Deal will save 37 acres of green space in Chestnut Hill

A deal has been struck to preserve 37 acres of green space in Chestnut Hill through its sale to the Philadelphia Cricket Club by a family long associated with the Philadelphia neighborhood.

The land, which already had been leased by the club for part of its nine-hole golf course, will be placed into a conservation easement with the Natural Lands Trust as part of the deal, the families of Quita Woodward Horan and George Woodward III announced Monday.

The purchase price was not disclosed, but the family said it reflected the value of the land restricted to open-space recreational use. The proceeds will be donated to the Natural Lands Trust, the Chestnut Hill Historical Society, and other organizations.

"For over a century, my family has cared deeply for the preservation of both land and architecture in our Philadelphia neighborhood," said Horan's son, Charles "Chuck" Woodward.

"By conserving this land, we are thrilled to ensure that a valuable natural asset adjacent to the Wissahickon Valley is unharmed for generations to come," he said.

The land, mainly grass-covered with a woodland fringe, has been owned by the Woodward family since the 1880s. The conservation easement means the land will be preserved in the future no matter who the owner is.

The Cricket Club and the Woodward family have been connected since the 1880s, when family patriarch Henry Howard Houston gave the club land in Chestnut Hill for its permanent home.

"The Houston-Woodward family have once again kindly partnered with our club to ensure that this treasured tract of land will remain preserved open space forever," club president Michael J. Vergare said.

The Natural Lands Trust is a conservation organization that helps to preserve land in eastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey.