Eleanor Burk also told how her husband's barnboard chapel won national fame and the endorsement of the nation's President. Theodore Roosevelt, she explained, once came to visit the attorney general, Philander Knox, who happened to have a country estate just west of Valley Creek. In conversation Knox mentioned Burk and the church he was trying to build at Valley Forge. Roosevelt approved of the idea and asked, "How can I help this man?" Knox suggested that the President deliver a speech at the barnboard chapel.  Roosevelt, who is known for having described the presidency as a "bully pulpit," took the opportunity to speak from a real pulpit at Valley Forge.
On Saturday, June 18, 1904, the President and Mrs. Roosevelt came by private railway car to Devon, Pennsylvania, from Hyde Park, New York, and were driven to Knox's estate at Valley Forge. On the morning of Evacuation Day they toured the area, viewing the earthworks, the forts, and Washington's Headquarters, where Roosevelt insisted on paying the Centennial and Memorial Association's customary 10-cent fee. After lunch at the Knox mansion, the President set out for the barnboard chapel amid the cheers of Americans lining the roadway. Burk had the honor of introducing the President, who arrived around four o'clock. His presence in the area had not been highly publicized, but the chapel was filled to capacity and surrounded by many more spectators hoping to hear his words through the open windows. 
Roosevelt's speech compared two great moments in American history: Gettysburg and Valley Forge. He implied that the fledgling state park was just as important as the far more impressive memorial park at Gettysburg. In fact, the President claimed that Valley Forge had an even more important message for America. Gettysburg, he declared, had been a single heroic effort, while Valley Forge was "what we need, on the whole, much more— much more commonly—and which is a more difficult thing—constant effort." Roosevelt continued, "I think as a people we need more to learn the lesson of Valley Forge than the lesson of Gettysburg." 
The President concluded by heartily endorsing the Washington Memorial Chapel:
I congratulate you that it is your good fortune to be encouraged in erecting a memorial to the great man who was equal to the great deeds that he was called upon to perform, to the man and the men who showed by their lives that they were indeed doers of the word, and not hearers only. 
After the final hymn was sung, the President took his leave, shaking hands with Burk and declaring that it had been his pleasure to come. President and Mrs. Roosevelt left Knox's residence the following morning, again boarding their private railway car for Washington.  Roosevelt's presence had enabled Burk to claim a wonderful accomplishment. Theodore Roosevelt had been the first President to visit Valley Forge while in office, and he had come specifically to speak at Burk's barnboard chapel. The structure was renamed the Roosevelt Chapel in his honor.
The barnboard chapel continued to house Burk's congregation while work was begun on the Washington Memorial Chapel proper. Enough money was raised to build the walls of the nave to a height of 10 feet, or up to the windowsills of what would be the completed chapel's stained-glass windows. Then money ran out, and the church was furnished with a temporary roof, but this made the building usable and Burk held his first church service inside it on Washington's Birthday 1905. The barnboard chapel was retained as a Sunday school and as a tribute to Theodore Roosevelt.
Burk began furnishing the half-built chapel by soliciting contributions. Wealthy individuals were encouraged to pay for an article of church furniture in memory of the life of some great American of the Revolutionary period— one of their own ancestors if their roots went back that far. Mary H Wood provided the church with its pulpit, lectern, and choir perclose in memory of her late husband, Alan Wood Jr., who had been a descendant of William Dewees. 
Dr. Burk managed another Valley Forge first at the pulpit's dedication on Washington's Birthday 1909. Because the pulpit honored George Washington's services as a British soldier during the period of the French and Indian War, and particularly the fact that Washington had officiated at the burial of the unfortunate British General Braddock, Burk got a British official to pay homage at Valley Forge for the first time in American history. His Majesty's British consul, the Honorable Wilfred Powell, proclaimed in his speech that Washington had been "the greatest Englishman of the eighteenth century." Powell also had words of praise for the partially completed Washington Memorial Chapel and asked, "Why should not this Memorial Chapel become the nucleus of a Valhalla, a Pantheon or a Westminster Abbey, where the monuments and tombs of the heroes and great men of the United States should find a home?"