On Broad between Bainbridge and Fitzwater, there is an inconspicuous parking garage with a seemingly silly name: “PEACE MISSION DEMOCRATIC COOPERATIVE GARAGE.” Turns out that it’s the only business still owned and operated by the Peace Mission, founded by Father Divine. At its peak, according to Mother Divine, the Peace Mission ran “hotels, cafeterias, food markets, dress shops, barber shops, gas stations, shoe repairing and dry cleaning establishments and such services that provide the necessities of life at lower prices than can be found elsewhere…” The group is better known for owning and operating one of the country’s first integrated hotels, the Divine Lorraine.
About the author
Rachel Hildebrandt, a recent graduate of PennDesign, is a native Philadelphian who is passionate about the changing city she inhabits. Before beginning her graduate studies in historic preservation with a focus on policy, Rachel obtained a B.A. in Psychology from Chestnut Hill College and co-authored two books, The Philadelphia Area Architecture of Horace Trumbauer (2009) and Oak Lane, Olney, and Logan (2011). She currently works as a program associate at Partners for Sacred Places.
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