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The Building

    The Houston National Bank was one of four banks that were built on the corners of Main St. and Franklin in downtown Houston; only three of these buildings are standing today. 

    Texas Governor Ross Sterling built it in 1928. 
Sterling was founder and president of the Humble Oil and Refining Company, which eventually became the Exxon Mobile.  From 1933 to 1946 he was president of the Sterling Oil and Refining Company and was chairman of the Houston National Bank.
In 1994, Hakeem Olajuwon purchased the property in an effort to turn the building into an Islamic Educational Center. After years of extensive renovations the center finally opened for public in 2002 and took the name of Islamic Da`wah Center. The first prayer was held on the last Friday of Ramadan, November 29, 2002. This was a remarkable turning point in the history of Islam in Houston. The Islamic Da`wah Center houses the first Mosque in Houston  downtown. It is also the first center dedicated for Da`wah in Houston. The opulent three- story facility includes over 40,000 square feet. As you enter the building from the Travis side entrance, it will lead you to the main prayer hall. From the ground level, a staircase takes you underground to the basement level, which has a gathering area, meeting rooms, classrooms, guest suit, offices, recreational facility, kitchen, and a library of Islamic literature.

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