By Brad Segall
VALLEY FORGE, Pa. (CBS) — A nonprofit organization will work closely this fall with the Washington Memorial Chapel, in Valley Forge Park, to begin putting together a plan to raise money to preserve the historic structure.
The chapel sits on Route 23, about a mile west of the park visitors’ center, on 26 acres of private land. It’s not part of the national park, so it doesn’t receive any federal dollars for upkeep and renovation.
Nearly 100 years old, the chapel memorializes George Washington and tells the history of the founding of our country.
“It was designed to be a place where Americans of all faiths who came to Valley Forge appreciate and understand the sacrifices that were made here for our independence, could come and contemplate what it meant to be an American,” says Gardiner Pearson, president of the nonprofit Washington Memorial Heritage.
From its limestone walls to its unique ironwork to the beautiful stained glass windows, the building needs several million dollars worth of work. It plays host to about 60,000 visitors a year and a congregation of about 300 members, who help keep the day-to-day operations of the chapel moving forward.