by Lori Salganicoff
Executive Director, Chestnut Hill Conservancy

This biweeky Discovering Chestnut Hill column allows the Chestnut Hill Conservancy and the Local to share and highlight some of the things that make Chestnut Hill so special. The community is a unique place defined by its interwoven history, great architecture, and undisturbed open space.

Chestnut Hill Conservancy’s work to preserve the area’s significant architectural, historical, and environmental resources is made possible by hundreds of community members, supporters and partners. Thanks to the support and great work of you and your neighbors, the Conservancy has now celebrated our history in new and exciting ways, conserved almost 100 acres of privately-held watershed land and preserved dozens of important historic buildings.

We are proud to have recently presented a sold-out tour and lecture series celebrating the Italian Artisans Who Built Chestnut Hill. Illustrating the stories of the immigrant craftsmen who left an indelible mark on our historic fabric, this series gave voice to an important part of the community that richly deserves this long-overdue attention. We look forward to continuing to highlight their history during the second annual Night of Lights this October, and to exploring other facets of our community’s history during the Fall tour and lecture series.

Building on the Chestnut Hill Residential Conservation, Preservation and Development Study organized by the Conservancy in partnership with CHCA last year, we are delighted to see several priorities and recommendations carried forward by the City Planning Commission in the “Upper Northwest Philadelphia District Plan.” Please visit to see the study, and to find a link to the district plan so you can add your comments before the plan goes to the City Planning Commission in July. Your voice will only be heard if you speak up.

Our work has just begun – hundreds of acres of significant open space and thousands of historic buildings remain vulnerable to intensifying development pressures and over-permissive zoning. As many as 1,000 new homes could be built under current zoning codes in the many sub-dividable, environmentally critical parcels in Chestnut Hill. Our innovative Conservation and Easements Program, in partnership with Friends of the Wissahickon, is one of the strongest tools available to ensure Chestnut Hill’s historic, green, urban village character remains. Efforts to conserve, preserve, manage redevelopment and celebrate our history have never been so important.

The Conservancy is here for you. If you are not yet a member – but believe that land conservation is important to the health of our community, want to know more about our history, and believe we must balance growth and development with preservation and conservation – please consider investing in your community with a Conservancy membership at

We cannot support the community without community support. Please join today and help us reach our end-of-fiscal year membership goals by June 30.