February 2023 eNewsletter

Black History – Beyond a Month

By Tatiana Paden, Executive Office & Archives Coordinator

It’s Black History Month! And while working in the Archives, I have learned so much about the great history of Chestnut Hill. After graduating from Temple with my degree in Historic Preservation, I knew I wanted to focus more on preserving the history of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. Representation is essential in adequately recording history, especially today—big and small milestones. The Black community of Philadelphia has a rich history, and Chestnut Hill is a part of that. The Conservancy’s archive is a vast collection of amazing stories and pictures. However, While there is representation from the Black community in the collection, my goal is to collect even more. Therefore, I have chosen a story from the Archives to give some great examples the Conservancy has.


In 1945, a young boy by the name of Fred A. Howard was bussed in from Germantown to become the first Black student in his class at Jenks School. Very few Black children were living in Chestnut Hill and attending Jenks School before this bussing initiative. Then in 1952, when he was in the 8th grade, another black student named Margie Pointer joined him. They would both flourish and graduate from Jenks.

Thanks to these two photographs, we are reminded of this legacy. This integration initiative by Jenks started a chain reaction in the area. One of my favorite quotes is by Raghu Rai, “A photograph has picked up a fact of life, and that fact will live forever.” Today more than ever, we see the importance of photos and documentation, not just in the bad times but in the good. Having a definitive way of making your mark in history can simply be through a picture.

I hope you enjoyed this snippet of local history as much as I did. If you’re interested in more, I’m currently writing a longer piece for the Chestnut Local for later this month. Black history deserves to be cataloged just as much as anyone else’s. We at the Conservancy want you to review your old pictures and sit with your older family. You may even find a historic local artifact in your attic or basement.

The little things are so much more valuable than we realize. Please get in touch with the Archives of the Conservancy with any questions or items you would like to donate by email at archives@chconservancy.org. When you preserve those pieces with love, you preserve us.

Save the Date of Saturday, June 3

2023 Architectural Hall of Fame Gala!


Mark your calendars to join us for a very special evening garden party gala on June 3. Enjoy the late-Spring evening as we reveal the newest publicly-chosen inductees into the Hall of Fame, and honor the work and vision of landscape architect and historian Rob Fleming.

The gala will be hosted by Patti Owens and Jeff Saltz at their recently restored Boxly manor house. Situated on almost eight conserved acres, Boxly is considered one of the finest Chestnut Hill properties.

Be sure to mark your calendars for the evening of June 3rd. Don’t miss the opportunity to celebrate in such a spectacular example of historic and open space stewardship in our community!

The 2023 Architectural Hall of Fame

Call for Nominations

What’s your favorite treasured place in Chestnut Hill? We are now inviting nominations for the 2023 inductees into the Chestnut Hill Architectural Hall of Fame.

You have until March 3rd to tell us what places in our community you think should be added to this distinguished Hall. Click on the graphic below, and nominate a place that’s not yet listed.

We will announce a shortlist in mid-March, when public voting will begin. The winners will be revealed at our Architectural Hall of Fame Gala on Saturday, June 3.


Or email the property address, name (if applicable), why you are nominating it, and a photo directly to Lori Salganicoff at lori@chconservancy.org.

Advocacy updates

Thank you to all who have reached out to alert us with concerns. Beneficial outcomes for all involved are much more likely if the Conservancy and neighbors connect on possible property issues as early as possible.

Teviot, 399 E Willow Grove Avenue


The backhoe poised to demolish this historic building will soon be removed from this site!  The information published in last week’s Chestnut Hill Local by Carla RobinsonGeorge McNeely, and Lori Salganicoff (click to read), combined with successful outreach to owner Kenneth Curry by our Councilperson Cindy Bass, has Mr. Curry now re-evaluating his options.  We stand ready to help Mr. Curry if he does choose to renovate and adapt the property, or to sell it for reuse.

Mitchell (Hiram) Lodge #81, 8425 Germantown Avenue


Last week the Lodge building at 8425 Germantown Avenue revealed its beautiful, decorative, scorched wooden roof trusses in the blue sky. Unfortunately, although these original wood trusses were salvageable, they have now been sawn into pieces and discarded. The deterioration inside of the building may be enormously challenging, but the destruction of these 134-year old trusses seems to have been a regrettable and unnecessary waste. These might have been lucrative to remove and repurpose, but the contractors were apparently not asked to salvage them.

Philista, 8760 Stenton Avenue


This property at Stenton Avenue and Newton Street was listed 8760 Stenton Avenue (Philista) was listed on Monday for sale as “pre-demolition” open land.  It was built in 1858, and updated several times by a who’s who of architectural luminaries: Mantle Fielding; Willing & Sims; Mellor, Meigs & Howe; Arthur H. Brockie.  The building is considered Significant in the Chestnut Hill National Register Historic District, but is not protected with listing on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.

Chestnut Hill Women’s Center, 8811-8835 Germantown Ave


Chestnut Hill Conservancy nominated this building to the Philadelphia Register to protect it from demolition.  Chestnut Hill Hospital opposes the designation of the property as nominated, although most of the buildings’ exterior is original. The Philadelphia Historical Commission has approved many rear additions and major alterations to designated buildings – some of these active medical facilities; there is no reason to think it would oppose such a proposal here if done well. This is not a choice between people’s health and old buildings. At the January Historical Commission meeting, Councilperson Cindy Bass offered to mediate a discussion between the hospital and the community. We hope this will happen.

In Memoriam

We lost three good friends and community leaders recently, two of whom were part of the Conservancy’s leadership when we were known as the Chestnut Hill Historical Society.  They will be missed, but we will work to ensure that the green, historic, urban, village character that they helped to sustain here will endure.


Ed Bacon & Kathy Shaifer


Jim Gallagher


Naomi Breman

Kathy Shaifer: Kathy Shaifer was the part-time Executive Director of the Historical Society during a wonderfully active time for the organization in the mid-1980s.  This included our purchase of 8708 Germantown Avenue in 1987, which Edmund Bacon helped us celebrate. Kathy was a driving force in the beginnings of our conservation easements program, which has now preserved 52 properties containing 105 acres and 13 historic houses.

Jim Gallagher: Before joining our Board of Directors for five years beginning in 2010, Jim Gallagher was already contributing his excellent skills as a CPA to the Historical Society.  According to Board Member Carolyn Adams, Jim was also a wonderful garden volunteer too – working with her as part of the weekly watering crew through the first years of our Native Plant Garden.

Naomi Breman: We were saddened to hear of the most recent passing of our friend Naomi Breman.  Naomi and her husband Stephan have been consistent members of the Conservancy for decades, and contributed materials related to Druim Moir to our Archives as well. She was part of the team documenting the Druim Moir Formal Garden for The Garden Club of America Collection at the Smithsonian Institution, and generously donated that documentation to the Archives in addition to reproductions such as the “Plans of the gardens at the home of Samuel Houston” (aka Druim Moir) by Robert McGoodwin.

Support Our Work

Join or Renew your membership so you continue to have access to all your exclusive benefits or Make a gift anytime throughout the year to support our ongoing work in the community!







Discovering Chestnut Hill Series
Ask the Experts Series
Interesting in sponsoring the Conservancy in 2023? Learn more about our opportunities or contact Danielle Marino, Development Manager to discuss your options!
Sponsor the Conservancy
Great architecture is in our nature.

215-247-9329 | 8708 Germantown Avenue, Phila., PA 19118 | info@chconservancy.org 

Email Facebook Instagram