property. duPont had been a world traveler since his youth, and often would be inspired to add special features to the garden that he had seen at the world's fairs, with the best and most noteworthy additions being the huge conservatory, complete with large pipe organ and a marvelous system of fountains. He opened the park to the public numerous days of the year, while he lived there, and had even given tours to folks, personally and anonymously, like the occasion one day when a lady required a wheelchair, and it was reported to the Random House publisher, Bennett Cerf. Once the gardens were finished, duPont wanted to make sure that it would be well-cared for after his death, so when his will was filed in Delaware in 1946, he started the Longwood Foundation, Inc., leaving the majority of his estate to the maintenance and improvement of the lovely gardens. When Pierre passed on unexpectantly in April of 1954, Henry duPont, the current president of the foundation announced, "there will be no change in our long policy of opening the gardens and greenhouse to the public every day of the week." The organ, just recently restored, is a 10,010 pipe instrument designed by Longwood organist-in-residence, Firmin Swinnen, a Belgian musician that came to this country in 1916 and became one of the most prominent theater organists in New York City. The huge organ's pipes would fill fourteen railway freight cars and use a 72 horsepower blower motor to create the wind pressure; and it is one of the biggest pipe organs put into a private residence. Pierre had ordered a huge Aeolian organ in 1929 to replace the previous one of 3,650 pipes, that he donated to the University of Delaware, and it would stay there until 1964. This four-manual organ is played in the Longwood Ballroom and is heard all through the conservatory when the windows are opened; and the pipes can be seen from the back glass panels in the organ museum. Currently, the gardens include; 20 outdoor gardens on 4.5 acres of heated greenhouses that are called conservatories and houses 11,000 various species of plants and trees, along with fountains. The gardens have a marvelous educational program that includes a two-year school of professional horticulture, which it tuition free. It also has a graduate program, numerous internships and hosts 800 horticultural and performing arts events every year, including children's programs, concerts, flower shows, fireworks displays, gardening demonstrations, courses, fountain shows, organ and carillon recitals and a music theater. During the Christmas season, they host a spectacular light show. The conservatory is considered to be one of the world's greatest greenhouse buildings, and it houses 5500 kinds of plants. These gardens welcomed almost 900,000 people in 2009, and the continual plans for the expansion and growth for the next forty years starts this year. It is one of the most beautiful gardens in the country and one that you won't want to miss.

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    Clivedon Clivedon Germantown, Pennsylvania
    Clivedon in Germantown, Pennsylvania is also known as the Benjamin Chew house, and is a historic mansion that would become the scene of some of the fiercest and bloodiest fighting in the Revolutionary War, in 1777 at the Battle of Germantown. The magnificent mansion has been inhabited by the Chew family for seven generations, starting out with Benjamin, who constructed the house from 1763 to 1767, and occupied it until 1972. Chew had been a Supreme Court justice for the state and regarded as one of the rich elite in 18th century colonial America, with his mansion here, just a summer residence, with homes in Delaware and Center City Philadelphia. When the battle occurred, Chew, a loyalist, was held in New Jersey, while the British, led by Colonel Musgrave, would occupy the stone structure and using muskets and bayonets, fight off an attack by Continental soldiers. General Washington's troops would be repelled and sent packing down the Germantown Avenue in defeat. In 1966, the mansion would be made a National Historic Landmark as part of the Colonial Germantown Historic district, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation manages the house as a historic house museum, with tours offered from April to December. The estate is a prime example of Philadelphia Georgian architecture, believed to have been designed by Chew and Jacob Knor, a master carpenter, since the interior of the excellent stone house has such excellent woodworks. The original estate contained other structures, that included; a smoke house, summer house, stable and coach house and hen house, with marvelous landscaping that includes statuary and gardens that contain more than 200 kinds of shrubs and trees. A two story addition would be put on in 1868, in the original courtyard, with a window on the second floor landing that was converted into a hidden doorway that entered the new addition. Chew's papers that have been discovered throughout the house are presently being archived by a special team from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and are believed to show new light on the history of slavery in the city of Philadelphia and the surrounding area. Chew is known to have held slaves at the mansion, and one of these, Charity, is the feature of new research that in tied to the discovery of these papers.

    Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation
    Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation Edgemont, Pennsylvania
    Situated beside the Ridley Creek in Edgemont, Pennsylvania, there sits a magnificent colonial plantation with 112 acres of land that is called the Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation and it offers a context of early American history, one of the many settings where the King George's taxes would be felt, and as the American melting pot began to simmer, American ingenuity would overcome it and anything else that stood in its way. While the debates and conflicts continued, throughout the land, it would be the ordinary people, the average citizen, the foot soldiers of history that would be left to carry their nation and themselves into history and the future. While these all edged forward, the daily conquest of the land would shape the character and growth of this nation, using their resourcefulness to survive and even prosper, so that these colonists would actually shape and establish a foundation of the American way. So much of our familiarity of those days is based on just a few memorialized people, with accounts of homes, clothing and style of living would be discovered from the likes of people like Washington, Jefferson and Franklin, who have implied a rather elite standard of living beyond the reality of the average citizen in southeastern Pennsylvania, the rural farmer. The plantation's simple role is to showcase that working farm using the methods and implements of colonial America and highlights a living example of that time. The folks and activities of the plantation represent more than an 18th century family who owned property, the way of life that is still done and shown at the plantation is a tribute to more than just the Pratt family that lived on this farm from 1720 to 1820, but to the efforts and achievements of the average colonial citizen of the period. Using the local records, religious and tax records, letters and wills of the 1760 to 1790 period, the plantation represents the bigger view of the early American life, as well as an authentic demonstration of how the majority of people lived during those extraordinary times in this area.

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    Daniel Boone HomesteadDaniel Boone Homestead Birdsboro, Pennsylvania
    The Daniel Boone Homestead in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania was the birthplace of the famous frontiersman and patriot, and is now a museum that sits on almost 600 acres of land, that is the biggest site operated by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. The outstanding staff that are located there, interpret the lives of the three major families that lived here, the Boones, the Maugridges and the DeTurks. In 1731, Squire Boone, Daniel's father, constructed a log cabin in the Oley Valley that has become Berks County near the present city of Reading, and Daniel Boone would be born in that one and a half story cabin, with one solid wall made with native stone. The basement would also serve as the springhouse, giving easy access to water for drinking, cleaning and of course, cooking, as well as storing foods in cold storage. The squire would increase his holdings in 1741, after he bought another 25 acres to use for pasture of his dairy herd. Squire also was a weaver and blacksmith as well as being a dairy farmer, much like the farmers today that are more than just farmers, they have to learn to fix all the equipment, repair it if possible and so much more that might be the reason that so many farms have been sold off to bigger organizations. Daniel was responsible for the herd of cattle and would stay at a rustic cabin in the summer months, at the edge of the pasture, in case any wild predators would attack them, like bobcat, black bear and mountain lions. Soon enough, the Boone family would become a source of controversy for the local Quaker community, and in 1742, the Boones would have to publically apologize for their oldest child Sarah getting married to a "worldling" or non-Quaker, since she looked pregnant. In 1747, Daniel's oldest brother, Israel, would also marry a worldling, but Squire Boone stood by his son and was then expelled from the Quaker community. His wife would continue to go to monthly meetings with her children, and because of the appellation or controversy, the Boones would sell off their land and move west. They settled on the Yadkin River, in what is now Davie County, North Carolina, some two miles west of Mocksville. The Boones property would be transferred to William Mauridge, in 1750, one of the Boone's relatives that had lived in Philadelphia, and since he was a shipwright and carpenter, the house enjoyed an expansion that raised it to two stories, with a typical hall and parlor as well as a Bible closet. Bill passed on in 1766, and the estate bought by John DeTurk who completely remodeled the house, taking out the walls of the log cabin and rebuilding them with stone. He changed the floorplan as well, creating a large first floor with a big open space with parlor and kitchen that was separated by low wall and furnishings. He would construct a smokehouse that is still located on the property today, even though numerous other farmers would own the property before it became a historical house in 1926.

    DuPortail House
    Duportail House Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania
    The DuPortail House in Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania was constructed in 1740 and the marvelous stone house sits exactly as it did back, although refurbished and strengthened, as an outstanding reminder of the way it was so long ago. The house has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is currently used as event and function facility, with wide planked flooring, original moldings, fireplaces, curving hallways and deep window sills. The front porch invites visitors in to a beautifully furnished 18th century home, filled with all the amenities of the period. The house is encompassed by Black Oaks, that have become nesting environments for many types of birds, insects and mammals, like the red tailed fox that lives in the barn with her family, or the woodpeckers, owls, deer, fishers and tree squirrels excitedly running around as if they owned the farmstead. The house has been undergoing some much needed restorations, and as the years pass, they are getting done. The original part of the old house had been constructed by John Harvard, Jr., a Welsh farmer, on property that his father had given him and was used as the headquarters for General Louis Lebeque DuPortail, the chief engineer of the Continental Army, when they camped at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-1778, since the property is located right next to the Valley Forge National Historic Park. The actual map that the general used to fortify the valley was discovered in the rafters of the old house, some hundred and fifty years after the event, and was used as the basis of the park like it is seen today. The planned community of Chesterbrook would slowly grow around the homestead after 1969, and in 1972, it would become listed on the National historic register and the major part of the renovations done by 1985, when it would open to the public as a tourist and educational center, offering a wonderful example of the early living conditions and utensils of that period.  

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    Graeme ParkGraeme Park Horsham, Pennsylvania
    Graeme Park is situated in Horsham, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania and managed by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, and is the only surviving house of the colonial-era state governor, Sir William Keith. He constructed the house in 1722 to become a summer retreat, and alternative to the huge governor's mansion as Shippen House on Spruce and Second Streets in Philadelphia. The house would be called, Fountain Low by the governor, and is still as pristine today as it was back then, except for one large restoration committed by Dr. Thomas Graeme in the middle of the 18th century, and then a smaller one by the commission during the 1960s. Keith had built a malthouse, which brewers make malt from after beginning the process from germinating barley and other grains, then used as the main ingredient for malt liquor, beer and ale. He tried numerous ventures while he was also the colonial governor of the state, including a foundry on the Christiana River by New Castle, Delaware and a copper mine that was west of the Susquehanna River in disputed territory. When the malthouse was constructed, their were financial problems between the colonies and Great Britain, with trade slowly down and supplies of grain rutting on the harbors of numerous colonial ports in cities like Philadelphia. Keith would take full advantage of this situation by processing the grain and malting it would be one of the best ways to save it for a while. Although the house had been named Fountain Low by Keith, it would become better known as the Keith House in honor of the man that constructed it and was the first person to live there. The magnificent house was constructed on 1700 acres of land that he had acquired as governor, getting the title for little cost since it had been a debt payment to the provincial government as a debt owed by Samuel Carpenter, who had passed on before paying it. More than 90 workmen would finish the construction of the house and the surrounding structures, and Keith would encourage the provincial government to bring two roads to the estate. There is extensive evidence that Keith didn't spend a lot of time at the estate, since the interior wasn't painted until Dr. Graeme assumed ownership in 1739; while Keith spent the majority of his time in the governor's mansion. When Dr. Graeme purchased the estate, he renamed it Graeme Park. Thomas was the husband of Ann Diggs, the stepdaughter of Sir William Keith, and had come to this country with Keith from England in 1717, and then married Ann in 1719. While in the colony, Graeme would become well known in the social circles of the region, and especially in Philadelphia, serving as the port physician at the Pennsylvania Hospital, and appointed as a naval officer by the governor in 1719, as a Register General and Master of Chancery in 1724. Graeme also served on the provincial council and the Supreme Court of the colony, becoming one of the trustees of Keith's estate when he left the colony in 1728. The other trustee would be Keith's wife, Lady Anne Keith and family, but the estate would be sold off in 1738 to Joseph Turner, who turned around and sold it to Dr. Graeme in 1739. Graeme also used the estate as a summer residence and retained his main residence in Carpenter's Mansion on Society Hill in Philly.  After the doctor and his wife had lived in the house occasionally, he would start the interior renovations in 1755, installing new decorative devices that had been quite common during the Georgian era, that included paneling and refinishing many of the interior doors. The changes are still obvious today, as well as the outdoor kitchen, beautiful formal gardens and started a marvelous 300 acre deer park that he hoped would make it more like the British manors in his old country, and ideally it would become a place of beauty and an ornament to the main house, as many British lords had done. This idea would be part of a letter that the doctor had sent to his friend William Penn in 1755. In 1765, the doctor would retire from his work, and spend more time at the estate, as his health got worse, and his wife passed on. His daughter, Elizabeth would take over the responsibilities of the house, as a hostess for Graeme, since he had retired from his profession but not the exciting social scene around the city. With Elizabeth's help, the doctor hosted numerous salons or gatherings for the Philadelphia elite that included many musicians, writers and the colony's most influential statesmen, while Elizabeth began to become a well known poet herself. In 1772, Dr. Graeme would die of a heart attack as he walked the grounds of his beloved home, and the ownership would pass on to Elizabeth and her husband, Henry Hugh Fergusson. But, in 1778, the estate would be confiscated by the Continental Congress because Henry was a loyalist with his sympathies towards the British while the Revolutionary War began. Elizabeth had married Henry in 1772, without her father's approval, and would cause some serious problems for the new couple, who had been introduced by Dr. Benjamin Rush, one of the founding fathers of the state in 1771 at one of the salons by her and her father. Henry was one of the recent and poor Scottish immigrants, a difference of eleven years in their age, with Henry being the younger, which of course would not be much of a letter of approval for Dr. Graeme. He even went so far as to forbid them to marry, however, four months after they met, they would secretly be joined in Old Swede's Church.  The rest of the story is really interesting and exciting, as Henry inherited the estate with Elizabeth and was always partial to the British, which brought Elizabeth's patriotism into question. But, after all was said and done, she would get the estate back and continue living there until she passed on.   

    National Memorial Arch
    National Memorial Arch Valley Forge National Historical Park Chester County, PennsylvaniaThe National Memorial Arch in the Valley Forge National Historical Park, Chester County, Pennsylvania, is dedicated to the men and officers of the Continental Army December 19, 1777 to June 19, 1778, that sacrificed their lives. It is situated on the top of a hill by the intersection of Gulph Road and Outer Line Drive, today, in the park, constructed in 1910 by an act of Congress, modeled after the Arch of Titus that is found in Rome. Paul Philippe Cret would be the architect, creating a wonderful arch that is magnificent and very picturesque as it sits on the hilltop. There is an inscription that reads; "naked and starving as they are, We cannot enough admire the incomparable patience and fidelity of the soldiery," by George Washington. The site was dedicated on June 19, 1917.  At the time it was to be constructed, there arose quite a bit of controversy around the idea of a Roman arch being set in a setting that was more rural, but history has dictated that these monuments should be installed in urban and rural settings, so the dedication took place, and the monument a visual delight to all those that come here and visit the park.

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May 12, 2011