Friday, October 18, 2013

Valley Forge: History In My Backyard

It is definitely true that your environment shapes you as a person. Growing up, I was only minutes away from Valley Forge National Historic Park in Pennsylvania, the location of the American Continental Army's military camp during the winter of 1777–1778. When we moved to Philadelphia in Winter 1966, Valley Forge was one of the first places my family visited.

Here, my father attempts to get my attention in front of one of the reconstructed cabins that dot the park. Too late; even at the age of 2, I was thoroughly ensconced in the wonder of this historic structure.

Every spring, we would typically visit Valley Forge to see the blooming of the Dogwoods. The beautiful blooms were a welcome sign that winter was over.

I loved it when my dad would take me to the park, sketchbook and markers in hand.

Zooming in, I can see that I was attempting to draw a nearby statue of George Washington.

The statue is still there today:

During high school, the park was the perfect place to hang out with friends. Picnics, frisbee tossing...what a beautiful setting.

This vintage June 1956 image shows Washington's Headquarters; it was a bit more civilized than the crude cabins that the soldiers had to stay in.

Flashing forward to the present, here's how his Headquarters looks today:

See more vintage & current Valley Forge, Pennsylvania photos on my Valley Forge web page.


K. Martinez said...

I love the photo of the Dogwoods blooming. What incredible beauty.

What is that character on your shirt in image 4? It seems an unusual yet familiar graphic style from that time.

Thanks for sharing your personal family photos. From your writing it sounds like they bring back a lot of warm memories for you.

CoxPilot said...

Your graphic artist was blooming even then. I have a ring binder full of artwork I did all through my grade school and high school days. It must have about 300 drawings, sketches and technical plans to my greatest inventions.

Great photos of your early days. Thanks for sharing them.