An eventful (but physically distant) 2020
Amidst incredible uncertainty this past year, we have all looked to our neighbors and our surroundings with new appreciation. Because of your support, the Conservancy has been able to sustain our stewardship of the history, architecture, and open space we treasure. The importance of home and the solace we find in our shared architecture, open spaces, and history have never been more apparent.
Although our we have seen each other mostly through camera lenses, our planned 2020 focus on common ground has continued. In this past year, we have had some remarkable preservation successes including the protection of the Keewaydin estate through Philadelphia Historical Commission listing, progress on the revitalization of the Shipley White House at 717 Glengarry Road, and the creation of a new easement on 58 W Willow Grove Avenue – the former home of noted conservationist Alston Jenkins.
Our online Archives and onsite Archivists have provided researchers and staff with information necessary to investigate home and family histories, and we have welcomed some remarkable new donations. As an Archive of our social history, the Conservancy has also been working to document for the future the history that is being made right now.
While some Conservancy lectures, tours, and programs planned for 2020 were cancelled, more were creatively reimagined. Most visibly, our Night of Lights streetscape exhibition was converted from a single evening to a 17-night event that retained the core elements of this beloved new tradition, and added innovative virtual content – all while encouraging physical distancing.
The Conservancy also created “History at Home” in early March as a feel-good/learn-stuff gift to you related to history, open space, and architecture. This has included narrated history-themed slideshows, a monthly “Bloom Where You Are Planted” view into all things green, as well as activities and games – all free and openly available now on our History at Home webpage. New content will be added to “History at Home” through 2021 with each new email.
Mark your calendars for the January 10 Annual Meeting where we will share more detail about these projects. All members will receive an invitation to join the meeting virtually, although Registration is required to receive the link.
Join Your Neighbors as
Community Champions
As one of our final challenges of 2020, the Conservancy must raise $35,000 to meet our fixed costs so we can focus fully on the work to come in the new year. With your gift, we can continue the work you rely on to advocate for the Chestnut Hill area communities and the Wissahickon watershed.
This year has been incredibly challenging for all of us, but the commitment of our members and supporters to protect and celebrate the Chestnut Hill area has been truly inspiring. During December, we are excited to highlight some of these champions and thank them for their incredible contributions, as we look ahead to the challenges and opportunities to come in 2021!
Like many of you, Conservancy members Pamela and James Hill have been grateful for the Conservancy’s History at Home activities since March:
“While the past year has provided many dark days, there have been a few flashes of light, notable for their brilliance. Among the brightest have been the regular eight- to fifteen-minute journeys via the Chestnut Hill Conservancy’s own Wayback Machine: History at Home.
These recurring jaunts back through time have been remarkably well illustrated and clearly narrated. Each one has depicted evolving forms and functions of both familiar and, occasionally, little-known Chestnut Hill scenes. Our favorites are ‘Italian Artisans‘ and ‘Vanished Northwest.’ Best of all, they can be revisited and enjoyed again at leisure. What a delight in a time of lockdown!”
Thank you, Pamela and James, for your passion for and commitment to this community we treasure!
We’ve been so grateful to be able to share our narrated slideshows and other History at Home content with the community this year, and have plans to produce and debut new videos throughout 2021. Will you join Pamela, James, and dozens of others who have already contributed to our year-end appeal so that we can?
Preservation Recognition Awards Nominations Deadline Extended
2020 Nominations Are Due December 15!
The Chestnut Hill Conservancy’s Preservation Recognition Awards honor outstanding projects within Chestnut Hill and surrounding areas. Each award recognizes a project that is a striking gift to the neighborhood today – and far into the future — and an inspiration for others as they care for their own buildings. These awards help to express our gratitude to those who cherish our historic and architectural resources.
The Chestnut Hill Conservancy’s Preservation Recognition Awards honor projects in the following categories:
  • Preserving / protecting historic resources (in the built or natural environment)
  • Historic building restoration, rehabilitation or adaptive reuse
  • Good stewardship of an important building
2020 Nominations Are Due on December 15!
Click HERE for the online nomination submission form. Or click HERE for the downloadable, printable form!
Learn more about the Preservation Recognition Awards HERE.
One of our 2019 Preservation Recognition Award winners – The Restoration of Foxlea in Wyndmoor. Owners, Emilie and Peter Lapham; Developers, Bonitatibus Architects
Discovering Chestnut Hill
Accidental Master Plan: The Fortuitous Open Spaces of Chestnut Hill, Virtual Lecture by Rob Fleming
January 21, 7pm Zoom
Chestnut Hill is not a planned community, but it reads as one. It has legible boundaries, a central core of commercial services, accessible transportation links, and housing types affordable across a range of income levels. Its character varies and its density ranges from tight-packed urban to near-wilderness. Between lies a network of open spaces—forested streets, parklands, and borrowed views of private landscapes and gardens—all knit together as a pleasing whole.
In this illustrated lecture, Landscape Architect Rob Fleming will show how even while Chestnut Hill’s gradual growth may have been unplanned, a principled aesthetic worldview informed the key land-use and design decisions that would give the community its unique character.
Tickets are $10 for Conservancy members and $15 for non-members. Registrants will receive a Zoom link before the event.
From the Conservancy Archives
A Look at December in Chestnut Hill
For a look back at life in Chestnut Hill, here’s a fun post that we ran on Facebook on November 29, 2018 for #ThrowbackThursday
In Chestnut Hill, the arrival of December means opportunities abound for those wanting to be outside to enjoy the arrival of the holiday season. Stag and Doe nights, holiday house tours, caroling, parades, and strolling along Germantown Avenue have been integral parts of the local holiday “scene” for generations. Seen here in this photograph taken for publication in the Chestnut Hill Local are Chestnut Hill Development Group president Bill Moffly (left) with Ed Roberts of Fort Washington, who drove a Model T Ford in the 1969 Christmas Parade. The building at the left was the home of Thorell’s Kitchen Korners at the time, at 8416-8418 Germantown Avenue. It is now the home of Weaver’s Way Co-op, along with the building next door, at 8424. #throwbackthursday
To see more photographs like the one shown here or join as a member, visit the website of the Chestnut Hill Conservancy at
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Thank You!
Sponsors and supporters are community champions. Your support now will continue our work
in the coming year!
  • December 15 – Preservation Recognition Awards Nomination Deadline
  • January 10 – Virtual Annual Meeting 2021
  • January 21 – Discovering Chestnut Hill Virtual Lecture – Accidental Master Plan: The Fortuitous Open Spaces of Chestnut Hill with Rob Fleming
Always feel free to contact us with any questions about the Conservancy, our
programs and events, or your membership at
Chestnut Hill Conservancy | 8708 Germantown AvenuePhiladelphia, PA 19118