The Conservancy’s much-loved Night of Lights returns for a sixth time to Chestnut Hill on Friday, October 6, running nightly (7:00 – 9:00 PM) through Saturday, October 14 — this year’s event will spotlight Germantown Avenue between Willow Grove Avenue and Bethlehem Pike.
Over nine evenings, Chestnut Hill Conservancy’s Night of Lights will transform Chestnut Hill’s main street into a vibrant nightly streetscape exhibition of local histories and educational information. Colorful lights will highlight historic buildings and often overlooked architectural features while projecting images and content from the Conservancy’s archives through eight storefront windows. Be on the lookout for the event map and more details coming soon!
Many participating businesses and restaurants will offer extended hours during the exhibition for attendees to enjoy. Festivities will include music, storytelling, and family-friendly interactive activities on opening night on Friday, October 6, following a short “Flip the Switch” ceremony from 6:45 – 7:00 PM on East Hartwell Lane in the outdoor space next to Foliage.
Photos by Betsy Manning and Bradley Maule.
New this year, starting on Tuesday, October 10, a few small-group ticketed walking tours with local historians and experts will be on sale soon for three evenings while the Avenue is less crowded. Conservancy board member Richard Bartholomew, an architect and city planner whose professional career focused on urban design, will lead small group guided tours on Tuesday, October 10, and Thursday, October 12.
The Conservancy needs you! Email Programs and Communications Manager Chrissy Clawson to learn about volunteering for upcoming programs (including Night of Lights), events, and ways to be involved in our advocacy, preservation, conservation, sustainability, and archival work.
The Summer in review
As our newer staff settled into their roles on the team, this summer was a busy and fruitful one in Chestnut Hill and at the Conservancy.
The Archives welcomed many new donations of significant drawings, histories, and photographs, such as a 1935 survey of Boxly and adjacent areas, A Philadelphia Man: Leonard Anthony Bracken Sr., documenting the history of the Bracken family and their garages in Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill; and newspaper clippings, thousands of photographs and digital images, and digital copies of back issues of the Chestnut Hill Local. We were also grateful to receive photographs and posters from the John S. Jenks school, documenting their students’ powerful messages of love and peace in response to the racist messages posted there in early September. Contact Alex Bartlett with any Archives questions or requests.
We continue, as always, to work quietly with several area neighbor groups, addressing concerns and opportunities with area historic architecture and streetscapes. You will soon be reading more about some of these moving toward great resolution and collaborative efforts to improve the community’s development review process and promote healthy growth on our traditional commercial corridors. Executive Director Lori Salganicoff welcomes your questions and suggestions.
We celebrate and thankDan Macey and Paul Savidge for their latest act of remarkable stewardship at the Margaret Esherick House, a modern treasure in Chestnut Hill. The home is one of only nine residences designed by Louis I. Kahn. On August 21, Dan and Paul added their home to the National Register of Historic Places due to its architectural significance as an iconic modernist building.
Sketch by Louis Kahn Courtesy of the Kahn Architectural Archives at the University of Pennsylvania
Universally recognized as a premier example of Kahn’s design principles, and as noted in the nomination, it is considered “one of the most significant residential structures built in the second half of the twentieth century in the United States, if not beyond.”
Wissahickon watershed and open space conservation: Our Conservation and Easements Manager, Krista Gebbia, spent much of the summer on annual visits to the 52 properties on which we hold Conservation and Preservation Easements. The Conservancy has agreements created with each property’s owners to protect over 105 acres of protected open space and 13 buildings in the watershed. Krista and the Conservation and Easement Committee, shared jointly with Friends of the Wissahickon, have also been working with several property owners interested in placing easements on their own properties. We are happy to talk with anyone about easements, whether the interest stems from a wish to help sustain the community into the future or to access the lucrative possible tax deductions that may result. Contact Krista for more information on this program.
National recognition for Chestnut Hill’s “Main Street”
Thank you to the Chestnut Hill Business District and its dedicated staff for bringing national attention to our historic main street. Good Morning America came to the business district for a live segment on Tuesday, July 4, to highlight one of America’s iconic main streets, Germantown Avenue, to celebrate the local communities around the country that keep the American spirit alive.
After the live taping, the Chestnut Hill Bocce Club hosted its 107th Fourth of July Bike Parade. Earlier that week, the Conservancy shared photos of past years’ bicycle parades from our Archives on Instagram and in the Chestnut Hill Welcome Center window.
What we live becomes our history, and the Conservancy is excited to add this year’s photos to our Archives. Let Archivist Alex Bartlettknow if you have something you think should be added to the Conservancy’s Archives.
Ask the Experts
Ask the Experts addresses a featured topic by an expert on prevalent issues relating to historic home and landscape care, with free access to the Archives. A free program organized by the Conservancy in collaboration with the Chestnut Hill Community Association.
Saturday, September 23, was not just any Saturday — it was the first day of autumn, National Public Lands Day, and the season’s first Ask the Expertsevent! The free Window Restoration Workshop was led by two distinguished experts: Ray Tschoepe and Andrew Staples.
Save the date of Tuesday, December 5, for our next virtual Ask the Experts program by the experts at Chubb about how and why to ensure the replacement value of historic architectural treasures, big and small.
Discovering Chestnut Hill Tour & Lecture Series
Walking Tour: The Italian Artisans Who Built Chestnut Hill
Saturday, October 28, 1:00 – 2:30 PM
Register by clicking HERE to secure a place on this walking tour to explore the rich heritage of the Italian masons who literally built most of our now-historic stone buildings.
Historian David Contosta will provide a brief overview of this history before the walk begins. Your tour will be led by our Archivist Alex Bartlett and by 4th-generation (in America) mason Joe Manero, who will share some little-known details about the stone buildings built by his family.
Save the evening of Wednesday, November 8, for a unique lecture by Architect, Professor, and Historian Witold Rybzcynski.
Witold will discuss and compare three iconic modern homes – the Vanna Venturi House, the Margaret Esherick House, and the Dorothy Shipley White House – through the lens of their architects’ perspectives and careers. After the lecture, Witold will be available to sign copies of his newest book, “The Story of Architecture,” which will be available for purchase that evening, thanks to our friends at Booked. More soon.
Archives Volunteer Spotlight
Our longtime volunteer, Katie Worrall, just completed a 16-year cataloging project, that of the photograph collection of the Chestnut Hill Local! During the project, she cataloged over 9,000 photographs from 1970-2002. “cataloging” consists of organizing, rehousing (storing the collection in archivally stable, acid-free materials), entering data into our Past Perfect cataloging software, and scanning the photographs.
The culmination of all this is that, through Katie’s hard work and dedication, the Chestnut Hill Local photograph collection is available to the public for research via our website’s online photo collection link.
Katie’s next project? She has begun to enter keywords into Past Perfect associated with articles from back issues of the Local from 1989 onward; keywords for earlier issues were entered previously.
When completed, this project will make all of our issues keyword searchable, making the articles published in the Local much more accessible.
There was no one more perfect to be involved with these projects, as Katie Worrall was a longtime employee with the Local; she started there in 1978 and would soon become the newspaper’s Editor. She would remain as Editor until 2004 and started volunteering with the Chestnut Hill Conservancy (then the Chestnut Hill Conservancy) in 2007.
Thank you for all of your help, Katie, in helping to preserve and share our community’s history! We could not have done it without you!
Congratulations to Danielle Marino Saldutti on her summer promotion to Development Director! We are excited to see what she will accomplish next.
“I’m grateful for all that we’ve accomplished this past year! I’m looking forward to transitioning into this new role as we expand our fundraising efforts,” says Danielle. “Specifically, I’m excited to spearhead our NextGen initiative(s) and deepen the community’s relationship with the Conservancy’s efforts to sustain what makes this place special.”
Sponsorship is a great tax-deductible way for businesses to publicly support the Conservancy and our work, and to be seen by many current and future clients! Contact our Director of Development, Danielle Marino Saldutti, to learn more about sponsorship opportunities.