Believe it or Not!
In 1909 at the age of ten, my grandfather, William Gedalia Singer, emigrated from Russia to Philadelphia. He had nothing but a few dollars in his pocket and didn't speak a word of English. By the age of 36, in 1935, he built the narrowest building in the world. Located at 15th Street at South Penn Square, the building measured 4' by 75" with walls one-sixteenth of an inch. My grandfather used the building for a luncheonette serving hotdogs and his famous Singer's Orange Drink. Family lore has it that his server had a loose a few pounds to be able to enter the building sideways! The phone had to be installed in the ceiling for lack of wall space. Years later, there was a bidding war when an insurance company wanted to purchase the entire block. The entire block was finally razed about 16 years ago. There is mention of the building in the November 6, 1994 issue of the Inquirer. The article is entitled: Buildings That Buzzed With Activity. My grandfather went on to invest his money in commercial real estate around the city. He became quite wealthy, but lived modestly and never forgot his humble origins. *(If you are interested in more information, my family has a taped interview of my grandfather and the aforementioned article, as well as photographs).