America's Best History Spotlight
On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.
Battle of Whitemarsh, Pennsylvania
An encampment, a battle, although if you asked a history buff about the Philadelphia Campaign of 1777 pitting the Continental Army of George Washington against Howe's British Soldiers, you'd be hard pressed to get much, if any, information about it. You see, there was a final battle on December 5-8 between those two forces in General Howe's last attempt before winter to do away with Washington's Army. But Washington, after losses at Brandywine, the Battle of the Clouds, Paoli, and Germantown, had fortified well on the hills of today's Fort Washington State Park. So well, that Howe would give up and return to his new confines in Philadelphia. A few days later, Washington would leave this camp and head to that storied encampment at Valley Forge. Photo above: View of the British Positions, Battle of White Marsh, 1777, Johann Martin Will. Courtesy Library of Congress via Wikipedia Commons.
Info, What's There Now, History Nearby
Encampment and Battle of Whitemarsh
Despite the fact that the Battle of Whitemarsh and its encampment have receded into history, overshadowed by its more famous Valley Forge cousin, a trip for the history buff from the more well known is worth the time. There's Hope Lodge, Mather Mill, Fort Washington Park, and a driving tour put together by a student group. The battle was essentially a series of several skirmishes won by the British. What you will notice very easily while driving through Fort Washington park, is the height of the ridges and the good reason why General Howe decided it wouldn't be easy to roust Washington's forces from them in a general battle, so he left. It's also interesting to climb onto the observation tower. It's near, but not exactly where some of the redoubts were located. And although today it's a site mostly used to watch hawks, peer into the valley toward Philadelphia. Washington chose this location well, and you can even wonder why he bothered to change sites to Valley Forge after the battle. Yes, Valley Forge had the river and easier transportation of supplies, if you wanted to know one of the main reasons.
Photo above: Hope Lodge, 1937. American Historic Buildings Survey. Courtesy Library of Congress via Wikipedia Commons.
Where Is It
Hope Lodge and the Fort Washington encampment site is located fifteen miles from Valley Forge National Historical Park. There's several ways to get there, easy, but longer Route 202 north and Route 73 east. The Schuylkill Expressway to E-276, then onto Plymouth Road, Butler Pike, and Militia Hill Road. The address of the park is 500 Bethlehem Pike, Fort Washington, PA 19034. The address of Hope Lodge is 553 S. Bethlehem Pike, Fort Washington, PA 19034.
What is There Now
Hope Lodge, Mather Mill, the hills of Fort Washington State Park where the militia and redoubts were located (no longer there), an observation platform that gives you a sense of what Washington saw looking toward Howe's troops in Philadelphia, one explanation marker (hard to believe there's not more), and a driving tour put together very well by the students of the Honors Class of the Philadelphia Montgomery Christian Academy. Emlen House, which was General Washington's headquarters, still exists, but is private property and has been modernized.
How Much to Visit
Fort Washington State Park is free. Hope Lodge, open for tours only on the 3rd Sunday of each month from April to October, costs $5 per adult. You can visit the grounds daily. Mather Mill, between the lodge and park, is currently not open for tours due to structural problems.
Dawn to dusk for the park and grounds. Hope Lodge, 3rd Sunday of Month from April to October, some later dates, from 12:30 to 4:00 p.m.
Fort Washington State Park
Battle of Whitemarsh Driving Tour
Well, it's obvious that the main historic sites in the area are Philadelphia and Valley Forge National Historical Park. If you're coming down Bethlehem Pike, you're also not far from the National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem and other Bethlehem area historic sites..