You’re not going to believe this, but we have a story about a property in the vicinty of Temple University that doesn’t involve student housing. We were up in that neck of the woods earlier today, and as we were meandering about the neighborhood, an old building with a historic marker caught our attention. At 1901 W. Oxford St. stands a building that was originally built as a prison or perhaps a police station, but has been used by non-profits in recent decades. In 1961, according to Phillyhistory, the building was sitting empty.
Amazingly, the building was not demolished, but gifted by the City to the Opportunities Industrialization Center, a non-profit dedicated to fighting poverty, illiteracy, and unemployment. Somewhere along the line, OIC moved its offices to North Broad Street, and a sign appeared on the front of the building that it would soon be the home of another non-profit, the Sultan Jihad Ahmad Community Foundation. This organization is all about youth services and combatting youth violence, and we’re pretty sure that the organization has moved into the building even though it’s still undergoing some renovation.
This area has seen some of the worst new construction architecture in town, and it’s remarkable that this building has survived the years almost entirely intact to show us exactly how they used to build ’em. Through education, engagement, and various youth services, the non-profit that has taken over the building will do a lot of good in the community for years to come, and we wish them all the luck in their new home.