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Kilian Hardware – The City’s Oldest Hardware Store – Chestnut Hill, PA Get Your Franklin Busybody In Here!

Posted on: February 8, 2018



Located on a busy corner along Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill, Kilian’s is considered to be Philadelphia’s oldest hardware store, opened in 1913.

Kilian Hardware Chestnut Hill Philadelphia PA - Retro Roadmap

William Kilian and his wife Minnie (Goudy) Kilian, were motivated to open the store after hearing the famous Acres of Diamonds speech given by minister (and founder of Temple University) Russell Conwell, which encourages people to look for, and create fortune in their own community. This obviously worked out because Kilian’s is a gem of a place! (wokka wokka!)

The store remains owned and operated by the Goudy family, and they employ a staff of knowledgeable and helpful folks.

Kilian Hardware Chestnut Hill Philadelphia PA Retro Roadmap

Sandwiched between the wooden floors and tin ceiling you can find just about anything – paint, light bulbs, watering cans, birdseed, tools, snow shovels. However Kilian’s has found a niche by stocking and offering the hard to find items particular to the antique old homes prevalent in the neighborhood.

Kilian Hardware Chestnut Hill Philadelphia PA Retro RoadmapBoth local residents and historic homeowners from across the country consult with Kilian’s when looking for antique door knobs, window sash weights and chains, iron strap hinges and glass drawer pulls for their hundred-year-old homes.

If you don’t see what you’re looking for located on the pegboard walls or in one of the myriad bins, just ask.If they don’t have it and it is available they can most likely order it for you. But oh, there are so many gosh darned useful things in the shop, you’re bound to find something you need, or want. True confession – I bought a pair of slippers with microfiber soles, so I can dust while twisting around the Hacienda, ala Laverne & Shirley.

Kilian Hardware Chestnut Hill Philadelphia PA Retro Roadmap

Anyone need a breadbox, or a bellows? This is your place!Kilian Hardware Chestnut Hill Philadelphia PA Retro RoadmapOr get a key cut?

Kilian Hardware Chestnut Hill Philadelphia PA - Retro Roadmap

Or get some oilcloth for your table? Voila!

Kilian Hardware Chestnut Hill Philadelphia PA - Retro Roadmap

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

Mod Betty is tickled to learn that Kilian’s is a manufacturer of the “Franklin Busybody”- one of the most intriguing inventions she’s ever heard of!

Franklin Busy Body Kilian Hardware Chestnut Hill Philadelphia

An assemblage of 3 angled mirrors attached to a short pole, the Busybody is mounted outside of an upper window, allowing a view of people coming to the front door or along the sidewalk, without the peeker needing to poke their head outside. (Mod B’s pal Mini Biggles opined that it could also be called the Gladys Kravitz, and Betty is inclined to laugh and agree!)

If you direct your gaze upwards toward the second story of Kilian’s along the Germantown Avenue side, you’ll spot one of these contraptions in the wild:

Franklin Busybody at Kilian Hardware Chestnut Hill Philadelphia

You can also spy them in use in Elfreth’s Alley and on historic homes on Society Hill in Philadelphia. Add one to your home and be the talk of the neighborhood! You can purchase online from Kilian’s online shop if you are so inclined.

When you’re in the area, The Chestnut Hill neighborhood is a quaint shopping spot, so do plan extra time to explore the Avenue while you’re in the neighborhood. For the vinyl record lovers in the group – Hideaway Music is a fave haunt,  and the delicious Schmitter sandwich was invented at McNally’s Tavern just a few blocks up the street – go try one!!

Schmitter Sandwich McNally's Tavern Chestnut Hill PASchmitter Sandwich McNally's Tavern Chestnut Hill PA

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