there is the heart of dlen­side?

The Willow Grove Guide - - OPINION -

They call me “The Glen­side Kid” (ti­tle of my last book, of course) so I was re­cently called upon to set­tle a motherdaughter dis­pute over where ex­actly “the heart” of Glen­side is.

Lynn Bort­man (a Chel­tenham High class­mate of mine) and her daugh­ter were at the diner in Keswick when the daugh­ter said, “This is the cen­ter/heart of Glen­side.” Lynn had other ideas and asked me what I thought. I was ready to ex­pound on my thoughts when I de­cided it might be bet­ter to ask my Face­book friends for their feed­back.

(ODLnH GrLIfin 0RWW JrHw XS Ln GOHn­side, though she no longer lives in the area. When I was a col­lege fresh­man teach­ing Sun­day school at Carmel Pres­by­te­rian Church (in Glen­side), Elaine was in one of a small group of teenage girls that I got to teach. As an aside, my girl­friend at the time wasn’t pleased with the lovely com­pe­ti­tion.

Elaine and I agreed on the ba­sic premise that the ques­tion is much more com­pli­cated be­cause Glen­side en­com­passes two town­ships: Abing­ton and Chel­tenham. (Re­ally three, if yRX FRXnW SSrLnJ­fiHOG, wKLFK WRXFKHV part of North Hills.) She felt that kids who grew up in Chel­tenham saw it one wDy, AELnJWRn DnRWKHr. (SSrLnJ­fiHOG kids didn’t con­sider that they were even Glen­sid­ers, I guess.) Elaine added that all things con­sid­ered, the heart of Glen­side is in the area of the Rail­road Sta­tion (Eas­ton Road and Glen­side Av­enue). She also points out (and I agree) that there was and is only one “Glen­side School,” and it is in Chel­tenham Town­ship.

There’s also only one Glen­side Fire Com­pany, and that’s near the rail­road sta­tion. There was one Glen­side TheDWrH DnG WKDW wDV Rn 0RXnW CDrPHO Av­enue, plus one Glen­side Pub. Now there’s a Wel­don Fire Com­pany, Keswick Tav­ern and Keswick Theatre, but they are all in Wel­don or Keswick ... which is it?

There was a lot of Keswick sec­tion sen­ti­ment, though. But you’ll note I called it “The Keswick Sec­tion” be­cause that’s how we, as kids grow­ing up in Glen­side, thought of it. We saw Keswick as a sep­a­rate en­tity like Edge Hill, Roslyn, North Hills, Ard­s­ley, even Wel­don — where the “Glen­sid­eWel­don School,” now doomed to be de­mol­ished, stood for decades. So to com­pli­cate mat­ters, then, Keswick was re­ally in Wel­don, not Glen­side.

Lynn also men­tioned that she Googled the ques­tion and the om­nipo­tent web in­former said the heart of GOHnVLGH LV DW WKH SRVW RI­fiFH. SHrLRXVOy? 7KH SRVW RI­fiFH LV DW (DVWRn 5RDG DnG SSrLnJKRXVH /DnH. 0DyEH LW’V WKH ge­o­graph­i­cal hub, but it sure isn’t the emo­tional heart of any­thing.

0y YRWH, VLnFH , JrHw XS KHrH, would be in sup­port of the Glen­side Rail­road Sta­tion area (Eas­ton Road and Glen­side Av­enue on the in-bound VLGH, (DVWRn DnG 0RXnW CDrPHO — the town­ship di­vid­ing line — on the out­bound side). It’s where com­merce was cen­tered when the town grew up. There was (and still is) a large bank there, food stores and restau­rants (the leg­endary Rizzo’s for decades). On the out-bound side are sev­eral churches, DnG rLJKW GRwn 0RXnW CDrPHO VWRRG the old Glen­side Theatre. Dan Loney votes for Ralph’s Bar­ber Shop as the heart of Glen­side. It also falls into the rail­road sta­tion area. Grow­ing up, that bar­ber­shop, for me, was called Fanelli Broth­ers; I am still a cus­tomer.

Char­lie Boice, who grew up in Wyn­cote — close enough by to have his vote count — said that the rail­road sta­tion area is truly the heart of Glen­side. Paul Dougherty who grew up on Oak Road, with me, con­curs.

The leg­endary Glen­side Fourth of July Pa­rade be­gins in Abing­ton and marches down through Keswick, but it ends at Renninger Park, which is, of course, in Chel­tenham Town­ship. All the Glen­side semi-pro base­ball teams played at the park as did the Glen­side Go­ril­las. When I coached midget base­ball, my team, Glen­side, played a team based in the shadow of the Keswick Theatre, the Wel­don team.

The emer­gence of Keswick Vil­lage as an en­tity, a great job of mar­ket­ing by WKH wDy, LV rHflHFWHG Ln WKRVH yRXnJHr peo­ple who cast their votes for that area, and I get that. Linda Stein, Tr­ish Buck­ley, Steve Suder, Jim Gauger and Jan 0FGHH HHJHGXV YRLFHG WKH RSLnLRn WKDW this is re­ally Glen­side’s heart. Betsy Blu­men­thal Derr chimed in that she thinks it’s Keswick be­cause her Dad owned WKH GOHn )RRG 0DrW. 1HHG , SRLnW RXW LW wDVn’W FDOOHG WKH “GOHn-VLGH )RRG 0DrW.”

The Keswick Theatre, of course, draws peo­ple to the Keswick sec­tion but re­ally not to down­town Glen­side. Ads I’ve seen (that they place) iden­ti­fiHV WKH .HVwLFN 7KHDWrH DV D 3KLODGHOphia show­place, by the way. Of course, Keswick Av­enue orig­i­nates at Waverly Road (at the park) in the Chel­tenham Town­ship part of Glen­side.

As the grand­son of a man, Philip Roth, who set­tled, at age 11 with his folks on Limekiln Pike (at Church Road) in 1874 be­fore there even was a Glen­side (it was called Harmer Hill where he lived, Glen­side by the time Py 0RP wDV ERrn WKHrH), , VDy WKH heart of Glen­side is at the Rail­road Sta­tion. It strad­dles both town­ships and is wKHrH ,’G ORRN firVW LI VRPHRnH VDLG, “0HHW PH Ln GOHnVLGH.”

But the real cen­ter of Glen­side — as­sum­ing that you were born here or even just grew up here — is in your heart and mind. It was a great place to grow up, a great place to live and loads of great peo­ple (in both town­ships) have called it home for more than a cen­tury.

The Glen­side Kid rests his case.

Lis­ten to Ted Tay­lor ev­ery Tues­day from 8 a.m. un­til noon on WRDV FM 89.3 or write to him at ted@ted­tay­lor. com.

Ted Tay­lor

At Large

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