In 1927, at the corner of Edgefield and Twelfth Street, sat an icehouse. The business sold blocks of ice for neighbors’ iceboxes (now known as refrigerators). Later, the store began selling items such as milk, eggs and butter for the convenience of the neighbors (hence the name convenience store). When the Southland Ice Company got wind of this idea, it bought the ice house and started opening other stores like it, calling them Tote’m stores because neighbors would tote their groceries home. (Another of Southland’s icehouses was just south of Twelfth Street on Page Avenue, and later became what we now know as the Ice House Cultural Center.) Because the stores were open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., they eventually were renamed 7-Eleven. As 7-Eleven grew into an international business, the original building on Edgefield and Twelfth was deemed too small to hold all the Slurpees, hot dogs and gas pumps. So in 1995, the original store closed, and 7-Eleven put it on the market. Around the same time, says Janey Comacho, director of consumer and Latino affairs for 7-Eleven, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) was in search of a building to hold meetings and a place for its youth leadership academy in Oak Cliff. Comacho thought of the empty 7-Eleven building and pitched the idea of donating it, and “the rest is history,” she says. The old icehouse, which once supplied Oak Cliff with refrigerator staples, now serves the neighborhood as a meeting place and a source of inspiration for the tomorrow’s leaders.
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