Chestnut Hill is Philadelphia’s “Garden District.” Located at the very top of the city of Philadelphia, its residential properties are beautifully landscaped. Flower pots adorn its main street, historic Germantown Avenue, and every year a spring garden festival draws thousands of visitors from far and wide. Chestnut Hill’s commercial main street is vibrant, and its very active business association and community association work hard to make it that way. Residents tend to participate in the life of the community, to be articulate in doing so, and to be generous in funding projects the community deems important. For instance, the Chestnut Hill Conservancy, the local historic group, has a large avid membership that celebrates its relatively recent history. In the mid-19th century, Chestnut Hill was a small rural farming village. It grew to be much more once railroad magnate and philanthropist Henry Houston moved his family to an elaborate Victorian mansion designed by the Hewitt Brothers on 55 acres by the Wissahickon Woods in 1886. Around that time, the Pennsylvania Railroad built a commuter rail line from Center City Philadelphia to Chestnut Hill. Taking advantage of that ease of transportation, Houston developed a rental empire of Victorian homes that lured many to the delightful green spaces and fresh air away from city streets. Today, the housing stock, having burgeoned with the 1920’s building boom, is outstanding. One can walk from most homes to the Avenue for a cup of coffee, or an excellent dinner, or a fine work of art at one of the several prominent galleries there. One can’t forget the influence of Fairmount Park’s Wissahickon Creek and surrounding parkland on life in Chestnut Hill. A stroll along the Forbidden Path at the bottom of the Wissahickon gorge can be life-giving and spiritually fulfilling—or just a great place to see friends.
Public transportation: Several bus lines including Germantown Avenue’s #23 that travels all the way to South Philadelphia and two commuter train lines, Chestnut Hill East and Chestnut Hill West
Schools: Jenks Public School, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, Miquon School, and Chestnut Hill College
Distance from Center City Philadelphia: Approximately 12.6 miles
Distance from King of Prussia: Approximately 11 miles.