Valley Forge PA., The Washington Memorial Chapel was built as a tribute to General George Washington and the Continental soldiers who survived the brutal winter cantonment at Valley Forge in 1778-1779.
The inspiration for the Chapel resulted from a sermon preached by the 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. It is the home of an active parish in the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.
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 the Chapel receives no funding from the National Park Service and is not formally affiliated with the Valley Forge National Historical Park.
Washington Memorial Heritage was created as a secular nonprofit, independent of the Chapel. It is a qualifying 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 as one of the foremost examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the United States.
Source: The Washington Memorial Chapel Restoration Committee