George Washington, Valley Forge and Freemasonry represent patriotism, freedom and brotherly love to all Freemasons. Washington served as Master of his Masonic Lodge at the same time he was President of the United States. Through the preservation of this National Memorial Arch in 1996 - 1997, the Freemasons of Pennsylvania sought to honor the memory of George Washington, a national hero, patriot and prominent Freemason, and to honor the brave men who endured the winter encampment at Valley Forge in 1777 - 1778.
"We, as Freemasons, believe our children and their children need to know that the men in 1777 cared about freedom. They need to know that Freemasons in 1996 still care about freedom."
Edward O. Weisser, R.W. Grand Master, Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania, March 15, 1996
A National Treasure
The National Memorial Arch was authorized by Congress in 1910 as a tribute to George Washington and his army who endured the winter encampment at Valley Forge in 1777 - 1778. It was designed by Paul Phillipe Cret, a prominent Philadelphia architect, and dedicated on June 19, 1917. Although it had stood for nearly 80 years as a symbol of the triumph achieved by Washington, by the mid 1990's the Arch was in need of major structural repairs. It was cordoned off and closed to the public for safety reasons.
During 1996 - 1997, the Freemasons of Pennsylvania contributed more than one million five hundred thousand dollars necessary to preserve the Arch to its original grandeur.