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Best of 2005

(January 1st - December 31st, 2005)

Aaron Spence

Surfers Paradise

Carlton SooHoo, Ph.D.

National Memorial Arch

Valley Forge National Historic Park, Pennsylvania, USA

December 10, 2005, 2:37 PM

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© 2005 Carlton SooHoo, All Rights Reserved.

The most striking monument in the Valley Forge National Historic Park is the Arch which was authorized by the Secretary of War in 1910, and transferred into the custody of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on June 19, 1917--the 139th anniversary of the evacuation of Valley Forge. It was designed by University of Pennsylvania professor Paul Philippe Cret. The Arch is built in a style "similar to the Arch of Titus, in Rome," and it "faces Gulph Road, over which the weary and ragged regiments marched to their camps." The Arch cost $100,000, to construct, followed by later topographical improvements for $35,000.

From the Valley Forge Historical Society: Originally, in 1908, Congressman Irving P. Wanger of Norristown introduced a bill to Congress for federal funds for two arches at Valley Forge to honor 1-Washington and 2-Von Steuben. After much debate, the bill was amended to reduce the number to one arch to honor Washington. It was approved in Congress in 1910 and at that point they resolved that the secretary of war would oversee the project.

The designer of the architect was Paul Philippe Cret — a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Cret was from France and studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. [Some of his Philadelphia structures include the Rodin Museum, the Federal Reserve Bank building and the Ben Franklin Bridge to name just a few].

The final design inspiration came from the Arch of Titus in Rome. It became controversial in some part for the fact that some people didn't want to see a triumphal arch in a rural setting. (Roman arches were always part of an urban setting). Some controversy also came up over its location, but it remained in its planned location.

The National Memorial Arch was dedicated June 19, 1917. The dedication ceremony was attended by a number of US Congressmen and hundreds of visitors. The formal address of dedication was given by then Pennsylvania governor, Martin Brumbaugh. The thought of patriotism at that time was VERY strong due to the fact the world was in chaos over WWI.

The Arch underwent an extensive renovation project the last couple of years — with funds donated by the Masons. It was rededicated with a special ceremony in 1997.
Valley Forge National Historic Park: http://www.nps.gov/vafo/ http://www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/

Panospin Studios: http://panospin.com
Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro, Nikon Nikkor 8 mm f/2.8 fisheye, Agnos MRotator TCP Short, Manfrotto 3001B Pro tripod. Some warm leather gloves and a thermos of hot chocolate was helpful. Stitching was with Easypano's Panoweaver 4.0.
Behind the scene : how this panorama was made
Like many public memorials, there are constantly tourists all about. I had only moments to set up and shoot before the arriving tourists would appear. Some tourists were nearby, but I used photoshop to make them disappear. It was also very cold and slippery and the tripod made for a good balancing third leg.

I took four shots at 90 degrees each, and one shot straight upward.

Exposure was: ISO 100, f/8, 1/180 sec. Raw image recorded.
And here in this place of sacrifice in this vale of humiliation in this valley of the shadow of that death out of which the life of America rose regenerate and free let us believe with an abiding Faith that to them Union will seem as dear and liberty as sweet and progress as glorious as they were to our fathers and are to you and me and that the institutions which have made us happy preserved by the virtue of our children shall bless the remotest generation of the time to come.

Henry Armitt Brown


Commander in Chief: George Washington

Major Generals: DeKalb, Greene, Lafayette, Lee, Mifflin, Steuben, Stirling, Sullivan

Brigadier Generals: Armstrong, DuPortail, Glover, Huntington, Knox, Learned, McIntosh, Maxwell, Muhlenberg, Patterson, Poor, Scott, Smallwood, Varnum, Wayne, Weedon, Woodford, Pulaski

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