A person interesting to a community is also a person interested in the community. These five individuals have varying roles in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood, but they have all made strong connections to the residents of the area. Their lasting involvement makes them the people to know.
The O’Donnell family has been a part of Chestnut Hill for over 60 years. Fran O’Donnell (above) currently owns and manages the family business, O’Doodles, a whimsical toy store. He is also a local real estate agent. He and his family are well-known in the area because of their business ventures, but mostly because of the uniqueness and popularity of O’Doodles.
Working for the Chestnut Hill Welcome Center since 1979, Miller understands what being a true community resource means. The Welcome Center may be focused on the health of the business community, but Miller will do whatever is needed for community members as well.
“I’ve baby-sat dogs, baby-sat children, then when they grew up watched their own children for them,” Miller said of her extensive involvement. “I know a lot of the residents, it’s great.”
Riding the bus is a social experience, where drivers often get to know regular riders on a personal level. The number 23 SEPTA bus travels from Chestnut Hill to the the crossroads of Oregon Avenue and Broad Street, winding down Germantown Avenue. It is a bus that experiences many of the neighborhood quirks of the area.
“I love it because of the people,” Newman, one of the drivers, said about the route.
There are two places where a person will get to know community members better than anywhere else: the local school and the local bar. Mason-Myers has worked at both. Currently a waitress at McNally’s Tavern, a Chestnut Hill landmark established in 1921, she was also a grade school teacher at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Roxborough.
“I taught kids in second grade that I’m now seeing buying a beer,” Mason-Myers said about her long-term community involvement.
Librarians may be quiet, but they are full of information. Working as a Chestnut Hill College librarian since 1985, Marian Ehnow puts her knowledge to good use by assisting students with papers and projects. A 60-year native of Chestnut Hill, Ehnow is a wealth of knowledge to the students and the community.
– Text and images by Logan Wilson and Sinead Cummings