PHILADELPHIA -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today joined Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and American Revolution Center Chair H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest to commemorate the successful completion of a land exchange that will strengthen two iconic National Parks and allow for the creation of the nation's first museum to commemorate the entire story of the American Revolution.
The National Park Service and the American Revolution Center (ARC) formally completed the land exchange of 78 acres owned by ARC within the boundary of Valley Forge National Historical Park for 0.87 acres owned by the United States within the boundary of Independence National Historical Park.
“With this land exchange, we are fulfilling the mission of National Park Service to conserve places of historical significance to the people of the United States,” said Salazar. “This agreement enhances the Valley Forge National Historical Park experience and adds an important element – the story of our nation's struggle for freedom – to Independence National Historical Park.”
Under the terms of the agreement, ARC conveyed to the United States title to land located within Valley Forge NHP north of the Schuylkill River. The parcel will be managed and preserved for its cultural and natural values. In exchange, the United States conveyed to ARC title to the former visitor's center and surrounding land. The parcel will now be a private inholding within the boundary of Independence NHP. Following terms agreed upon in the June 2009 agreement, which required an independent appraisal of the two properties, the exchange resulted in ARC receiving $3.21 million along with property at Third and Chestnut Streets.
“Through this exchange, we will preserve the location of the Continental Army's Valley Forge winter encampment of 1777-78, while the Museum of the American Revolution will help tell the story of the birth of our nation—just two blocks from Independence Hall,” said Park Service Northeast Regional Director Dennis Reidenbach.
ARC intends to establish the Museum of the American Revolution on their site within Independence National Historical Park which itself covers almost 54 acres in Philadelphia's Old City, and includes Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Congress Hall, Franklin Court, and other historic buildings associated with the founding of the United States. ARC, a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization dedicated to engaging the public in the history and enduring legacy of the American Revolution, plans to display its distinguished collection of objects, artifacts and manuscripts related to that era.
“The story of the American Revolution is relevant to every American. The Museum of the American Revolution can bring life to many chapters of that story and add a new dimension for visitors to Independence National Historical Park and Philadelphia,” said Superintendent Cynthia MacLeod, Independence NHP.
“These 78 acres are a jewel,” said Valley Forge NHP Superintendent Mike Caldwell. “The permanent preservation of the land is a remarkable accomplishment that both commemorates the endurance of the Continental Army, and allows this land to be enjoyed by generations of visitors to come.”
# # #