It derives its name from an old charcoal-iron forge, called
Potts' Forge, which was situated on the Valley Creek, and located about a half
mile south-east from Stanley L. Ogden's hotel, or the Mansion House, and
the same distance from the mouth of the creek as it enters the Schuylkill.
The site is still bare of trees, covered with green grass during summer and
surrounded by the young sprouts of the ancient forest which was cut down some
four years since. Nothing else marks the spot save a very cold spring,
still called Washington's Spring. A road close by leads into the Great
Valley from the railroad station. The old forge was washed away by a
freshet, but no traces of a dam have ever been seen, and it probably received
its water-power by a raceway conduit leading from the Valley Creek.
Washington's headquarters were exactly opposite the spot where the paper mill
of Sam'l Clugstone & Co. now stands. This mill was built and
thoroughly fitted with the latest improvements of machinery and appliances of
water and steam power. The Reading Railroad passes close to the
headquarters; and the land purchased by the Valley Forge Centennial Association
from Mrs. Hannah Ogden, for the sum of $6,000, includes about an acre and
a half of ground and the brown sand-stone two story dwelling house, or
"Headquarters," which Mrs. Ogden is permitted to occupy until
The population numbers between four and five hundred, and the business men are
R. W. Smith, proprietor of the cotton and woolen mills; Henry Atha,
proprietor, of the three-story shoddy mill; S. Clugston Co., paper
manufacturers; Ford & Hallman, foundry and machine shops; John
H. Rowan, merchant; Geo. Mulvany, Merchant; Evan Vanderslice,
Thomas Rossiter and Edward McMenamen, blacksmiths; Stephen Stephens and
Geo. Hartshorn, Wheel wrights; John ???? and Augustus Raymond,
shoemakers; Thomas Timperley, carpet weaver, and Thomas Kennedy,
A single Clergymen, Rev. Jos. Boyd, of the Methodist church, resides
here, and Mr. Daniel Webster, last but not the least, illustrious, is the
lively telegraphic operator and agent of the railroad station at this point.
A telephone also connects the station with I. W. Smith's woolen mills,
and the proprietor's residence.
The societies consist of Odd Fellows, American Mechanics, Patriotic Sons of
America, the '76 club, a good cornet band, a minstrel troupe, and a glee club.
The Mansion House at Valley Forge is the only hotel, and it is situated upon the
summit of the slope west of the village. The proprietor, Mr. Ogden,
has in his possession a number of interesting relics of revolutionary days,
among which are several cannon balls, found in the woods, varying from six to
twenty-four pounders, an old coffee mill, altogether of wrought iron and made
with a blacksmith's hammer, even the screw bolt nuts which bind it together
being tightened with a chisel. It is very rude, yet does the work well,
and Mr. O. was offered a large sum for it on Centennial day, but refused to
sell. He has also an old bayonet nearly rusted through, and many stone
dart, axes, spear heads, etc., of the Indians. Bullets and other missiles
are easily collected here in the fields and woods of the country, and other
residents in the vicinity have many relics among them.