Two hundred and thirty five years ago tonight, the Continental Army, commanded by General George Washington, set up camp at Valley Forge, Pa. for a brutal winter encampment that would claim the lives of more than 2,500 men. The soliders, poorly equipped for the unusually cold winter, shivered under log huts, with up to two thirds lacking footwear. Still, despite legions of desertions and deaths, the Continental Army emerged from the winter prepared to track down the British army. No such feats of fortitude are required in Valley Forge today. It's now set just north of the upscale bedroom communities of Philadelphia's Main Line. The existing compound on this historic gentleman's farm in nearby Berwyn might date to the 1770s, but has been updated and expanded to a luxurious standard. The main house has five bedrooms, four bathrooms, five fireplaces, along with formal living and dining rooms. The historic "spring house" has been "converted into an 'authentic pub' with home theater, gas fireplace and full bath," while the "coach house" could be converted into a pool house. There's also a 9,000-square-foot barn, said to be one of the oldest in the state. All of this is located on land once owned by Pennsylvania's founder, William Penn, and is currently listed for $1.25M.
↑ Located just a mile northwest of the Valley Forge National Historical Park, this ivy-covered brick mansion, built in 1929, provides a level of sophisticated luxury that would be completely foreign to Washington's troops. The French Norman manse, designed by notable local architects Mellor & Meigs, houses seven bedrooms and seven baths, spread over nearly 9,000 square feet. It is currently listed for $2M.
↑ Secluded on 10 private acres in nearby Malvern, this low-slung stone sprawler was built in 1930, but has more recently been expanded to 5,600 square feet. Over the years, the original wood paneling and floors have been preserved, while the kitchen has been updated and entire walls removed to afford better views of the surrounding countryside. Listed for $2.95M, the six-bedroom, six-bath house is joined on the estate by a "pool, tennis court, and stable."
↑ One of the rare properties that actually borders the National Historical Site, this 1.7-acre Malvern property features a Colonial-inspired house, completed in 1989, that adequately emulates the period homes in the area, with a "cedar roof, tall baseboards, raised panel doors and Baldwin Brass hardware." That's not to say that there aren't some thoroughly modern features on this four-bed, four-bath property, like a four-car "collectors garage fitted with lifts, heating system, custom lighting, compressed air and tile floor." The hillside abode is currently asking $990K.
↑ This final house is hardly a mansion, but it was built way back in the 1760s, and probably would have seemed like a palace to many of Washington's beleaguered men. Measuring some 4,900 square feet, the thatch-roofed structure is currently in a state of zoning limbo, and could be used for either residential or commercial purposes. Best of all, it's the cheapest on this list, listed for $484K.
- Valley Forge