What is That?! The Sterling Paper Building on 2155 Castor Avenue
Our featured building today is another reader request: the old industrial building located at 2155 Castor Avenue in Harrowgate. Like the building at 4080 Frankford I profiled in September, the structure at Castor and Sepviva was built for the textile industry before being re-purposed in recent decades.
In 1884, Schlichter Jute and Cordage Company purchased the land on which its old factory now sits from one Mr. Charles H. Mason. The building was likely constructed by 1900.
In 1967, the factory was sold to the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation. While the reason for the sale is not recorded, textile manufacturing in the city had already been in decline for several decades when the property changed hands.
One of the functions of the PIDC, a non-profit with ties to city government, is to buy land and then lease it to industrial ventures. Taking advantage of the opportunity, a new company moved into the old textile plant: the Sterling Paper Company, whose slogans now adorn the building.
In 1978, Sterling Paper bought the building for itself, using a separate corporation with the same directors to own and manage the property.
Today, the company is still making paper boxes at 2155 Castor Avenue. The current president, Martin E. Stein, has been with the company since 1947, when the military veteran and Temple alum was hired as a salesman after a company executive heard his performance as a radio announcer.