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Cheltenham Township Historical Commission

March 2021

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Commission News

Last month the Cheltenham Township Historical Commission held its annual elections. The new slate of officers is:
  • Chairperson: Thomas Wieckowski
  • Vice-Chair: Liza Meiris
  • Financial Secretary: Timothy Esposito

This month we have a new Wall Paper.

We are tentatively planning a Grand Re-Opening Open House in September, pending a turnaround with the pandemic. See the Wall Paper for details. While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shut down Wall House tours, the Historical Commission is hosting its monthly meetings remotely, via Zoom.

A Moment in History

The Times-Chronicle

March 25, 1921


Mt. Carmel Avenue and Huber Street

FRIDAY, MARCH 25--Good Friday--Closed. 16th Episode of "King of the Circus" will be shown Saturday.
SATURDAY, MARCH 26--Franklyn Farnum in "The Fighting Stranger."
MONDAY, MARCH 28--Mary Miles Minter in "Sweet Laender." Special matinee at 2.15 p.m.
TUESDAY, MARCH 29--Tom Mix in "Three Gold Coins."
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30--All-Star Cast in "Pagan Love."
THURSDAY, MARCH 31--Bebe Daniels in "You Never Can Tell."
FRIDAY, APRIL 1--Neal Hart in "God's Gold."
SATURDAY, APRIL 2--Douglas Fairbanks in "His Majesty the American."
COMING SOON--"The Son of Tarzan," the world's wonder Jungle Serial.

House Open Evenings, 7.15. Show Starts 7.30, feature appearing about 8.15
Saturday Evening, two shows, 6.45 and 8.45. Matinee 2.15
Although the address listed is Mt. Carmel Avenue and Huber Street, Philadelphia Architects and Buildings lists it as 2210 Mount Carmel Ave. in Glenside.

DVDs for Sale

Longtime friend of the Historical Commission, Patricia Miller, is selling a DVD about the Elkins Estate: "A Story of the Dominican Retreat Property and Tyler School of Art in Cheltenham Township." Copies are $30 each. Please contact Patricia Miller,, 215-635-2444 to order copies. Proceeds are shared with Patricia and the Historical Commission.

The Wall Paper

A Publication of the Cheltenham Township Historical Commission

The spring 2021 publication of The Wall Paper is now available - click here. Back issues of The Wall Paper are available on the Cheltenham Township website. The edition features:
  • Chairman's Chatter
  • 50th Anniversary Grand Re-Opening Open House 
  • Upcoming Events
  • Questions from Residents

Commission Events

Upcoming Historical Commission Meeting

The next meeting of the Cheltenham Township Historical Commission will be March 11th at 7:30 PM via Zoom, with the event presentation to follow. Here is the agenda.

Join via the free Zoom app. If the link does not work use the ID and password.

Past Events

Previous Historical Commission Meeting

The last meeting was on February 1th at 6:30 PM via Zoom. Here are the minutes.

Past February Presentation: Black Trailblazers of Philadelphia

On February 11th, the Cheltenham Township Historical Commission welcomed speakers from West Laurel Hill Cemetery who paid tribute to some black Americans who overcame discrimination and adversity to make significant contributions to society, from Dennie Hoggard, Jr. who (along with teammate Wallace Triplett) was the first black football player to play in the Cotton Bowl, popular musician Teddy Pendergrass and civil rights leaders Raymond and Sadie Alexander.

Thanks to all attended our first virtual public presentation. Special thanks to speakers Rachel Wolgemuth and Sarah Hamill, and to Olga Hoggard, the sister of Dennie Hoggard. Additional thanks to the Jenkinstown Lyceum for its financial support of this production.


The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Civil War Museum & LIbrary

Women’s Lifestyles of the 1860's

  • When: 1:00 pm, Sunday, March 7, 2021
  • Speaker: Jane Peters-Estes, distinguished historian, author and awardee

The G.A.R. Museum & Library celebrates "Women's History Month" in March with a special presentation by a special guest speaker.

This program describes how women lived during the Civil War era and covers everything from society matrons to female spies. Topics include fashion, health problems, career choices, and the “typical” lifestyle. 

Jane is a beloved figure in historical circles and has researched and written about many topics in her areas of interest, including: Christmas Past (Holiday Customs of the Victorian Era); Civil War Nurses; Fashions of the 1860's; Grave Matters (Victorian Mourning Customs); Wedding Customs and Traditions; Vivandieres; Pets of the Past; The Battle of Gettysburg: Where Were the Women?; Lest We Forget: The Origin & Traditions of Memorial Day; and many others.

For her outstanding efforts, she has been given awards by a number of institutions and organizations, including the Samuel P. Town, 'Grand Army Award' by the GAR Museum & Library, the Union League, American Legion Post 405; etc.

Please send a request to reserve a virtual seat for this outstanding presentation by replying to this e-mail at You will be sent a link with a password that will enable you to access the program within 24 hours of the start of the presentation. 

As a lover of history, you know how critical it is to keep history alive, especially today!  We very much appreciate your continued support for the GAR Civil War Museum & Library

Northeast Philadelphia History Network


The Women of Mill-Rae/Cranaleith

Susan B. Anthony and Rachel Avery Foster ca 1890.  Mill-Rae/Cranaleith ca 1910.

  • When: 7pm, Wednesday,  March 3, 2021 
  • Speaker: Patty McCarthy – Northeast Philadelphia Historian

Local historian Patty O’Connor McCarthy will present on the women behind the founding of Cranaleith, the historic estate and retreat in Somerton. Originally known as Mill-Rae and built as a private home, Cranaleith served as a center of women’s rights activism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Rachel Foster Avery, who had the home built in 1891, was a close confidant of Susan B. Anthony, who called Avery her “most cherished young lieutenant.” Minerva Parker Nichols, the Philadelphia architect Avery hired to design the home, was the first successful American women architect with her own solo practice. Patty will trace the history of the house and how the current Cranaleith retreat has its roots in Rachel Foster Avery’s original vision for the property.

YouTube Videos of Recent NEPHN Presentations

Old York Road Historical Society

Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the Society will host lectures virtually over the internet via Zoom. Lectures will be held live and will not be recorded for later playback. A link will be sent out to those on our email list several days in advance. Additionally, the link will be posted on our web-site and Facebook page a day prior to the presentation. If you would like to be on our reminder list, please send an email to

The Program Committee has arranged for the following presentations to be held on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 p.m. The lecture series is sponsored by a grant from the Jenkinstown Lyceum and all programs are offered on Zoom free of charge.

A Tragic Collision on the Ohio River and Its Connections to the Old York Road

  • When: 7:30 pm, Wednesday,  March 10, 2021 
  • Speaker: James Rubillo, Society Secretary

In December 1868, two passenger steamboats collided at midnight near the Indiana state line. The steamers, one laden with coal oil, burst into flames. Many people perished in the ensuing inferno. Three Old York Road area residents and an internationally famous celebrity were on board the steamers. This presentation by Society Secretary James Rubillo, examines this tragic event as well as its impact on our three area residents.

The Richard Wall House

The Richard Wall House is normally open on the fourth Sunday of every month and upon request, when not closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. To arrange for a tour after the COVID-19 crisis is over, either private or for a group, either call the Township at 215-887-1000, ext. 227 during business hours, or call the house directly at 215-887-9159 and leave a message.

Learn more about the Wall House on the Cheltenham Township website.

Friends of the Wall House

Be a Friend of the Wall House and help preserve the rich history of Cheltenham Township.
Benefactor: $100 * Sponsor: $50 * Patron: $20

Make checks payable to Cheltenham Township Historical Commission. Mail your check, name, address, and email to:
Friends of the Wall House
c/o Cheltenham Township
8230 Old York Road
Elkins Park, PA 19027-1589
Copyright © 2021 Cheltenham Township Historical Commission, All rights reserved.

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