Public Programs, a Remembrance, and Ways to Participate

Program Brainstorming Happy Hour

Wednesday, October 12, 2022, at 5:30 pm

Venetian Social Club, 8030 Germantown Avenue

Do you have ideas for future tours, lectures, exhibits, or any other types of events from the Chestnut Hill Conservancy? We’d like to hear them, and hope you will join us on Wednesday, October 12, at 5:30 pm for a Public Programs Brainstorming Happy Hour.

Through advocacy and engaging public programming, the Conservancy works to sustain and celebrate the nature, architecture, and diversity of histories of Chestnut Hill and surrounding communities in Philadelphia and Montgomery County.

This in-person brainstorming happy hour will take place in a large indoor space at Chestnut Hill’s Venetian Social Club at 8030 Germantown Ave. Email david@chconservancy.org or go to chconservancy.org to let us know if you’d like to join us, although walk-ins are welcome.

Would you like to share your ideas and help us design our future public programs? We are looking to create tours, lectures, and educational and interactive programs about the area’s architecture, open spaces, and rich history.

As we enter the fall season, we have already started planning our programs and events for next year. With this Brainstorming Session, you will be able to help develop program concepts, suggest interesting speakers and experts, or advocate for other stories to be told. Attendees will be able to enjoy snacks and refreshments, including a happy hour with wine and beer.

We hope you will join us on Wednesday, October 12 at 5.30 pm. An in-person event, it will take place at the Conservancy’s Native Plant Garden. Interested individuals can register below or by emailing david@chconservancy.org.


Discovering Chestnut Hill

Tour & Lecture Series

Conceptual sketch of Woodmere’s project to adapt St Michael’s into Maguire Hall. Photo courtesy of Woodmere Art Museum
This popular series of guided tours and lectures invite you to explore the architecture, history, and natural beauty of our urban village. Topics range from Pastorius Park, trees in the Andorra Natural Area, mid-century modern architecture, the Italian artisans who helped build Chestnut Hill, properties protected by historic designation and easement, and more!

Conservancy Members save on tickets for these and other special events. Become a member here!

The Frances M. Maguire Hall Project: Tour and Lecture

Monday, October 17, 2022, at 5:30 pm

Maguire Hall aka St/ Michael’s Hall, 9101 Germantown Avenue

This project will repurpose the 19th-century mansion’s existing buildings and rooms, and implement energy conservation measures during the rehab. These works will turn parlors and bedrooms into art galleries, a hands-on space for children’s art & education center, a museum café, and public programming spaces. The Conservancy is proud to have helped connect this building and four-acre lot to its bright future. We are grateful to Woodmere for offering this exclusive tour of the site by the project’s leaders.

The Patricia Van Burgh Allison Director and CEO at the Woodmere Museum, Bill Valerio, will perform a tour to illustrate The Frances M. Maguire Hall Project. Valerio will be joined in his explanations by The Klorfine Foundation Director of Development, Anne Standish; and Principal and Director of Practice Development at Andropogon Associates, Darren Damone.

Bill Valerio and Anne Standish will provide general information about the project, focusing on the impressive sustainability elements found in the interior of the building. They will be joined by landscape designer Darren Damone, who will provide an in-depth analysis of the exterior and surrounding spaces. After enjoying a tour of both the interior and exterior of the 19th-century mansion, attendees will be provided refreshments.

Innovative Urban Housing in South Chestnut Hill: Walking Tour

Sunday, October 23, 2022, at 1:30 pm

Meet at the northeast corner of West Willow Grove Avenue and Lincoln Drive

Retired architect and city planner, Conservancy Board Member, and Chestnut Hill local Richard Bartholomew will lead this tour through the most unique and surprising houses in the lower section of Chestnut Hill. The tour will be supplemented with archival photographs of the houses, and it will be followed by a light reception.

On-street parking is available. SEPTA’s Chestnut Hill West Line provides Sunday train service from Center City and 30th Street station arriving at St. Martin’s Station at 1:09 PM.


Ask The Experts

A free program to the community, Ask the Experts addresses a featured topic by an expert on prevalent issues relating to historic home and landscape care, as well as free access to the Archives. Ask questions; get solutions! Organized by the Chestnut Hill Conservancy and co-sponsored by the Chestnut Hill Community Association.
Historical Ironwork Restoration with Sam Filippi

Saturday, November 5, 2022, at 1:00 pm

In person at the Chestnut Hill Conservancy, 8708 Germantown Avenue

Sam Filippi, Chris Meyers, and Dominic Manero evaluating the fence in Spring 2022
Sam Filippi, a local ironworker and member of a family with 75 years of expertise in the industry, will give a presentation on the Filippi Brothers‘ works to restore the Conservancy’s Headquarters iron fence. Filippi will also provide information, tips, and tricks for homeowners on how to restore and maintain iron fences, railings, gateways, and other architectural components and decorations.  While you’re there, feel free to admire the masonry work done for the restored fence by Joseph Manero & Sons. This is a free event, but registration is requested.

First Steps to Reducing Energy Use at Home

Date TBD; Virtual

Do you want to reduce your home’s energy consumption? Ask the Experts; start with an audit.

Green architecture and sustainability studio Re:Vision Architecture will energy audit of an existing building, and describe why it is a great first step to reducing your energy use.

To illustrate how energy may be being wasted, the architects will audit our very own 164-year-old headquarters at 8708 Germantown Avenue (a former home). The audit will help to identify large and small sources of energy loss and air leakage throughout the building. For the purpose of the demonstration, the architects will perform a blower door test and share infrared thermography readings.

Check our website for updates on details and to register

RCO Projects Under Review by HDAC

Thursday, October 6, 6:30pm via Zoom

(Register HERE to receive Zoom link to public meeting)

See the most recently received information on this project HERE

301 Rex Avenue – variance review for the erection of an addition to the existing detached accessory structure, for use as single-family household living.

As part of our preservation advocacy work, the Chestnut Hill Conservancy maintains a Historic District Advisory Committee (HDAC) comprised of preservation, architecture, planning and development professionals. The HDAC addresses issues raised during the community’s design review process reviewing projects that are related to historic structures, properties, and open space for their effect on the character of the Chestnut Hill National Register Historic District.

The Conservancy evaluates variance requests based on the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties, and Philadelphia’s Zoning Board of Adjustment’s (ZBA’s) criteria for zoning variances, as described in this link to the ZBA Application for Appeal.

From the Archives

As our community seeks to find its “new normal”, our Archives have once again become a beehive of activity, with rates of visitation (by appointment) having picked up dramatically since the first quarter of 2022. For example, photo orders have more than doubled in terms of the number of researchers contacting us with requests for historical photographs of area properties, businesses, parks, and landscapes; these researchers spent three times as much as they did in the first quarter.

Researchers have also returned to complete their research requests both in person and remotely, in numbers not seen since the start of the pandemic, with almost 150 requests being made to the Archives of the Chestnut Hill Conservancy this year to date. And though appointments are still required to visit in person, our online photograph collection still proves an invaluable online resource, with tens of thousands of historical photographs available for public access online. We are optimistic that the remainder of the year will see continued growth in visitation for the Archives of the Chestnut Hill Conservancy!

Below is a screen grab of just one of many records available for review on the Chestnut Hill Conservancy’s online photo collection, available at http://chconservancy.pastperfectonline.com/search. The image features the pages of one of 27 scrapbooks of the Wissahickon Garden Club, which generously donated them to us in 2021, along with funding to assist in their cataloging and digitization.

Contact alex@chconservancy.org if you would like to schedule a research visit or have a request – free to members!

Call for Volunteers

As a non-profit organization, volunteers play a vital role in achieving our goals. If you share our love for Chestnut Hill’s diverse architecture, open spaces, and vibrant community, don’t hesitate and volunteer with us! There are many ways you can contribute:
  • Public Programs. Share your ideas with us and help us develop public programs. You can also help us set up our tents and tables, and interact with Chestnut Hill neighbors and visitors that attend our events.
  • Preservation. Use your understanding of architecture and urban planning to help us with our proactive preservation-planning efforts in Chestnut Hill and surrounding communities in Philadelphia and Montgomery County. You will also be able to help with advocacy efforts to prevent the unnecessary destruction of significant historic resources in your neighborhood.
  • Archives. The Chestnut Hill and Wissahickon Archives tell the story of Chestnut Hill and the Wissahickon through 22,000+ photographs, maps, drawings, deeds, and other types of documents. Isn’t it fascinating? Help us collect and catalog this history under the guidance of our professional archivists.
  • Conservation. As the nation’s first urban accredited land trust, we can create easements, or donated development rights, to protect the Wissahickon watershed, water quality, native flora and fauna, and the area’s matchless urban-village character in the face of surging development pressure. Help our easement staff with some critical administrative tasks.
  • Gardening. Did you know, at our headquarters, we have a charming Native Plant Demonstration Garden? Designed for community members interested in environmentally sensitive landscaping, it features trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and ferns, all native to our area. Help with spring and fall clean-up and summer maintenance, and meet fellow gardeners.
  • Sustainability. Help our green, historic urban village be part of the climate solution, and save the Wissahickon (and your money!). In addition to that, you could participate in our This Green Old House and Green Watershed initiatives.
  • Fundraiser Planning and Production. Deploy your eye for detail, sense of style, community connections, and passion for socializing to help us organize Chestnut Hill’s most fabulous fundraisers! These events, such as the Conservancy’s Spring Gala in May, raise a significant piece of our operating pie and are thrilling to participate in.
  • Pastorius Park and Other Partners. As we collaborate with other non-profits and community associations, volunteering with us will allow you to help Chestnut Hill and the surrounding areas in many ways. We co-organize and participate in programs with Friends of the Wissahickon, Friends of Pastorius Park, Chestnut Hill Business District, the Chestnut Hill Community Association…

If you are interested in helping us in any way or want to learn more, contact Programs and Communications Manager David Tortajada (david@chconservancy.org). Tell us about your preferences and skills, and we will find the perfect volunteering opportunities for you. You can also find additional information on our website.


Remembering John K. Rauch

Father, husband, architect, artist, and core member of Chestnut Hill’s community

Mr. Rauch (center), with his son Dave and wife Carol. Philadelphia Inquirer
Last month, native Philadelphian and Chestnut Hill resident John K. Rauch passed away at 91. A celebrated architect, and co-founder and managing partner of the Venturi & Rauch architectural firm, he was also a mentor and supporter of younger architects. You can learn more about John K. Rauch’s influence on our community by reading this article by George McNeely posted on the Chestnut Hill Local.

Born Oct. 23, 1930, in Philadelphia, John K. Rauch developed a brilliant and celebrated career. In 1964, he and famed architect Robert Venturi established the Venturi & Rauch firm in Philadelphia. As the architectural firm’s managing partner, he supervised many of the firm’s daily and strategic operations.

He and his family lived in Chestnut Hill, in a house that he designed himself. John K. Rauch was known for his sense of humor and could be often found walking along the Wissahickon Creek. As Chestnut Hill mourns his death, we will work to preserve and honor his legacy as a person, architect, artist, and notable member of our community.


Check our website for updates on details

  • Streetscape Exhibition – The evolution of Pastorius Park, the park that almost wasn’t (Starts November 19, and runs through December)
  • Illustrated lecture by Nathaniel Kahn on the works of artist, architect, and living legend Rafael Villamil (Early December)

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 membership@chconservancy.org if you have any questions about your membership.

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Chestnut Hill Conservancy | 8708 Germantown AvenuePhiladelphia, PA 19118