Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
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Source: July 1979 Volume 17 Number 3, Pages 71–72

Some Memories of the Valley Forge Area

Page 71

We came here to the Valley Forge area in 1903, when I was only eight years old, so I cannot vouch for the 100% accuracy of what I think I remember!

In those days the creek road was lower than it is now. In heavy rains, the creek would rise so that sometimes Dad would report driving to Valley Forge station through water up to the floor of the buggy.

There were the ruins of two old stone factory buildings between the creek and the road, one on either side of what is now State Route 23. I remember these quite well, as their walls were at that time decorated with lurid posters of Pawnee Bill's Wild West Shows. (One, in particular, was of a Sioux "Sun Dance", I think, where the warriors danced around a pole to which others were fastened by cords attached to sticks stuck through their breasts, the idea be­ing for them to tear themselves loose. I guess it had some religious significance, but I thought it pretty horrible.)

There had been a big dam on the south side of Route 23, which I presume had furnished power to the two factories, but it had long since been washed out or torn out.

I think there had also been a few small houses for the mill hands on the right, or east side, of the creek road just south of where it ran into Route 23, but these too had completely disappeared.

Page 72

On the northeast corner of Route 23 and the Creek Road was the old Washington Hotel. It was torn down some years ago to make room for the Bake House. West of the creek, going up the hill, was the village of Valley Forge, but most of it too has been taken over by the Park and torn down.

Then, if I remember rightly, a new dam was built about where the old one had been. There was also a small mill or factory on the southwest corner of Route 23 and the Creek Road. This dam was quite a high one, and backed the water up as far as the covered bridge. The Creek Road had been raised, but still the water level was only a foot or so below the road. The lake formed by the dam made a very pretty body of water, and a good view of it could be obtained from the sharp turn on the upper drive. The trees were cut down to give a view of the valley and the lake (which many people mistakenly thought was the river).

When this dam was built, the water covered the ruins of the "Valley Forge", which had been visible until then.

When the dam was later torn down and the present smaller dam built, the lake was found to be filled with mud, under which the old forge had been completely buried. This explains the 3' or 4' high sand banks and flats on each side of the creek now.

The "Martha Washington Spring" was in use then, and many people stopped there for water. But little by little it was first fixed up with masonry and finally closed off, and now has practically disappeared. It was at the lower end of the lake that I described earlier.


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