News from our community, #GivingTuesday, a Streetscape Exhibition, and a new Board Member

In Times of Need, We Help Each Other

The Chestnut Hill Conservancy and Night Kitchen Bakery raise over $16,000 to support two community treasures

Picture courtesy of the Chestnut Hill Local
The scars left by the devastating fire that damaged the Mitchell (Hiram) Lodge #81 building last August demonstrate the importance of every historic building in our commercial corridor. On Wednesday, Nov 2, Night Kitchen Bakery (NKB) and the Conservancy joined to welcome close to 100 people at a Beef, Beer, and Baked Goods Fundraiser at the Venetian Social Club. The evening raised over $16,000 to help with the immediate stabilization and eventual restoration of the fire-damaged Mitchell (Hiram) Lodge #81 building, and to also support Night Kitchen Pastry Chef Angela Jarmon in her battle with multiple sclerosis.

We are grateful to NKB Owner Amy Edelman for suggesting combining our efforts, to Jim Clancy to organize and engage so many of his fellow Lodge members, to the Venetian Social Club for being such supportive hosts, and to all who contributed to them.

The Chestnut Hill Conservancy kept none of the funds raised. We expect this demonstration of community support will help the Lodge stabilize, preserve, and rebuild this significant part of the fabric of Chestnut Hill.

Protected before sale:

8720 Germantown Ave

Yellowstone, at 8720 Germantown Avenue, sits on a little over an acre of beautiful plantings and trees, and features an architecturally-significant main house facing Germantown Avenue and three historic secondary buildings. The main house was built in 1887-8 from designs by Theophilus P. Chandler, the same architect who designed another Significant building protected by the Conservancy, around the corner at 30 West Chestnut Hill Avenue.

Working proactively with the Conservancy to find an appropriate future steward for the property since 2019, former owners Mary and Lawrence Walsh listed the property for sale earlier this year. The Walshes intended to find a preservation-minded buyer who would care for the property as they had, at the best sale price possible. After the Conservancy nominated the property to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, realtor Rich McIlhenny cleverly and successfully incorporated this recognition into sales pitches.

Significant as an fine example of Colonial (Georgian) Revival architecture, Yellowstone was also the original meeting place of the Chestnut Hill Village Improvement Association, which was a pivotal force in the development of the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia during the early Progressive era. Architect Theophilus P. Chandler, Jr. was a leading figure in Philadelphia’s architectural community during the last quarter of the nineteenth century.

Read more about the property’s significance in the full nomination HERE.

The Conservancy added the property to the Philadelphia Register in a way that protected the main house but allowed for more flexibility with the rest of the property. This means that any building permit for work in the property would be reviewed by the Historical Commission for how it impacts the exterior facade and character of the main house. The Historical Commission approves close to 95% of applications quickly, at staff level, allowing proposals to alter the exteriors of protected historic resources to be more carefully reviewed, and proposals for interiors and other buildings to be quickly reviewed simply for their impact on the historic resource.

We look forward to welcoming the new owners, as we bid a fond farewell to former owners Lawrence and Mary Walsh, with gratitude for their legacy of 20 years of stewardship.

11/29 is #GivingTuesday: A Global Generosity Movement

GivingTuesday began 10 years ago with the plan to be a global generosity movement. Since then, it has become an international movement that has raised millions of dollars for worthy causes and changemakers.

If you are inspired to be part of the movement this year for the Chestnut Hill Conservancy, here are a few acts of generosity you can take:

  • Make a tax-deductible donation so we can continue all our extraordinary work in the area.
  • Reach out to a friend or neighbor and tell them why you are grateful to share this community with them.
  • Repurpose old items to reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Plant native flowers and trees in your backyard to help our Wissahickon Watershed thrive.

Thank you for all your support and generosity you show to the Chestnut Hill community throughout the year—we are grateful to partner with you to sustain and celebrate this special place we all love.

“The Evolution of Pastorius Park, the Park that Almost Wasn’t”

A Conservancy Streetscape Exhibit

Philadelphia DOR Archives
This year, the Conservancy is taking a break from Night of Lights, so we chose to present an exhibit from our archives into the Avenue for the Holiday Season. The Exhibit will be focused on Pastorius Park, one of the biggest and most beloved green spaces in Chestnut Hill, and a key component that defines the beauty and special character of this urban village. However, did you know that today while today the park is full of life and activity, at one point it was planned to be something very different?

This Streetscape Exhibit will showcase the evolution of Pastorius Park throughout the years. Initially conceived as a dramatic landscaped double roundabout in the heart of Chestnut Hill, the Park has been rescued and maintained by Friends of Pastorius Park.

The Exhibit will feature a collection of panels created by Landscape Architect Rob Fleming, including several Olmsted drawings. Stay tuned for more details, coming soon!

Meet our New Member of the Conservancy Board and Interim Treasurer!

Brendan Kelly

Brendan Kelly is the father of two daughters and a Managing Vice President at Gartner, Inc., the world’s leading technology research and advisory firm. Brendan moved to Chestnut Hill in 2021 after raising his family in the Lehigh Valley. Prior to joining Gartner, Brendan was the co-founder of two apparel brands, during which he was named to Philadelphia Style magazine’s “30 Under 30.”

A graduate of Salesianum School and Muhlenberg College, Brendan is a former recipient of Muhlenberg’s Alumni Association Undergraduate Merit Award, a former member of the university’s Alumni Executive Council, and a current member of the Henry Melchior Muhlenberg Society.

Brendan is an avid reader and athlete with a passion for leadership development. In association with the Swain School and Moravian Academy, Brendan founded the Krista Siri Kelly Memorial Scholarship Program in honor of his late wife.

From the Conservancy Archives

Last year, the Chestnut Hill Conservancy received a collection of photographs, sketches, correspondence, and ephemera associated with Herman Miller, a local architect and artist who was particularly active in the period from circa 1910-1935. He lived at 234 Sumac Street in the Wissahickon neighborhood, adjacent to Manayunk. For a period of perhaps 20 years, Miller sketched many scenes of the Wissahickon and published them in a variety of media, including as greeting cards and in his “Moods of the Wissahickon,” both of which are included within this collection.

In his biography included in the collection, he noted “In 1889, I entered the office of one of the foremost architectural firms in the country – Furness, Evans, and Co., 209 South 3rd St., Phila., where my early architectural training was acquired. Worked for that firm as student, then subsequently as draftsman until 1895.” Shown here are two of his sketches- one is immediately recognizable as that of the Thomas Mill/ Covered Bridge; the other is of an unknown location along Wissahickon Creek, perhaps in the vicinity of Kitchen’s Lane.

Examples of his local architectural work can be seen in the buildings of the American Swedish Historical Museum, the Cobbs Creek Park Stable (now home of the Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Center); and in Roxborough, the Gorgas Park Memorial and the Veterans Memorial.

Technology Tools

We have worked tirelessly to implement a new donor database focusing on greater data security and user experience. Beginning in November 2022, the Conservancy will be utilizing NeonCRM and NeonPay to facilitate donations, memberships, program and event registrations, and data management. Neon is a level 1 PCI-DSS compliant platform – the highest certification standard available and ensures safe payment processing. We are thrilled to be able to securely and strategically utilize our donor data for the best results in our work for the community.


Check our website for updates on details

  • November 12 – Volunteer Day at Pastorius Park
  • November 30, through December – Streetscape Exhibition – The evolution of Pastorius Park, the park that almost wasn’t
  • Late November/Early December – Ask The Experts – This Green Old House. First Steps to Reducing Energy Use at Home
  • Early December – Illustrated lecture by Nathaniel Kahn on the works of artist, architect, and living legend Rafael Villamil



  • “Light Up the Tower!” Fundraiser for the Water Tower Recreation Center, on Nov 19. Details and tickets HERE.
  • Friends of Pastorius Park Restoration Update and Support.

Support the Conservancy!

If your membership is up for renewal or you are looking to join us, you can make your contribution by mailing a check to our office or using a credit card online. You also can make a donation at any time throughout the year. Please do not hesitate to contact us at if you have any questions about your membership.

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Chestnut Hill Conservancy | 8708 Germantown AvenuePhiladelphia, PA 19118