So many places claim George Washington slept here, it’s a wonder he ever spent a night at home in Mount Vernon. Boyertown’s claim to authentic Washington fame is little known, yet Washington was a regular visitor to the area. He purchased armaments from Hopewell Furnace and Oley Furnace, while staying in a mansion on the route of the Colebrookdale Railroad and urged local ironmasters to increase iron production to keep the Continental Army equipped in their stand against the British, even though he asked them to do so on spec.

Washington’s stay in the Boyertown area began in 1777, after victories in Trenton and Princeton. Instead of heading to the South as anticipated, British General Howe trained his sites on Philadelphia, then the seat of the Continental Congress. After defeats at Brandywine and Paoli, Washington mounted an offense to chase the British out of Philadelphia, which proved to be a long siege that included a winter encampment at Valley Forge to retreat and retrain troops. By June 1778, successful training and warmer weather filled the soldiers with renewed determination and they went on to ultimately defeat the British.

We’ve crafted The George Washington Trail to begin in Boyertown with an excursion into the Secret Valley on the Colebrookdale Railroad. The rest of the trail is divided into two loops to make your exploring more relaxing and allow you to leisurely learn more of the story. Loop One includes locations that served as Washington’s Headquarters during battle, and Valley Forge where the troops wintered. Loop Two includes locations where Washington purchased armaments and food supplies for the troops, as well as more historic homes that served as headquarters. In between loops, you can enjoy Historic Boyertown and overnight accommodations at the Twin Turrets Inn, residing in Victorian style and dine in our local restaurants.

Colebrookdale Railroad – The Secret Valley Line
Parking at 62 South Washington Avenue, Boyertown, PA

The first ironworks in the New World that ultimately produced ammunition for George Washington’s Continental Army was founded on the banks of the fast flowing Manatawny Creek right outside Boyertown in 1716. You can learn the full story of these pioneering ironmasters who settled the region on a Colebrookdale Railroad excursion between Boyertown and Pottstown. Halfway through the journey, you’ll overlook the residence where George Washington stayed while pushing the region’s ironmasters to step up work so he could keep the Continental Army fully equipped.

Colebrookdale Railroad – The Secret Valley Line
Parking at 62 South Washington Avenue, Boyertown, PA

The first ironworks in the New World that ultimately produced ammunition for George Washington’s Continental Army was founded on the banks of the fast flowing Manatawny Creek right outside Boyertown in 1716. You can learn the full story of these pioneering ironmasters who settled the region on a Colebrookdale Railroad excursion between Boyertown and Pottstown. Halfway through the journey, you’ll overlook the residence where George Washington stayed while pushing the region’s ironmasters to step up work so he could keep the Continental Army fully equipped.

Henry Antes House
318 Colonial Road, Perkiomenville, PA 18054 

The Henry Antes House, built as a traditional three-room Moravian plan settlement house in 1716, served as the George Washington’s headquarters during the Philadelphia Campaign, from September 23 to 26, 1777. The two-story structure constructed from local rubblestone is distinguished by the many original interior finishes, including ceilings and board partition walls, that have survived for more than 300 years. It is so authentic, it is considered one of the best-preserved examples of a pre-1750s Germanic structure in the world. In addition to serving as Washington’s headquarters, the Antes house was the location of frequent evangelical and political meetings held by the colonists to promote understanding between the diverse groups that were settling the American frontier. Open at various times.

Pennypacker Mills
5 Halderman Road, Schwenksville, PA 19473 

Once surrounded by 170 acres of rolling Pennsylvania farmland, Pennypacker Mills, built in 1720, was once the site of the Hite family, very wealthy millers in the Philadelphia area who made Schwenksville their home. The property was purchased by Peter Pannebacker in 1762, who lent his home to George Washington to use as a headquarters prior to the Battle of Germantown and a field hospital after the battle.

Today, Pennypacker Mills is preserved to appear as it did in the time of Pennsylvania Governor Samuel Pennypacker descendent of earlier owner. He made the house his summer home in the early 1900s and as the location of his many collections that include documents signed by George Washington among the many historic treasures. Open on regular schedule.

Pennypacker Mills
5 Halderman Road, Schwenksville, PA 19473 

Once surrounded by 170 acres of rolling Pennsylvania farmland, Pennypacker Mills, built in 1720, was once the site of the Hite family, very wealthy millers in the Philadelphia area who made Schwenksville their home. The property was purchased by Peter Pannebacker in 1762, who lent his home to George Washington to use as a headquarters prior to the Battle of Germantown and a field hospital after the battle.

Today, Pennypacker Mills is preserved to appear as it did in the time of Pennsylvania Governor Samuel Pennypacker descendent of earlier owner. He made the house his summer home in the early 1900s and as the location of his many collections that include documents signed by George Washington among the many historic treasures. Open on regular schedule.

Sunrise Mill
3431 Neiffer Road, Schwenksville, PA 19473 

When headquartered at Penneypacker Mills, Washington was able to buy grain from nearby Sunrise Mill, which had been in operation since 1767. After serving in this roll, the long and varied history of Sunrise Mill included ownership by Dr. Chevalier Jackson from 1918 to 1958.

After having been left in disrepair by previous owners, Dr. Jackson rebuilt the mill dam, restored the mill to running order and installed a generator for electric lighting from the turbines. The property also includes a saw mill dating prior to 1774, but since he did not want to see trees cut down, the sawmill was never repaired. Drive by only.

William and Mordecai Evans House
1206 Main Street, Linfield, PA 19468

In addition to serving the community for religious meetings, the William and Mordecai Evans house, completed in 1751, served as headquarters for George Washington in 1777 when he raced General Howe to the Schuylkill Fords after the Battle of Brandywine and the aborted Battle of the Clouds at Malvern. After re-arming his men with new ammunition from Hopewell Furnace, even though they were caught in blustery weather, Washington pushed the army in an attempt to engage General Howe before he reached Philadelphia. They cross the river at Parker’s Ford, while Washington waited at the Evans house for the army to regroup. Drive by only.

William and Mordecai Evans House
1206 Main Street, Linfield, PA 19468

In addition to serving the community for religious meetings, the William and Mordecai Evans house, completed in 1751, served as headquarters for George Washington in 1777 when he raced General Howe to the Schuylkill Fords after the Battle of Brandywine and the aborted Battle of the Clouds at Malvern. After re-arming his men with new ammunition from Hopewell Furnace, even though they were caught in blustery weather, Washington pushed the army in an attempt to engage General Howe before he reached Philadelphia. They cross the river at Parker’s Ford, while Washington waited at the Evans house for the army to regroup. Drive by only.

Parker’s Ford
Intersection of Linfield Road and Old Schuylkill Road, Parker Ford, PA 19475

Located on the Great Wagon Road which led from Philadelphia to the Shenandoah Valley, Parker’s Ford has been a resting place for travelers since 1766. Because the river crossing on the Schuylkill River is more shallow here than in other locations, George Washington chose this spot for his troops to cross while racing to beat General Howe to Philadelphia. Washington used the tavern as his temporary headquarters as his troops struggled with crossing the river swollen by heavy rainfall. Drive by only.

Valley Forge
1400 North Outer Line Drive, King of Prussia, PA 19406

It’s a very pleasant drive through the countryside to Valley Forge National Historical Park, where 12,000 soldiers and 400 women and children built what was, at the time, the fourth largest city in the United States. Over 1,500 log huts and two miles of fortifications serve as the winter camp of the Continental Army who were trained and readied for battle and from which they emerged as a cohesive and disciplined fighting force. As diverse as any city today, Valley Forge was filled with people who were free, enslaved, wealthy, impoverished, foreign, and of several different faiths, all working together to move forward the cause of the new nation. Today, the landscape and archeological objects that remain illustrate one of the most defining events in our nation’s history. Open on regular schedule.

 

Valley Forge
1400 North Outer Line Drive, King of Prussia, PA 19406

It’s a very pleasant drive through the countryside to Valley Forge National Historical Park, where 12,000 soldiers and 400 women and children built what was, at the time, the fourth largest city in the United States. Over 1,500 log huts and two miles of fortifications serve as the winter camp of the Continental Army who were trained and readied for battle and from which they emerged as a cohesive and disciplined fighting force. As diverse as any city today, Valley Forge was filled with people who were free, enslaved, wealthy, impoverished, foreign, and of several different faiths, all working together to move forward the cause of the new nation. Today, the landscape and archeological objects that remain illustrate one of the most defining events in our nation’s history. Open on regular schedule.

 

Coventryville
3501 Coventryville Road, Pottstown, PA

Iron operations at Coventryville date from land granted to Samuel Nutt to formed a partnership with Mordecai Lincoln, great-great grandfather of President Abraham Lincoln. In 1757, Coventry passed to Thomas Potts, father of John Potts, founder of Pottstown. During the American Revolution, the Coventryville iron works supplied munitions to the Continental Army. In the early 1800s, Coventry Forge was enlarged and re-equipped to purchase the first steel produced on the American continent. Coventry Hall, the ironmasters mansion, built between 1740 and 1760, still stands at the edge of the village. Drive by only.

New Hanover Lutheran Church
2941 Lutheran Road, Gilbertsville, PA 19525

One of the oldest churches in the nation, New Hanover Lutheran Church was founded in 1700. After worshipping in three log structures for nearly three-quarters of a century, the congregation supported building a new stone church, which is still in use today.

At the time, parishioners had no idea that their new building would serve as a field hospital for the Continental Army in 1777. Wounded from the Battles of Brandywine and Paoli were carried with the troops as they moved north to new encampments in Pottstown and Towamencin, and ultimately carried to New Hanover Lutheran as a hastily established medical center. Open on varied schedule.

New Hanover Lutheran Church
2941 Lutheran Road, Gilbertsville, PA 19525

One of the oldest churches in the nation, New Hanover Lutheran Church was founded in 1700. After worshipping in three log structures for nearly three-quarters of a century, the congregation supported building a new stone church, which is still in use today.

At the time, parishioners had no idea that their new building would serve as a field hospital for the Continental Army in 1777. Wounded from the Battles of Brandywine and Paoli were carried with the troops as they moved north to new encampments in Pottstown and Towamencin, and ultimately carried to New Hanover Lutheran as a hastily established medical center. Open on varied schedule.

Pine Forge
658 Douglas Drive, Douglassville, PA  

Pine Forge is the massive home built by Thomas Rutter founder of the first iron furnace in the New World and the same man who changed American history. The successful iron production Rutter began in the American colonies ultimately allowed the colonists to produce their own iron products rather than continuing to import from England, which enabled them to declare their independence from England a little more than 50 years later. Under the management of the all related Rutter, Potts and Nutt families, the iron industry in Pennsylvania grew from nothing to one of the world’s leading producers of iron and iron products in the world. Drive by only.

Pottsgrove Manor
100 West King Street, Pottstown, PA

John Potts, founder of Pottstown and builder of Pottsgrove Manor, was considered the greatest ironmaster in all of the American colonies. Arriving in the area in 1725, he partnered with Thomas Rutter in the iron business. Over the years as the Potts and Rutter families intermarried the Potts ended up owning a massive empire of iron mines, forges, furnaces, grist mills, saw mills, farms, slaves, homes and more in Pennsylvania and Virginia, and a wharf in Philadelphia. Pottsgrove Manor, restored to the time period of the Potts family, reflects an elegance about their lives as they entertained George Washington and other colonial notables. George Washington used this very gracious mansion as a headquarters during the Revolutionary War. Open on regular schedule.

Pottsgrove Manor
100 West King Street, Pottstown, PA

John Potts, founder of Pottstown and builder of Pottsgrove Manor, was considered the greatest ironmaster in all of the American colonies. Arriving in the area in 1725, he partnered with Thomas Rutter in the iron business. Over the years as the Potts and Rutter families intermarried the Potts ended up owning a massive empire of iron mines, forges, furnaces, grist mills, saw mills, farms, slaves, homes and more in Pennsylvania and Virginia, and a wharf in Philadelphia. Pottsgrove Manor, restored to the time period of the Potts family, reflects an elegance about their lives as they entertained George Washington and other colonial notables. George Washington used this very gracious mansion as a headquarters during the Revolutionary War. Open on regular schedule.

Rivers of Revolution Visitors Center
140 College Drive, Pottstown, PA 19464 

There are three revolutions that have taken place in the Schuylkill Valley, the first being the American Revolution, in which the Schuylkill River played an important role, presenting a barrier that must be crossed by the troops in order to continue pursuing the enemy. Rivers of Revolution Visitors Center tells that story, in a table relief map of the are which features the Philadelphia Campaign and the role the river played in the conflict. Displays feature Continental Army soldiers and artifacts that have been discovered in the area. Open on regular schedule.

Pottstown Roller Mill
170 South Street, Pottstown, PA 

Built in 1725, this historic mill located on the Schuylkill River that provided flour to the Continental Army looks significantly different than it did in Washington’s time. The original mill was only two stories tall and three bays wide. In 1856, as agriculture in the area thrived, two brick stories were added to the original fieldstone mill and a five bay brick addition added, which doubled the size of the facility. This same roller mill provided shelter for escaping slaves in the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. Drive by only.

Pottstown Roller Mill
170 South Street, Pottstown, PA 

Built in 1725, this historic mill located on the Schuylkill River that provided flour to the Continental Army looks significantly different than it did in Washington’s time. The original mill was only two stories tall and three bays wide. In 1856, as agriculture in the area thrived, two brick stories were added to the original fieldstone mill and a five bay brick addition added, which doubled the size of the facility. This same roller mill provided shelter for escaping slaves in the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. Drive by only.

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
2 Mark Bird Lane, Elverson, PA 19520 

Strolling around the serene landscape of Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, you’d almost expect to see a horse pulling a cart of charcoal, to come out from aside a building, or the ironmasters children running about the yard. Considered one of the best preserved iron plantations in the nation, Hopewell appears to have just been put to sleep, ready to rise another day. The 14 preserved structures include the ironmasters mansion, and the blast furnace with the original waterwheel that once relentlessly powered the furnace bellows. Put into blast just before the American Revolution, Hopewell Furnace was key in aiding the Continental Army to win the war. The heavily forested land which surrounded Hopewell is now French Creek State Park. Start your visit by watching the 15 minute history video before taking the walking tour complete with “Voices of Hopewell” bringing to life the villagers who worked here. Open on regular schedule.

White Horse Tavern
509 Old Philadelphia Pike, Douglassville, PA 19518

The White Horse Tavern, originally constructed in 1765, located in what was then the Village of Morlatton, was the first permanent settlement in Berks County. Since it is located on the banks of the Schuylkill River, the tavern was a mustering and training site for Revolutionary War soldiers and the scene of numerous meetings and other activities related to the war. Open on varied schedule.

White Horse Tavern
509 Old Philadelphia Pike, Douglassville, PA 19518

The White Horse Tavern, originally constructed in 1765, located in what was then the Village of Morlatton, was the first permanent settlement in Berks County. Since it is located on the banks of the Schuylkill River, the tavern was a mustering and training site for Revolutionary War soldiers and the scene of numerous meetings and other activities related to the war. Open on varied schedule.

Oley Furnace
Reider Road, Oley, PA 

Nestled in a beautiful little hollow on meandering Reider Road just above the town of Oley, the Oley Furnace sits quietly between the Undee Mill and a fast rushing clear stream that one powered its bellows. The colonial farmhouse and other preserved buildings still stand on the other side of the road. The property was purchased by Daniel Undee in 1788, who, in addition to being one of the area’s more prominent ironmasters, was a Revolutionary War soldier and statesmen and a supplier of armaments to the Continental Army. Drive by only.