Over the past century, the ravages of climate and environmental pollution—along with the wear and tear wrought by the many thousands of visitors we receive each year—have taken their toll on Washington Memorial Chapel. The Washington Memorial Heritage works to restore, preserve, and enhance the art and architecture that are the fabric of the Chapel and its grounds.
HISTORY OF THE CHAPEL
The Washington Memorial Chapel was built as a tribute to General George Washington and the patriot soldiers of Valley Forge. The inspiration for the Chapel resulted from a sermon preached by our founder and first rector, the Rev. Dr. W. Herbert Burk, of Norristown, Pennsylvania.
In June 1903 the cornerstone was laid on private property donated by the I. Heston Todd family. A small framed building preceded the present structure which became known as the Theodore Roosevelt Chapel, in honor of President Roosevelt, who visited the site in 1904. The Chapel was completed in 1917.
Designed by Milton B. Medary, Jr., the Chapel was erected for two purposes. It is the home of an active parish as well as a national memorial to Washington and the Continental Army, welcoming visitors from all over the world and serving as a “wayside chapel” for those who visit Valley Forge National Historical Park.
Both the Chapel and the Washington Memorial Heritage are private organizations. Visitors are often surprised to learn that we receive no funding from the National Park Service and are not formally affiliated with the Valley Forge National Historical Park.
Washington Memorial Heritage was created as a secular nonprofit technically separate from the Chapel itself, qualifying as a charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code. This allows foundations and individuals who might not contribute to a purely religious organization to aid in the preservation of this magnificent building, which has been described one of the foremost examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the United States.
Washington Memorial Chapel at Valley Forge: Answer the call – DONATE
We receive no funding from the National Park Service and are not formally affiliated with the Valley Forge National Historical Park.