Chestnut Hill has inducted five new members into its Architectural Hall of Fame.
The buildings and landscapes chosen this year include the Morris Arboretum (numerous architects, 19th-21st centuries); the Chestnut Hill Fire Station (John T. Windrim, 1894); the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields (G.W. and W.D Hewitt, 1895); Krisheim, located at 7638 McCallum St. (Peabody and Stearns, Olmsted Brothers, 1910-12); and 614 St. Andrews Road (Elie-Antoinne Atallah, 2013).
The Hall of Fame, which was started two years ago, serves the neighborhood Historical Society’s mission to protect and manage change in the building environment. The society does this by getting the community involved and raising awareness about irreplaceable assets.
“The Historical Society is a land conservation, history preservation and a social history nonprofit that has been around for the last 49 years,” said executive director Lori Salganicoff. “We want the community to understand this area and realize what is special and why.”
Since Chestnut Hill is one of the nation’s largest national registered historic districts, the Historical Society created a guidebook of all the architecture and buildings in the community. This guidebook tells the community when a specific building was built, what architect built the building, along with other helpful information that the community should be aware of.
Historical Society members used the data from this book to come up with a short list of nominees for the Architectural Hall of Fame. They selected buildings and landscapes that were architecturally significant, socially significant and/or creatively built. Then they took the list to the public and asked if any other important places should be added.
“The Chestnut Hill Local, our local newspaper, designated a section on their website where the community could log on and vote,” said Salganicoff.
“At the Fall For the Arts festival, which is basically our fall community fair, we had a tent that was dedicated as a place for people to vote for their favorite special places,” said Salganicoff. “The properties that got the most votes were selected.”
The Historical Society does reserve the right to add a building or landscape that might not have been one of the popular ones but is, in some way, special and should be recognized.
“This is great for Chestnut Hill,” said Lisa Howe, who works at Artisans on the Avenue. “It gets the community looking at our great architecture, as well as getting the community involved in a great thing.”
Last year, the five buildings and landscapes selected for the Hall were the Thomas Mill covered bridge (originally built in 1731); Gravers Lane Train Station (Frank Furness, 1883); the Wissahickon Inn (G.W. and W.D. Hewitt, 1883-84); the Margaret Esherick House (Louis Kahn, 1960-61); and the Vanna Venturi House (Robert Venturi, 1962-64).
This year’s inductees were honored Nov. 5 during a sold-out gala at the home of Karen and Jeff Regan.
“I was really happy to see 614 St. Andrew’s inducted into the Hall of Fame,” said Salganicoff. “It’s not only about history, but special places that resonate with people,” said Salganicoff.
Moving forward, the Historical Society is planning on having fewer nominees each year. It is also considering breaking things down into different categories in order to make things more organized.
– Text, images, map and video by Delia Franchi and Marie Sechuk
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