Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
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Source: October 1997 Volume 35 Number 4, Page 159

Notes and Comments

Page 159


National Memorial Arch at Valley Forge Rededicated after Repairs

On Sunday afternoon, August 24, 1997, a large crowd, estimated in the thousands, converged on Valley Forge National Historical Park to witness the unveiling and rededication of the restored National Memorial Arch. The granite Arch, a Valley Forge Park landmark honoring the officers and private soldiers of the Continental Army, had been under reconstruction for over a year.

Built between 1913 and 1914 as a gift from the federal government (it was originally dedicated on June 19, 1917), the Arch, which is 60-feet high and 30­feet wide, has stood for more than eight decades, but repairs became necessary, and it was closed to the public when, in 1994, park workers discovered that its central support beam was cracked and stone movement had occurred. The National Park Service lacked the necessary federal government budget authority for an extensive renovation project, but these worries ended in March of 1996 when the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania agreed to fund the $1.5 million restoration project.

The work was performed primarily by Houck Specialty Contractors of Harrisburg, under the guidance of JWF Architects, Inc. All repairs were done with granite cut from the same quarry in Massachusetts that supplied the original stone.

The rededication ceremonies were attended by Grand Master Edward O. Weisser and other Grand Lodge officers and Masonic notables; Congressman Jon Fox; U. S. Department of Interior officials; National Park Service directors; Tim Long, historical architect to NPS; Arthur L. Stewart, Park Superintendent, and his assistant at Valley Forge, Regina Jones-Underwood. A stainless steel time box was sealed under the capstone, and inspected by Grand Lodge members who declared the stone "plumb, level and square."


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