Photos of the oldest Ailanthus tree (see arrow). Photographs show the same tree in 1918 (top) aand2011 (below).The tree is immediately adjacent to the Chestnut Hill Community Centre, 8419 Germantwin Ave. Photo reprinted from the Chestnut Hill Historical Society.  Bottom photo by M. T. Kasson.

The first tree planted as part of the Re-Tree Chestnut Hill program was dedicated to Carol Schwartz. 

by Pete Mazzaccaro

The Chestnut Hill Community Fund, Community Association and Business Improvement District have been working on raising funds for Re-Tree Chestnut Hill last October. On Friday, April 17, the first tree to be planted as part of the program received a special christening when it was dedicated to Carol Schwartz, the late founder of Carol Schwartz Gallery, which hosted an art reception for the project that night.

The tree, a Yoshino cherry, was planted the day before in the sidewalk in front of 101 Bethlehem Pike, which houses the Carol Schwartz Gallery and Teenagers Inc. headquarters. The building is owned by Bowman Properties.

It was the idea of Bowman Properties president Richard Snowden to plant the tree and dedicate it to Carol Schwartz, according to her husband Elliott, who continues to run the gallery and who organized the art opening and the tree dedication.

Many members of Schwartz’s family attended the dedication.

Rabbi Lynnda Targan opened the dedication with remarks about Carol Schwartz.

The tree is such an amazing symbol for Carol,” she said. “She was a woman who was so grounded and deeply rooted in all the things that were important in life. She was surrounded by beauty and seemed to bloom in her life of creativity.”

After remarks by Targan, Chestnut Hill Community Fund president Jean Hemphill spoke about the Re-Tree initiative.

“We realized we needed to restore the trees another generation planted,” she said, noting the work of Chestnut Hill Community Association founder Lloyd Wells’ efforts to plant ginko trees 50 years ago. “ “We wanted to leave that kind of legacy to the next generation.”

Snowden spoke about how he had come to know the Schwartzes 25 years ago and knew both to be committed to working to make Chestnut Hill better. He said the Re-Tree Chestnut Hill project was an example of what makes the neighborhood special.

“That’s the thing that’s so great about Chestnut Hill: It’s a series of renaissances.” he said. “We’re taking up that mantle of Lloyd Wells and, hopefully, planting 50 to 60 trees every year. Re-Tree Chestnut Hill is about really going and turning this place into the Garden District we advertise it to be.”

The Carol Schwartz Gallery’s current exhibit is of work by the artist M.F. Cardamone and runs through May 30. Cardamone and Schwartz were donating 20 percent of all funds raised at the opening to the Re-Tree initiative.

“Thank you so much to Elliot, my new buddy, for letting me share my work,” Cardamone said at the dedication. “It’s so nice to return here and share my work with everybody.”

For more information on the Carol Schwartz Gallery, visit For more on Re-Tree Chestnut Hill, see