Opportunities abound to spruce up Northwest Philly during Saturday’s cleanup effort

 Volunteers from Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity cleared leaves and trash in front of Germantown's Vernon Park during 2013 Clean-Up Day efforts. (Jana Shea/for NewsWorks )

Volunteers from Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity cleared leaves and trash in front of Germantown's Vernon Park during 2013 Clean-Up Day efforts. (Jana Shea/for NewsWorks )

Last year’s Philly Spring Cleanup Day saw some 13,000 volunteers collect more than a million pounds of trash and 23,000 pounds of recycling at 565 locations. It was the event’s biggest turnout yet.

With warmer, sunny weather on its way, here’s the dirt on some Northwest Philly locations that will undergo some sprucing-up during the 7th annual event this Saturday (A full list, along with sign-up volunteer forms, is accessible via the Philadelphia Streets Department website).

Winter might be history, but you can also learn of Philadelphia’s history on Saturday, as one has the opportunity to beautify several historic national landmarks.

Hood Cemetery (4901 Germantown Ave.)

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Between E. Clapier and E. Logan streets off Germantown Avenue sits the historic resting places of soldiers in the Revolutionary War, as well as the War of 1812 and the Civil War. Admission is typically $3, but you’ll get a free peek on Saturday, just in time for its variety of trees, bushes and shrubs come alive in the spring. Accessible via SEPTA’s 23 bus.

Chew and Belfield Neighbors Club cleanup (6200 W. Chew Ave.)

Founded in 1981, this community group expanded its boundaries last summer to cover the area between Stenton Avenue and Johnson Street, E. Johnson St. and Germantown Avenue, Germantown and E. Chelten avenues, and Stenton and E. Chelten avenues, increasing the residents the neighbors club serves to 2,000 people. The clean up will take place entirely outdoors.

Germantown Town Hall (Germantown Ave. and Haines St.)

Continuing efforts to reclaim the neglected landmark, Germantowners will meet at their City Hall to spruce up the exterior.

With a “use it or lose it” community-outreach attitude, “misuse and disuse” are mounting problems, as environmental hazards like mess from roosting pigeons sullies the building more and more the longer it stays empty.

Daisy Field (Hermit Lane near Henry Ave.)

Come for the clean up at this rustic Roxborough haunt, stay to trek the Wissahickon bike trail nearby.

East Falls Arboretum (3520 Midvale Ave.)

It’s the Mifflin School’s seventh annual clean up for their rock garden, which becomes a spectacular sight once its cherry blossoms bloom. More than 60 volunteers showed up last year. Sign up in advance at info@EastFallsCommunity.org or simply show up for the 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. effort.

Maplewood Mall (Germantown)

The somewhat-hidden nook may be on the fringe of its $2 million revitalization initiative, but April 5 will offer an early start for beautifying this urban oasis. Check out some of its boutiques, like veteran wicker maker Nicholas Thaete’s Cane and Rush or the Maplewood Nutrition for its healthy vegetarian food supply.

Loudoun Mansion (4650 Germantown Ave.)

Built in 1801, Loudoun Mansion is recognizable for its Greek-influenced pillars. It was a key spot in the Battle of Germantown, when wounded soldiers were carried to the secure hilltop position. Later, it became burial ground to fallen soldiers. Folklore says several ghosts haunt in Loudoun Mansion, notably “Little Willie,” who is believed to be the restless spirit of an eight-year-old descendant of Loudoun’s builder, Thomas Armat.

Wyck Historic House (6026 Germantown Ave.)

Wyck was home to nine generations to the Quaker Wistar-Haines family, and their 2.5 acre, 324-year-old compound has remained active as a farm, garden and community educational center. Volunteers will sweep, weed, paint, prune and, of course, clear trash. They are welcome to stay for snacks and a free tour of the farm afterward.

Historic 1770 Germantown Mennonite Meetinghouse (6133 Germantown Ave.)

The Mennonite Meetinghouse, which became America’s first permanent settlement for Mennonites, was originally a basic log cabin. It was revamped to its current local schist-stone configuration by Jacob Knorr, who also built historic sites like Cliveden, Germantown Academy and the Johnson House. Saturday’s clean up on the the 6100 block of Germantown Ave. will focus on clearing litter from the sidewalks near the Meethinghouse.

West Mount Airy Town Hall (601 Carpenter Lane)

High school students can earn community service-hours credits by cleaning up the West Mount Airy Town Hall. Originally built in 1854, it was later demolished and rebuilt in its classical revivalist style in 1922. Vacant since 1998, it remains a striking West Mount Airy fixture with its pillar-lined, semi-circular rotunda and clock tower. Contact Charlie McGloughin at (215) 680-1755 to pre-register.

Vacant Lot Cleanups (304 W. Coulter St.)

Vacant lots can rapidly degenerate to eyesores. Volunteers have three lots in Germantown to choose from on Coulter, W. Penn and Newhall streets.

Happy Hollow Playground and Community Garden (4800 Wayne Ave.)

Built in 1911, Happy Hollow is one of Philadelphia’s oldest playgrounds. Volunteers are needed to clean litter, weed and paint its fences and benches.

Upper Roxborough Reservoir (Port Royal Ave. and Lare St.)

These decommissioned water basins have evolved into a sprawling natural habitat for birds, toads and faunae since the water station was closed in the 1960s. Volunteers are needed to weed out invasive plants and mulch.

And many more…

There are more gatherings planned for Saturday. Involved in one that we missed? Please add it to the comments section. Want to see a full list? Check the Philly Cleanup Day site map.

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