Battle rages over Revolutionary War museum at Valley Forge

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After years of debate, a plan is finally in place to build an American Revolution museum complex on private land within Valley Forge National Historical Park. But opponents are taking another stand against the ambitious — they say too ambitious and commercialized — project.

The complex would be built on 78 privately owned acres of land known to locals as Pawling Farm, across the Schuylkill River from a building that was Gen. George Washington's headquarters during the encampment at Valley Forge.

The site, surrounded on three sides by the national park, was the location of the Continental Army's commissary and the spot from where 15,000 combat forces departed in June 1778 for what would be a victory in the battle of Monmouth.

The nonprofit group that owns the land, situated in the northeastern corner of the park, says it's ideal for what they call the first national museum of the Revolution. A conference center and lodging for families and scholars would follow.

But park officials, and some residents and advocacy groups, say the development would detract from the landscape and history of Valley Forge, where Washington's soldiers endured the bleak winter of 1777-78.

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