Washington Crossing Historic Park
The state-owned Washington Crossing Historic Park and Visitors Center is in jeopardy of being closed due to disrepair.
Washington Crossing, a Pennsylvania-owned and run park, is now in danger of closing due to disrepair. This step deprives Americans of the opportunity to learn about Washington and his troops fatefully crossing the Delaware River and changing the course of the Revolutionary War. More than half a million visitors from around the world stop here to see the assemblage of 13 historic buildings, Durham boat replicas, and the assembly area and embarkation point.
Built in the 1950's, with an addition completed for the Bicentennial in 1976, the Washington Crossing State Park Visitors’ Center has since that time gone without many needed repairs, leaving the building with leaks, failing heating systems, non-compliant bathrooms, and general deterioration. Some repairs, such as asbestos removal, have been completed, but ongoing work has stopped, and the Commonwealth has not committed funding for its continuation. Additional funding is needed to complete repairs to keep the building, as well as the surrounding grounds, outbuildings, and historic sites, open to the public.
On March 18, 2009, a Save the Park Rally was held, serving as a reminder about the park's unique place in the American legacy. A focal point for multiple remarks included the deep history important to not only Bucks County, but the country as a whole.
“If you think this rally is about a building, then you have missed the Durham boat,” said Ellen Petri, the wife of Pennsylvania Representative Scott Petri (178th District). “It is fitting that we stand here with these soldiers today.”
During the rally, Upper Makefield Business Association President John Silvers insisted that the Washington Crossing State Park and its Visitors Center “is and should be a national treasure.” Silvers also stated his belief that the site “defines who we are … and what our nation must never forget.”
Dave Christian, a highly decorated Vietnam War veteran and ardent supporter of the park, paid tribute to our founding fathers, telling the crowd of approximately 150 that Washington Crossing is a tangible “result of sacrifice.” Mr. Christian added, “We are America.” Other speakers highlighted the “incredible draw of the park” and cited “the glorious cause of independence.”
The rally also coincided with a Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission hearing in Harrisburg regarding the Visitors Center status. As of now, the future status of Washington Crossing Historic Park is unknown.
Ways to help:
- Attend the public hearing scheduled for Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 7:00 pm in the Washington Crossing Visitors Center.
- Talk to your State Legislators about keeping the park open and in repair. For a list of local Pa State Representatives and Senators, go to the Bucks County Elected Officials page.
- Involve Congress. Write or call your federal officials and let them know what Washington Crossing Historic Park means to our nation.
- Email your Bucks County Commissioners to show your support for their efforts of securing funding for the Park.
For more information on the Save the Park Rally, see the release, "A Visit to “America’s Park:” Commissioners Offer Support to Preserve and Expand Washington Crossing Visitors Center."
View the Commissioners' letter to Senator Specter.
View the Commissioners' letter to Senator Casey.
View the Commissioners' letter to Congressman Murphy.
View the Commissioners Cawley's letter to the Mount Vernon Ladies Association.
For more information about the park and its many attractions, please visit www.ushistory.org/washingtoncrossing or call 215-493-4076.