Suburb in the City: Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, 1850-1990

Suburb in the City: Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, 1850-1990

by David R. Contosta
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In Suburb in the City, David Contosta tells the story of how Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, once a small milling and farming town, evolved to become both a suburban enclave for wealthy Philadelphians and a part of the city itself. In 1854, the railroad connected Philadelphia and Chestnut Hill and the village was annexed by the city. Attuned to the romantic currents of… See more details below

Overview

In Suburb in the City, David Contosta tells the story of how Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, once a small milling and farming town, evolved to become both a suburban enclave for wealthy Philadelphians and a part of the city itself. In 1854, the railroad connected Philadelphia and Chestnut Hill and the village was annexed by the city. Attuned to the romantic currents of the age, the wealthy men and women who moved to Chestnut Hill believed that the village's semi-rural surroundings might uplift them physically, spiritually, emotionally, and morally. At the same time, they wanted to continue to enjoy the best that the city had to offer while escaping from its more unpleasant aspects: dirt, crime, disease, and other shortcomings. They thus cultivated a dual identity with both suburb and city. Ironically, this led to a sense of division as prosperous suburbanites held themselves aloof from the resident shopkeepers and domestic servants who provided so many of their creature comforts. Being a suburb in the city also meant that Chestnut Hill could not control its political destiny, as communities outside the municipal limits could. In response, residents developed a number of civic organizations that became a sort of quasi government. Contosta's study of Chestnut Hill thus illuminates the divided and often ambivalent feelings that Americans hold about their great cities. He includes anecdotes gleaned from dozens of interviews with men and women of many backgrounds - lawyers, nuns, debutantes, grocers, craftsmen, and former servants - who tell of their lives in Chestnut Hill. More than one hundred photographs, many never before published, further enliven this analysis of suburban America.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814205808
Publisher:
Ohio State University Press
Publication date:
11/01/1992
Series:
Urban Life and Urban Landscape Ser.
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.31(w) x 9.33(h) x 1.03(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >