June Newsletter

After a decade leading the Conservancy’s work to preserve and celebrate the greater Chestnut Hill area, Lori Salganicoff will be stepping down as Executive Director in December.

Lori has been a transformative leader, and while we are sorry to see her go, we are deeply grateful for the profound impact she has made in the organization and the community.

Lori says,“I love this organization, this community, and the passionate
people who live and work here, and I’m proud and grateful for all we’ve been
able to accomplish together in the last ten years. The organization seems poised for its next great chapter, and I believe a decade-long tenure is a healthy arc for a nonprofit leader.”
“In addition, after more than 30 years of nonprofit and government work, I am eager to take a moment to reflect, explore new opportunities, and pursue a wider diversity of interests that I am passionate about.” She continues, “As I look forward to this next chapter in my life, I am equally enthusiastic about the Conservancy’s future. I believe that the next Executive Director will bring passion and knowledge, but also fresh skills and perspectives to continue our trajectory of growth and success. And this new Executive Director will get to work with the most impressive and dedicated Board of Directors, volunteers and staff that I have had the pleasure to know.”

Lori’s decision to leave and to provide ample notice to ensure a smooth and beneficial transition, allows the Board of Directors to carefully plan a thorough search for her successor.

We will celebrate and honor Lori’s remarkable achievements before she departs. For more details, including Lori’s personal letter and a message from our Board President Eileen Javers, please visit THIS page, which will be updated with any developments regarding the transition.

Spring Gala: A Night to Remember 


All photos by Steve Weinik.

Our Spring Gala was a tremendous success, raising $92,000 to further our mission in the community. We are incredibly grateful for your generosity.

The evening was truly special, held at the stunning historic Norman-style home of Sara Lapham and Jeff Roeseler. The home is not only architecturally significant but also embodies a profound commitment to conservation. The property’s 2013 conservation easement held by the Chestnut Hill Conservancy safeguards the pristine landscapes, enhancing the ecological integrity of the surrounding area and preserving park-like open spaces.

During the exclusive Benefactor’s reception, attendees enjoyed a classical guitar performance by Daniel Boring. They also heard moving speeches from representatives of the Pennsylvania Environmental CouncilNatural LandsFriends of the Wissahickon, and Fairmount Park Conservancy. All of these organizations have benefited from Charlie Dilks’ leadership, and their speeches honored his focus on growing organizational capacity and creating a long-lasting impact.


Gene and Charlie Dilks. 

Click HERE to read a recent article about Charlie Dilks that highlights his life of stewardship and the reasons why the Conservancy chose to honor him

Learn more about Charlie Dilks
The Conservancy also presented Charlie with a photograph of the Elizabeth Magnolia, the parent magnolia of Lois. This photograph is particularly special and meaningful as it was taken by our dearly missed late friend and fellow board member Paul W. Meyer and gifted by Debbie Rodgers.
Later in the evening, the Conservancy also honored Charlie Dilks for his lifelong dedication to conservation by announcing the planting of a Lois Magnolia tree in Pastorius Park. This tree will serve as a lasting tribute to his many contributions, enriching our community for generations to come. Special thanks to Tracy Gardner, James and Stephanie McNabb, the Friends of Pastorius Park for welcoming this new tree, and our friends at Apiary Studio for helping us source and plant this unique Magnolia on Friday, June 14.

All those who visit Pastorius Park will enjoy this rare Lois Magnolia, ensuring that Charlie’s commitment to preserving our natural resources continues for future generations.

We hope all who attended the Spring Gala had an amazing time with friends and neighbors, both new and old, and were inspired by Charlie Dilks’s legacy. We extend our heartfelt thanks to all who supported the gala, including our generous sponsors, benefactors, gala committee members, and silent auction donors and winners.

Honoring the Legacy of Our Archives:
A New Chapter Begins


Liz Jarvis retired as the Conservancy’s Curator/Archivist on May 3 after 30 years of caring for and growing the  Conservancy’s Archives. Her legacy lives on through the professionally maintained Archives, which will continue to serve as a vital resource for our community for generations to come. Following Liz’s retirement, Alex Bartlett has seamlessly transitioned into the position of Curator and Archivist.

From a young age, Alex Bartlett was captivated by the allure of history. His journey from childhood curiosity to professional achievement is a testament to his unwavering dedication, passion, and expertise.

This passion for archaeology and history stayed with Alex through his formative years. By the time he was a junior in high school, he knew he wanted to pursue archaeology as a career. He studied Anthropology and Archaeology at Temple University, where he immersed himself in these fields’ academic and practical aspects. After earning his degree, Alex spent around 15 years in archaeology. In 2007, he enrolled at the University of the Arts to pursue a Master’s degree in Museum Communications, which he describes as “essentially museum studies.” This program equipped him with the skills needed to manage museum collections, understand nonprofit management, and engage with the public in meaningful ways.

Conservancy Executive Director Lori Salganicoff remarked, “The greater Chestnut Hill community has been fortunate to have Alex Bartlett in our archives and on the Conservancy staff for 15 years. Alex’s expert knowledge and deep personal connection to this area – combined with his curiosity and generosity in assisting others with their research – have greatly enriched our understanding of this community.” She added, “Plus, he’s lots of fun to work with! I am excited to see how Alex’s leadership in the archives will help the entire Conservancy grow and evolve.”

Alex’s contributions have not only preserved our community’s rich history but have also made it accessible and engaging for all.

Tom Boyle, a supporter of the archives, describes Alex as a “font of so much local history it boggles the mind; a dedicated preservationist; knowledgeable archivist; willing historical collaborator; trusted teacher, friend, and mentor. These qualities briefly describe Alex Bartlett’s tenure with the Chestnut Hill Conservancy. It is difficult to imagine any history of Chestnut Hill, no matter how obscure, with which Alex is unfamiliar. He is a local treasure, formidable and enduring as the Wissahickon schist and the Old German Township. May we all continue to enjoy his talents for many more years to come.”

Alex Bartlett’s journey is a testament to the power of passion, patience, and perseverance. His contributions to the Conservancy have preserved the area’s rich history and made it accessible and engaging for future generations. As he continues in his role, the community can look forward to many more years of invaluable work and dedication.

Look out for a longer article coming soon that will highlight more about Alex and the future of the archives under his leadership as the curator!

Historic Tax Credit Bills

On Tuesday, June 11, the House Finance Committee passed H.B. 2358, which proposes raising the annual cap to $20 million. Earlier this month, Preservation Alliance Executive Director Paul Steinke testified in support of this legislation.

Last Friday on June 14, Senators Nikil Saval and Frank Farry introduced S.B. 1259. This bill proposes an annual cap increase to $50 million, extends eligibility to nonprofit partnerships, and allocates more funding for the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC).

Please contact your legislators to support these important bills. As budget negotiations continue, there is a crucial opportunity to include legislative language that will enhance the historic tax credit program. For more details and information, visit the Preservation Alliance’s webpage linked HERE.

Recognizing Great Preservation 


George Howe’s High Hollow, built between 1914 and 1917 and restored by Melissa Epperly after years of neglect, awarded in 2020.

In 2014, the Conservancy launched our Preservation Recognition Awards to celebrate remarkable preservation projects in the area that meet and often exceed nationally held best preservation practices. After a three-year hiatus, we are excited to honor outstanding projects within Chestnut Hill and the surrounding areas this December, spotlighting projects that deserve community recognition.

This summer, we will invite you to nominate projects, and to inspire you, we’re sharing some of the past winners. See the remarkable projects recognized in 2021 HERE, and the projects from prior years HERE.

Stay tuned for updated award categories, criteria, and submission directions. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, December 3, and join us at the Venetian Club for the Preservation Party, where we will present this year’s Preservation Recognition Awards and induct the 2024 class into the Chestnut Hill Architectural Hall of Fame.

Advancing Our Conservation Efforts with New Technology

The Conservancy is excited to announce the acquisition of new Landscape Conservation Software to enhance the work of our Conservation and Easements Manager, Krista Gebbia. This advanced tool will significantly improve efficiency of monitoring our 52 conservation and preservation easements.

Built by conservation professionals for conservation professionals, this software is designed to support our mission of preserving the area’s historical, architectural, and cultural resources and open spaces in the Wissahickon watershed.

Support Local Black-Owned Businesses

We’d like to reflect on the recent Juneteenth celebration, a day of great historical significance. Our community is enriched by diverse businesses that contribute to the local economy and culture. We believe in the importance of supporting Black-owned businesses throughout the year. Here are some resources to help you do so:

Click HERE to read a recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer that highlights some of the thriving Black-owned businesses in Chestnut Hill.

Don’t Leaf the Pollinators Behind! 


Photo by Emilie Lapham. 

Celebrate Pollinator Week (June 17 – 23) and National Pollinator Month with the Conservancy! Pollinators such as butterflies, bees, bats, and various flowering plants play a crucial role in maintaining garden health and productivity. Their interactions with plants facilitate the reproduction of over 80% of flowering species, significantly contributing to biodiversity.

Gardens are more than just beautiful spaces; they are vital for the community, natural environment, and wildlife. Chestnut Hill’s renowned “Wissahickon style” gardens embrace the natural landscape, borrowing from the wild to create a unique sense of place. The parklands threading through our area provide a special connection to our gardens, enhancing their ecological value and biodiversity.

Understanding the role of pollinators helps us better appreciate and protect these vital creatures. Gardens that support pollinators not only enhance local biodiversity but also contribute to the resilience of our ecosystems against changing climates and environmental stresses.

To support your gardening adventures, we’d like to remind you of A Gardener’s World. This series, created by Conservancy Board Member Emilie Lapham, an avid gardener and botanical artist, celebrates all things garden-related. Emilie’s series covers plant selection, garden design, garden history, and adapting to changing climates.

Let’s bee-kind to our pollinators this and help create thriving habitats, ensuring our gardens continue to bloom and sustain the vibrant life and future that depend on them.

Watch this video to explore the unique Wissahickon style of landscaping.

The Wissahickon Style of Landscaping

Stone by Stone: Honoring Italian Craftsmanship During Immigrant Heritage Month


Immigrant Heritage Month recognizes and honors immigrants’ contributions to our communities. The Conservancy has proudly highlighted the rich heritage of the Italian artisans who played a crucial role in shaping Chestnut Hill. Throughout the years, our tours and lectures have illustrated the significant impact these skilled craftsmen had on the area, showcasing their work on notable structures, landscapes, and gardens.

The Italian artisans were instrumental in constructing many of Chestnut Hill’s most iconic buildings. Their craftsmanship and stonework are a testament to the artisans’ skills and dedication, which can be seen in various institutional and commercial structures, including the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, Chestnut Hill Hospital, Free Library of Philadelphia (Chestnut Hill Library), Germantown Trust (Wells Fargo Bank), and Jacob F. Ruth Funeral Home.

These structures not only stand as beautiful landmarks but also as enduring symbols of the Italian artisans’ contributions to our community. To delve deeper into this fascinating history, we invite you to watch the following presentation, which provide further insight into the Italian artisans who built Chestnut Hill.

The Italian Artisans Who Built Chestnut Hill

Help Document and Share Our Community’s Diverse Histories


Tracy and Kelly Clark, Nicholas Birtch, and Billy Bruno display their award-winning entries in the float division at the Chestnut Hill Bocce Club’s July 4 celebration at the Water Tower Recreation Center, 1992. Chestnut Hill Conservancy Archives.

We invite everyone to contribute to preserving our community’s rich and diverse histories. If you or someone you know has old photographs, newspapers, letters, or ephemera associated with the Chestnut Hill community, especially items connected to the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities, please consider adding them to the Chestnut Hill Conservancy’s Archives.

These items are invaluable to researchers visiting our Archives. They help to document and share our history from its beginnings over 300 years ago to the present day. Your contributions ensure our community’s diverse stories are preserved and shared for future generations.

To find out how to donate, please contact Conservancy Curator and Archivist Alex Bartlett by email at Alex@CHConservancy.Org or by phone 215-247-9329 x 206.

Partner News and Events

Gardening tips during a heatwave from Friends of Pastorius Park

At Pastorius Park, diligent efforts by volunteers focus on watering precious trees and shrubs to keep them healthy during the heatwave. Vice President James McNabb reports that Paul Meyer advised prioritizing the most recent plantings and working backward to ensure all restoration plantings receive deep watering. Paul believed that after three years of consistent watering, the plantings should ideally tolerate the changing climate unless extreme drought conditions occur.

Following this advice, regular watering targets the most recent additions, including the Lois Magnolia planted in collaboration with Apiary Studios and dedicated to Charlie Dilks at the Spring Gala, and the eight new Eastern Hemlocks planted in early May. Next on the list are the sawtooth oak at the corner of Lincoln Drive and Abington Avenue and a Hackberry tree in the NE woods, both planted in March. Major plantings in both spring and fall over the past three years still require watering. One spigot at the warming hut and 400 feet of hoses handle most of this work.
Celebrate the Venetian Club‘s centennial and summer concert series kickoff this Sunday!

This Sunday, from 2:00 to 6:00 PM, everyone is invited to join the Venetian Club at 8030 Germantown Avenue for a special celebration and fundraiser. Come celebrate their 100th anniversary and the kickoff of their summer concert series. Due to the excessive heat, the event and music will be hosted indoors, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience for all attendees.

A celebration of love and diversity with Chestnut Hill Community Association 

Last year, the Chestnut Hill Community Association presented its first-ever Pride Party, an event that brought the community together to celebrate diversity and inclusion in Chestnut Hill. Hosted at NoName Gallery, the event featured art curated by NoName’s founder, Jonene Lee, delicious small bites, and a variety of drinks, including a signature cocktail, the colorful “They/them-onade.”

Join the community at NoName Gallery, 8127 Germantown Avenue, on Saturday, June 22, from 5:00 to 8:00 PM for an unforgettable evening of love, acceptance, and pure joy as we come together to celebrate diversity in the heart of Chestnut Hill.

Engine 37 Firehouse wins Preservation Alliance‘s Grand Jury Award

The Preservation Alliance’s Grand Jury Award for Preservation Works includes Chestnut Hill’s Engine 37 Expansion at 101 West Highland Avenue.

The Conservancy submitted the nomination to protect this historic building in 2015. Built in 1894 by John T. Windrim, Engine 37 in Chestnut Hill is the oldest active fire station in the city. Over time, the size of firetrucks increased, but the solid bays remained immovable. When the city decided to expand the engine house to the adjacent lot, it provided an opportunity to renovate the older building with functional, accessible, and comfortable accommodations for firefighters and staff.

Read the historic nomination
Volunteer opportunities with Save the Train

Last week, Save the Train coalition leaders and volunteers visited City Hall, where Councilperson Cindy Bass introduced a resolution recognizing our outstanding work on the Save the Train campaign. Among those in attendance was Lori Salganicoff.

This summer, Save the Train has a lineup of exciting community events, providing numerous opportunities for you to support the cause while having fun. Here’s how you can get involved:

Volunteer to Table: Help spread the word about the mission and teach people how to use transit. Sign up to volunteer at summer events HERE.

Take Transit to Events: All Save the Train events are accessible via the Chestnut Hill West line and the 23 bus. Some events can also be accessed by the Chestnut Hill East line.

Visit the Table: Stop by the table at the Pastorius Park Concert on Wednesday, June 26, and get answers to any questions about using SEPTA across the city.

Join in making a difference and supporting the Save the Train campaign!

In the News

Events Calendar 

        • Stay tuned!
Support the Conservancy

If you’re interested in volunteering for future Conservancy programs and events, contact Programs and Communications Manager Chrissy Clawson.


In addition to supporting our work, did you know that members receive special benefits like discounted admission to programs and free research in the archives? Join today!


Your support is a commitment to celebrating and sustaining the history, architecture, and open green space of Chestnut Hill and surrounding communities in the Wissahickon Watershed.



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Great architecture is in our nature.

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

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