A woman shows off her fetching spring bonnet and parasol on the 8500 block of Germantown Avenue, around 1910. In the background, a cyclist passes the delivery wagon for Gillies Oyster, Game & Fish Market as it stands ready to make its rounds. Gillies Market was in business from 1887 to 1961. Photograph from the collection of the Chestnut Hill Historical Society.

The Chestnut Hill Historical Society’s historic and unique collection of photographs is easily accessible to the community, through CHHS’s recently organized Online Photograph Catalog.

Whether interested in any specific property, business, institution, people, these online images are currently available to all and at any time, allowing anyone with the use of a computer to visually see how Chestnut Hill’s landscapes, institutions, buildings, styles of dress, and even individual attitudes have changed throughout the years.

Of course, this online option can also serve as an invaluable tool for homeowners, students, researchers, architects, and historians. Thus, Chestnut Hill’s Historical Society proudly shares this online site, which will likely be appreciated as a priceless gift by any individual who appreciates local or regional history.

Additionally, the Chestnut Hill Historical Society is one of 47 local history institutions in the Delaware Valley that has participated in a finding aid website for archival collections, organized by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Hidden Collections Project. This means you can now go to a link on the Chestnut Hill Historical Society’s web site and keyword search the CHHS collections as well as those of 46 other institutions with one search. For example, if you key in “Valley Green Inn,” information about that building will appear from six different institutions, including the Chestnut Hill Historical Society.

To help keep the past alive – for today and future generations – the CHHS provides direct intervention to preserve these local buildings and open space through its innovative easement program, as well as by offering exhibits and tours. The Archives holds a collection of over 12,000 historic photographs documenting Chestnut Hill’s history.

These images include landscapes, buildings, institutions, and local transportation activities that can illustrate a particular moment in time, as well as record the changes that have been made over these many years. Maps, plans, personal papers, business records, prints, artifacts, and much more make up a diverse collection of local social and architectural history.

Simply visit www.chhist.org to search both these new tools for mining our local history, and/or make an appointment to come in and view our collections. You can reach can reach the Archives at: 215-247-0417.

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