The History


According to the 1900 edition of Boyd’s Co-partnership and Residence Business Directory of Philadelphia City1, the property belonged to Conrad Brittain, listed as a boot & shoemaker. According to the listing, the building was built that year, in 1900.
Laying down new trolley tracks on Germantown Avenue in 1894.


According to city photo documentation2, in 1959 the building was already a storefront. A recessed entrance can be seen with glass storefront displays on either side.


According to an obituary from 2014 found on, Malcolm Joseph Ford opened Heritage Pieces in 1969. 4
According to the 1974 The Market Place: A Directory of Minority Business & Services of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, this was still an active business in 1974. 7


In 1987 Jefferson M. Moak documented a lot of Germantown Avenue.5 The Colonial Germantown Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966, was applying for a boundary increase in 1987, which was granted.

The district’s two parts contain 579 properties, of which 514 are considered contributing, and only 65 non-contributing.

The Sun Building is on the border of the original expansion – The Colonial Germantown Historic District used to end on the 6600 block, meaning the Sun Building was a property in a district listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1966.

Looking South East down Germantown Avenue in 1987. The Sun building can be seen shuttered on the left.

Photo by Jefferson M. Moak5


J. Whyatt Mondesire founded the Philadelphia Sunday Sun in 1991. In 1996 Mondesire was elected to be the head of the NAACP’s Philadelphia branch. In 2000, the city sold this property to Mondesire for $1.00.6

A true civil rights leader, under his tenure the membership of the Philadelphia NAACP increased significantly. The Philadelphia Sunday Sun is still an active news organization online.

When the Philadelphia Sunday Sun was in the building, it sported a blue door, as well as a new glass block windows. Seen here in 2008, the now-demolished buildings to right can still be seen.

Photo from Google Streetview3


Mt. Airy is where we live. It’s a beautiful neighborhood, full of historic charm and character. But lately, it has become the target of large scale real estate speculation. Developers with no connection to the community are eagerly demolishing buildings in our cherished neighborhood and constructing new structures that feel completely disjointed from the fabric of Mt. Airy.

“The Sun Building on Germantown Avenue in Mt. Airy is over 100 years old. In recent memory it was home to the Philadelphia Sunday Sun, a newspaper spotlighting the local Black community. Although the Sunday Sun is not affiliated with our project, we believe the Sun Building represents an irreplaceable piece of Black history in Mt. Airy.”


In the context of a rapidly developing neighborhood, we are trying to save a building that has a lot of history and a lot of culture.

Works Cited

  1. Boyd’s Co-partnership and Residence Business Directory of Philadelphia City. United States, Boyd’s Directory Office., 1900.
  2. City of Philadelphia. “Phillyhistory – Detail View C-13826 – Sidewalk – 6661-63 Germantown Avenue”. Phillyhistory.Org, 2021, Accessed 5 Mar 2021.
  3. Google, “Streetview,” digital images, Google Maps (, photograph of 6657 Germantown Avenue, Germantown, Pennsylvania, taken 2008.
  4. “MALCOLM FORD Obituary (2014) – Philadelphia, PA – Newsday”. Legacy.Com, 2021, Accessed 6 Mar 2021.
  5. Moak, Jefferson. Gis.Penndot.Gov, 1987, Accessed 7 Mar 2021.
  6. “Property | Phila.Gov”. Phila.Gov, 2021, Accessed 7 Mar 2021.
  7. The Market Place: A Directory of Minority Business & Services of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. United States, Pennsylvania Department of Commerce, 1974.