by Sam Loth, Fund Drive Committee Member

During the past two decades I have had the pleasure of working in smaller communities scattered throughout eastern Pennsylvania, helping to stabilize and revitalize older downtowns. Many factors go into planning and executing a strategic plan to reinvigorate a community’s social and business center, but one essential factor is the town’s historic architectural heritage. Economic development specialists have learned that without the strength of a town’s history told in story and through its architecture, there is no reason to be there. People visit town centers not suburbs. Fortunately, we have the Chestnut Hill Historical Society that leads the effort to protect the profound architectural heritage here in our neighborhood and the Chestnut Hill Community Fund is proud to provide grant funding to this worthy organization.

A community fund grant has helped the historical society create “A Walk on Germantown Avenue,”which is a self-guided walking tour of Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill that highlights the social and economic history of the avenue and its role in the neighborhood’s development. There are 11 stops on the tour each telling part of the story. There is a free cell phone audio tour and free mobile Web tour available online and soon you will be able to use your smart phone at each location to scan a QR code for the audio/web tours. You can also download a map online or pick up a printed copy in several locations in Chestnut Hill.

Chestnut Hill is one of the region’s most beautiful and architecturally distinguished communities. Nearly every notable architect practicing in Philadelphia over the past 150+ years is represented in Chestnut Hill. The website – – has a resource center that provides information to home owners and others on property maintenance, service providers and even offers do-it-yourself guidance with lists of materials suppliers, tools and products. The online resource center further provides critical guidance on Society activities, its collections, property easements and local history. The society publishes a lively and informative newsletter with news and upcoming programs, reviews of recent events and the struggles and successes of the organization.

The Chestnut Hill Historical Society is located at 8708 Germantown Ave., and is administered by Executive Director Jennifer Hawk and her professional staff. The CHHS is supported by a 17-member Board who’s current president is Randy Williams. Contact them at 215-247-0417 or at Those of us who value our ‘sense of place’ in this noisy and impersonal world can thank organizations like the historical society for their vigilance and thank yourselves as well for keeping Chestnut Hill strong and vital with your contributions to the Chestnut Hill Community Fund.

You can make a donation in person or by mail to CHCF, 8434 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia 19118 or go online to or call Noreen at 215-248-8811. Thank you.

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