Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
History Quarterly Digital Archives

Source: 1942 Volume 5 Number 1, Page 11

Extension of the University of Pennsylvania into Tredyffrin

Howard S. Okie

Page 11

It is somewhat surprising that so little local interest has been shown in the contemplated plan to establish departments of the University of Pennsylvania on farm properties south of Valley Forge. The natural setting afforded by the open country of the Chester Valley has much to do with the charm of the Park itself. The century and a half which have elapsed since the Revolution have seen few changes in the valley and the many residents of our community who are interested in preservation of our points of local beauty and historic interest rightly regard continuation in its present form as of primary importance.

Prediction has been wisely and freely made that the contemplated University development would result ultimately in the growth in Chester Valley of a college town with complete change in the countryside. Reasons for such an action should indeed be cogent and compelling.

If the University is to come to Valley Forge and its students to these scenes of inspiration, it should seek high ground. The vast North Valley Hill west of Valley Creek, with its rugged natural beauty and sweeping views, is ripe for development on a grand scale and could be secured at a small fraction of the cost of valley ground. Thought of closely set buildings within the high walled valley, with gradual encompassment and destruction of fine historic homes, and cramping in effect of the Park, is in striking contrast to that of the University set upon this great hill top with its surrounding complement of necessary buildings.

And what a setting it would be:

To the North, the Schuylkill winding through its valley, mute guardian of the rear of the Continental Army. The hills and meadows north of the river, scenes of troop movements of the opposing armies.

The the West, the fields of Paoli, Goshen-White Horse, and the Brandywine, and continuation for miles of the great North Valley Hills forming ample ground for future development.

To the South, the broad valley with historic homesteads and site of Howe's encampment along the base of the South Valley Hill.

To the East, the Park itself with entrenchments, forts, and officers' quarters.

Generations before us have preserved this ground in manner unique in the history of our rapidly growing country. We should not fail them now. If the University is to come to our community so preserved at great contrast to its own, let it come--not as a destroyer, but rather inspired with the vision it seeks to impart to its students, and to build for them a home in keeping.


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