by Alex Bartlett, Archivist, Chestnut Hill Conservancy
As the month of June draws to a close, it is signal for many that summer has arrived. Many will travel “down the Shore” to enjoy the waves of the ocean and a cool breeze. Some will turn their attention to other summer activities, including making their way to one of the region’s amusement parks like Hershey Park, Great Adventure, and Dorney Park. Did you know, however, that in the early 20th century, one needed to travel only a mile or so to a large amusement park for summer fun?
Such an amusement park existed as the Chestnut Hill Park, often known as the White City. Opened in Erdenheim in 1898, the Park covered the area bounded by present-day Bethlehem Pike, Paper Mill Road, and Hillcrest and Montgomery Avenues. Attractions included boat rides, a “Grand Casino,” a roller coaster, an elaborate promenade, a rollerskating rink, and a lake and island, to name a few.
Patrons could take the Philadelphia Rapid Transit and Lehigh Valley trollies to the park, from all over the region. As time progressed, the park became increasingly successful and larger numbers of visitors, often from the lower class, would visit each year. This was to the consternation of local, wealthy property owners, who united to abolish the park. Its last season of operation was in 1911. Shown here is the lake and promenade, as published on a postcard circa 1905. The lake still exists today as Hartwell Pond, in a much diminished size.
Did you know that the Chestnut Hill Conservancy has just uploaded over 350 new photographs from the Chestnut Hill Local to its online photograph collection? These newly-uploaded photographs include many views of Chestnut Hill storefronts from the 1970s through 1990s and can be viewed on the Conservancy’s website.
For further information including how you can purchase an image, contact Archivist Alex Bartlett at the Chestnut Hill Conservancy, at 215-247-9329 ext. 206, or at Alex@chconservancy.org