The Benson Architectural Legacy In Chestnut Hill (part one)

Our Town | January 24th, 2020 | Leave a comment

The Benson family has lived in or near Chestnut Hill for some six generations, with many family members here today. Over those generations, they built or owned a number of interesting houses, creating an important architectural legacy. Some houses are gone, but others happily remain today. Let’s start with one of their prominent ancestors during […]

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Boxly: A botanical legacy survives in Chestnut Hill

Our Town | December 5th, 2019 | Leave a comment

by George McNeely Digging around in the rich history of Chestnut Hill and vicinity sometimes takes us on unexpected journeys. That is certainly the case with Boxly, the prominent local estate that survives today in engaging ways. The most visible surviving part is the house that can be partly seen from either West Gravers Lane […]

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Finding God everywhere: A short religious history of Chestnut Hill

Our Town | November 14th, 2019 | Leave a comment

by George McNeely People seek spiritual sustenance in different ways. Over the centuries, the verdant Wissahickon Valley has offered calm and regeneration. Nearby, man-made places of worship have been built over the centuries. They offer spiritual sustenance through varied religious traditions and reflect the ever-evolving demographics of this area. When William Penn secured a royal […]

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Our Town: The Corson Quarry and the local history of lime

Our Town | October 4th, 2019 | Leave a comment

by George McNeely (Ed. note: Due to a production error, the first part of this week’s “Our Town” column was cut off in the print version of the Local. The full version of the article is presented below.) Lurking around Chestnut Hill and the surrounding towns are overlooked remnants of early commercial and industrial activities. […]

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Our Town: A village under attack – the fight to save Abolition Hall continues

Our Town | September 12th, 2019 | Leave a comment

by George McNeely Just as the struggle to abolish slavery took centuries, the struggles over the proposed unsympathetic development around Abolition Hall may last as long. Herein is the latest in the saga to preserve that remarkable survival of the Underground Railroad. Readers may remember that the New Jersey-based developers, K. Hovnanian Homes, is proposing […]

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Gates to paradise: Entries to the Wissahickon

Our Town | August 16th, 2019 | Leave a comment

by George McNeely A reader has inquired about the various sets of gateways at key entry points to the Wissahickon Park in Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill. On these warm summer days, those of us who are not at the beach are likely visiting the Park and may encounter those gateways. Herein is some of […]

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Chestnut Hill and the Dakota Sioux: A complicated history

Our Town | August 1st, 2019 | Leave a comment

by George McNeely Readers of the Local may have noticed a recent discussion in these pages about Chestnut Hill and Native Americans, including about why we have so many streets named after indigenous tribes. My fellow columnist Hugh Gilmore has provided the answer: that Gertrude Woodward, the daughter of Henry Houston, requested such names. There […]

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