Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

Columbia Avenue Riot

Looted and Vandalized Storefront

A black and white photograph of a group of people (mostly younger people) standing next to a vandalized storefront. Pieces of debris are covering the ground of the store.

Hundreds of stores around Columbia Avenue were looted and vandalized. (Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries)

Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries

Local business owners within the riot area faced heavy damage and looting during each night of the riot. Columbia Avenue was lined with small shops that sold a variety of produce, appliances, and furniture. On the first night of the riot, Philadelphia police were ordered to prevent the rioters from causing damage elsewhere in the city but police did little to prevent looters from targeting businesses within the riot zone. Pictured here are mostly children outside of a general store on Columbia Avenue that was vandalized and looted during the first night of the riot.

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