- Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- 1 Geography
- 2 History
- 3 Architecture and housing stock
- 4 Public transportation
- 5 Education
- 6 Parks and arboretums
- 7 Other notable civic institutions
- 8 Notable residents (past and present)
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Chestnut Hill is bounded as follows:
- on the northwest by Northwestern Avenue (a county line and city limit, beyond which lies a panhandle of Springfield Township, Montgomery County that juts into Whitemarsh Township);
- on the west by the Wissahickon Gorge (part of Fairmount Park) (beyond which lie Upper Roxborough and Andorra);
- on the northeast by Stenton Avenue (a county line and city limit, beyond which lie Erdenheim and Wyndmoor, Springfield Township); and
- on the southeast by the Cresheim Valley (part of Fairmount Park) (beyond which lies Mount Airy).
The USPS does not officially correlate neighborhood names to Philadelphia ZIP codes (all are called simply "Philadelphia" or "Phila"). However, the 19118 ZIP code is almost entirely coterminous with the cultural-consensus boundaries of Chestnut Hill.
The village of Chestnut Hill was part of the German Township laid out by Francis Daniel Pastorius and came to include the settlements originally known as Sommerhausen and Crefeld, as well as part of Cresheim. It served as a gateway between Philadelphia and the nearby farmlands. During the U.S. Revolutionary War era (late 18th century), the area was one of many summer vacation spots due to its higher elevation, 400–500 feet (120 to 150 m) above sea level, and cooler temperatures than the historic Center City. Chestnut Hill is still stereotypically known as one of the more affluent sections of Philadelphia. However, there are many residents who fall within lower/middle class incomes.
Chestnut Hill (along with many other towns and farmlands of Philadelphia County) became part of the City of Philadelphia in 1854 as part of the Act of Consolidation, when the County and the City became completely coterminous. In the same year, the Chestnut Hill Railroad opened, making an easy commute to and from Center City.
From the mid-19th century through the mid-20th, the neighborhood served as the functional equivalent of both a "railroad suburb" and a "streetcar suburb" of Center City; although it was part of Philadelphia, and not a suburb, it was a leafy outlying part functioning much like a commuter town. (It still serves this function, although the streetcars are gone.) The neighborhood contains a wide variety of 19th and early 20th century residential buildings by many of the most prominent Philadelphia architects.
Architecture and housing stock
Housing in Chestnut Hill is very expensive for this region. In 2011, it had a median home sale price of $629,500—the highest of any Philadelphia neighborhood outside of Center City. This price was an increase of 57% from its 2005 median price.
The Chestnut Hill listings on the National Register of Historic Places:
- Anglecot (1883), designed by Wilson Eyre.
- Chestnut Hill Historic District
- Druim Moir Historic District, includes Romanesque Revival mansion (1883-86), designed by G. W. & W. D. Hewitt.
- Graver's Lane Station (1883), designed by Frank Furness.
- John Story Jenks School (1922), designed by Irwin T. Catharine.
- Thomas Mill Bridge (across the Wissahickon Creek, the only traditional covered bridge in Philadelphia).
- Wissahickon Inn (now Chestnut Hill Academy) (1883-84), designed by G. W. & W. D. Hewitt.
Other historic and notable properties include:
- Inglewood Cottage (1850), designed by Thomas Ustick Walter.
- The former site of Boxly, the estate of Frederick Winslow Taylor, where Taylor often received the business-management pilgrims who came to meet the "Father of Scientific Management".
- Esherick House (1961), designed by Louis Kahn.
- Vanna Venturi House (1962-64), designed by Robert Venturi.
Public transportation in southeastern Pennsylvania, which includes Philadelphia and the surrounding counties, is provided by SEPTA, the region's mass transit authority.
Regional rail (commuter rail)
Trams in the southeastern Pennsylvania region are known as trolleys. The trolley network of this region was very extensive prior to World War II, but has shrunk since that era. Chestnut Hill was formerly served by trolleys. Trolley service to Chestnut Hill began in 1894, and trolley tracks still run down the Belgian-block-paved main street of the neighborhood, Germantown Avenue. SEPTA "temporarily suspended" regular trolley service in 1992.
The withering of trolley service in Philadelphia is generally unpopular with most residents. This topic generates heated emotions because it is related to the larger issue of the Great American streetcar scandal. Further discussion of the arguments and counterarguments is beyond the scope of this article.
Colleges and universities
Primary and secondary schools
Residents are zoned to schools in the School District of Philadelphia. Students in grades kindergarten through 8 are zoned to John Story Jenks School, while students in grades 9 through 12 are zoned to Germantown High School.
Many "Chestnut Hillers" also send their children to private schools in nearby neighborhoods such as William Penn Charter School, Germantown Friends School, Germantown Academy, Saint Joseph's Preparatory School, Abington Friends School, LaSalle College High School, and Mount Saint Joseph Academy.
Parks and arboretums
Other notable civic institutions
- Woodmere Art Museum
- Wissahickon Skating Club
- Philadelphia Cricket Club
- The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential is adjacent to Chestnut Hill in Wyndmoor
Notable residents (past and present)
- R. Tucker Abbott, malacologist and author
- Willie Anderson, golfer, winner of four U.S. Opens
- E. Digby Baltzell, author and sociologist
- James Bond (ornithologist) and namesake of the fictional secret agent
- Joseph S. Clark, former senator from Pennsylvania.
- George Gordon Meade Easby, great-grandson of General George Meade
- Melissa Fitzgerald, actress
- William J. Green, III, former mayor of Philadelphia
- Henry H. Houston, railroad businessman and developer
- W. Thacher Longstreth, former City Councilman At-Large
- David Morse, actor
- Frank Rizzo, former mayor of Philadelphia
- Witold Rybczynski, architect and urban policy scholar
- Hugh Scott, U.S. Congressman and Senator
- Denise Scott Brown, architect
- Frederick Winslow Taylor, engineer, management theorist, and consultant
- Marcus Tracy, professional soccer player with Danish club AaB
- Robert Venturi, architect
- Alexander Lawton Mackall, journalist, editor, and gastronomic expert
- Lori Shorr, Chief Education Officer for Philadelphia
- Chestnut Hill Community Association
- Chestnut Hill Business Association
- Chestnut Hill College
- Chestnut Hill Historical Society
- The Chestnut Hill Local - newspaper
- Germantown Avenue Parents - family resources and activities
- John Story Jenks School - public school
Neighborhoods of the Northwest Philadelphia section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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