IFLA: Cultural Landscapes Committee

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Washington’s Headquarters
Valley Forge National Historical Park

Cultural Landscape Type: Evolved Relict, Associative

Project Name: Washington’s Headquarters Cultural Landscape Report and Rehabilitation of Washington’s Headquarters at Valley Forge

Project Type: Planning Project, Cultural Landscape Report; Intervention Project, Rehabilitation and Construction Projects

Location: King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, United States

Cultural Landscape Size: 33 acres, 13.2 hectares

Property Owner/Steward: National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior

Funding: $2,200,000 USD

Relevant Historical Dates: 1776-1777

Historic Landscape Architect, Designers: N/A

Contact: Patricia M. O’Donnell, Principal, Heritage Landscapes, odonnell@iflaclc.org

Washington’s HeadquartersWashington’s Headquarters

Project Description:

In 1777 General George Washington selected Valley Forge, 18 miles northwest of Philadelphia, as the location for the army winter encampment. Valley Forge is historically important principally for this encampment that is said to have forged the Continental Army in into a trained military force and is the turning point in the Revolutionary War that marks the change form losing to winning. The defensible geographical setting of the area framed by the Schuylkill River, Mount Joy and Mount Misery, was a sound location to deter the British from invading the interior of Pennsylvania and to halt attacks. As the Continental Army mustered in Valley Forge, tents, and wood huts were set up throughout the agricultural and village landscape. This cultural landscape evolved through the tenures of five residential and public entities from 1773 through 2004.

Heritage Landscapes conducted both archival research and field investigation in the preparation of the Cultural Landscape Report. The compilation of this landscape focused historic research, period plans, existing conditions documentation; assessment of integrity and character, and treatment recommendations provides a solid foundation basis for preservation treatment interventions and related landscape interpretation and management into the future. In accordance with federal guidance Part 1 of the CLR focuses on researching property history and chronology, documenting existing conditions and analyzing the integrity of the landscape today. Part 2 of the CLR explores the possible applications of the four preservation treatments to the cultural landscapes and selects the most appropriate treatment providing guidance for that treatment.

In June of 2007, Heritage Landscapes was commissioned to develop the CLR in conjunction with pre-design and schematic design phases as part of a multi-disciplinary team for the rehabilitation of the site. Recommendations outlined within the CLR, were further developed into a phased sequence of projects that would rehabilitate the landscape.  Construction documents were drafted for Phase I, the removal of an asphalt road that bisected the site, and Phase II, the removal of a large parking lot and reorganization of site circulation.  Both construction phases focused on sustainable construction methods by using local materials, managing and amending soils, reducing impervious surfaces, and reducing storm-water run-off.

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. . .deterioration or disappearance of any item of the cultural or natural heritage constitutes a harmful impoverishment of the heritage of all the nations of the world.

World Heritage Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, 1972