Workers install sewer lines on Bethlehem Pike in the 1920s.

by Alex Bartlett

As summer draws to a close and Labor Day approaches, it seems appropriate to include a photograph of those workers who toil every day to make our city – and our country –better places to live and work.

These workers at the intersection of Chestnut Hill Avenue and Bethlehem Pike were doing just this, as they worked to install sewer lines in the right of way of Bethlehem Pike in the mid-to late 1920s. They had their work cut out for them, if we can judge by the apparent lack of machinery to help them with their work.

This photograph was taken by William “Billy” Whittem, who owned a pharmacy at 105 Bethlehem Pike, just behind and out of view to the right. Mr. Whittem and his family owned his pharmacy from the 1890s until he retired in 1962. The pharmacy closed in 1970.

To see more historical photographs, visit the Chestnut Hill Conservancy’s Online Archive at