Chestnut Hill Conservancy’s Night of Lights Returns October 8th
For the fifth year since its inception, Chestnut Hill Conservancy’s Night of Lights will once again activate along Germantown Avenue and transform Chestnut Hill’s familiar main street into a nightly interactive exhibition of local history and architecture.
For 10 days beginning October 8, archival photos that highlight the history of Chestnut Hill, Mt. Airy, Germantown, and Springfield Township will be projected through eight storefront windows while neighboring historic buildings are illuminated with colored lights. This year, the Night of Lights format allows visitors even more time to explore layers of neighborhood history and provides the opportunity to participate in additional in-person events while safely social distancing.
On October 8 (rain date October 9) at 6:45 p.m., Chestnut Hill Conservancy will kick of Night of Lights with a “Flip the Switch” gathering and ceremony at the George Woodward Co. Offices (8031 Germantown Avenue) featuring an antique car display, wine tastings from Jefferson Vineyards, and remarks from local officials who will flip the switch to commence the exhibition. The evening will feature live storytelling, musicians, an oral history recording station, interpreters stationed at projection windows, and more special activities.
“This year we are thrilled to include expanded elements to accommodate social distancing, and to restore beloved in-person activities such as artisan demonstrations, live music, and our opening “Flip the Switch” ceremony,” said Lori Salganicoff, Executive Director of Chestnut Hill Conservancy. “We are so grateful for our growing collaborations with other neighborhoods, local businesses, extraordinary staff and volunteers, and for the thousands who have come from near and far for the experience since 2017.” An enhanced virtual experience – accessible on-site and at home – will allow visitors to explore community histories while offering a platform for people to tell their own stories. Using the Chestnut Hill commercial corridor as a canvas for sharing and interpreting multiple layers of histories of Chestnut Hill, Mt. Airy, Germantown, and Springfield Townships, Night of Lights is truly a participatory, community-based event, offering visitors of all ages a free and accessible opportunity to discover the history of the area while becoming active participants in the stories being told and collected.
Projection Themes and Addresses
• Sustainability: Energy Retrofit How-To for Your Old House (8440 Germantown Avenue)
• Repurposing Historic Buildings (8140 Germantown Avenue)
• Neighborliness by Design: The Woodward Legacy in Chestnut Hill (8042 Germantown Avenue)
• Mower General Hospital (8200 Germantown Avenue, Germantown Avenue side)
• On the Street Where You Live: The Pedestrian Experience in Chestnut Hill (8200 Germantown
Avenue, Hartwell Avenue side)
• Philo T. Farnsworth (inventor of the television) (8341 Germantown Avenue)
• Wissahickon Postcards (8236 Germantown Avenue)
• Highlights of Historic Buildings in Springfield Township (8335 Germantown Avenue)
Additional events and activations are planned throughout the 10-day run that complement the Conservancy’s efforts and promote the community’s local history, including a prohibition-style speakeasy on October 9; McNally’s 100th anniversary celebration featuring a 1921 themed menu, and craftspeople demonstrations highlighting masonry, woodworking, metalworking, and stained glass on October 13; a haunted tea social with a fortune teller on October 16; the burying of a time capsule to honor George Woodward Co.’s 100th anniversary on October 17; and more. For a full schedule of historical events taking place, click HERE.
Activities and Features:
• In addition to the projections, architectural lighting throughout Germantown Avenue will
highlight historical buildings, transforming a familiar vibrant commercial corridor.
• Select stores will be open late on Friday, October 8 and Friday, October 15, featuring window
displays with historic images showcasing their own buildings’ histories.
• Restaurants will feature historic food items on their menus, and will feature seasonal drink
specials on Friday, October 15 as part of Chestnut Hill Business District’s “Spirited Spirits” event.
• Printed “Pastports” will be available at participating retailers and projection locations. Visit each
slideshow and win a prize!
• NFC (near-field communication) tags designed by a local Eagle Scout troop will be distributed
throughout Germantown Avenue, providing portals to historical information. The tags will be
incorporated into an interactive game that can be enjoyed day and night.
• Mobile experience: QR codes and textable keywords at each installation site will bring visitors to
a mobile web (http://bycell.co/conls) and audio experience. Users can then explore building
histories, including past uses and photographs; participate in the Chestnut Hill History Hunt;
submit comments and questions; post selfies; share on their social media channels; and access
the site location map.
• Opportunities for attendees to record and share their own stories and contribute to the event
experience, and the Chestnut Hill Archives.
• Audio and accompanying slideshows are accessible through Chestnut Hill Conservancy’s
• Sharing regional history: Night of Lights also includes an additional slideshow produced by
Springfield Township Historical Society.