Taken from the January 24, 1879 edition of The Home News, Bryn Mawr

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 her decease.


Just where the placid Schuylkill sweeps in a beautiful crescent, a long and evenly descending reach of country slopes in front, and the Valley Creek, winding among the hills, empties into the river - behind the crescent. The present village numbers about 200 homes, stores, cotton and woolen manufactory, paper mill, foundry and machine shops, blacksmith and wheelwright establishments - two of the former and three of the latter - a large hall, Methodist and Baptist churches, a fine public school, and three shoemakers' shops. It is a flourishing little town among the hills and the larger portion is in the extreme western corner of Chester County.

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, basket maker.

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.

This page updated on March 1, 2009