The years of contention over park uses and procedures coincided with plans for the largest development to date on a tract just south of the park that had long been the property of the University of Pennsylvania. This piece of land had been donated to the university in 1926 by Henry F. Woolman, a Penn alumnus. At that time it was known as Cressbrook Farm, and part of it was supposed to have been occupied during the 1777—1778 encampment. A building now known as the Duportail House was located on the property, named for its famous guest, Washington's chief engineer. The university had been considering moving at least some of its operations from its West Philadelphia location ever since the early 1920s when a huge new railway terminal and post office threatened increased development in this area, and the Woolman gift seemed to provide a good suburban site. Valley Forge, it was believed, could be a very uplifting place for an Ivy League university. One pamphlet proclaimed that the location "would send forth men of higher ideals of service and patriotism than could be acquired anywhere in the country."  Another pamphlet noted: "This American shrine is watched over by the spirits of many distinguished alumni who suffered there," including Anthony Wayne, Class of 1765. 
Penn never did build its suburban campus, and the old farmland had long remained undeveloped. In the 1930s, a university study noted that relocation "at the present time would not be welcome to the management of the University."  It was speculated that the plans for the move might incur increased financial burdens and detract from the "support" the school then enjoyed.  The university's president had indicated opposition to the project,  causing the group of alumni who had supported the move during the 1920s to scale back their plans and by the end of the 1930s finally abandon them.
The open, rolling farmland held by the University of Pennsylvania was finally purchased by developer Richard Fox of Jenkintown. A planner worked up a development plan for a community to be named Chesterbrook that would combine commercial buildings, single-family and cluster housing, apartments, recreational facilities, and planned open space. Area residents and the media used the adjective "high-density" to describe it, and there were estimates that it would bring at least 10,000 and perhaps as many as 12,000 to 14,000 new residents to Valley Forge.
Local residents united with the park commissioners in opposition. Five hundred people cheered at one meeting held late in 1971 when Tredyffrin Township delayed the zoning decision that would have enabled development to start.  The park commission protested that Chesterbrook would encroach on yet another park border and perhaps bring the same type of undesirable scenery that Valley Forge now had to the east. New residents were expected to burden the park with recreational demands, while Chesterbrook office workers would put more commuter traffic on the roads running through the park. There would also be pressure for new utility easements, like the one already under consideration for a pipeline running through the park itself from a sewage-pumping station south of the park to a disposal plant on the Schuylkill 
Many people began asking why the Chesterbrook tract could not simply become part of the park. Pennsylvania's Governor Milton Shapp asked the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to investigate the feasibility of acquiring at least enough of Chesterbrook to prevent potential flooding on Valley Creek.  Annamaria Malloy kept the governor apprised of the opposition of area residents, reminding him that the Chesterbrook tract could give the park more recreational area and thereby take the pressure off the park's historic core. 
Two local groups were organized to oppose the development of Chesterbrook. The Citizens Organization to Reclaim Chesterbrook (CORC) studied the ecological and environmental aspects and predicted dire consequences for the park itself.  In 1973, concerned citizens organized the Chesterbrook Conservancy to obtain pledges toward the actual purchase of Chesterbrook, Their initial goal was to raise commitments for $100,000—not nearly enough for this valuable real estate, but seed money that might attract state, federal, or foundation funds. 
In 1975, the specter of Chesterbrook was suddenly overshadowed when a retired brigadier general informed the park commission that the Veterans Administration was considering Valley Forge as the site of a 500-acre cemetery that would stretch from the park's eastern entrance along Outer Line Drive to the National Memorial Arch.  Local newspapers were joined by publications as national in scope as the New York Times in suggesting that the veterans consider another site. Annamaria Malloy cooperated in supplying information to journalist Colman McCarthy for a two-part article that was published by the Washington Post's wire service in many other papers, including the Philadelphia Inquirer. "With the nation braced to celebrate the bicentennial," McCarthy wrote, "Valley Forge is enduring a new crucible." He quoted Malloy's statement that there were 4.5 million veterans in the district, 60 percent of whom were age sixty-two or older, making it likely that headstones would soon dominate the Valley Forge landscape. Mrs. Malloy was also quoted as saying, "I know already that we have a beautiful burial ground. We have revolutionary soldiers out there." A Veterans Administration official whom McCarthy asked whether new graves might desecrate the unknown resting places of Revolutionary patriots answered, "We would hope we wouldn't do that, but I suppose when you start digging anything might happen." 
By that time, however, the Victorian concept of Valley Forge as the burial place of hundreds, even thousands, of soldiers was no longer so widely supported. Historians were speculating that relatively few men would have died in the camp, because the sick would have been removed to outlying hospitals. The graves that had been found were identified by brass markers provided back in the 1930s by the "Veterans Graves Registration Division of the WPA."  These were so few and so isolated that visitors often misunderstood them, One tourist who came across one of these markers wrote the park commission that he had been dismayed to see "that the grave of the Unknown Revolutionary Soldier is almost lost in the woods, marked by a very small sign and outlined with a few pieces of rotted logs." The park commissioners sent a letter back explaining that the unknown soldiers were collectively honored by two other monuments.  The old Victorian ghost stories had been largely forgotten, as if even the spirits had found their newly developed surroundings less desirable than lonely, rural Valley Forge.