Discovering Chestnut Hill:

Covid collecting for the Chestnut Hill Conservancy

By Liz Jarvis, Curator/Archivist at Chestnut Hill Conservancy
Posted 3/18/21

Scenes that typified Chestnut Hill during the early days of the pandemic in the spring of 2020 are already fading from our daily experience: next-to-no cars on Germantown Avenue, closed stores, Xs …

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Discovering Chestnut Hill:

Covid collecting for the Chestnut Hill Conservancy

Posted

Scenes that typified Chestnut Hill during the early days of the pandemic in the spring of 2020 are already fading from our daily experience: next-to-no cars on Germantown Avenue, closed stores, Xs made of colored tape on the sidewalk to mark physical distances, a sink outside of Kilian’s Hardware for mandatory hand washing before entering, and so much more out of the ordinary. Ten, thirty, fifty years from now, people will marvel at what we went through. This is why we collect images and stories about these times at the Chestnut Hill Conservancy. One could liken this to the life-altering circumstances of the influenza epidemic of 1918 and 1919, or the homefront during World Wars I and II. It is now a year since the lockdown began. Looking back, here are some stories and images from the early days of the pandemic we have collected.

“There are enough ventilators right now, but not enough staff. The staff is not allowed to wear masks in the waiting room because it’s felt that would scare people. The coronavirus is so new that there are not yet procedures in place to protect employees. One nurse left her shoes in the hospital and walked barefoot to her car so as not to possibly take virus-infected shoes home.”
-- April 3, 2020
  From a Chestnut Hill Hospital respiratory therapist.

“I found there were almost no paper products, cleaning supplies, no tomato or egg products and little ice cream remaining. I guess comfort food is in order. Announcements about social distancing were repeated continuously – a good thing, but wracked my nerves. When I was checking out, a woman pulled in right behind me, and the cashier said you have to stay six feet away. The woman said she was, and the cashier and I both said she wasn’t. The two of them argued.”
-- April 1, 2020
  From a Chestnut Hill resident, who went to shop at the Giant in Flourtown first thing when it opened.

“His friend, who was trapped inside his apartment in Italy for two weeks, was aghast that people in Chestnut Hill were playing tennis at the Water Tower Recreation Center.”
March 22, 2020
A Chestnut Hill resident was on the phone with a friend in coronavirus-ravaged Italy.

Can you add to our collections of images, stories or items? Please contact Liz Jarvis at: liz@chconservancy.org. We can also set up a time to talk on the phone.

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