Among the various neighborhoods that make up Philadelphia, North Philadelphia harbors many small businesses and institutions that you probably didn’t give much thought to. The following five places serve to better the community and provide services to the people of Logan, Olney and West Oak Lane.
The historic Olney Charter High School (above), home of the Trojans, serves over 1,765 high school students. Built in 1929, the incredible four-story, Gothic-style building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Principal Jose Lebron is a big activist within the community and the school has a large sports program in addition to academics.
Laundry is no longer a chore at The Laundry Café, located in the Olney Square Shopping Center. The large, upscale Laundromat provides services such as free wifi, seven computer stations, self-serve laundry, dry cleaning, drop-off laundry services and coffee. There are 140 washers and dryers in various shapes and sizes to accommodate the community of Olney, and it’s open 24/7.
The Free Public Library, built in 1917, harbors many free resources for those in the Logan community. It is located on Wagner Avenue, right next to Logan Plaza and only a few minutes away from the Broad Street Line. The library provides individuals with free computer access, numerous books and many educational resources for those seeking knowledge. Whether you’re looking to curl up in one of the big comfy armchairs with a good book, surf the Web, work on projects or just simply hang out, the library aims to make everyone feel welcome and safe.
Originally named “Champlost,” Fisher Park extends from Olney to Cheltenham Avenue and covers 23 acres of open land and woods, used for all kinds of recreation. It is a community landmark that has been there for over a century and was officially established in 1911. The park, originally part of Joseph Fox’s estate, was later gifted to the city of Philadelphia in 1908 from Joseph Wharton. There are multiple hiking trails, playgrounds, room for recreational sports and picnic areas within the park.
West Oak Lane Senior Center recently celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. Located on Ogontz Avenue, the center strives to make senior citizens feel at home. Seniors can participate in health and educational presentations, Bingo, beach trips, arts and crafts, gardening and many other fun activities. Residents can also enjoy hearty meals, free transportation, counseling, exercising activities and group trips as well.
-Text and images by Amanda Thompson and Kevin Troilo