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

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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, ...
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Trade Good Good-Softcover. Light soiling and shelfwear to covers. Spine and part of covers sunned. Textblock has some soiling. Some pages have underlining in pencil. Otherwise, ... pages clean and tight in binding. Pictures available upon request. A locally owned, independent book shop since 1984. Read more Show Less

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1996 Trade paperback Good. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 351 p. Urban Life and Urban Landscape (Hardcover).

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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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814205815
  • Publisher: Ohio State University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1996
  • Series: Urban Life and Urban Landscape Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 351
  • Product dimensions: 6.09 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Maps
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 Before Suburbia: The Gateway Village 9
2 North Chestnut Hill: The Romantic Suburb 36
3 Wissahickon Heights / St. Martin's: The Planned Suburb 78
4 Social Contours: The Divided Community 118
5 Different Worlds: Chestnut Hill Lives 138
6 Community Improvement: The Progressive Suburb 160
7 Community Organization: Postwar Chestnut Hill 197
8 Community Reorganization: Suburban Quasi Government 231
9 Conflicting Identities: City, Suburb, and Region 264
Appendix 295
List of Abbreviations 303
Notes 305
Bibliographic Essay 335
Index 345
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