20 things you probably don’t know about Chestnut Hill

Local Life January 30, 2014 1 Comment

Chestnut Hill is home to the Thomas Mill Bridge, the only covered bridge in the Philadelphia area.

Chestnut Hill is home to the Thomas Mill Bridge, the only covered bridge in the Philadelphia area.

1. A Civil War hospital used to exist on East Willow Grove Avenue.

2. Water Tower Rec Center had great teenage dances in the 1960s.

3. Stretch’s Dance Emporium had great teenage dances in the 1980s.

4. The first teenage club in Chestnut Hill was called the Orange L.

5. Fiesta Pizza was a popular teenage meeting place in the late 1980s with high school students from Chestnut Hill and surrounding suburbs meeting there on Friday and Saturday nights.

6. Ian Fleming named his famous character, James Bond, after a Chestnut Hill resident whom he met on a cruise.

7. The movie “Stealing Home,” starring Jody Foster and Mark Harmon, was filmed in Chestnut Hill.

8. George Washington led the main body of his army through Chestnut Hill on the way to the Battle of Germantown on October 4, 1777, and they retreated through Chestnut Hill after losing that battle.

9. Chestnut Hill is home to the Thomas Mill Bridge, the only covered bridge in the Philadelphia area.

10. The Baleroy Mansion in Chestnut Hill is considered one of the most haunted houses in the United States. A ghost by the name of Amelia haunts the blue room in the mansion, and a number of other ghosts, including Thomas Jefferson, have been seen here.

11. Chestnut Hill was voted one of the top seven urban enclaves in the United States by Forbes.com.

12. Chestnut Hill was named a 2010 Distinctive Destination by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, D.C. in recognition of its history, architecture, gardens, sustainability, shopping, dining and nature.

13. Chestnut Hill has a walkability score of 88 out of 100, making it a very walkable neighborhood.

14. Chestnut Hill had a diner that everyone called “The Greasy Spoon.” Its real name was the Grover Diner.

15. The name Chestnut Hill was in use as early as 1704.

16. There is an old, hidden graveyard behind the Methodist Church in the 8800 block of Germantown Avenue.

17. Chestnut Hill did not become part of the city of Philadelphia until 1854.

18. Chestnut Hill has homes designed by both Louis Kahn (The Esherick House) and Robert Venturi (The Vanna Venturi House).

19. Friends of the Wissahickon is the oldest nonprofit group caring for the Wissahickon Valley Park. The group has been doing it for 88 years!

20. The Valley Green Inn, built in 1850, was originally called Edward Rinker’s Temperance Tavern.

* Courtesy of the Chestnut Hill Business Association.

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  • joled

    In reference to #14, I think the name was “The Grove Diner”. There were two diners. One was located were at one time the 23 trolley turned to go back down the avenue, and the other was right next to the library.