Washington Crossing Historic Park is best known for preserving the spot where George Washington and his troops crossed the icy Delaware River in December 1776. But it’s also home to many historic buildings.
Eleven of those structures will soon undergo a major rehabilitation thanks to $8.7 million from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The project is slated to kick off in the next few weeks and take about a year and a half to complete.
“This certainly signals the start of a long-awaited and strongly supported transformation at Washington Crossing Historic Park, one that reflects the work of so many toward a shared, common goal,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn.
The 11 buildings include McConkey’s Ferry Inn, Thompson-Neely House, and many of the structures in the Taylorsville village. Areas being addressed include new roofs, new windows, plastering and painting exteriors, and internal plumbing and electrical work. The project also includes renovating and reopening restrooms near the Washington Pavilion and repaving the road to Bowman’s Hill Tower.
All work on the buildings will be done using historic preservation methods. The company overseeing the project has experience preserving period buildings at other historic sites, including Pennsbury Manor.
“Washington Crossing Historic Park is one of the most significant historic sites in our state and its situation along the Delaware River makes it a gem in our state park system,” said State Senator Steve Santarsiero. “The restoration of these buildings will help the Friends of Washington Crossing Park continue their incredible work highlighting the story of the crossing and lifting up the park as a tourist destination.”
The project, which has faced several delays over the years, became the focus of coordinated efforts between Sen. Santarsiero and the Friends of Washington Crossing. Sen. Santarsiero has worked with both the state Department of General Services (DGS) and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to get the project back on track.
In addition to preserving these historic structures, the project will create more usable space for the park and the Friends group. Plans call for the Friends to use the Mahlon Taylor House as their headquarters while other buildings will house an environmental center and classroom space for visiting schoolchildren. The long-closed Taylorsville Store may also reopen to sell food and a variety of “Made in PA” items.
“This will prove to be a transformative investment for the Washington Crossing Historic Park” said John Godzieba, Board President of the Friends of Washington Crossing Park. Godzieba, who portrays George Washington during events at the Park, further stated that, “the timing of this project is fortuitous since it is only five years until the country celebrates its Sestercentennial – 250 years from independence in 1776. I want to thank Senator Santarsiero as well as fellow Friends’ Board member, Peter Tucci, who were both instrumental in this capital project coming to fruition.”