From 7 pm to 10 pm, every evening from October 9-25, historical images and films from the Conservancy’s Archives are projected through storefront windows along Germantown Avenue, with neighboring historic buildings illuminated by colored lights.
Interactive, family-friendly activities include the Chestnut Hill History Hunt, which encourages attendees to explore the commercial corridor during the day and at night; a mobile experience at each installation site that allow users to explore building histories; and opportunities to record and share your own stories and contribute to the event experience and the Chestnut Hill Archives.
Printed Pastports are available at participating retailers and projection locations (visit our website for a current list) — visit each slideshow and win a prize! Community Storytellers, including Anne McNally, Willard Detweiler, and Steve Kurtz, as well as oral histories from the Germantown Historical Society, will also be available to hear by phone during the event using prompts posted along Germantown Avenue.
This year we’re pleased to offer eight projections highlighting the history and communities of Chestnut Hill, Mt. Airy, Germantown, and Springfield Township.
Visit http://chconservancy.org/night-of-lights for more information.
More Night of Lights Sneak Peeks!
Inherent Sustainability of Historic Buildings
Interested in energy efficiency? Learn the difference between embodied energy and operational energy and the role played by building layout, windows, and more in the efficiency of well-known historic Chestnut Hill area buildings. Explore these structures’ beautiful materials and superior craftsmanship, which underscore the interconnected nature of preservation and sustainability.
Clerestory windows, high on the wall, provide light near the ceiling and, when operable, can exhaust hot air. This was an especially useful feature in buildings with tall ceilings, like St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill (pictured here).
“Inherent Sustainability of Historic Buildings” is presented by Night of Lights sponsor Electrical Wizardry.
Projects That Might Have Been
Our final sneak peek is of a story of unfulfilled plans. A story of turning points and traffic circles, when the very future of Chestnut Hill hung in the balance with the arrival in Philadelphia of the modernizing parkway systems of the automobile age. Tour the history of the Lincoln Drive extension into Chestnut Hill, Pastorius Park, and a traffic circle that might have been through archival images and stories!
Shown here are the unrealized plans for Lincoln Drive and Pastorius Park. In this 1916 design by Robert Rodes McGoodwin, a planned development of houses and tree-lined boulevards was arranged around the Park, creating a shared open space for the new community. Imagine Lincoln Drive bisecting the Park!
“Projects That Might Have Been” is presented by Night of Lights and Conservancy Sponsor Friends of the Wissahickon
Don’t forget to pick up your Pastport!
The Pastport is your guide to the Night of Lights exhibition. Visit all eight of this year’s Night of Lights slideshow locations, fill in the keyword for each location on your Pastport, and win a prize!
In addition to the slideshow location, this year’s Pastport also includes information on participating businesses, special storyteller stations, building histories, and how to share your own stories and memories of the Chestnut Hill Area.
Pick up your Pastport now at one of the following Pastport Stations:
Meet Emily Schricker
Our new Conservation and Easements Manager
Emily Schricker is excited to join the Chestnut Hill Conservancy staff as the new Conservation and Easements Manager. She holds a degree in Historic Preservation from the University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, Virginia and truly enjoys learning about, exploring, and analyzing historic buildings and their surroundings.
Emily brings a wealth of project management experience to her role at the Conservancy and has experience with both conservation and preservation easements. She is passionate about creating a community that benefits everyone and feels that a healthy and supportive environment,including natural and historic viewsheds, is good for the soul of an individual, as well as the community.
For questions about conservation and easements, contact Emily at Emily@chconservancy.org
More from the Conservancy Archives Volunteers during the Pandemic
Our dedicated volunteers share how they’ve
been staying busy
During this pandemic, we continue to develop the archive collection of oral histories. The collection contains many interviews with past Chestnut Hill residents, business owners, and community leaders. One dedicated volunteer is currently working from home transcribing a set of interviews from 1968 which pose questions to community leaders about how to manage parking, how to make Chestnut Hill attractive and affordable for young couples, and how to keep people shopping on the Hill. (Many current residents may not know that a “quadrangular shopping center,” bounded by Germantown Avenue, Highland Avenue, Ardleigh Street, and Gravers Lane was considered by many in the late 1960s to be necessary for the continued prosperity of Chestnut Hill. Chestnut Hill would look quite different today had that plan been executed! This is just one example of the many insights from the recollections recorded and transcribed in the Conservancy’s oral history collection.)
Molly Murphy, another one of our wonderful volunteers who has worked professionally as a producer for National Public Radio, has taken over not only interviewing several nonagenarians and others for our oral history project, but also producing audio excerpts of these interviews to be shared during our Night of Lights exhibition and other upcoming programming. Molly also co-produced the Conservancy’s History at Home videos using content from the 2017-2019 Night of Lights events. We are fortunate that Molly can draw on a vast knowledge of music and audio production to bring these stories and archival images alive!
From the Conservancy Archives
A Look at October in Chestnut Hill
For a look back at life in Chestnut Hill, here’s a fun post that we ran on Facebook on October 10, 2018 for #WissahickonWednesday
Many of you have probably passed by a rather strange-looking ruin on Cresheim Valley Drive near its intersection with Cresheim Road. The ruin is the barn associated with Buttercup Cottage, an old house shown here as it appeared around 1900. The exact age of the house is unknown but it is believed to date to as far back as around 1812. In the 1880s, Chestnut Hill developer and Pennsylvania Railroad executive Henry Howard Houston purchased the property and opened his summer retreat for working girls- a place to which girls from poor families could escape from the heat and pollution of the inner city. They could go for a hike or a refreshing swim in Lake Surprise long since filled in and located towards the railroad bridge of the Chestnut Hill West line. The retreat remained open at least through about 1915; its history then becomes quite murky and it is not clear as to when the retreat closed. The house and barn then entered a long period of slow decay. By the mid-1950s, the house was beyond repair and it was demolished in 1958, a short time after the parcel on which it sat was acquired by the City of Philadelphia. The barn remained and girl scouts and other community groups used it as a playhouse until it was destroyed by fire in the early 1980s, leaving little behind but the ruin still standing today. #WissahickonWednesday
To see more photographs like the one shown here or join as a member, visit the website of the Chestnut Hill Conservancy at www.chconservancy.org.
Sponsors and supporters are community champions and make all of this work possible!
Always feel free to contact us with any questions about the Conservancy, our programs and events, or your membership at info@chconservancy.org
Chestnut Hill Conservancy | 8708 Germantown AvenuePhiladelphia, PA 19118