Your (virtual) presence needed!!!
Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustments (ZBA) Public Meeting
Wednesday, August 4
Support your neighbors in defending the community, simply by registering and Zooming in to Wednesday morning’s virtual ZBA (Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment) meeting. This is the time when your attendance is critical – numbers will be noted.
As you’ve read here previously, the developer/owner of 540 W. Moreland Avenue requested a zoning variance to subdivide this property, part of the historic Keewaydin estate. The requested variance would divide 540 W Moreland into a large buildable lot at the front of the property, and a narrow strip of land connecting the historic building to Moreland Avenue (aka a “flag lot”). A variance is needed as this does not meet the property’s zoning requirements.
When the Keewaydin complex was added to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, special note was made at the Historical Commission of the historical importance of the sweeping front views to the buildings. To be clear, the Historical Commission designated the three main properties that comprise Keewaydin in their entirety – not just the three homes, but the open space and landscape features as well.
After several community meetings, both the Conservancy and CHCA sent letters to ZBA strongly recommending that this variance request be denied. Read the Conservancy’s letter HERE.
If you agree with the Conservancy, CHCA, and near neighbors that this variance request should be denied, please consider registering as a “protestant” and attending the August 4th virtual ZBA meeting.
Enter your name, email address, choose the 9:30am session and “protestant,” type the address: 540 W Moreland Avenue, and your capacity as a “neighbor” HERE. You will also be asked for your contact information.
You will receive a Zoom link.
Thank you in advance for doing your part.
Save the Dates: October 8 – 17!
Mark your calendars for Chestnut Hill’s Germantown Avenue “Main Street” to be transformed once again during the fifth annual Night of Lights! As with last year, we have extended the originally one-night event to allow participants the time and space to enjoy the exhibition safely.
Over one and a half weeks in October, historical images and films from the Conservancy’s (and partners’) Archives will be projected through storefront windows along Germantown Avenue, while neighboring historic buildings will be illuminated with colored lights.
The festive live elements from past Night of Lights will return for the magical opening night on Friday, October 8th, while the exhibition will remain on view for self-guided explorations and return visits through Sunday, October 17th. Stay tuned as we reveal more event details in the coming weeks, including additional activities and community partnerships featured over the entire 10-day run.
We’re thrilled to present to our members a special extended virtual tour of Louis Kahn’s Margaret Esherick House. If you missed the tour of this mid-century architectural treasure during this year’s Architectural Hall of Fame virtual Celebration, or even if you were able to attend, make sure to tune in!
On Wednesday, September 1st at 5 pm, we’ll broadcast a one-hour, members-only program, including an in-depth version of Bill Whitaker’s fascinating look at the details and significance of the Esherick House, featuring 20 extra minutes not previously aired during the May 22nd event. At the conclusion of the tour, we’ll also have a live Q&A featuring current Esherick House owners Dan Macey and Paul Savidge!
We’re excited to share this tour as a thank you to all of our membersClick here to register!
You must be a member to attend. Click here or email to join or renew.
From the Conservancy Archives
August in Chestnut Hill
Happy Summer! For August, we’re featuring a look back at a #ThrowbackThursday post from August 9, 2018.
Many people associate a summer vacation as a time to escape- a time to retreat to the Poconos, to head up to New England, or to the shore. However, one such retreat stood much closer to home. This small idyllic cottage stood near the intersection of the 7500 block of St. Martin’s Lane and the 7600 block of Huron Street. Its exact date of construction is unclear, but in the mid 1990s, Mary Wickham Bond, longtime resident of Chestnut Hill, noted on the back of this photograph “the Cresheim Valley ‘Walden’s Pond,’ where I worked and wrote for about 40 years.” This means that the little cottage was at least standing by 1955, but was likely built years before. Sadly, the structure slowly fell into disuse and decay, and on December 4, 2012, it was demolished. Little remains of the landscape today which hints at the former presence of this once beloved cottage. #throwbackthursday
Are you housebound and need something to do? Find out more about your house and favorite buildings in Chestnut Hill by visiting to review thousands of photographs of local subjects, and find out the history of your house by visiting to find out how old your house is.
August is National Make-A-Will Month!
At the Conservancy, we advocate every day to safeguard the future of the stories and places of our communities, together with you. We are proud to be partners with our neighbors and believe that our shared—and individual—legacies are worth protecting.
So when we learned that August is National Make-A-Will Month, we wanted to take a moment to encourage you to take this step and create (or update) a will or estate plan for you and your loved ones. Everyone needs a will, whether they’re 18 or 80. And there’s no better moment than now to find some peace of mind in planning for the future.
There are free tools available to help you write your will in less than half an hour (click HERE for an example). While you’re writing your will, you’ll also have the opportunity to join the amazing community champions in the Chestnut Legacy Society who have included gifts to the Conservancy in their wills.
With the ongoing discussion regarding development in the Chestnut Hill area heating up, it’s more important than ever to celebrate and recognize the impact of the community’s tradition of thoughtful development and distinctive history, architecture, and open space. Leaving a gift in a will is a powerful way to create a legacy—without costing you anything during your lifetime.
We hope you’ll take a little time this month and protect your loved ones and legacy!
  • August 4 – Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment public meeting
540 W. Moreland Avenue (Keewaydin) subdivision appeal
Please attend if you are interested! Zoom link to attend HERE.
  • August 5 – Historic District Advisory Committee Public Meeting 6:30pm. Register HERE for a Zoom link to attend
In case you missed it…
For more archived articles, visit our Press page.