The North West of the Philadelphia area is widely known as the Chestnut Hill area. Bordered by Fairmount Park and the city limits, this is an upscale, literal corner of the city. It was originally called Sommerhausen when it was the “Upper Ward” district of Germantown. That was in 1683, long before it was Philadelphia or Chestnut Hill. Today’s Chestnut Hill is beautiful, with quaint and trendy shopping districts and green open spaces.
There are many mansions and estates still dominating the land, which has a peninsula sweeping between Mt. Airy and Roxborough. Roxborough was once its own township, owned by the richest local family who owned Manayunk Mill. Roxborough is known for its hills that sit between Wissahickon State Park and Manayunk.
Manayunk was named for the Lenni Lenape word “Manaiung”, meaning “place to drink”. This was the place the Lenni Lenape called their home. Typically they traveled and farmed different areas, but this place had a permanent camp. They named the river for the catfish. Today it is the “it” scene for young party goers and trendy trendsetters. Many young families live in the area as well as college students and some middle class working families.
East Falls is also home to the same, as well as an up and coming art district. The Lenni Lenape also once lived here, calling the river “Ganshewahanna” meaning “noisy”. It was then a true water falls, when this land was first settled by Europeans, the fishing industry flourished. Boats ended their trips upstream here, and some were transported overland on what is now Ridge Avenue and Germantown Avenue to get up the falls.
Eventually, in the mid-1800s, there was a canal project that flooded the falls and filled the depth of it. The canals were required to be opened for new industries. There was an energy crisis in 1825, due to deforestation. They used wood coal as a source of fuel, and it, with mined coal, had to be transported from deep into Pennsylvania to newly barren New York. The Schuylkill Navigation Company was created to complete the task. The canal here was the first to be started, but finances held it up from completion. The company was tasked to join Philadelphia and “Port Carbon”, and it developed ninety-two different lifts to do the job. The water had to be shifted with a difference of over five hundred eighty feet and through rapids to be usable for the freight boats.
This soon became the largest coal trade route. East Falls canal was an important hub. By 1847, they had to enlarge the canals, to compete with the railroads. They transported tons, but the canal was no match for the rails. The industry limped along for the next hundred years until Pennsylvania saw it necessary to fill many of the canals, to prevent the coal silt from further poisoning the river.
East Falls, Manayunk and Roxborough still utilize the waterways, but do so today in a much healthier manner. The Dad Vail Regatta races are here along with miles of parks and recreation, that’s the largest collegiate competition in the country! Hutchinson’s family of plumbers and local contractors know our way around the North West of Philadelphia. We also are familiar with green living.
You can have your Chestnut Hill or Manayunk home turned into an Energy Star. Our HVAC expert contractors can get you set up with a home audit to let you know every detail on how to get your homes heating and air conditioning rated with Energy Star.
If you have an HVAC emergency or need a plumber in the middle of the night, no worries! Hutchinson’s local heating and air conditioning services will come to the rescue. Our local services have been considered expertly better since 1948!