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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

Coming Soon To A Historic Site Near You?

230 years have passed since the Continental Army under the command of General George Washington weathered a brutal winter in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. While there wasn't an actual battle at Valley Forge back in the winter of 1777-1778, there is a battle going on there now.

For more than a decade the affair between Valley Forge National Historical Park and the entity that would evolve into today's American Revolution Center flickered hot and cold. In 1999 the budding romance burned brightly as Congress authorized a partnership between the National Park Service and the Valley Forge Historical Society to build a museum dedicated to the American Revolution. At the time the project was viewed as the perfect complement to the park's Welcome Center, on the south side of the Schuylkill River.

Fast forward to the present and you'll find the romance in tatters. While the Park Service still would like very much to see a museum built near the Welcome Center, the non-profit American Revolution Center (ARC), which took the museum project over from the historical society in 2002, is smitten with a 78-acre parcel on the river's north side that embraces meadows, wetlands, and forests cut by two streams. Known to locals as the Pawling Farm, the acreage also happens to be surrounded on three sides by the historical park and long has been cherished by the Park Service for addition to Valley Forge, if only it could ever afford it.

What greatly concerns the Park Service, and what has prompted the National Parks Conservation Association, the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, and even locally elected officials to challenge and speak out against ARC's decision to abandon its Park Service partnership in favor of the Pawling Farm, is what the non-profit could - not necessarily 'would,' but 'could' -- erect on that bucolic sweep of land. In all, they say nearly 20 acres, or roughly one-quarter of the 78, could be impacted to some degree by development.

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