As you may already know, Chestnut Hill is probably the most popular residential section of Philadelphia proper. Though technically within the City limits, it's on the very edge of the City adjoining East Montgomery County, and for the full length of its Western boundary overlooks the beautiful Northwestern section of Fairmount Park. Chestnut Hill's popularity rests on a number of qualities, chief among them being the unique character of the Community itself and the convenient access to Center City by two rail lines, the Chestnut Hill East line (the Reading Railroad) and the Chestnut Hill West line (Conrail, formerly Penn Central).
Unlike the extended suburban sprawl of the Main Line area, which offers a half-dozen charming "communities" none of which is distinguishable from the others, Chestnut Hill has a distinctive identity all its own. Highly organized for the purpose of jealously protecting the quality of life it represents, it boasts an array of well-managed institutions that would do credit to a city ten times its own 15-20,000 population.
We have a Community Association comprising local residents; an organization of the local business interests called the Development Group (a kind of local Chamber of Commerce); a Realty Trust devoted to the protection of real estate values by buying up and rehabilitating properties that have been neglected or which might be used for purposes inimical to the community's welfare; an Historical Society; and a Parking Company that has been responsible for developing a network of locally owned parking lots to serve the shopping area, a service that has drawn shoppers to Chestnut Hill's unique shops from all over the Greater Philadelphia area.
In addition, the Community runs its own weekly newspaper, the CHESTNUT HILL LOCAL, has a local theater group (the Plays and Players), and originated and still produces the extraordinarily successful Basically Bach Festival, which has grown from an entirely local Chestnut Hill celebration to a City-wide festival every Autumn.
In short, if you and your family would enjoy living in an unusually alert, active and self-aware little "town" within the City of Philadelphia, by all means take a good long look at Chestnut Hill.
I should also mention that Chestnut Hill has two first-class private day schools offering a full 12-year elementary and secondary school curriculum as well as special classes in the pre-school and kindergarten years: Chestnut Hill Academy for boys, Springside School for girls. Three other private schools within 15 to 20 minutes travel time from the Hill are: Germantown Friends, Penn Charter and Germantown Academy.
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