VALLEY FORGE (CBS) — Everyday people from all over the world travel to Valley Forge National Historical Park. But park guide David Lawrence says there’s no battlefield here.

“This is a national park that is dedicated to military history, so it’s just natural to assume that this must have been the site of a large-scale battle,” he said. “This is very unique in the fact that it is not a battlefield, but an encampment site between two major campaigns.”

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Because of his job, Lawrence says he gets many questions about the history.

“The three most common questions that we get, in order, are, first, ‘Where’s the restroom?’, ‘Where’s the gift shop?’, and then third, ‘Where’s the battlefield?'”

 

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In December of 1777, George Washington led a weary Continental army into Valley Forge, and for the next six months during a very difficult winter, the hills along the banks of the Schuylkill River would serve as the army’s home.

A Trolley at Valley Forge National Park. Photo credit: KYW's Lauren Lipton

A Trolley at Valley Forge National Park. Photo credit: KYW’s Lauren Lipton

“We try to give an idea of what the soldiers built, how they lived, the shelters they would have to create. This was essentially a city that they were building in less than a month. Valley Forge is one of the few places that gives a specific tribute to the sort of labor, the sort of work, the sort of life that soldiers lived, and also the dangers that they encountered.”

Through the years, the park has grown to be much more than a historic site, and while people travel for miles to get here, it’s right in our own backyard.

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