Erie Pennsylvania City and County Guide|
From Federal Writers Project - 1938
Location: On southern shore of Lake Erie; 100 m. east of Cleveland and
93 m. west of Buffalo; longitude 80 5 W.; latitude 42 7 N.
Railroad Stations: 1 2 1 W. 1 2th St. for Bessemer and Lake Erie R. R.; Union
Station, W. i4th and Peach Sts. for New York Central R. R. and Pennsylvania R. R.; 2 1 1 E. 1 9th St. for Nickel Plate R. R.
Bus Stations: 12 N. Perry Sq. for Greyhound Lines, and West Ridge
Airports: Port Erie: 7 m. W. on State 5, municipally owned. Erie County
Airport, 1 2 m. W. on US 20, privately owned.
Ferries and Motor Launches: Ferries from the Public Steamboat Landing,
foot of State St., to Waterworks Park on the Peninsula (round trip 25$);
during summer months launches may be rented by the hour for tours and
fishing in Presque Isle Bay and Lake Erie.
Taxis: Yellow Cab, W. i4th and Peach Sts., (30$ ist m., 5$ each additional
% m.; hourly rate $1.50); Checker Cab, 316 E. 7th St., (30$ ist m., 5$ each
additional l /$ m.; hourly rate $2.00).
Intracity Bus Line: Erie Coach Co. coaches operate to all points in the city;
fare 10^; transfers without additional charge.
Traffic Regulations: Maximum speed 20 m. per hour between intersections;
10 m. per hour at intersections, and 15 m. per hour in school zones. Right
and left turns permitted on green light; no turns on red.
Street Order and Numbering: From the bay front, the northern boundary
of the city, streets are numbered from First in consecutive order. Even
numbers are on west side of streets; odd numbers on the east side. House
numbers in each block begin with a new hundred series. House numbering on east and west streets begins at State St. Even numbers are used on
the north side of streets; odd numbers on the south side.
Accommodations: Hotels, inns, boarding houses, and tourist homes are
available throughout the city. Lawrence Hotel, W. loth and Peach Sts.,
400 rooms; restaurant, cafeteria, cocktail lounge, bar, ballroom, and ban
quet room. Ford Hotel, State St. and N. Perry Sq., 400 rooms; restaurant,
and bar. Wayne Hotel, 12 W. i2th St., 54 rooms; restaurant. Milner
Hotel, W. 8th and Peach Sts., 40 rooms; Y. M. C. A., W. loth and
Tourist Camps: Available on all main highways near Erie.
Shopping: Eries shopping district is centered at loth and State Sts., and
extends north to yth St., south to i4th St., one block west to Peach St.,
and one block east to French St.
Theatres and Motion Picture Houses: The Community Playhouse, 128 W.
7th St. Plays with amateur casts and professional direction during winter
season. Six motion picture theatres in business section, with 7 others
throughout the city.
Information Service: Travelers Aid Society, Union Station, W. i4th and
Peach Sts.; Y.W.C.A., 130 W. 8th St., Erie Chamber of Commerce, 801
State St.; Erie Motor Club (AAA), Lawrence Hotel, W. loth and Peach
Sts.; Erie Manufacturers Association, Ariel Bldg., 8th and State Sts.,
Y. M. C. A., W. loth and Peach Sts.
Restaurants and Bars: Restaurants and night clubs are numerous in business section. Several of the restaurants specialize in fresh water sea foods.
Most of the hotels have bars. Many of the night clubs offer floor shows,
but much of the night life occurs in private clubs, to which admission may
be gained through members.
Radio Station: WLEU, Commerce Bldg., i2th and State Sts.
Libraries and Exhibits: Public Library, S. Park Row and French Sts.
(open 9-9 daily, 2-5 legal holidays; reading room 2-5 on Sundays); Art
Gallery, second -floor of Library building, (usually open Saturday, Sunday,
and Monday afternoons, closed to the public during July and August;
free); Erie Public Library Museum, library building basement, (open 9-5
daily; free). Fish Hatchery and Aquarium, foot of Chestnut St., (open
9-4 daily; free); Glenwood Park Zoo, (open daily 9-5; feeding time 5; free).
Hospitals: Hamot Hospital, 2nd and State Sts.; St. Vincent s Hospital, W.
24th and Sassafras Sts.; Lake View Hospital, 136 East Ave.; Zem Zem
Hospital, 1501 W. 9th St.
Recreation Facilities: Presque Isle Peninsula State Park, 4.5 m. W. on State
832; 3200 acres of woodland, lagoons, and picnic grounds, with 7 miles of
guarded bathing beaches with bathhouses; wild life, skating, iceboating
and hockey (see COUNTY TOUR 1).
Glenwood Park, Shunpike Rd. and Glenwood Drive; 115 acres, munici
pally owned, with a 9-hole golf course, tennis courts and baseball field;
modern zoo building with many animals, and picnic grounds.
Waldameer Park, 4 m. W. on State 5 and 832; a commercial amusement
park, bathing beach, ballroom, concessions, amusement devices, restaurant
offering music, dancing, floor show, and refreshments.
Athletic Fields: Erie Stadium, 26th and State Sts.; major athletic events
with flood lights for night contests; ice skating in winter.
Roosevelt Field, W. 23rd and Cranberry Sts.; scholastic baseball, foot
Glenwood field, Glenwood Park; baseball field, tennis courts, golf
Strong Vincent High School Athletic field, W. 8th and Washington Sts.
General Electric Field, Lawrence Park; baseball, soft ball, and amateur
Swimming: Presque Isle Peninsula State Park beaches, 4.5 m. W. on
Waterworks Park, maintained on the Peninsula by the Erie Waterworks
Dept. Only locker and checking service on the Peninsula. Pay station
Shorewood Beach, 10 m. E. on State 5; cottages.
Manchester-on-the-Lake Beach, 8 m. W. on State 5.
Waterworks Pool, at City Filtration Plant, foot of Chestnut St.
Not far from Erie are other swimming places, such as Lake LeBoeuf at
Waterford, Conneaut Lake at Edinboro, and Eagley s Grove on Lake Erie
i m. north of North Girard. These resorts also afford boating and fishing.
Hunting and Fishing: For rules and regulations governing hunting and
fishing in Erie County, apply to Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Board
of Game Commissioners, and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Board of
Fish Commissioners respectively. Small game abounds; rabbit, squirrel,
pheasant, duck, and geese. Streams of the county are stocked with game
fish. Lake waters abound in pike, perch, and game fish. Hunting license
costs $2.00 for residents, non-residents are charged the same amount as
Pennsylvanians are charged in the non-resident s home State. Fishing li
cense costs $1.50, plus collector s fee of 10 cents. Non-residents are charged
in the same manner as non-resident hunting license applicants. Licenses
are procurable at the County Treasurer s office, Erie County Courthouse.
ERIE: A GUIDE TO THE CITY AND COUNTY
Golf Courses: Glenwood, Glenwood Park, intersection State 505 and State
99; a 9-hole municipal golf course (daily fee 35$ for 9 holes; 50$ for all day).
Erie Golf Course, 6 m. S. on State 99; an i8-hole municipal golf course
( all day; $16 for season; a fee of $17 entitles a member to play on both
Glenivood and Erie Golf Courses) .
Lake Shore Golf Club, 8 m. W. on State 5; 18 holes; members and
Lawrence Park Golf Club, Lawrence Park on State 5, 9 holes (green
fee 7 ).
Kahkwa Golf Club, 5 m. W. on US 20; 18 holes; members only.
Tennis Courts: Erie Tennis and Country Club, Willis Rd. near State 97;
members and guests only.
Lake Shore Golf Club tennis court, Hardscrabble Blvd., State 5
(small fee) .
Academy High School, 28th and State Sts.
Strong Vincent High School, 1330 W. 8th St.
East High School, 1151 Atkins St.
Technical High School, W. loth and Sassafras Sts.
McKinley Park, 23rd St. and East Ave.
Riding: Algeria Riding Academy, 4.5 m. W. on State 5, saddle horses for
riding on Peninsula bridle trails ($1 per hr.).
ERIE: AN IMPRESSION
Erie, in the far northwest corner on the tiny strip of Pennsylvania s
lake shore line, has developed from a trading post fort to a ranking
industrial and recreational center largely because of three great physical
attributes: Lake Erie with its shipping facilities and moderating
effect upon the local climate; Presque Isle Bay with its landlocked harbor
affording safe anchorage for shipping; and, more recently, Presque
Isle Peninsula State Park with its seven miles of sandy beaches and hundreds of tree-shaded picnic areas offering a cool, breeze-swept recreation
spot for western Pennsylvania.
The lake has figured prominently in the vast program of expansion of
this country as a whole, and more intimately in the history of the city,
but its great economic value is twofold. The presence of this large body
of water tempers the climate, prolonging the normal growing season for
this latitude, making possible the production of grapes and other fruit, a
substantial part of Erie s resources today. The income derived from
fruit-growing directly increases the purchasing power of the farmer, and
therefore the mercantile income of the city. Many of the city s leading
industries are dependent upon the favorable transportation facilities of
the lake, or upon the abundant supply of fresh water. Less important
economically, but of major interest to Erie citizens is the physical beauty
of the lake as a background for their homes and a setting for a constantly changing panorama of cloud and storm and sunset.
The city, lying along a glacial moraine, looks northward across the
bay and the long, embracing arm of the peninsula that forms and protects the bay. This harbor has long been considered, by Erie citizens,
as an index of national business activity a busy, changing scene in summer indicates a period of prosperity; anchored, idle ships mean hard
times. In winter, however, the bay provides a refuge from the lakes
swift, vicious storms. And, although most of the commercial fishing is
done in the lake, it is the bay that provides safe harbor for the fishing
fleets and a base of operations where, along the shore, are docks and
warehouses and home.
In the summer the Peninsula becomes a playground, not only for the
people of Erie, but for much of western Pennsylvania. Long, sandy beaches,
tree-shaded bridle paths, hundreds of well-equipped picnic groves at
tract caravans of cars with thousands of pleasure-seekers. Regardless
of the weather in the city, or farther inland, there is always a fresh,
tempering breeze along the Peninsula. On a late summer afternoon, cars
line the long, looping drive; bright-colored bathing suits mark the favorite beaches; smoke rises through the trees at the picnic groves; laughter
carries far across the water. Erie is earning its reputation as the picnic
city and enjoying it. Yet one whose attention centers wholly on these
recreation areas will carry away a false impression, for the life of the
year-round population is rooted in toil.
The streets of the city are wide and tree-lined, with homes set deep
in wide lawns the predominating style. Several of these older houses
have been included in national architectural surveys for their grace of
design, but the public buildings are not notable from an architectural
standpoint. However, the brisk modernism of the new Federal Building is in refreshing contrast to the prevailing ornate Victorianism of
public and business structures. There are no skyscrapers, and only a
few tall buildings, perhaps because, from its beginning, Erie has had
ample room in which to spread, so that even the business district has a
This quality of spaciousness is all the more evident in several of the
residential areas. Along West 6th Street, in Frontier Place and the Glenwood Park districts attractive homes of varied architectural design are
set in landscaped lawns. Even in the east side section there has been
little of the standardization of row houses though the houses are set
closer together there is always a patch of surrounding lawn and a few
trees on most of the plots. Southward, as the terrain becomes more
hilly, the town merges with the country; homes are predominately one-
acre suburban residences with flower and vegetable gardens set behind
modest frame homes.
Although industry plays an important role in the life of Erie it does
not dominate the physical landscape. Much of the population is foreign-
born or first-generation American. Rambling along the streets, the
visitor will hear the accents of German, Polish, Italian, and Russian residents, drawn to the city in the periods when their brawn or skill was
at a premiumn in its mills and factories. The distinctive characteristics
of the various nationalities easily identify the sections of the city in
which they are concentrated.
Erie, thanks to its three great physical assets, the lake, the bay, and
the peninsula, is a pleasant place in which to live and looks it.
THE CITY AND ITS SETTING
THE city of Erie is situated on the southern shore of Lake Erie in the
northwestern tip of Pennsylvania, almost equi-distant from New York
and Chicago. About 52 miles from east to west, and 4 miles north to
south, its area of 2o l / 2 square miles is bisected by State Street, the main
thoroughfare. Erie occupies a central position in respect to the county,
being 16 miles west of the New York State line, 25 miles east of the Ohio
State line, and 19 miles north of Crawford County.
The city is 1 1 3 feet above lake level and built on a plain, with a gradual
slope from the lake to the first ridge of foothills south of the city limits.
This plain is a broad tract of land two to three miles in width, which
extends along the entire waterfront of the county.
The physiography of the section is distinct from any other in Pennsylvania. It possesses three principal characteristics which are not found in
any other section of the State: lake bluffs, a succession of lake plains
arising like steps from the lake shore, and a series of ravines or gorges
formed by streams that empty into the Lake.
The last glacial period of the eastern Great Lakes area dammed the St.
Lawrence River outlet and the lake level rose above its banks, forming new
escarpments and bottoms. Many smaller lakes were formed along the old
lake shore and as the ice receded, the water levels lowered, leaving dry
beaches where the old lakes once existed. Many of the deep gulfs in the
vicinity of Erie were formed in this manner. The streams were swollen
to a high level and as they fell with the retreat of the ice, deep ravines and
gulfs were cut. A topographical cross section from the lake south shows a
profile of a broad step or cliff, a broad flat a mile or more in width, ending
in another sharp rise of terrain.
Across the bay from Erie is Presque Isle Peninsula, a sandy formation 7
miles in length and about a mile wide. The only one of its kind on the
southern shore of Lake Erie, it was formed by sand, gravel, and shingle
washed by water action from the bluffs and accumulated at this point in a
re-curved sandspit. Some of the bluffs have receded six feet a year over a
period of years. Sand and gravel washed eastward by the predominant
west wind are deposited along the shore line of the peninsula. The accumulation of sand is constantly working the peninsula eastward at a rate of a
mile every 200 years.
The cottonwood trees and grasses on the peninsula form hedges as the
dry sand is blown up from the beaches and piled up along them. The
eastern shore thus extends slowly, and as more sand gathers, the beach is
surrounded and becomes a lagoon. Some of these lagoons fill with drift
ing sand, and in time nothing is left but a sandy plain between the trees
and the beach. These sandy plains and lagoons, which once were a part
of the lake proper, are plainly discernible near the eastern end of the
The region is not rich in mineral resources. Two paleozoic formations
are unusual: the vergent flags and the vergent shales. The vergent flag
formation is a fine-grained gray sandstone in thin layers, separated by
alternative bands of shale. The vergent shales are a mass of gray, blue, and
olive shale and grayish brown sandstone.
A low grade of bog ore was once mined in Mill Creek Township near
Erie, and was used in the foundries for a time. Stone quarries have been
worked in other parts of the county, but Erie was noted only for its brick
clay and gravel. A superior grade of building and foundation brick was
made from this clay.
Gravel banks on an extensive scale have been opened within the city
limits. The gravel is of excellent quality, and is used in the manufacture
of concrete blocks and in concrete building work. Because of the scarcity
of stone, gravel is used locally instead of broken stone for concrete highways, and as a base for asphalt pavements.
Wells drilled in the area have yielded little petroleum, but they usually
have provided sufficient gas for farm and household use.
The county lies within the common isothermal lines of Pennsylvania,
but because of the marked influence of Lake Erie on the climate there is
little sultry weather during the summer months. This condition is some
what offset by the frequency of cloudy days and strong winds during the
winter, spring, and fall months.
According to U. S. Weather Bureau records, Erie is the second cloudiest
city in the country. In 1936 there were 4,300 hours of sunshine of a possible 8,764, this figure varying from a low percentage in winter to a high of 85 percent in July. The mean annual rainfall is 31.65 inches. The
average yearly temperature is 48.8. Recordings of over 90 and below
10 are unusual.
The refreshing, almost continuous, breeze from the lake during the
summer months has made Erie a summer resort city. The peninsula is
another contributing factor to the balanced climate. Storms from the
west often strike the peninsula and veer from their course, missing Erie
completely. It is not unusual to have a light rain or snow in Erie, and a
much heavier storm a few miles away, while the mercury descends even
lower away from the immediate shores of Lake Erie.
Tradition connects the names of Etienne Brule and Sieur de
Champlain with early exploration in the Erie district, an explora
tion party of four French missionaries of the Recollet branch of the Franciscan order, 12 French laymen, and four Indians, led by the Reverend
Joseph LeCaron, made the first recorded expedition to the Erie region
in 1615. The region was usually referred to in French journals as the
Niagara valley. They found a tribe of Indians living on the southern
shore of Lake Erie, known as the Cats or Neutral Nation. The French
called them Eries.
The Erie Indians resisted French efforts to civilize them and received
these Franciscans with distrust. The Jesuit priests who later endeavored
to establish a post among them were repulsed and all efforts were
abandoned until the valley was in possession of the Senecas.
The Seneca Indians wrested control of the rich valley from the Eries
in a bloody war which culminated in 1654 with the extermination of the
Eries. The Senecas were friendly to the French, and the first attempts
at European colonization began shortly afterward. Pere Jacques Marquette spent several days at Presque Isle in 1673 with Louis Joliet. They
made the first important chart of Presque Isle Peninsula and the Bay, and
later explored the other Great Lakes and the Mississippi River.
In 1679 Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, set out for the western wilderness to establish military posts along the Mississippi and extend the bound
aries of New France. He founded a French colony near the outlet of
Lake Erie into the Niagara River and built the Griff on, the first sailing
vessel launched on Lake Erie.
In the bitter race between the French and English to expand their
boundaries and wrest control of the rich western country from each other,
the French extended their activities into the Mississippi Valley, and the
English moved toward the Ohio Valley. Three savage wars were waged
between the rival powers, King William s, 1689-97; Queen Anne s, 1702-
1713; and King George s, 1744-48, but none of them directly affected the
When King George s War was ended in 1748, the Ohio Company was
organized by 20 Virginians, among them Augustus and George Washington, to develop land in the Ohio River Valley. Christopher Gist and
ten other families settled in what is now Fayette County, Pennsylvania,
under authorization of the Ohio Company. The French authorities at
Quebec immediately dispatched troops to garrison the forts at Presque
Isle, LeBoeuf, Venango, and Duquesne.
The first fort was established at Presque Isle in 1753, when 250 men
under Sieur Marin were sent from Montreal to build and garrison a fort
and establish a French colony. They built the fort on the west bank of
Mill Creek, about one hundred yards from its mouth, adjoining the
grounds of the present Soldiers and Sailors Home. A French village
consisting of one hundred families, a Catholic priest, a school master, and
a grist mill was established. Land was cleared and cornfields cultivated.
George Washington was selected by Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia
to notify the French they must withdraw their soldiers from the territory
west of the Allegheny Mountains, as it rightfully belonged to the British.
Washington started out on his journey in 1753 with instructions to communicate with the friendly Indians at Logstown and to proceed to the
French headquarters and demand an answer to Dinwiddie s letter. He was
accompanied on his wilderness journey by Christopher Gist, Jacob Van
Braam, John Davison, and by the Indian chiefs, Jesakake, Tanacharison
or Half-King, and White Thunder.
The Indians went along because, as one of their chiefs said, "The English claim all the land on one side of the river, and the French all the land
on the other side of the river, so the Indians wonder if the only land they
own is at the bottom of the river." The Indians were angered at the
French answer to this conundrum when Tanacharison had protested to
the French commander at Fort Presque Isle. "The Indians," haughtily
replied the commander, "are like flies and mosquitoes, and the number
of the French as the sands of the sea shore. Here is your wampum. I
fling it at you."
Washington was treated with great courtesy by Captain Jean Coeur
at Venango (Franklin) and advised to see the commanders of Forts Presque
Isle and LeBoeuf. At Fort LeBoeuf, Commander St. Pierre and Captain
Reparti of Fort Presque Isle held a council of war, giving Washington
and his men an opportunity to make notes concerning French fortifications and the dimensions of their fort. According to their notes, the fort
had one hundred men, exclusive of a large number of officers, fifty birch
canoes, and seventy pine canoes.
Through the artifice of many presents and frequent resort to the wine
jug, the French successfully evaded any direct committal of their intentions. Washington, in his Journal, comments on their dilatory tactics:
"I cannot say that ever in my life I suffered so much anxiety as I did
in this affair. I saw that every strategem which the most fruitful brain
could invent was practiced to win the Half -King to their interests, and
that leaving him there was giving them the opportunity aimed at. I
went to the Half-King and pressed him in the strongest terms. He told
me that the commandant would not discharge him until the morning. I
then went to the commandant, and desired him to do their business, and
complained of ill treatment, for keeping them, as they were part of my
company, was detaining me. This he promised not to do, but to forward
my journey as much as possible. He protested that he did not keep them,
but was ignorant of the cause of their stay; tho I soon found it out; he
promised them a present of guns, etc., if they would wait until morning."
After many difficulties, Washington, then but a youth, finally completed his mission, although its main objective was not achieved. While
the French treated him with all deference and respect, they politely
pointed out that they were under orders from a superior officer and had
no choice but to carry out these orders, requesting the English to communicate with their superior in Canada. However, he did manage to
obtain vital information concerning French strength at Forts LeBoeuf and
The Senecas were alarmed by the establishment of a French garrison
at Presque Isle and sent a delegation to Marin at LeBoeuf (Waterford)
to inquire whether he was "marching with banner uplifted or to establish
tranquillity." His tactful answer that he intended to help them "drive
away the evil spirits (the English) that encompass the earth," appeased
the Indians and they zealously assisted the French. The French through
out exercised more tact than the English in their dealings with the
Indians, treating them courteously and giving them numerous presents,
whereas the English aroused Indian resentment because of their superior
attitude and coldness. DeVaudrail, in a letter from Montreal, August 8,
1756, wrote: "The domiciliated Massassaugues of Presque Isle have been
out to the number of ten against the English and have taken one prisoner
and two scalps and gave them to cover the death of M. de St. Pierre."
The strategic importance of the Presque Isle site was soon apparent.
The portage to LeBoeuf was short, and from there canoes readily could
be paddled down French Creek and the Allegheny River to link the
French forts. General DuQuesne, commenting on the importance of the
fort in a letter to the French Minister, July 6, 1755, wrote: "The fort at
Presque Isle serves as a depot for all others on the Ohio. . . . The effects
are put on board pirogues at Fort LeBoeuf. ... At the latter fort the
prairies, which are extensive, furnish only bad hay. ... At Presque Isle
the hay is very abundant and good. The quantity of pirogues constructed
on the River LeBoeuf has exhausted all the large trees in the neighborhood." His letter continued with high praise of the harbor at Presque Isle.
The French planned to establish a chain of forts from Quebec along
Lakes Ontario and Erie and the waters of French Creek and the Allegheny
River to Fort Duquesne, and from there along the Ohio and Mississippi
Rivers to the Gulf of Mexico.
The English were aware of the French strategy and took all possible
steps to checkmate them. A plan was advanced to block the French in
their attempts at expansion and control. If they could control the pass
at Niagara, it would make it impossible for the French to communicate
with their garrison at Presque Isle except through a tedious and difficult
passage. If the fort at Presque Isle could be taken, the French then could
send no supplies or provisions to Forts LeBoeuf and Duquesne. English
control of Presque Isle would enable them to transport troops and materials
much more speedily and economically than by sending an overland
expedition from Virginia to Ohio.
The English finally managed to win some of the Indian tribes over to
their side in 1757 and the French were compelled to maintain a garrison
of one hundred men at Presque Isle to ward off English and Indian attacks.
General Braddock had lost his life in his futile attempt to capture the
French forts in 1754, but General John Forbes was successful in driving
the French from four Pennsylvania forts in 1759. The French abandoned
Fort Presque Isle after a dramatic parting with their Indian friends,
promising an early return. But French domination of the Erie country
The French and Indian War closed in 1760, leaving the western country
under British control. Presque Isle was the last of the French forts south
of Lake Erie to be abandoned and when the English came into this section
in 1760, Colonel Bouquet rebuilt the fort, and ordered the forts at LeBoeuf
and Venango put in good condition.
The Indians resented English attempts to expand and, because of the
threat of Indian massacres, no attempts were made to attract settlers to
Presque Isle. A band of Senecas, during Pontiac s Conspiracy, captured
the forts at Presque Isle and LeBoeuf in 1763 and roamed this district unmolested until the British lost the western country to the United States
under the peace treaty of 1783.
Despite the treaty, the English were reluctant to abandon their forts
and maintained garrisons at some of them, realizing the importance of
Fort Presque Isle to their dreams of a western dominion. In order to
hamper American settlement they instigated the Indians to organize raiding and marauding parties.
Pennsylvania acquired title to the northwestern part of the State in a
treaty with the Six Nations in 1784. A dispute arose over the Triangle
lands in 1785 between Pennsylvania and New York. Major Andrew
Ellicott for Pennsylvania and James Clinton and Simeon DeWitt for New
York were appointed to establish the boundary lines between the States.
They surveyed the line from the Delaware River to Lake Erie and the
western boundary of New York was fixed at 20 miles east of Presque Isle.
A triangular tract of land was left which was not included in the charter
of either State and which Massachusetts and Connecticut also claimed.
A later treaty was made between Pennsylvania and the Six Nations in
1789 giving jurisdiction over the Triangle Lands to Pennsylvania. Gen.
William Irvine was impressed by the fine natural harbor at Presque Isle
and interested a number of citizens in trying to obtain it for Pennsylvania.
New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut ceded their claims to the
United States. In 1792 the Triangle Lands, embracing 202,187 acres, were
sold to Pennsylvania for $151,640.25. To adjust Indian claims, Pennsylvania paid them $2,000 and the United States settled for $1,200. Chiefs
Cornplanter, Half Town, and Big Tree were paid an additional $800.
The Six Nations were still displeased with the arrangement and displayed open hostility. Joseph Brant, a powerful Mohawk chief, tried to
organize the Indians in a war, which was averted only through the efforts
of Cornplanter. An Indian council was held at Buffalo early in 1794 in
protest against the Presque Isle settlement. Another council was held at
LeBoeuf on July 4, 1794, when the Indians repeated their intention to
prevent the establishment of a garrison at Presque Isle.
The Indians remained sullen in spite of attempts to pacify them, and in
dulged in sporadic skirmishes with the settlers. General Wayne, who had
established a garrison at Erie in his western warfare with the Indians,
finally crushed the backbone of Indian unrest in the Battle of Fallen
Timbers on the Maumee River in 1794 and the Indians were quick to
come to terms. Wayne completed a treaty of peace with the western
tribes at Greenville, Ohio, in 1795.
Gen. William Irvine and Maj. Andrew Ellicott had been appointed
to construct a road from Reading to Presque Isle in 1794, and to lay out
a town at Presque Isle. Albert Gallatin, later Secretary of the Treasury,
was appointed to assist them. Due to Indian trouble, it was necessary to
send troops to protect the settlers, but preparations for the establishment
of a town at Presque Isle were suspended because of possible hostilities with
the Indians. The settlers openly voiced their indignation until Governor
MifHin made it plain that he was acting under orders from President
Captain Denny arrived at LeBoeuf in 1794 with a detachment of troops
under instructions to remain there until further orders. Major Ellicott
revealed the hostile attitude of the Indians in a letter: "The Indians consider themselves our enemies and that we are theirs. From this considera
tion they never come near the garrison except as spies and then escape
as soon as discovered."
After strenuous American protests, the British eventually abided by the
treaty of 1783 and abandoned all claim to the western country, including
all garrisons, forts, and military posts. A treaty of peace concluded at
Canadaigua in 1794 removed all final obstacles to the laying out of a town
at Presque Isle. Ellicott had laid out the town of Waterford in 1794, and
the following spring proceeded to Presque Isle where he laid out the town
of Erie in June, 1795. Ellicott was later to redraft L Enfant s plan of
Washington, D. C.
Capt. Russell Bissell, with two hundred men from Wayne s Army,
landed at Presque Isle in the spring of 1795 and built two block houses
on the bluff overlooking the harbor entrance, just east of the mouth of
Mill Creek. The men cleared land for a cornfield, built a sawmill to
supply lumber for the barracks occupied by the troops, and within a
year completed a warehouse and stockade.
The first settlers to locate permanently within the county were Thomas
Rees and John Grubb, who arrived here in the spring of 1795. Later in
the same year William Miles and William Cook, with their wives, made
a settlement in Concord Township. Col. Seth Reed, accompanied by his
wife, and two sons, arrived during the same year and took up lands in
McKean Township. Other settlers at Erie during 1795 were Rufus S.
Reed, and George W. Reed, James Baird and children, Mrs. Thomas Rees,
and Mrs. J. Fairbanks. Among some of the outstanding men who followed them in the next few years were Capt. Daniel Dobbins, Judah Colt,
Timothy Tuttle, Jacob Weiss, and William Wallace.
The region was a dense forest at the time the first settlers arrived.
Louis Philippe, Duke of Chartres and later King of France, was enter
tained at the mouth of Mill Creek in 1795 by Thomas Rees and was greatly
impressed by the beauty of the wilderness scenery.
Migration to this section was slow during the first five years after laying
out the town because of Indian opposition. The entire population of the
Triangle in 1800 was 237, with 81 at Erie. After 1805, the county began
to be settled more rapidly, and Erie had a population of 394 in 1810.
Most of the settlers prior to 1800 came from New England and New York.
Subsequent migrations were also from the same sections.
Erie County was made a separate county in 1800 with Erie designated
as the place for holding court. The first election in the county had been
held at Erie in 1798 while it was still part of Allegheny County. Erie was
incorporated as a borough in 1805, and the first election was held on
May 5, 1806. The boundaries of the borough extended from the bay
south to i zth Street and from Chestnut Street to Parade Street, practically
forming a one mile square.
The first act of borough council at their meeting May 9, 1806, was
to fix the pay of Regulators, or streets commissioners, at one dollar per
day. All the meetings were held at the village inn. In the 1806 election
a burgess, five councilmen, and a constable were elected. The newly
elected officers met at the Buehler Hotel and appointed a town clerk,
three street commissioners, and a treasurer. The first ordinance passed
by the borough council was made at the first meeting and provided for
the examination and regulation of Second Street from the west side of
Parade Street to the east side of French Street to the north side of Sixth
Street, the marking of street intersections, driveways, and other matters
pertaining to the town plan.
Erie was still a straggling village of around 400 inhabitants when war
with England was declared in 1812. Western settlers looked with alarm
at their well organized enemy across the lakes. Erie, while regarded as
one of the most important points on the south shore of Lake Erie, had
only a handful of buildings at the time, and the territory between Buffalo
and Sandusky was sparsely settled. The British were in a favorable position
to strike a fatal blow at any time.
Capt. Daniel Dobbins acquainted President Madison with the dangerous
situation and was authorized to build a fleet. The construction of ships
was begun under great handicaps, lack of finances, materials, and men. A
young naval lieutenant, Oliver Hazard Perry, was commissioned to take
command of the Lake Erie fleet. He arrived in Erie March 27, 1813, and
personally supervised the building of the two largest ships.
Considerable difficulty was experienced in getting the two large ships,
Lawrence and Niagara, over the sand bar at the entrance to the harbor,
but they were finally lifted over and the fleet sailed out August i2th with
about four hundred men, their objective being San dusky where they
were to meet Gen. William Henry Harrison s army.
Perry s startling and brilliant victory in the Battle of Lake Erie, September 10, 1813, routed the British from the Great Lakes and turned the eyes
of the world upon Erie (see COUNTY TOUR 1). The citations of
Perry and his men, by a grateful Congress, and the wild acclaim of
the entire Nation, was reflected directly upon Erie. Large numbers of
militia, marines, and sailors stationed at Erie strutted around the town,
basking in the glory of the victory, the only time in naval history that
an entire British squadron had been made to surrender. Wild rumors of
marauding Indians and British expeditions marching to burn Erie lent an
air of tense excitement and confusion to the town.
GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
The first mode of travel was by foot, horseback, or water. The roads
were rough, muddy, and impassable at certain times of the year. When
they were somewhat improved around 1810, the two-horse wagons were
introduced. These wagons were crude affairs covered with cotton cloth
stretched over hickory ribs, furnishing shelter for the entire family and
its goods. Supplies for Perry s fleet were transported in flat boats to
Waterford and from there by way of the turnpike to Erie.
The opening of the salt trade in 1800 did much to develop Erie as a
port and a transportation center. The salt was shipped from Buffalo to
Erie, then carried to Waterford by ox teams, where it was transported
down French Creek and the Allegheny River on flatboats to Pittsburgh.
During the height of the trade, it was estimated that one hundred teams
of oxen were constantly on the road between Erie and Waterford trans
porting salt. Vessels leaving Buffalo for the West were loaded principally
with salt from 1805 to 1810. Six thousand barrels of salt were registered
at the Customs House in Erie in 1808, and the figure reached a peak of
18,000 in 1811.
Some dissension arose as to whether the salt trade was beneficial to the
county. An "Old Salt-hauler" gave his views in the Erie Mirror, January,
1809, stating that, "The farmers were obliged to haul salt to procure the
comforts, if not the necessities of life, such as sugar, tea, coffee, wearing
apparel, etc., as salt seemed to be the current medium of trade during the
embargo; it was the only commodity they had for market or exchange,
the greater the traffic the more the farmers progressed in the improve
ment of the soil."
The freightage charge from Buffalo to Erie was 87 1 / 2 $ per barrel, with
a 12 1 / 2 charge for storage. It cost $1.50 a barrel to haul the salt from Erie
to Waterf ord and $ i from there to Pittsburgh. The receipts to the transporters aggregated $42,000 in one year and the trip from Salina, N. Y.,
to Pittsburgh took from four to six months. The salt trade became so important that at one time salt was the only circulation medium in the section, with oxen and other commodities being paid for in salt. The discovery of salt wells nearer Pittsburgh was responsible for the abandon
ment of the Erie trade in 1819.
Sawmills, gristmills, tanneries, and breweries were erected all over the
county and prospered until shortly after the War of 1812. Every stream
that could develop power was used to drive from one to a dozen wheels.
The county at that time was covered with forests but, with the gradual
cutting of the timber, the streams dried up and the mills fell into disuse.
The early settlers were a hardy lot of people who lived in a frugal
manner. Mush, corn, bread, and potatoes were the principal foods, with
flour, pork, and sugar looked upon as luxuries. Any meat that graced
the table came from the pioneer s backyard, for the county abounded
Mills were far apart and the roads through the woods mere pathways.
Small loads of grist were carried on the backs of horses or men, and it
was not unusual to see men carrying bags of grain on their backs from
Waterford or farther to be ground at Erie. Few families had stoves and
cooking was usually done over open fires. Beds were made up by laying
blankets over boxes or rude frames. Every house had a spinning wheel
and many were provided with a loom to make home-made clothing.
Liquor was distilled on most farms and few families were without a bottle
for the safety of guests that might be bitten by the poisonous snakes
reported but seldom seen in the county.
The pioneer s home was usually a log cabin of unhewn logs laid one
upon the other, the crevices filled in with mud. As conditions improved,
structures of hewn timber were erected, mortar displacing mud. Wall
paper was unknown and many houses were without window glass. As
saw mills increased in number, frame buildings of a better character were
substituted for the log cabins. An occasional brick or stone structure was
regarded as an architectural marvel.
At the "raisings," when a new residence or barn was to be erected,
neighbors and friends from miles around were invited. Liquor and cider
flowed freely at these combination community work and merry-making
The dense forest covering the county abounded with deer, wolves,
bears, panthers, rabbits, foxes, raccoons, squirrels, oppossums, minks,
skunks, martins, and some wild cattle or buffalo. All except the smaller game, and one or two small herds of deer are extinct today. Deer were so
abundant that hunters lay in wait for them at numerous deer licks within
the county and slaughtered them mercilessly. The wolves destroyed so
much stock that a bounty of twelve dollars a head was offered for them.
Pigeons, ducks, geese, pheasants, partridges, and turkeys were plentiful,
and the lakes and streams teemed with fish.
A disturbing factor in the pioneer s life was the Indians. They were
generally friendly to the settlers except when under the influence of
whiskey, but the ease with which they obtained liquor from the traders
made them a constant menace. Most of these red men were good-natured
friends of the white man, bearing such curious names as Half Town,
Cheat, Twenty Canoes, Laughing Thief, Surly Bear, and Stinking Fish,
usually descriptive of a possession or personal characteristic; occasionally,
as with our nicknames, they marked a childishly frank and brutal humor.
The city gradually began to expand from its early location around
Third and French Streets westward. Third Street was the most important
business thoroughfare until the early iSzo s when it was superseded by
French Street, which remained the busiest until the i860's.
Immigration of the Pennsylvania Germans set in around 1825, followed
by Irish and German immigrants ten years later, boosting the population
to 1465 in 1830, more than double that of the previous decade.
A branch of the United States Bank of Pennsylvania was established at
Erie in 1837 and sold $200,000 worth of stock in one day. This, coupled
with the previous surveying of the canal to Beaver, the charter granted
for a railroad to Sunbury, and Government work in building piers and
deepening the harbor, gave strength to the belief that Erie was destined
to become a great city. Prices of real estate skyrocketed, one lot purchased
for $10,000 selling a month later for $50,000. The speculation lasted
until 1839, when bank failures throughout the Nation caused a serious
Industries which later were destined to play an important role in Erie's
development started during this period. The fishing industry, which later
gave Erie the name of being the largest fresh water fishing port in the
world, began with the establishment of the Shaw Fish Company in 1821.
The establishment of the Hinkley, Jarvis Company in 1833 started Erie
on the road to industrial importance. This company was the forerunner
of the heavy manufacture of engines and boilers in latter day industry.
The opening of the Erie and Pittsburgh Canal in 1844 brought a boom
to business in the section (see TRANSPORTATION). The canal did a
profitable business for thirty years and lapsed quietly, despite the protests
of the canal men, when the Erie and Pittsburgh Railroad bought it to
The oilcloth industry began in Erie in 1840 and soon there were a
dozen such plants in operation. They were shortlived, however, dying
out during the Civil War industrial scare.
Erie obtained its city charter in 1851, a short time before it began
to vie with other sections of the country in the sometimes mad construction of railroad lines in all directions. Short roads were built, later to be
consolidated into larger lines. The wild period of railroad construction
reached its peak with the so-called Railroad War, in which Erie citizens
vigorously protested what they considered a death blow at the towns
growth (see TRANSPORTATION).
Despite the Civil War and its effect of frightening away capital investment and industry, the decade from 1860 to 1870 saw the largest numerical
increase in population to that time, when Erie gained from 9,414 to 19,646.
The first foreign immigration really began during this period with small
numbers of Germans, Italians, and Poles coming in. Railroad consolidation began to be felt and national expansion westward bulged over into
this territory. The village of South Erie was incorporated as a borough
in 1866 and consolidated with Erie in 1870.
When oil was first discovered at Titusville in 1859, Erie again saw
an opportunity to become a large city. Twenty refineries were set up
in a short time and production mounted from 325 barrels to a peak of
15,092 barrels in two years. The peculiar structure of the railroads and
their schedule of rates apparently discriminated in favor of a few and
the local oil companies were discouraged by being overcharged by the
roads. Refinery after refinery moved out, and another boom had hit
Erie and left it without visibly affecting its economic status.
The oil boom of the 6o s brought a large demand for drills, fittings, pipe
and oil well machinery, and dozens of little shops that had located here
with the rise of Northern industry prospered. The factories were first
set up only to satisfy local consumption; among these were oilcloth factories, bakeries, breweries, packing houses, stove works, oil refineries,
and clothing and textile plants. Erie was termed "the home of cockroach
industries" because it was a city of small shops. The tendency toward
small scale production was affected by the manner of development of
the city s economic life. Craftsmen set up little plants and slowly expanded them in line with the demand.
Commodity prices doubled and tripled during the Civil War period be
cause of the issuance of script by the local authorities and "greenbacks"
by the Federal Government.
Until 1862 employees rarely received as much as a dollar in cash for
their labor. Workers were paid mostly in printed due bills good for
merchandise. The State passed a law prohibiting the issuance of these due bills, but the New Furnace Company circumvented the law by
issuing metal tokens, called pewteringtum. The due bills, which were
used even during the construction of the Erie and Pittsburgh Canal, were
called "blue crackee," colloquially called "crackee and be d d." Uncertain fluctuations of National currency during this period made the
blue crackee often preferable to National currency.
Life in the county during the yo s changed from the colorful, romantic
life of the boatmen to the uncertain one of politics. Erie became politically minded during the 1850 $ and attained sufficient prominence in 1875
to entertain the only State assemblage of either party when the Democrats
convened in Erie. The citizens took their politics seriously, and were
often moved to vigorous action. Newspaper owners and editors were
political czars, and their offices the center of all prominent politicians. On
several occasions irate citizens raided newspaper plants and destroyed them
in the frenzy of a political campaign.
Erie continued to expand after 1870 and almost tripled its 1870 popula
tion during the next thirty years. The gradual influx of immigrants and
the steady increase in industrial activity were the primary factors in this
development. The town was caught between the Buffalo trading area,
with its superior communication and transportation connections with the
Atlantic coast, and Cleveland, the western railroad division head and
refinery center. Erie could scarcely hope to compete on equal terms
with these cities. But its transportational advantages still existed and much
of the overflow trade from the East and West found its way here.
In 1885 Erie adopted the electric trolley system, being the second city
in the United States to do so. With the organization of interurban and
suburban lines in all directions shortly afterwards, a consolidation of the
county s population drew the people into a more compact trading group.
While there were no outstanding local events of major importance,
exclusive of National development, many industries located in Erie and
expanded. The Hammermill Paper Company came to Erie in 1898 and
probably marked the first step in bringing nation-wide attention to Erie's
industries. Other industries which had been struggling through the formative years of 1870 and 1880 were firmly entrenching themselves to
participate in the golden industrial eras soon to follow.
By 1900 Erie had become nationally known for the manufacture of its
engines and boilers, which were shipped to all parts of the world. The
establishment of a branch of the General Electric plant in 1911 once again
focused attention on the advantages of Erie s location, and its large labor
War clouds hanging over Europe brought a flood of immigrants to
the section. Thousands of Italians, Poles, and Germans thronged to Erie as laborers in its many industries. When America entered the World
War, many of the local plants were easily adapted to the manufacture
of munitions, and Erie knew a prosperity that it had never known before.
Workers in crowded factories toiled day and night, drawing fabulous
wages in comparison to the pre-war period. Money flowed freely, and
there was a further expansion of industry.
By 1920 Erie had a population of 93,372. The Mill Creek flood of
1915, with a loss of 25 lives and property damage of $2,000,000, had, some
what paradoxically, led to certain city-wide improvements. A flood control tube was built, many new sewer lines were laid, streets and parks
were beautified, and a school building program was begun that gave
Erie three well-equipped high schools.
The significance of industry in Erie s development may be seen from
a comparison of the total numbers of employees and Erie s population. In
1900, with a total number of 10,579 employees, Erie had a population of
52,733. Twenty years later the total number of employees had increased
to 24,783, or an increase of more than 140 percent, while its population
had increased to 93,372, or only 66 percent.
On the momentum of the post-war boom Erie hit an all time mark of
$40,000,000 in total wages and salaries in 1920, a figure that was not again
equalled until the banner year of 1929. After 1929 Erie s "durable goods"
industries were adversely affected by the Depression. However, a measure
of recovery has been achieved (1938), and today Erie is third in the
diversity of industries for cities of its size.
TALES AND LEGENDS
COMPETITIVE sports were played between Indian tribes before the
coming of the white man. Foot races, wrestling matches, and weight
throwing contests were quite common. Baseball had its antecedents in a
game the French named la crosse. Called "boggataway" by the Indians,
it is probably the oldest sport in America, and the game furnishes a legendary background for a war between the Eries and Senecas which re
sulted in the virtual extermination of the Erie tribe in 1654.
For years a feud had existed between the two tribes, a feud which had
never broken into open hostilities because of the peaceful influence of an
Indian queen, Yagowanea, who was respected and revered by all the
Indian tribes living in the New York-Pennsylvania region. Attempts of
the Eries to embroil the Senecas in war had often been halted by this wise
old woman, and it was not until the Eries insulted the Senecas during a
boggataway game that open warfare became inevitable.
The game was played with a curved hickory stick, the loop of which
was netted with gut and rawhide. The Eries lost a contest to the Senecas,
and immediately challenged them to a foot race, intending somehow to
humiliate their rivals. The winners were to scalp the losers with their
own tomahawks. Again the Senecas won, but they refused to carry out
the bloody bargain.
A few weeks after the boggataway game, the legend says, a group of
Erie warriors went to Yagowanea with an unjustified grievance against
two Seneca chieftains who were visiting in the Eries camp. In a moment
of absentmindedness the queen found the Seneca warriors guilty of the
trumped-up charge and gave the complaining Erie warriors permission to execute the Senecas, thus bringing about the Erie-Seneca War. The
Iroquois Confederation joined with the Senecas, and the Eries were completely routed. Remnants of the once powerful tribe were split into small
groups and distributed among tribes friendly to the Senecas.
There are several stories concerning the fall of Fort Presque Isle to the
Senecas during Pontiac s Conspiracy in 1763. One of these, exemplary of
the red man s cunning, states that an Indian appeared at the Fort and told
the British commander that his canoe, laden with furs from Detroit, had
sprung bad leaks and could proceed no further. He asked the commander
if he wished to purchase the furs, as the Indians were anxious to return
home and would sell the furs at a sacrifice price. The commander was
suspicious, but the Indian answered his questions readily. Still somewhat
distrustful, the commander left the fort with two men to inspect the furs,
giving instructions not to admit anyone to the fort until he returned.
An hour later, several Indians laden with furs appeared at the gate.
They asked the garrison to open the gates so that they might deliver the
furs according to the commander s instructions. They said that the commander would be back soon. As soon as the gates were opened the Indians
dropped their furs and drew tomahawks, which had been concealed in
their clothing, and held the gates open long enough to permit a waiting
army of hidden Indians to enter and massacre the British garrison.
One of the stories told about Gen. Anthony Wayne and the Indians,
which is probably more fiction than fact, tells of the time when Wayne
and two of his men in a canoe were fired upon by an Indian war party
on shore. Wayne and his men paddled vigorously in an attempt to get
out of range of the bullets. But a large Indian war canoe loaded with
warriors brandishing tomahawks suddenly appeared, blocking their
progress and heading them towards shore.
Caught between the two hostile parties, Wayne quickly ordered his
men to overturn the canoe. While they held on, he swam under water
to the Indian war canoe and, coming up underneath it, gave it a mighty
shove, dumping its cargo into the Lake. He snatched a tomahawk from
one of the Indians and attacked them so viciously that they swam away,
leaving Wayne and his two soldiers to continue their journey unmolested.
So great was the Indian fear of Wayne that, even after his death, some
Indians abided by a treaty they had made with the settlers, saying that
the ghost of Wayne had appeared menacingly before them. It is regrettable that the whites did not show as much respect for this American
hero, for when his son disinterred Wayne s body in 1 809 in order to transport it to Radnor for burial he found that some culprit had pilfered
Wayne s remaining good boot.
Early borough ordinances reflect the rude civilization of the frontier.
One dated 1810 called out every man to dig out stumps in the main streets.
Another ordinance required convicted drunkards to dig three stumps
from the town s streets as punishment.
Money was scarce among the early settlers. Few of them were able to
employ labor in accomplishing a difficult task. It became the custom
among the settlers to combine their labor in mutual assistance. Thus,
when a family built a log house, neighbors from the vicinity gathered on
an appointed day, felled trees, and hauled them to the site of the new
house. Entire families gathered for these events. The women prepared
the food, and gossiped as they knitted socks, underclothing, and scarves
for their husbands and children.
In the cutting of trees a suitable clearing was provided for a garden
and cornfield. Brush and undergrowth were removed and piled in heaps
for burning. Stumps usually stood for two or three years after the land
was cleared, gradually drying out, and becoming seasoned for fuel.
Following the long day s labor, the settlers gathered at the fireside of
the new house to drink home-distilled whisky and recount tales of their
daily lives. As the evening progressed a squeaky fiddle would be brought
on and a square dance begun. Until early morning, the younger members
of the group swung and swayed to Money Musk, the Virginia Reel, and
Turkey in the Straw. The marriage of a young couple furnished sufficient
excuse for another logging and house building. Few settlers could get
along without the help of neighbors in the early days.
Characteristic of the early pioneer life in this section is a tale of a
"wild boar" hunt. The pioneers were always chasing wolves, panthers,
and bears, so it did not strike them as unusual when one man reported that
his cornfield was being ravaged by wild boar. With equal resignation they
would have picked up their rifles if a Bengal tiger or an African lion had
been reported in the vicinity. They soon tracked the boar down and shot
The hunting party took it to a neighbor s home, dressed it and prepared
for an epicurean revel. Hardly had the feast begun when another settler
appeared and claimed that the boar was a pig, and his own pig at that,
which had strayed off his premises a year ago. The killer insisted on his
rights and a free-for-all fight followed. The minor riot was finally settled
with the original owner receiving a quarter of the "wild boar" and the
feast continued on its merry way.
Erie first attracted National attention in 1813, when Commodore Oliver
Hazard Perry arrived to take command of the Great Lakes fleet. The
period of the building of the fleet and immediately following the great
victory in the Battle of Lake Erie can properly be called the golden era
of Erie s history. The influx of sailors and militia gave a boom to the straggling town, and the intoxication of victory filled the air. The town
became known as the "mother-in-law of the American Navy," and weddings and engagements were many.
The sailors were as quick to fight on land as on sea. Many disputes arose
about the Battle of Lake Erie, after Perry s departure, and some questioned
Captain Elliott s conduct during the engagement. Quarrels broke out
between Perry s and Elliott s adherents, and many duels were fought.
In one of the duels, Midshipman Senat, who commanded the Porcupine
during the battle, was killed by Acting-Master McDonald. Some people
maintained that the dispute was occasioned by the number of buttons
on McDonald s suit, but most of their contemporaries agreed that the
argument arose over Elliott s wisdom in hanging back with his large ship,
the Niagara, leaving Perry s flagship, the Lawrence, to be riddled by the
Two marines were shot during this period for desertion, and a seaman
was hanged to the yard-arm of the Niagara. James Bird was one of the
marines tried for desertion and executed. A sergeant, Bird had been placed
in charge of a storehouse, which post he deserted. He was found guilty
by a court martial and the sentence approved by the President. The story
goes that Perry, who had left Erie, ordered a pardon to stay Bird s execution, but that it arrived after he was shot. One of the most popular of the
flood of songs which followed Perry s victory was the Ballad of James
Bird, a lugubrious ditty of Bird s heroism and sad end that was often
recited at meetings and in barrooms.
One of the stories coming down from the period following Colonel
Drake s discovery of oil in 1859 centered around "Coal Oil Johnny"
Steele. Steele, an orphan, found himself rich overnight when oil was
struck on his farm. He went on one of the most glorious spending sprees
Northwestern Pennsylvania had ever seen. It was nothing unusual for him,
so the story goes, when the proprietor of a hotel insisted that Johnny s
party had become too boisterous, to buy the hotel and continue the party.
Another story deals with one of his unusual habits hiring a cab and
tacking ten dollar bills all over the upholstery. Driving to Erie, he would
stop in front of a bar room, pluck a ten dollar bill from the upholstery,
order a drink for everybody, have one himself, and drive off to another
spot. At the close of the evening s roistering all money left in the cab
was given to the driver. Steele soon found himself with neither friends
nor money. But as luck would have it, he came on a forgotten $20,000
deposit in a bank, and having learned his lesson well began to lead a wiser
and saner life.
THE French village of 100 families established by French explorers
near Fort Presque Isle in 1753 was abandoned six years later, ending
the first European effort to colonize the Great Lakes area. The first
American settlers arrived in the region in 1795, coming mainly from New
England, New York, and southern Pennsylvania.
Foreign immigration began with the arrival of a large number of Ger
mans in 1830. The Finns came in 1850, followed by the Italians in 1860.
In 1865 a few Poles began to arrive, driven from Europe by floods and
low wages. Many of these immigrants were so poor that they had to
depend upon relatives already in the country or upon steamship and land
companies for their passage money. In the post-Civil War period, thou
sands of them were brought in to build railroads and work in coal mines.
Although many of the newcomers were penniless, they represented a
good investment to land speculators and industrialists. Immigrants continued to arrive until 1914. Armenians, Hungarians, and Turks came in
small numbers, but many Italians, Germans, and Poles arrived.
According to recent figures, the three largest National groups in Erie
are the German, with approximately 30,000; Polish, with 20,000; and the
Italian, with 18,000.
A city directory published in 1853 reveals that Germans predominated
in the building trades. The Germans were quick to exert their influence
on the city. Those of the Catholic faith banded together, breaking away
from the business section then on French street, to concentrate in the
vicinity of German and Parade Streets, between 8th and 9th Streets. They
built a frame church there in 1833 and the present St. Mary s Church on
the same location.
The Protestant group organized St. John s Lutheran Church in 1835
and, two years later, the Salem Evangelical Association for Germans in
America was founded. A German language newspaper, the Zuschauer,
came out in 1851. This paper became, in turn, the Freie Presse, the Tageblatt, and the present (1938) Deutsche Zeitung. In 1862 the Erie Liederstafel, the first German singing society, was formed; six years later a
Turnverein was organized.
At first the German people favored the neighborhood of German and
Holland Streets, between 9th and loth Streets. Now they are spread
throughout the city, predominating in the East and West 2 6th Street
districts. Many of their stores originally were community centers, where
only the German language was spoken. Societies were established, and
after considerable agitation, a German Free School was built. The school
was abandoned when the public school system had become firmly entrenched in the city.
The Civil War did much to break down the barriers of misunderstand
ing and distrust among nationality groups. There was a prompt response
on the part of Germans to the call to arms and a regiment went from Erie,
commanded by Colonel Schlaudecker, with several German officers. The
patriotic spirit of the Germans in the war was the most important single
factor in welding together the nationalities. A German, P. A. Becker,
was elected mayor in 1883. Two of his outstanding acts in office were
the introduction of electricity in street lighting and the construction of
a new City Hall.
The Italian influx began in 1860, but did not become pronounced until
1914. They came from Abruzzi, Campobosso, and Naples in the south;
and from Rome, Pisa, and Tuscany in the north; with some from Sicily
and Calabria. Many of the Italians from southern Italy and Sicily are
concentrated in the district between i5th and i8th Streets, west of State
Street; and between Myrtle and Raspberry Streets. Those from northern
Italy have settled along East 25th, 26th, and 27th Streets and from Pennsylvania Avenue to the southern city limits.
The census of 1870 lists but 18 Poles, a figure which was increased in
1930 to 20,000. St. Stanislaus Church, East i3th and Wallace Streets, one
of the outstanding religious edifices in the city, was begun in 1883. It
is attended largely by persons of Polish extraction and is a center for
their community activities. The largest group of Poles is near St. Stanislaus Church. A second group is in the section from East Avenue to the
eastern city limits, between 6th and i2th Streets, while a third group is
in St. Hedwig s parish on East 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Streets.
Other nationalities are scattered throughout the city: Russians largely
around East Front Street, and on Parade Street, between 2nd and 3rd
Streets; the Slovaks on Pennsylvania Avenue from 8th to mh Streets; and
the Greeks on mh, i4th, and Peach Streets.
Citizenship and literacy classes conducted in various night schools have
done much toward the assimilation of the foreign born. So successful has
this been that the second and third generations are completely American
in speech and manner.
Erie s population in 1930 was 115,967. The number of foreign born
and of first generation Americans in Erie in 1936, according to records
of the International Institute, is shown in the following table:
Canadian (includes French
Irish (Free State and Northern Ireland) 3,310
Norwegian 1 8 1
Slovak 2,5 1 2
Spanish 6 1
Swiss 1 6 1
Yugoslavia (includes Croatians, Serbs, Slovenes, Albanians) 192
All others Brazilians, Arabians, Egyptians, Assyrians, Flemish, Maltese,
Letts, Welsh, and French 199
INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE
ERIE ranks third among cities of from 100,000 to 500,000 population
in the diversity of its manufactured products. In 1936 it had 277
manufacturing plants, with an invested capital of more than $58,176,000.
The value of the yearly output was more than $97,643,800, with 21,078
employes and an annual payroll totalling $29,129,100.
Among the principal manufactures are power shovels and power hammers; electric and steam locomotives; writing, printing, and roofing
papers; machine and hand tools; rubber specialties; boilers, boiler controlling equipment; sterilizers for hospitals; electrical specialties; building
hardware, plumbing supplies; heating equipment; kitchen equipment; and
castings of iron, steel, and non-ferrous metals. Erie imports pulpwood
from Canada; crude rubber from the Far East; linens from Ireland; and
other articles for direct consumption from virtually every country of
Although Erie has few consumer-goods industries, it has long been a
great producer of heavy or durable goods. Its steam boilers and engines,
electric locomotives, forgings, power equipment, gas meters, gasoline
pumps, and oil well supplies are shipped to all parts of the world. It has
a large traffic in iron ore, grain, and coal, and is a leading fresh water
The first industry established in what is now Erie was a sawmill, built
at the mouth of Mill Creek in 1796, by Capt. Russell Bissell of the United
States Army. The mill supplied lumber for barracks which were built
to house troops sent here to protect the settlers. The mill dam was just
east of Parade Street near East 4th Street.
A second sawmill was built in 1800 by John Cochran near i6th and
State Streets. Cochran added a gristmill in 1801, the first in Erie. In 1806 Robert Brotherton built a sawmill on Hill Road, also near State Street,
and in 1807 or l8 8 another sawmill was erected on Mill Creek, at the
intersection of E. 8th Street, by Thomas Forester and William Wallace.
About 1 8 10 Rufus S. Reed, later to become Erie s first citizen, built a
gristmill nearby; somewhat later, he constructed a distillery, the first in
More gristmills and sawmills were built during the early iSoo s, and
several woolen mills were erected in the 1830*5. Today no sawmills, and
only two gristmills are operating in Erie. Textile mills are no longer an
important part of the city s economic life.
A brickyard was built in 1803 just east of Parade Street between 2nd
and 3rd Streets. Bricks from this yard were used in the construction of
the first brick house in Erie County, still standing on German Street between Front and 2nd Streets. Other brickyards were established later,
but only one is still in operation.
Early in the century a tannery was built by Ezekiel Dunning, on
Holland Street between 5th and 6th Streets. Later known as Sterrett s
tannery, it continued in operation until 1852. In 1805 another tannery
was built, and for years the tanning business was carried on extensively,
but by 1900 the industry had ceased to exist in Erie.
A brewery was built in 1815 by Maj. David McNair on Turnpike
Street, and a distillery was added in 1823. Many breweries were built
later, of which only two remain in business. At one time small distilleries
were found in almost every neighborhood of Erie, but in 1830 a great
temperance wave swept through the county, and whisky became unpopular. Erie distilleries thereafter disappeared rapidly; there are none
in the city now.
The industry that launched Erie on the road to industrial importance
was an iron foundry, established in 1833 by Hinkley, Jarvis & Company
on the west side of State Street at nth Street, and later known as the
"Old Furnace." The foundry smelted iron from bog ore mined near the
head of Presque Isle Bay, transported it by wagons to Waterford, and
from there to Pittsburgh by river boats. Castings, principally for
stoves and plows, and sawmill machinery were also manufactured. The
industry continued under various names until it became part of the
Germer Stove Company.
The manufacture of engines and boilers, important in the development
of Erie s economy, was begun in 1855 at the Presque Isle Iron Works, on
E. l0th Street between Holland and German Streets. In 1905 the plant
was acquired by the Erie City Iron Works.
With the discovery of oil at Titusville in 1859, a number of refineries
were established, 15 having been in operation at one time. This business gradually fell away in the iSyo s, because of various factors, perhaps the
most important being a lack of cooperation by the transportation companies.
The building of Great Lakes boats in Erie dates from the sailing vessel,
Washington, in 1798, and later many large steamboats were constructed.
John D. Paasch began building vessels in 1866 at the foot of State Street,
and the business is still carried on by his son, Frederick.
Fishing has long been one of the leading industries of Erie, and the
annual catch frequently exceeds that of any other port on the Great
Lakes. Thousands of tons of blue pike, white fish, and perch are shipped
annually. Ciscoes, once caught in large quantities, are now quite rare.
Lumber was an important factor in lake trade for years; today it has
been superseded by the coal, grain, iron ore, coke, and pulp-wood trade,
and by an extensive package freight business. Boatloads of automobiles
arrive in the early spring for transhipment to eastern markets. Erie has
adequate and modern equipment for handling these products, including
several grain elevators and package freight warehouses.
WHOLESALE AND RETAIL TRADE
Approximately 2,000 retail establishments in Erie have a gross business
of about $50,000,000 annually. The retail area, within a radius of 50 miles,
contains a population of 300,000 persons, and the city s retail stores compare favorably in variety of merchandise with establishments in other
American cities of like size. There are approximately 160 wholesale
business places, with estimated sales of $30,000,000 annually.
The first retail store in Erie, a two-story log building, was erected in
1796 by Col. Seth Reed at the southwest corner of 2nd and Parade Streets.
The Reeds conducted a store and tavern in the building until it was
destroyed by fire in 1799. Rufus S. Reed, son of the founder, then rebuilt
the structure and maintained the business there for many years.
Third Street was the main business thoroughfare until the early 1900' s,
when it was superseded by French Street, which, until the i86o s, continued to be the busiest thoroughfare in the city, its importance having
been enhanced by the fact that the post office, the leading business houses,
and the principal hotels were convenient to it.
Today, the retail business center is on State Street between 7th and 14th
Streets. Peach and French Streets and the intervening cross streets from
7th to 14th are part of the principal downtown trading district. The next
most important business sections are Parade Street from 7th to 13th Streets,
and from 24th to 28th Streets; and Peach Street from 6th to
Streets and from i8th to 26th Streets.
As EARLY as 1753 the advantages of Erie in regard to transportation
were recognized by the French, who sent an expedition from
Montreal to build a fort that was to be a vital link in a chain extending
to the Ohio Valley. Erie s calm, landlocked harbor, which Duquesne's
letter of July 6, 1755, to the French Minister of Finance, described as
one that the largest vessels could enter in safety, is still the central and
determining factor in the city s transportation system.
Erie Harbor is protected by a natural breakwall, which provides a
harbor of adequate depth and anchorage facilities for the largest of
Great Lakes carriers. Loading and unloading facilities are modern; a
network of tracks makes possible the immediate conjunction of water
and rail traffic. Three unloading machines expedite the handling of ore
from boats a io,ooo-ton boat can be unloaded in less than 10 hours.
During 1935 more than 600 freight-carrying boats entered and left
Erie harbor, carrying mostly iron ore, coal and coke, wheat, package
freight, and pulp wood.
Erie is the division headquarters of two large railroad systems The
New York Central, and the Pennsylvania and is a key point for passenger and freight traffic of the Nickel Plate R. R. and the Bessemer and
Lake Erie R. R. Erie is also the headquarters of one large inter-state
trucking concern and a distribution point for a number of others. Its
location makes it an important point in lake and rail shipments. Large
ore boats bring cargoes from the upper lakes to Erie, whence the ore is
shipped by rail to the Pittsburgh and Youngstown steel districts. Coal
shipped here by rail from the Pennsylvania mines is transported up the lakes by boats; and package freight from all sections of the country is
brought to Erie by rail, to be transported by way of the cheaper medium
of water to Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Buffalo, and Canadian ports.
EARLY MODES OF TRAVEL
The first road was built in 1753 by the French from Fort Presque Isle
to Fort LeBoeuf. Known as the French Road, it was the only one in the
section for more than 40 years. In 1796 Maj. Andrew Ellicott surveyed
the Susquehanna and Waterford Turnpike from LeBoeuf to Curwensville, in Clearfield County, by way of Meadville and Franklin, so that
a continuous road from Erie to Philadelphia could be built. In 1797 Judah
Colt built a road from Freeport on Lake Erie to Colt s Station, the first
in the county after the American occupation.
In Erie s early years all articles of commerce were landed on the beach
near the mouth of Mill Creek, where three storehouses were erected in
1815. In the early days of steam navigation, boats landed freight and
passengers at the lighthouse piers at the channel entrance to save time.
In common with other sections of the United States, the region was a
dense forest at the time the first settlers arrived. The first mode of travel
was by foot, horseback, or water. The roads were rough and muddy
until about 1810, when they were widened and gravelled. Then came
the two-horse wagons, crude affairs covered with cotton cloth stretched
over hickory ribs and furnishing shelter for family and goods. In 1812
supplies for Perry s fleet were transported in flat boats from Pittsburgh
to Waterford, and from there by way of the turnpike to Erie. Another
mode of travel was by ice. It was not unusual for the early astute business
man to buy a barrel of whisky at Buffalo and haul it over the lake ice on a
The Erie and Waterford Turnpike (a toll road), now US 19, was
completed in 1809. The first toll gate was near the southern city limits
of Erie, the second on the summit between Erie and Waterford. A toll
road from Erie to Meadville by the way of Edinboro was completed in
1852. This road, now State 99, was floored with planks. The Erie and
Waterford plank road, now State 97, had been constructed over an entirely new route in 1851.
These roads crossed swamp areas, and, in order to make them passable
in bad weather, they were "corduroyed." This paving consisted of half
logs, roughly squared, laid side by side across the road. The chinks were
filled with small poles and gravel. Though quite rough according to
modern standards, this kind of road made possible the transportation of
freight in the region. Plank roads, a refinement of the corduroy, were made of heavy planks eight inches wide by three inches thick, laid crosswise of the road on supporting sills of heavier timbers or logs. Plank
roads were considered more durable and cheaper to maintain than macadam roads.
Toll roads were abandoned because of their unpopularity with farmers
who had to use them to haul their produce to market. They boycotted the
roads by constructing trails and bypasses, and, in one instance, a group
pulled down the toll gates. The gates were not rebuilt, and the last toll
road, the Erie and Waterford, was turned over to the township in 1868.
A weekly mail route, covered by horseback, was opened in 1801 between Erie and Pittsburgh by way of Waterford and Meadville. In 1806
a weekly mail route was started between Buffalo and Erie. The stage
left Buffalo on Saturday noon and reached Erie on Monday at 6 p. m.,
requiring 54 hours to make the go-mile journey. In 1827 a line of four-
horse coaches was placed in daily operation between Cleveland and
Buffalo, by way of Erie.
An incident of transportation in those days is related in Sargent s
Pioneer Sketches about Judah Colt, who later became superintendent of
the Erie and Pittsburgh Canal. When a young man, Colt was traveling
through Herkimer County, N. Y., and was stopped near Praker's Bridge
by Colonel Praker, who told him he must not travel on Sundays; that it
was his duty to arrest Colt if he continued the journey.
Well, said Colt, If I have to stop, I must; but I would like to get on
three or four miles farther to some friends, where I expect to stop, as
I am about to be taken down with the smallpox and I already feel symp
toms of its coming on.
What! said the old Dutchman, You coming down mit de smallpox?
Vail, den you must not stop here/
Then you ll have to give me a pass/
Yes, but I write no English. You write de pass in English and I sign it
Colt wrote a check for $1,000 and Praker signed it. The next morning
Colt went to the bank, where the check was promptly paid, and resumed
his journey to Erie.
Two weeks later Praker went to town, and the banker said, Mr. Praker,
we paid your check for $1,000/
My check for $1,000! I does not know about that/
Come in, it will show for itself/
The check was produced, Praker scrutinized it and exclaimed, I see,
it be that d d Yankee s smallpox pass!
In that day there were no telegraphs or railroads, and Colt was un
The authors piece de resistance in a summary of the situation follows:
"And onward thus Colt travels for Erie,
Through forest, o er hill, valley and stream, not weary.
But this man Colt was a sharp undertaker
In playing his smallpox game with Dutch Praker.
$1,000 was a big fortune at that day,
$1.25 per acre for land to pay.
Across the State Line into Pennsylvania he crosses,
At Erie he stops to raise young Colts and horses.
Large streams from little fountains grow,
From this $1,000 rich did Colt grow.
It has been said, and it must be so,
That there are tricks in trades, you know."
The transportation of salt was a leading industry until 1819. Salt was
mined at Salina, N. Y., hauled to Buffalo in wagons, then shipped by
vessel to Erie. From Erie it was sent to Waterford by ox teams, and
then transported on flatboats down French Creek and the Allegheny
River to Pittsburgh the same course the French followed in 170 (see
The first sailing vessel on Lake Erie was the Griffon, 60 tons, built in
1679 on the Niagara River by Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, who
sailed the vessel to Green Bay, Wisconsin. No record has been found of
any other sailing vessel on the lake until about 1766, when the British
launched four small ships used chiefly for carrying troops and army
In 1795 the only sailing vessel on the south shore of Lake Erie belonged
to Capt. William Lee of Chippewa, N. Y. This ship made infrequent trips
from Buffalo to Erie. Oars were auxiliary equipment. The first sailing
vessel built on the south shore of Lake Erie was the 36-ton sloop Washington, constructed in 1798 at the mouth of Four Mile Creek, east of
Erie. The Good Intent, built by Capt. William Lee and R. S. Reed at
the mouth of Mill Creek in 1799, was the first vessel launched at Erie.
Prior to the War of 1812 a dozen or more vessels, averaging 60 tons,
composed the entire merchant fleet on Lake Erie. Salt was the chief
article of freight, although some business was done in transporting furs
from the far west to Buffalo.
The Walk-in-the-Water was the first steamboat to navigate Lake Erie.
Of 300 tons, it was built on the Niagara River, launched in May, 1818,
and made regular trips between Buffalo and Detroit, stopping at Erie
on each trip. The first steamboat launched at Erie was the William Penn, 200 tons, in May, 1826. By 1826 three steamboats and from two to ten
schooners cleared from Erie harbor every week.
The Vandalia, 150 tons, built at Oswego, New York, and brought
through the Welland Canal in 1842, was the first boat on Lake Erie operated by a propeller. Other propeller vessels soon appeared, and this type
replaced the old style side-wheel steamboats.
The Erie Canal of New York, now called the New York State Barge
Canal (not to be confused with the Erie-Pittsburgh Canal), opening a
low cost transportation system from New York City to Buffalo, New
York, by way of the Hudson River to Troy, New York, thence by canal
to Buffalo, brought an influx of immigration to the western states. Following the opening of this canal large numbers of Germans landed at Erie.
Their original destination had been Cincinnati, Ohio, and the lower Ohio
Valley but, attracted by the Pennsylvania farm lands, they remained in
the Erie region and became an important section of the population.
The opening of the Erie-to-Pittsburgh Canal in 1844 greatly increased
the lake trade at Erie. Daily steamboat service was established between
Erie and Buffalo in 1846. Completion of the Lake Shore Railroad to
Toledo, Ohio, in 1853, greatly curtailed immigrant travel by way of
canal and lake, and the steamboats depended mainly upon freight to and
from the upper lakes.
In the i840's the State spent more than $4,000,000 in the construction
of the canal from Pittsburgh to Lake Erie by way of the Ohio, Beaver,
and Shenango Rivers.
In 1843 the State had refused to appropriate the estimated $211,000
required to complete the canal. The Erie Canal Company was then in
corporated. The State ceded to the company all the work that had been
done, on condition that the corporation finish and operate the canal.
The additional $211,000 was subscribed by Erie merchants. The first
boats to reach Erie were the Queen of the West and the R. S. Reed on
December 5, 1844. The first boat carried passengers, and the second
brought coal, iron ore, and merchandise. The canal did a thriving business
and materially assisted in the development of trade.
The mule-drawn canal boats stopped at any point along their line to
discharge or take aboard passengers and baggage. The canal did a profitable business for 30 years. With the coming of the steam railroads, the
Erie & Pittsburgh Railroad bought it to eliminate competition and let
it lapse quietly into oblivion, despite the strenuous protests of the canal
A charter was obtained for the Erie & North East Railroad Company
on April 12, 1842. Stock in the railroad company was sold largely in
Erie, and construction of six-foot wide gauge track was completed in
January 19, 1852, and the first train steamed into Erie. This track, now
standard gauge (4 ft. S l / 2 in.), is now part of the main line of the New
York Central through Erie County.
The New York & Erie Railroad Company had been formed to build a
road from Dunkirk, N. Y., to the Pennsylvania line, and a second road
was projected by the New York Central from Buffalo, by way of Fredonia, to the State Line. At this period railroads were being built rapidly
in all sections of the country, and the common practice was to build short
lines and later sell them at a high profit to continuous lines that merged
the shorter units.
Although tentative efforts had been made by citizens of Erie as early
as the year 1831 to have a railroad extended from Buffalo to Erie, the
first organization of a company for that purpose was not effected until
April 12, 1842, when the Erie and North East Railroad Company was organized. Surveys were completed in 1849 and contracts were let for
construction of a six foot gauge track to be laid from Erie to the New
York State line. The first train entered Erie January 19, 1852.
In 1852 the Franklin Canal Company completed a railroad from Erie
to the Ohio State Line, connecting with a line from Cleveland. The first
train from Erie to Ashtabula, Ohio, was run on November 23, 1852. The
Pennsylvania State law at that time required all roads entering from the
east to have a gauge of 6 feet or 4 feet 8 1 / 2 inches. All from the west were
required to have a gauge of 4 feet 10 inches. This necessitated a break
and transfer at Erie.
The change of gauge at Erie was a serious inconvenience to the railroads,
and on November 17, 1853, the Erie & North East Company entered
into a contract with the New York Central whereby the former was to
alter the gauge of its track to 4 feet 10 inches, making a uniform gauge
from Buffalo to Cleveland. The change, completed on February i, 1854,
enraged the people of Erie, who had visualized their city as the Lake Erie
terminus of the New York & Erie Railroad instead of a way station.
Crowds of citizens, reinforced by Mayor Alfred King and 150 special
constables, tore down the bridges over State and French Streets, ripped
up the tracks across all streets east of Sassafras Street, and pelted officials
of the railroads with rotten eggs whenever they appeared on the streets.
The enmity of the voting public towards the railroads became so intensethat in the elections of 1854, 1855, and 1858, party lines were obliterated,
and the main political issue was the railroad trouble.
Erie s angered citizens were successful in preventing the changing of
track gauge for a time, necessitating the transfer of passengers and freight
between Harborcreek and Erie by stages and wagons. The city was condemned by railroad travelers. Horace Greeley, one of the inconvenienced
travelers, declared in the New York Tribune: "Let Erie be avoided until
grass grows in her streets." Another outbreak occurred in 1855, in which
several bridges were destroyed and tracks torn up. State and Federal
officials were compelled to intervene. The controversy was carried eventually to the Supreme Court, which decided that the road gauge as constructed by the Franklin Canal Company was illegal, and repealed the
company s charter.
A new charter was granted by the legislature on condition that the
company, known as the Cleveland & Erie, should subscribe $500,000 to
the Philadelphia & Erie Railroad and extend its track to the harbor at
Erie. The charter of the Erie & North East Company was also repealed
in 1855, but was restored in April, 1856 upon condition that the company expend $400,000 towards building a road from Erie to Pittsburgh.
A few years later, the Erie & North East and the Buffalo & State Line
Railroads were consolidated under the name of the Buffalo & Erie Rail
road. In the early i86o s the Cleveland & Lake Erie Railroad was consolidated with the Cleveland & Toledo Railroad, and later this company
was merged with the Michigan Southern, placing a continuous line under
one management from Erie to Chicago. The road became known as the
Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad Company. In 1869 the Buffalo
& Erie was merged with this organization, which was owned by the
Vanderbilts, with Chauncey Depew as legal and business representative.
This system is now the New York Central Railroad.
The Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad, a United States Steel Corporation
subsidiary, runs from Erie to East Pittsburgh. It was the latest railroad
to enter Erie County and was opened in 1892. It was originally known as
the Pittsburgh, Shenango, and Lake Erie Railroad. It follows the route
of the old Erie-Pittsburgh Canal. Its tonnage consists largely of heavy
freight between the Pittsburgh steel district and the Great Lakes. According to Interstate Commerce Commission figures, it carries more tonnage per mile of track than any other railroad in the world.
The first passenger depot in Erie was a rude brick structure built in
1851. It was replaced by the Union Depot in 1864, which was replaced
by the present (1938) Union Station in 1927.
LOCAL AND INTERURBAN TRANSPORTATION
The first franchise to operate horse-drawn street cars was issued to
Heman Janes and Associates on March 12, 1866. A horse-drawn bus was
operated in 1867 on the main streets by William Loesch. The Erie Pas
senger Railway Company began to operate horse cars in 1868 on virtually
the same streets as Loesch s bus line. Loesch s franchise was sought by
others, but he would not sell. One morning he found all his horses dead
from poison, and unable to operate that day, he had to forfeit his charter,
as one of its clauses called for operation each day with forfeiture as the
Erie was the second city in the country to have an electric trolley system, when, in the early spring of 1885, the first electric passenger car
made its trial trip on State Street. The first rails were wooden stringers
with steel straps. The cars were operated by the Erie Passenger Rail
ways Company which was reorganized in 1888 as the Erie Electric Motor
On April 13, 1906, the Buffalo & Lake Erie Traction Company took over
all the intercity electric lines, and in August of the same year acquired
the suburban and interurban lines east of Buffalo Road to Westfield, New
York, and on New Year s Day, 1909, the company opened a through line
to Buffalo. This line was bought in 1924 by the Buffalo & Erie Railways
Company, which was forced out of business in recent years.
The Erie Street Railways Company, successor to the Erie Electric
Motor Company, operated the last electric trolley car in Erie. On December 7, 1925, the Erie Coach Company placed the first motor bus in operation and gradually increased this type of service until May 13, 1935, when
the last street car made its final trip.
The first bus line to operate in Erie County was the West Ridge Transportation Company in April 1923 from Erie to Conneaut, Ohio. The
Great Lakes Stages, now part of the Greyhound Lines, entered the county
in 1927, with bus service to Cleveland. Two years later it established a
line to Buffalo, and now operates interstate busses through Erie.
Besides the privately-owned airport at Fairview, a modern airport,
Port Erie, was completed in 1937 by the Works Progress Administration
and the city. Air mail service was inaugurated on May 19, 1938.
CHRISTIANITY was brought to the Erie region in the late summer of
1615, when about 20 Frenchmen landed on the shore of Presque Isle
(see HISTORY). They planted a large wooden cross in the soil, sang the
Te Deum, and the Reverend Joseph LeCaron, a Franciscan friar, celebrated Mass with an upturned canoe for an altar, in a clearing near some
Father Le Caron tried to convert the natives to Christianity, but his
efforts and those of other friars resulted in scant success. The Indians
worshipped evil spirits and practiced sorcery, and believed they would
go to a happy hunting ground at death. The efforts of missionaries were
also hampered by the fact that the Eries were nearly always at war with
the Senecas, a neighboring tribe in New York State.
Medicine men, as the sorcerer-priests of the Indian tribes were called,
incited so much opposition to the missionaries that no attempt was made
to found a Catholic congregation in Erie until 1753, when the Reverend
Luke Collett, a Franciscan, was sent from Montreal as chaplain of the
French troops who built Forts Presque Isle and Le Boeuf. After the
French evacuated these forts in 1759, there is no record of Catholic activity in Erie until near the end of the century.
Because of its early military and political history, the Catholic Church
in Erie County has been subject to four different ecclesiastical jurisdictions.
During the period of French occupancy and until 1763, they were under
the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Quebec. From 1763 until 1784, Catholics
in America were subject to the Vicar Apostolic of London. After the
Revolutionary War, Erie belonged to the Philadelphia Diocese. On August 15, 1843, the Reverend Michael O Connor, of Philadelphia, was con
secrated first bishop of the newly established diocese of Pittsburgh, and
Erie became a part of the Pittsburgh Diocese.
St. Mary s and St. Patrick s Churches are known to have held services
in Erie in the i83o s. The chapel of St. Patrick s, a two-story structure
with living quarters for the priest on the second floor, was on German
Street near 4th Street. The Reverend Charles McCabe was the first priest
of the parish. The German Catholics founded St. Mary s Church, and held
service in a log house on the northeast corner of loth and State Streets.
The first resident priest at St. Mary s was the Reverend Ivo Levitz, who
probably came to Erie early in 1840.
The Erie Diocese was established in 1853, when Bishop O Connor was
transferred from Pittsburgh. He remained seven months, and was returned
to the Pittsburgh Diocese. The Most Reverend Tobias Mullen, third
Bishop of Erie, was consecrated on August 2, 1868. He made plans for
building the present St. Peter s Cathedral, at W. loth and Sassafras Streets,
a task requiring nearly 20 years.
The Most Reverend John Mark Gannon, D.D., present (1938) Bishop
of Erie, was installed as fifth Bishop of Erie on December 16, 1920. Bishop
Gannon is regarded as one of the most learned members of the Catholic
hierarchy. He is frequently called upon to perform important duties as
a member of the National Catholic Welfare Council.
The diocese embraces Erie, Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford,
Elk, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Venango, and Warren
counties in northwestern Pennsylvania. The Catholic population of the
diocese is 131,828; number of diocesan priests, 164; priests of religious
orders, 52; churches with resident pastors, no, to which are attached 47
The first Protestant service of which there is any record was held on
Sunday, July 2, 1797, at the home of Judah Colt, at Colt s Station in Green
field Township. In response to a general invitation, about 30 persons
came to the service, at which Colt read the sermon, no minister being
available. The text was from I Corinthians 14:40: "Let all things be done
decently and in order." This subject was chosen because of land controversies at the time.
The Ohio and Redstone Presbyteries sent two missionaries, the Reverend
Messrs. McCurdy and Stockton, in 1799, who preached in Erie, Waterford, and North East. Two years later McCurdy again visited the region,
accompanied by the Reverend Messrs. Tate, Satterfield, and Boyd. Services were held in a clearing prepared for the occasion on the west branch
of French Creek at Middlebrook in Venango Township.
The work of McCurdy and Satterfield met with the approval of the people and it was decided to build a meeting house at Middlebrook, aboi
a mile and a half north of Lowville, on State 89. In 1801 a log structure
was erected, the first Protestant Church in Erie County. It was
as the Middlebrook Presbyterian Church.
The first Sacrament of the Lord s Supper, according to Protests
forms, was administered at North East on September 27, 1801. There
were about 300 in attendance at the meeting. A congregation with the
title, "The Churches of Upper and Lower Greenfield," was organized at
The Erie Presbytery was established October 2, 1801, and embraced
that portion of Pennsylvania west and northwest of the Allegheny and
Ohio Rivers, including a part of the Western Reserve. The first meeting
of this presbytery was held at Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County, on
April 13, 1802. The Reverend Messrs. McCurdy, Satterfield, and McPherrin were chosen as missionaries to serve Erie and its environs.
The Reverend Johnson Eaton held occasional services for several years
at Colt s Station, Middlebrook, Waterford, and Erie, and organized a congregation at Springfield in 1806. A church was built at the mouth of
Walnut Creek, in Fairview Township, in 1810, where Eaton preached
several Sundays. He also organized a church at Erie in 1815. In 1820
the minutes of the presbytery showed congregations at Springfield, Fairview, North East, Waterford, Middlebrook, Union, and Erie.
Meetings of the Methodist Episcopal denomination in Erie were held
by circuit preachers as early as 1801. A congregation was established
soon afterwards, but was unable to support a pastor until 1826, from which
time the First M. E. Church of Erie dates its organization.
St. John s Evangelical Lutheran Church asserts that it is the oldest religious organization in the city, dating from August 18, 1808, although
the Associated Reform Presbyterian Church also makes the same assertion, having organized a congregation in October, 1811 , with the
Reverend Robert Reid as minister. This latter organization held services
in a schoolhouse at what is now E. yth and French Streets until 1816.
The Reverend Charles Colsom, a Lutheran minister from Germany,
organized congregations at Meadville, French Creek, Conneaut, and Erie
in 1815 or 1816. The first Lutheran church in Erie was built in 1836.
The first organization of Episcopalians in Erie County was effected on
March 17, 1827, when a number of persons withdrew from the Presbyterian church of Erie and became united as St. Paul s Episcopal congregation, now St. Paul s Cathedral, with the Reverend Charles Smith, of
Philadelphia, as rector. Services were held in the courthouse at Erie until
a building was erected in November, 1832.
The Erie Diocese of the Episcopal Church was established in 1911, with the Reverend Rogers Israel, as bishop. He was succeeded in 1921
by the Reverend John C. Ward. The diocese includes 13 counties in
northwestern Pennsylvania and was formerly a part of the Pittsburgh
The first Erie County Baptist congregation was organized in Harborcreek Township in 1822. This was followed by churches in Erie in 1831,
and in North East and Waterford Townships in 1832.
The first Hebrew congregation was formed in 1853. The Anshe Hesed
Reformed Congregation originated in 1875. The B rith Sholom Synagogue, an orthodox congregation, was organized in 1896.
Other groups to organize in Erie were the First Christian Church in
1888, the First Church of Christ Scientist, 1888, and the Russian Orthodox
The first Sunday School was founded by the Reverend Mr. Morton
and James Moorhead at Moorheadville in 1817. A year later a Sunday
School class for girls was established in Erie. Mrs. Judah Colt, who had
returned from a visit to England, where these schools were being in
troduced, was responsible for initiating the movement. Horace Greeley
was one of the students in the winter of 1830.
The 25 different denominations in Erie and Erie County now possess
more than 100 church structures and meeting places in the city and suburbs and 107 in the comity. The churches in the city and suburbs have
an enrollment of approximately 68,000 members, composed of 26,000
Protestants, and 42,000 Catholics.
THE history of Erie s development from a pioneer outpost to a modern
commercial city can be traced through a knowledge of the city s
During the i8th and early 19th centuries Erie developed slowly from
an outpost military fort to a small but active frontier town. It was logical
that her first structures, the forts and dwellings of the militia and the
early pioneers, should be built of logs, since wood was the most readily
accessible building material. Unfortunately, none of the original pioneer
buildings are standing today, but in the History of Erie County, by Laura
Sanford, there is a description of the first Fort Presque Isle, built by LeMercier in 1753 for the French Army: "They fell to work and built a
square fort of chestnut logs, squared and lapped over each other to the
height of 15 feet. It is about 120 feet square, a log-house in each square,
a gate to the southward, another to the northward, not one port-hole cut
in any part of it. When finished, they called it Fort Presqu ile."
The Fort Wayne Blockhouse, reconstructed in 1880, is a log fort, two-
stories high. Above the square ground floor, the octagonal second story
cantilevers out beyond the walls below. Log houses were the most practical form of construction until well into the i9th century. A few examples standing today are sheathed over with boarding, such as the Hughes
Log House at 135 E. 3rd Street.
The symbol of Erie s emergence from a pioneer settlement to a commercial city, as well as a symbol of a new cultural age in America, is seen
in the Old Erie Customs House, 1839. It was designed by William Kelly
after its parent bank in Philadelphia. The building is faced with Vermont
marble and is the first marble structure erected west of the Allegheny
Mountains. It is of Greek Revival design with a finely proportioned portico of six fluted Greek Doric columns, supporting a large entablature
and pediment; it is an outstanding example of the architecture of the
About 1800, after the bonds which had tied America to England were
severed, there arose a classic spirit in America. It was an age of interest
in the culture of ancient Greece. This spirit left its tangible traces par
ticularly in architecture that had for its inspiration the ancient classic
temples. This style asserted itself strongly in western New York State;
and, with migration southward into Pennsylvania, there appeared numer
ous domestic, public, and ecclesiastical buildings whose design was rooted
in Greek antiquity. While the old Customs House is the outstanding example of the architecture of this period, the Reed Mansion, 1849, is like
wise of interest, chiefly for its broad Ionic portico. The third floor is
arranged like a boat deck with the entrance to all rooms from a corridor,
with a ship s "railing" on one side. Its adjacent small office, built in 1846,
simulates a Greek Doric temple.
St. Luke s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1844, represents a fusion of
late Greek Revival and early Victorian architecture. Its facade of Greek
Doric design, surmounted by a box-like belfry, belongs to the former
period; while the lancet windows represent the Gothic influence of the
later Victorian era.
The west wing of the Erie County Court House, 1855, was originally
of late Greek Revival design. In 1929 the structure was entirely rebuilt
and enlarged by Walter T. Monahan, Erie architect, to its present "U"
plan, the west wing retaining the wall structure of the early building.
Faced with gray, cut cast stone, its two similar Corinthian porticos with
their tall fluted columns are monumentally impressive.
The Hoskinson House, 127 W. 6th Street, built in 1840, is an attractive
early brick residence, notable for its twin Doric doorways, refined examples of the Greek Revival style.
Erected concurrently with the buildings of the Revival Period were
the simple brick dwellings which were rooted in the early designs of the
Colonial or American Georgian architecture of the eastern seaboard.
These include such houses as the Metcalf House on the northwest corner
of W. 9th and Sassafras Streets, a two-story and attic dwelling of simple
The middle of the last century, and particularly after the close of
the Civil War, was a period of commercial expansion. The comely era
of the Greek Revival had spent itself. The Victorian architecture which
followed expressed the new-found wealth of the community. The turreted mansions of the wealthy, with slate mansard roofs and gingerbread
detail, are on West 6th and West 8th Streets. Buildings of all styles were erected, regardless of the suitability or utility of the architecture.
The grey limestone commercial Scott Building, N. W. corner of loth
and State Streets, of French Renaissance design, followed the design of
New York s old Court House, and Philadelphia s City Hall. Doric, Ionic,
and Corinthian columns parade its walls. It was a style popularized by
architects returning from their studies at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in
Present day Erie is still characterized largely by the stamp of the late
19th century. This is borne out by a glance down State Street, Erie's
main business thoroughfare, or down W. 6th Street, its avenue of better
Many of the modern buildings, however, are recognizably of good
architecture. Foremost among these is the Presbyterian Church of the
Covenant, 1931, of which Corbesier & W. E. Foster were the architects.
It is a large, imposing edifice of English perpendicular Gothic design.
The delicacy of its rich detail is etched against a background of warm
rough stone. The Luther Memorial Church, 1926, designed by Alden and
Harlow, is also English Gothic of rugged proportions. The Mercyhurst
College, 1926, of modified Gothic architecture, designed by F. Ferdinand
Durang of Philadelphia, is likewise noteworthy.
Among the commercial buildings, the six-story, two million dollar
Erie Dry Goods Company, 1930, Shutts and Morrison, architects, is an
Erie landmark. It is constructed of steel and concrete with cream brick
facing trimmed with terra cotta and limestone. The fourteen-story Erie
Trust Company building, 1925, designed by Dennison and Hirons, is the
city s lone skyscraper.
The Lord Manufacturing Company, 1937, is a modern commercial
building, simply constructed of common red brick and opaque glass
brick; which, with the lofty concrete grain elevators of the Pennsylvania
Railroad on the Lake Shore, represent functionalism in industrial architecture.
Beyond the city, the county extends in gently rolling farm country
with many towns containing much of the picturesque architecture of
early days. In Waterford, an attractive town of considerable historic
interest, is the old Eagle Hotel built in 1826; Thomas King, architect. It
is late American Georgian in character, but bears the rugged stamp
of the frontier. The Amos Judson house, 1820, of Greek Revival, and
the Waterford Academy, 1822, topped by a graceful cupola, are also
The towns of North East and Girard also retain architectural remnants
of their earlier days. The First Baptist Church at North East is a small
Greek Revival edifice of white clapboard, with a graceful tower and tall spire. Of more recent times is St. Mary s College on the northern edge of
the town. It comprises a group of connected buildings of red brick and
grey stone with high, blue slate mansard roofs, some of Victorian Gothic
and others of later Tudor architecture. At the western end of the group
is a French Gothic chapel.
Since it is not the buildings alone but also their setting within the
physical pattern of the city which make for their beauty and greatest
usefulness, it is interesting to study the city plan of Erie. Downtown Erie
was laid out in 1795 by Andrew Ellicott and William Irvine under the
influence of William Penn s plan for Philadelphia. They also laid out
the towns of Franklin, Waterford, and Warren.
The original plan is divided into four quadrants by its two axial streets
State Street, running north and south, and Sixth Street, east and west.
These intersect at Perry Square. The city was divided into blocks by a
plan of intersecting parallel streets known as the "gridiron" pattern.
Little was done, unfortunately, to take advantage of the long water
front of the city. James Parton, in his Life of Horace Greeley, written in
1869, says, "The people of Erie care as much for the Lake as the people
of Niagara care for the Cataract, as much as people generally care for
anything wonderful or anything beautiful which they can see by turning
their heads. Not one house is built along the shore, though the shore is
high and level. Not a path has been worn by human feet above or below
the bluff. Pigs, sheep, cows, and sweetbriar bushes occupy the unenclosed
ground, which seems so made to be built upon that it is surprising that
the handsome houses of the town should have been built anywhere else."
The same can be said for Erie today. The waterfront with its several
piers and factories presents an uninviting coast line.
The new and finer residential areas, particularly the well designed Frontier Place section, near the western limits of the city, Southlands subdivision to the southwest, and the Glenwood area to the south, represent
the present day movement of moderate income and well-to-do groups
away from more congested areas. Houses in these sections are usually
substantially built in the style of Elizabethan half-timber houses, Spanish
patios, French chateaux, and American and English Georgian houses.
A busy industrial city, Erie s tree-lined avenues, finer residential communities and well designed structures, both old and new, reflect her commercial development from an outpost fort to a modern city. The needed
improvements of the drabber sections, especially the small wooden houses
of the poorer workers, and the uncontrolled hodgepodge construction
of the lesser business and industrial neighborhoods, are typical of all
American cities. They are a challenge to good government, wise planning,
and architectural ingenuity.
ERIE S educational system is excellent. Graduates from Erie high
schools are admitted to leading colleges, in many cases without being
required to take entrance examinations. Modern well-equipped buildings
and advanced educational methods maintain a high standard.
The public school system of the city of Erie is comprised of three senior
high schools, one technical high school, four junior high schools, and
twenty-three grade and grammar schools with an enrollment of 19,000
students in 1937. In addition to the public schools, there are five paro
chial high schools and eighteen grade schools with an enrollment of 7,100
pupils under the control of the Erie Catholic Diocese. The public school
system of Erie embraces school property valued at $12,000,000, including
the three large high schools, which were constructed at a total cost of
Special courses make educational facilities available to the exceptional
child. Forty-two specially trained teachers are employed in this work.
Adult education and recreation programs sponsored by the Works Progress Administration supplement the activities of the public school system.
Complementing the public schools are institutions located in the county
where the students may continue their education. These are the State
Teacher s College at Edinboro, Villa Maria, Mercyhurst College, and
Cathedral Preparatory School in Erie.
The University of Pittsburgh maintains a junior college center which
offers regular college courses of the freshman and sophomore years. Pennsylvania State College also conducts extension evening classes in Erie.
HISTORY OF THE SCHOOLS
Educational advantages have increased greatly since the inception of
the "Free Public School Law" in 1834. The early schools had but little
equipment; many of the classes were held in teachers homes, or in
The first schoolhouse in Erie was built at the corner of E. ;th and Holland Streets in 1806. Erie was then a village of 100 inhabitants and the
schoolhouse, constructed of hewn logs and costing about $30, stood among
the trees on the outskirts of the village. Capt. Daniel Dobbins bought
the lot with contributions collected from the villagers for the purpose of
founding the school, which was christened the "Presque Isle Academy."
The school was known as a "pay school," as were all schools in the State
during this early period. The 1812 roll list, preserved as a historic relic
by the Erie Board of Education, named 70 boys and girls.
The public school law enacted in 1834 permitted each school district
to decide whether a public school system should be adopted. Erie was
one of the first to take advantage of this law, which also provided for
the maintenance of such schools by levying a general tax. Four frame
schoolhouses were constructed on leased ground in 1837 at a cost of $310
each. Classes were held in reading, writing, speaking, geography, grammar, and arithmetic. The four small buildings became inadequate, and in
1848 two brick buildings were erected. These new buildings were the
East Ward School, E. 7th and Holland Streets, and the West Ward
School, W. 7th and Myrtle Streets.
During 1861 and 1862 the schools were divided into three departments,
primary, intermediate, and grammar. By 1866 there were five school
buildings; three in the West Ward and two in the East Ward.
Central High School was formed in 1866 by consolidating several
higher-class schools. During that year 144 pupils were enrolled and the
first graduates of the high school completed their courses in 1869. Requirements for admittance were simple, comprising examples in common
fractions, decimals, and U. S. money, the boundaries of two or three
states and the names of 20 cities and rivers in the United States, and examples in mental arithmetic. No tests were made in spelling or grammar.
Carter W. Trow, wrote of the Erie High School in 1877:
"The yard was surrounded by a stone wall on top of which was an iron
fence. There were two gates, one on Holland and one on Seventh
Street. On the third floor there was a large study room in which the
whole school assembled and four recitation rooms. In each recitation
room were from four to six long benches with backs, but without desks.
Usually the boys sat on one side of the room and the girls on the other,
with the teacher s desk between them."
Central High School remained at E. yth and Holland Streets until
1891, when it was transferrd to W. loth and Sassafras Streets. In 1930 the
classes were transferred to the new Strong Vincent High School, 1330
W. 8th Street, and in February, 1931, old Central High School became the
Technical High School. Other high schools were Academy High School,
2825 State Street, in 1920, and East High School, 1151 Atkins Street, in
Prominent citizens of Erie working in conjunction with the Erie School
Board drafted the first law permitting Boards of Education to organize
and operate public libraries. This law was passed in 1895, and Erie was
the first city in the State to organize such a library. Previous to this, the
only library was a privately-supported one at the Y.M.C.A. Branch
circulating libraries are maintained in all Erie schools.
CITY TOUR 1
Downtown Erie, z.y miles
PERRY SQUARE, the central starting point for all city tours, occupies two
t city blocks extending across State St. between N. and S. Park Rows.
In W. Perry Square is a large fountain consisting of a 15 ft. metallic pedestal
centered in a concrete basin about 30 ft. in diameter. Surmounting the
pedestal is an iron crane with outspread wings which spouts water from its
long bill. Four smaller figures of sea serpents are mounted in each quadrant of the basin. In E. Perry Square there is an eight sided fountain.
The square is shaded by tall maple trees, and contains iron park benches
for the convenience of visitors. On the R. side of State Street is a MONUMENT TO GENERAL "MAD" ANTHONY WAYNE. Its base is 6 ft. wide and 6
ft. high and is topped with two cannon, aimed in opposite directions.
A bronze inscription faces the street.
On the L. side of State Street is the SOLDIERS AND SAILORS MONUMENT, a
square granite base 7 ft. in height, surmounted by two life-sized bronze
figures representing the Army and Navy. The monument was designed
by Martin Milmore and erected by public subscription in 1872. Band
concerts are held in Perry Square on Saturday nights during the summer
months. Music is furnished by Campbell s Band. (Perry Square is shown
as point of interest No. 13 on map.)
S. from Perry Square on State Street.
1. The ERIE TRUST BUILDING, 1001-1007 State Street, largest
office building in the city, is 14 stories in height. The first and second
stories are of Indiana limestone, and the 1 2 upper stories are of light buff
brick. Doors and arched entrances are of Romanesque design, and the
interior sidewalls are of Italian marble. The structure, designed by Dennison-Hirons, architects of New York City, was built in 1926.
The first floor of the building is occupied by the National Bank and
Trust Company of Erie. On the walls of the bank are seven murals, painted
by Edward A. Trumball, of New York, depicting historical events of
the colonization of Erie. They are: The Visit Of The First White Man
To Erie and the French Expedition Into The Ohio; Pontiac's Attack
(1763); Washington s Visit To Fort LeBoeuf (Waterford, 1753); Visit
Of General Lafayette To Erie (1825); Building Of Perry s Fleet At Erie
(1813); Battle Of Lake Erie (1813); and Bringing Powder Overland
From Wilmington, Delaware. The Erie Center of the University of Pitts
burgh is on the eighth floor.
R. from State Street on W. wth Street.
2. The ERIE TIMES BUILDING, no W. l0th St., is the home
of the Erie Daily Times, circulation 40,000, the only newspaper in Erie
which has retained the same name and ownership since its founding. The
newspaper was founded in 1888 by striking printers from the Evening
Herald and the Morning Dispatch who pooled their resources. With $225
in cash, and under the leadership of John Mead, Sr., present president and
owner (1938) of the Times Publishing Company, they set up a shop at
the S. W. corner of 9th and State Streets. The Times was published there
for 36 years, and then was moved to its present location. The paper
started as an independent evening publication, its first issue appearing
April 12, 1888. In 1894 tne Times absorbed the Erie Sunday Graphic (est.
May 20, 1880) and the Erie Observer (founded 1886).
3. The ERIE TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL, SE cor. W. l0th and
Sassafras Streets, is the seat of vocational training of the Erie public school
system. Arts and crafts, sheet metal work, and other units requiring
special equipment are contained in the building, a 4-story structure of red
brick with a tall, square tower. Shop wings have been added in recent
4. ST. PETER S ROMAN CATHOLIC CATHEDRAL, NW cor.
W. l0th and Sassafras Streets, is a Gothic structure of red Medina lime
stone, with three spires over the main entrance on Sassafras Street. Built
during the Most Rev. Tobias Mullen s episcopacy, the Cathedral was
dedicated in 1893. The architect was C. C. Keely, of New York City.
On each side of the square central tower are four huge clocks, each facing
a cardinal direction. Each of the spires is surmounted by a cross; the one
on the central spire is n feet in height. The huge bells in the central
tower peal, at quarter-hour intervals, the Chimes of Erie, composed by
Bishop John Mark Gannon.
The Cathedral interior, seating 2,000, is of lofty proportions and is
adorned with busts of Erie bishops. The organ was built for the Chicago
World s Fair of 1893.
5. The LUTHER MEMORIAL CHURCH, 225 W. loth St., is
a granite building of English Gothic inspiration. The cross surmounting
the building is a reproduction of the cross at King s Chapel, Oxford,
England. The altar is of Botticino marble; the pulpit, baptistry, lectern,
and altar rail are of oak. The panels of the main north window represent
the three stages of the ministry of Christ. The building, dedicated in 1926,
seats 1,000. The architects were Alden and Harlow, of Pittsburgh, and
H. K. Jones, supervising architect.
Retrace W. wth St.; L. from W. loth St. on Sassafras St., R. from Sassa
fras St. on W. th St.
6. ST. LUKE S EVANGELICAL CHURCH, 1 20 W. 9 th St., erected
in 1844 by the Universalist Society of Erie, is a frame structure of late
Greek Revival and Gothic architecture, with a square, tapered belfry
overlooking the street. The classic Doric piers and columns of its white
facade are in contrast to the Gothic lancet windows. The oldest church
building in the city, it was purchased by the St. Luke s Evangelical Lutheran congregation in 1897.
7. The COMMUNITY PLAYHOUSE, 128 W. 7 th St. (open from
Sept. to June), is operated by public contribution for the production of
stage plays by local actors, amateur and professional. It is the home of
a group organized in 1916 as the Little Playhouse. Its name was changed
to Community Playhouse in 1929. A new building was erected in 1928
and opened in 1929. The buiulding, a 2-story, red brick structure, is of
Georgian Colonial design and seats 300. Among recent presentations
were: The Rivals, Front Page, As Husbands Go, and Murray Hill.
Retrace W. jth St.; L. from W. jth St. on Peach St.
8. CITY HALL, SE cor. Peach St. and S. Park Row, is a 3-story
building of red pressed brick, trimmed in sandstone, with a square tower
rising from its northwest corner. The basement, which is partially above
ground, houses police headquarters and the dungeon-like city jail. The
other floors are occupied by the various departments of city government.
The cornerstone was laid on July 31, 1884, with Masonic ceremonies.
The bell of the Queen Charlotte, the British flagship captured by Perry
in the Battle of Lake Erie, is suspended from the ceiling of the first floor
corridor, at the foot of the wide oaken stairway. The interior of City
Hall is somber, the woodwork is dark and heavy, and the lighting is poor.
Adjacent to City Hall on the east is CITY HALL ANNEX, containing the
offices of the City Solicitor, and the City Planning Commission. This
building, a 2 -story, tan colored brick structure, was the home of MULLIGAN HALL, a relief depot supported by Erie merchants and citizens during the early days of the 1930 depression. Transients and other needy
persons were given food here before the State and Federal relief agencies
were sufficiently organized to care for Erie s needy persons.
9. The STRONG MANSION (private), SW cor. W. 6th and
Peach Sts., is the most pretentious dwelling in Erie. It is a two-and-a-half -story structure of tan brick, with limestone trim. A balcony follows
the second story level across the W. 6th St. side, railed with delicate iron
work. The entrance is of modified Roman pillars, six in number, supporting the ceiling of a recessed foyer. The doorways are topped by pointed,
limestone arches. The building is of English town house design, with con
siderable French chateau influence. Long French windows look out upon the streets. Though in a rectangular form the structure is so broken with ells and buttresses as to give an effect of symetry, and of a gracefulness
seldom found in huge mansions. This effect is accentuated by the height
of the building and the steep pitch of the roof. It contains 40 rooms.
It was built by William L. Scott, early Erie philanthropist, railroad magnate, newspaper publisher, and politician, and presented in 1896 to his
daughter, Mrs. Anna Wainwright Scott Strong.
10. The ERIE CLUB BUILDING (open to members and guests),
NW cor. W. 6th and Peach Sts., was erected in 1849 as the residence
of Gen. Charles M. Reed, grandson of Col. Seth Reed, the first settler of
Erie. The Erie Club, incorporated January 10, 1882, purchased the build
ing and took possession in 1905. It is two stories in height, and is of red
brick painted brown, with sandstone trim. Four fluted Ionic columns ;
support a pediment facing Peach St. Doric pilasters accentuate the corners
of the house.
11. ERIE PUBLIC LIBRARY BUILDING (open weekdays, 9 a. m.
9:30 p. m.; Sun. and holidays 2-5), SW cor. S. Park Row and French
St., is of Italian Renaissance architecture, two stories in height. The
entrance on S. Park Row consists of a group of classical columns supporting an extended pediment. The structure is of brick and granite with lime
stone quoins. It was built in 1897-99 by the Board of Education and is
controlled by that body through a board of trustees. Alden and Harlow,
of Pittsburgh, were the architects.
The first floor and mezzanine are occupied by a free public library con
taining 135,000 volumes. There are reading rooms, reference rooms, a
periodical room, and the librarian s office. In the basement are complete
files of all Erie newspapers, and a museum containing historical and scientific exhibits.
The library maintains seven branches in the public schools, placing
books for free distribution in all grade and high schools. The works of
various writers and authors who were native to Erie city and county,
or who made their home here at times, are included in the library. Ida
Minerva Tarbell (1857- ), probably Erie County s most outstanding
writer, is the author of a History of the Standard Oil Company, an
authoritative history of the industry and a biography of an organizing
genius, a Life of Lincoln, and Tariff in Our Times. She was born near
Wattsburg, in Amity Township, and gave up a teaching career to be
come an associate editor of the Chautauquan, a small New York magazine,
later becoming managing editor of the publication, and afterward quitting
the post to visit Europe to study the writing of biography.
Emory A. Walling, 1854-1931, who served a term on the Pennsylvania
Supreme Court, wrote a biographical history titled Memoirs of the Erie
County Bench and Bar. This book is the only accurate history of the Erie
County bench in existence.
Effie B. Kaemmerling (Aldis Dunbar), born in Philadelphia, Pa., 1870,
now (1938) living in Erie, was one of the most prolific writers of the
county. Among her writings are Lightbearers, Once There was a Prince,
Sons O Cormac and Tales of Other Men s Sons.
Baroness Von Hutten (nee Betsy Riddle), born in Erie in 1874 and
now (1938) living in England, wrote fiction of the early i9oo s, such as
Bag of Saffron, Halo, Kingsmeade, Lives of a Woman, Miss Carmichael j s
Conscience, Our Lady of the Beaches, and Pen Decides.
Sarah A. Reed, born in Ashtabula, O., 1838, died in Erie in 1934, published a number of volumes. Her best were My Grandmother s Story and
Other Stories, After Fifty Years, E elated Passenger, Dora Bently, Romance of Arlington House, and Study Class Programs.
Francis Newton Thorpe, born in Swampscott, Mass., in 1857 and descended from Miles and Rose Standish, moved with his parents to North
East in 1865. In 1889 he wrote The Government of the People of The
United States, designed as a text book on American institutions, which
passed through eight editions in the next four years.
The ART GALLERY, also on the second floor (open Sat. 2 to j; Sun. and
Mon. eves. 7:30 to 9), was established in 1898 and has a permanent collection of 40 paintings covering a general field. The most valuable painting is Late Afternoon, Isle of Shoals, by Childe Hassam, painter of the
impressionistic school. Other noted paintings are White Cliffs of Albion,
by Edward Moran; Sans Souci, by Gustave Mosler, the elder; The Echo,
by Mosler, the younger; and Silent Woods, by R. W. ShurtlafF. Two
interesting paintings by Harry Klopp, done under the WPA Federal Art
Project, are Robin Hood and The Pied Piper of Hamlin.
The MUSEUM in the basement (open 9-5:30 daily except Sim.), contains
numerous relics, antiques, costumes, and specimens of scientific and
historical collections, such as a facsimile of Oliver Hazard Perry s flag;
the kettle in which the flesh was boiled from the bones of Gen. Anthony
Wayne to make a package for shipment to his old home at Radnor, Pa.,
where his bones were reinterred; a chair used in the blockhouse where
Wayne died; the side lanterns of Perry s first flagship, the Lawrence; the
surgical kit of Dr. Usher Parsons, surgeon of Perry s fleet; and a letter
from George Washington to one of his generals in 1777. Other exhibits
include Indian implements, documents written by Washington, Commodore Perry, and John Brown, and a deed containing the names of
William, John, and Richard Perm. From time to time various foreign collections are exhibited. The museum is also headquarters for lectures,
and garden and hobby club gatherings.
12. The FEDERAL BUILDING, SE cor. S. Park Row and State
St., is a 3-story, ell-shaped building of Indiana limestone, trimmed with
slate, soapstone, and granite. The architect was R. Stanley Brown, consulting architect of the U. S. Treasury Dept. The building houses the
federal offices of the district, including the Federal Court. The Perry
Square station of the Erie post office occupies the first floor.
R. from S. Park Row on State St.
14. WOODRUFF RESIDENCE, 417 State St., is a large, simple, buff-
plastered home with Doric entrance, built in 1839. Samuel E. Woodruff,
a distinguished Erie citizen, lived here from 1872 to 1881. It is now used
for commercial purposes.
15. The HORACE GREELEY BOARDING HOUSE, 416 State St.,
a simple 2-story brick house is now occupied by a laundry. The famous
editor, founder of the New York Tribune and Liberal-Democratic nominee
for President in 1872, worked in Erie during 1830-31, as a printer on
the Erie Gazette, and boarded in this house.
1 . The OLD CUSTOMS HOUSE, 407 State St., was designed by
William Kelly and erected in 1839. It is of Greek Revival design, with
a finely proportioned marble portico of six fluted pillars, supporting a
large entablature and pediment. It was planned originally for the Erie
branch of the United States Bank of Philadelphia, but before the structure
was completed the bank had failed. The building was sold in 1849 to the
United States Government for $29,000, and was used for many years as
a Customs House, Internal Revenue Office, and Post Office. It was purchased by Erie County Commissioners in 1937, and leased to the Erie
County Historical Society, present (1938) occupant of the building.
Midway in the block between State and French Sts. is the SITE
WHERE LAFAYETTE WAS FETED on his visit to Erie on June 3
and 4, 1825. At an open-air banquet on a hill which at that time over
looked Erie harbor, he proposed the following toast to the future city:
"Erie a name that has a great share in American glory. May this town
ever enjoy a proportionate share in American prosperity and happiness."
17. PERRY MEMORIAL BUILDING (open), SE cor. 2 d and
French Sts., is a 3 -story and basement frame building of gray clapboard
sides and gabled roof. Entrances are on both streets, that on E. 2d St.
leading into the basement at street level. The building was erected prior
to 1812, and was reconstructed by the city in 1923 as a memorial to
Commodore Perry, who lived here during the building of the American
fleet in 1812 and following the victory in 1813.
18. HAMOT HOSPITAL, NE cor. zd and State Sts., overlooks
Presque Isle Bay and Lake Erie. Established mainly through the efforts
of the Reverend James Taylor Franklin, it was chartered on February
7, 1 88 1, and opened in July of the same year. The older part of the
structure was formerly the home of P. S. V. Hamot; the property was
deeded free to the hospital association by its owners, Mrs. Mary A. Starr,
Charles H. Strong, and Kate Strong, for a general hospital. Several additions have been made to the original structure, the last one being in
1932. It contains 255 beds and is a State-accredited hospital. It is supported by full and part pay patients, yearly contributions from the local
Community Chest, annual appropriations from the State, and occasional
appropriations from the Commissioners of Erie County. The hospital
conducts a training school for nurses, and maintains three homes for
nurses. It is governed by a board of managers, usually elected for three-
year terms, and chosen from a board of corporators numbering 100.
19. The PUBLIC STEAMBOAT LANDING, foot of State St., is
a double-decked steel pier, extending 538 feet into Presque Isle Bay. Used
for passenger service, it was constructd in 1908 by the State and is maintained by the city. This is a favorite trysting place for Erie citizens,
hundreds of whom drive down the long hill at the foot of State St. during the evening hours, to park their cars on the edge of the pier and
watch the sunset over the Peninsula across the bay.
Restaurants located at the approach of the pier serve special fish lunches
and dinners. Fish sandwiches are favorite fare for visitors. The windows
of the restaurants are decorated with aquariums containing specimens of
brilliantly colored fish of the carp species.
Boats and fishing tackle may be rented from small establishments along
the bay front. During the fishing season hundreds of sportsmen are to
be seen fishing from the docks and angling from boats anchored in the
bay. Calico bass, pike, and perch are the most common fish to be caught
from the bay.
The shriek of the incoming fishing tug s whistles is the signal for hundreds of gulls to rise from the slips and to gather from the more distant
inlets, to fly in whirling flocks near the unloading platforms. As the fish
are cleaned in the fish houses, the heads and other waste portions are
thrown into the water where the gulls swoop down to feed.
A Coast Guard vessel docks at the Municipal Pier, as does a training ship
of the U. S. Naval Reserves.
Erie Harbor, situated within Presque Isle Bay, provides adequate depth
and anchorage facilities for the largest of Great Lakes carriers. Harbor
activities center largely east of the steamboat landing, though there is
also bay traffic in the western section of the harbor.
The PENNSYLVANIA R. R. GRAIN ELEVATOR, east of the Pier, is a mammoth structure built in 1917 and added to in 1930. Of concrete and stec
it has a capacity of 2,600,000 bushels, and is equipped with modern
machinery enabling the unloading of grain from vessels at the rate of
25,000 bushels an hour.
The LAKE FREIGHT WAREHOUSE, east of the grain elevator, is a package
warehouse. This one-story concrete and steel structure, built in 1935,
792 ft. long by 100 ft. wide. The warehouse and dock can handle simultaneously two 600 ft. vessels and 48 railroad cars, with direct gangway
Farther east, the PULP WOOD DOCK, serving the Hammermill Paper Co.
receives 150,000 cords of pulp wood annually. Facilities for handling
pulp wood for other firms are also available. The coal and ore docks
equipped with modern loading and unloading machinery. The coal dock
handles 2,500,000 tons of bituminous and anthracite annually for Great
Lake ports, both American and Canadian. The coal dumper has a capacity
of 1,300 tons per hour.
The west end of the harbor possesses docking facilities for loading and
unloading directly from car to boat. Here are one of the Erie Lighting
Company s plants, several fish companies headquarters, the Erie Sand &
Gravel Co. s dock, the chemical and saturating works of the H. F. Watson Mills, a pumping station of the Erie Water Works Dept., the State
Fish Hatchery, and farther west, the Erie Yacht Club.
Tugs of the various fishing companies, located on both sides of State
St. approaching the Steel Pier, bustle about the bay to and from the fish
ing grounds far out in the lake. The fish company docks are a jungle of
drying nets and equipment.
20. The ERIE COUNTY COURTHOUSE, 130 W. 6th St., is a
U-shaped classical structure of gray stone, rising two stories above a
high base. The facades of the wings are identical. Each has a portico
of six lofty, fluted Corinthian columns, supporting an entablature and
low pediment. Across the open end of the U, a balustraded promenade
connects the two porticoes at base height. The portico platforms are
up six steps from the grade. The west wing was constructed in 1855,
and the east wing in 1929 at which time the entire west wing was rebuilt
to conform to the new east wing, which follows closely the classical proportions set down by the Italian architect-archaeologist, Vignola. The
entire base is of sandstone, and the superstructure of cut cast stone, made
in Syracuse, N. Y. Walter Monahan, of Erie, was the architect.
21. The ERIE COUNTY PRISON is to the rear of and connected
with the courthouse. The grounds of the courthouse and prison are
spacious and landscaped; lawns surround the buildings; and shrubbery
plots occupy the corners of the grounds. Near the W. 6th St. sidewalk
was erected the gallows on which Henry Francesco, the first person condemned by judicial decree in Erie County, was hanged for the murder
of his wife, in 1838. The tragedy was the result of a suicide pact in
which the couple took poison. The wife died, but Francesco recovered
and was found guilty of murder in the first degree.
L. from W. 6th St. on Sassafras St.
22. The FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST SCIENTIST, 618 Sassafras
St., was completed in May, 1922. The church is a dignified structure of
cream-colored brick. The building, representing a modern adaptation
of Greek architecture, has a high porch surmounting four fluted Ionic
columns. The central passageway is through three doorways, opening
on a large foyer with inlaid tile floor, and decorated with two hand-
wrought bronze lighting fixtures. Adjoining the foyer are the Sunday
School rooms and administration offices. At the end of the foyer, wide
stairways, trimmed in walnut, lead to the main auditorium. The reader's
desk, pews, and trimmings are of walnut. The auditorium seats 600.
Retrace Sassafras St.; L. from Sassafras St. on W. 6th St.
23. The CHURCH OF THE COVENANT, W. 6th St. near Myrtle
St., is a large imposing edifice of English perpendicular Gothic design.
It is unusual in the contrast of its delicately detailed limestone trim against
a background of granite ashlar. The front with its delicate porch is
dominated by a huge recessed window with delicate tracery and flanked
by tall and ornate buttresses. To the right of the facade is an unusually
beautiful tall square tower connected to the main structure by an aisle
extension of the narthex. The cruciform interior is impressive for its
lofty scale and simplicity, for the exquisite window above the altar and
for the fine wood beamed ceiling. Architecturally, this Presbyterian
church is regarded as one of the outstanding edifices in the city.
The interior stone is a warm buff with a slight purple cast. The
auditorium seats 1,100 and the chapel 150. The 4-story educational ell
facing W. 7th St. accommodates 1,000 Sunday School students. Two
organs and a number of pianos are in the building. The stained glass
windows are by Connick and D Ascenzo of Philadelphia. The building
was designed by Corbusier and Foster, of Cleveland.
R. from W. 6th St. on Chestnut St.
24. The STATE FISH HATCHERY AND AQUARIUM, on the
bay front under the bluff that follows the shores of Presque Isle Bay, is
utilized to propagate fish for stocking Presque Isle Bay and Lake Erie
with white fish, ciscoes, pike, perch, and bass. The output for the last
three years has ranged from 130,000,000 to 300,000,000 fish a year. With
in the 2 -story red brick structure are exhibits of plants, animals, and fish
life common to Lake Erie, from salt water, and a few specimens from the
swamps of southern United States.
Retrace Chestnut St.; R. from Chestnut St. on W. 6th St.
25. GRIDLEY PARK, at the corner of Liberty Blvd., was named for
Capt. Charles Vernon Gridley, who commanded the Olympia, Adm.
George Dewey s flagship in the battle of Manila Bay on May i, 1898.
"You may fire when ready, Gridley!" was the terse command given by
Dewey to this Erie naval officer, who died of natural causes shortly
thereafter. His body was returned to Erie for burial. The park consists
of two city squares bisected by Liberty Blvd. and extending between
Park Ave. N., and Park Ave. S. The two parks are landscaped, with grass,
shrubbery and trees, and in the center of each is a concrete fountain.
The MONUMENT TO GRIDLEY, erected by the citizens of Erie in 1913,
is a round granite shaft, 25 feet high, 30 inches in diameter at the base,
and 26 inches at the top, set on a five-stepped pyramidal base of granite.
A bronze plaque, designed by Max Bachman, is affixed to the east side
of the base. Gridley Junior High School overlooks the park from Park Ave. N.
L. from Gridley Park on Liberty Blvd.
26. VILLA MARIE COLLEGE AND ACADEMY, 819-26 W. 8th
St., adjoins old Villa Maria Academy, a part of the institution. The
college, founded in 1925, is under the jurisdiction of the Most Reverend
John Mark Gannon, Bishop of Erie, and was the first Catholic college
for girls in the Erie diocese. It offers 4-year courses leading to degrees
in arts and sciences, including home economics, music, secretarial training, chemistry, physics, nursing, and journalism. It is equipped with
laboratories, gymnasium, and natatorium. The dormitories and classrooms
are in Gannon Hall, which also houses Our Lady s Chapel. This building
is on the campus of the original Villa Maria Academy, founded in 1891,
the property being the gift of Rev. Thomas A. Casey, who also endowed
the school. The buildings and grounds are owned by the Sisters of the
Order of St. Joseph, who comprise the faculty. The college is supported
by tuition fees of students and contributions of friends. The academy,
operated in conjunction with the college, is for classes in the elementary
grades and 4-year high school courses.
Retrace Liberty Blvd.; L. from Liberty Blvd. on Park Ave. N., R. from
Park Ave. N., on Cascade St.
27. The SITE OF SHIPYARD WHERE THE NIAGARA WAS
BUILT, is on Presque Isle Bay near zd and Cascade Sts. Three of Commodore Perry s ships, the Lawrence, Niagara, and Ariel, were built in the
hastily constructed yards. These ships participated in the Battle of Lake
Erie (see COUNTY TOUR 1).
Retrace Cascade St.; R. from Cascade St. on W. 8th St.
28. STRONG VINCENT HIGH SCHOOL, 1330 W. 8th St.,
occupies an 1 1 -acre tract extending to W. 6th St. and lying between
Weschler Ave. and Bridge St. Completed in 1930, it is Erie s finest school
building. Lawns on all sides are terraced, and those at the rear slope to
an athletic field. The slope is landscaped with shrubs and evergreens.
The building, of Roman Doric design, has an auditorium seating 1,480.
Meyers and Johnson, of Erie, were the architects.
L. from W. 8th St. on Lincoln Ave.
29. The ZEM ZEM HOSPITAL, 1501 W. 9th St., is an institution
for treatment of crippled children. It was established in 1927, by Zem
Zem Temple, Ancient Arabic Order, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, con
tains 48 beds, and is open to all children between two and 1 2 years of age
from the nine counties of northwestern Pennsylvania irrespective of race
or creed. It is supported by bequests; since 1931 it has received aid from
Erie County and the State.
Retrace Lincoln Ave.; L. from Lincoln Ave. on Lake Shore Dr.
30. The ERIE YACHT CLUB, at the foot of Kahkwa Blvd., on the
bay front, was organized in 1894. I* 1 addition to the clubhouse there is
a pier with mooring facilities for motor yachts and sailboats. Yacht races
are held annually, usually in July.
L. from Lake Shore Dr. on Kahkwa Blvd., R. from Kahkwa Blvd. on
W. 6th St.
31. ST. JOSEPH S HOME FOR CHILDREN, 1926 W. 6th St., is
a 4-story brick structure with accommodations for 500 children. It was
established in 1864, when Sisters of the Order of St. Joseph occupied a
small frame building on E. 4th St., near St. Patrick s School. Later they
moved to a house on E. id St., and in 1872 to a newer building on E. 3d
St. On July 2, 1924, they moved to the present building which was built
in 1922-23. The home is supported by the Erie Diocese of the Catholic
Church, by appropriations from the Board of Commissioners of the 13
counties in the diocese, and by the Erie Community Chest. It is open
to orphans of all creeds and races.
L. from W. 6th St. on Pittsburgh Ave. (City limits); L. from Pittsburgh
Ave. on W. 12th St.
32. The HOUSING COMMUNITY, on W. izth St., at Lincoln
Ave., was erected in 1917-18 by the United States Government for
World War industrial workers, in its first attempt to house people in
the lower income brackets. It is a collection of 2 -story, stuccoed houses.
Often referred to as "Hollywood," it is a community covering two city
blocks extending southward through i3th and i4th Sts. and one side of
15th St. The group, slightly romantic in design, is influenced by the early
garden city developments in England.
33. The LORD MANUFACTURING COMPANY PLANT, (R),
near the Greengarden Rd. intersection, is Erie s most modern industrial
building. Constructed in 1937, it is a 2-story rectangular structure of
common red brick and glass brick. Designed in broad horizontal lines it
is entirely devoid of ornament. This plant manufactures rubber specialties.
R. from W. i2th St. on Greengarden Rd.
34. The ERIE FORGE & STEEL COMPANY PLANT, a group of
corrugated iron factory buildings, (L), lies between the Bessemer & Lake
Erie R. R. and the New York Central R. R. and occupies an area of 1 1
acres. The company was founded in 1914. During the same year it
absorbed the Erie Forge Co., which had been established in 1872. Products are steel ingots, forgings, and castings. During the World War it
produced armament for the Navy.
Retrace Greengarden Rd.; R. from Greengarden Rd. on W. i2th St.
35. The JARECKI MFG. CO. PLANT, (R), a group of 2-story
brick factory buildings with glass roofs, opposite Weschler Ave. and extending 2 blocks on W. izth St., one of Erie s most widely known
manufacturing concerns, was established in 1852. Many of the buildings
were used in wartime by the Brakeshoe Works, makers of Government
munitions. The plant now produces pipe fittings, compressors, and oil,
gas, and water well supplies.
36. The BUCYRUS-ERIE PLANT, NE cor. W. i2th and Cran
berry Sts., is a 3 -story brick office building covered with ivy and adjoining 2 and 3 -story industrial buildings. Formerly it was the Erie Steam
Shovel Co., but was merged with the Bucyrus Co., of Lorain, O., in 1928.
Makers of power shovels, cranes, etc., it is called the world s greatest
builder of excavating machinery.
37. The GRISWOLD MFG. CO. PLANT, (R), SE cor. W. i2th
and Raspberry Sts., a compact group of industrial buildings, produces
cooking utensils and household supplies. This plant was the scene, during
the summer of 1937, of a prolonged labor strike resulting from the refusal
of company officials to recognize the C.I.O. After weeks of negotiations
in which city officials and police took an active part, employees went
back to work. This was the first time in Erie s industrial history that
labor made itself seriously felt in its demand for better working conditions and higher wages.
38. The BESSEMER & LAKE ERIE R. R. parallels W. 12th St. on
the right. Originally known as the Pittsburgh, Shenango & Lake Erie R.
R., the company was halted on its advance into the city at the telegraph
office of Cascade, a point on the Nickel Plate Railroad at the western
boundary of Erie. City officials, prompted by the Scott-Strong railroad
interests occupying right of way along the lake front, refused to permit
section crews of the Bessemer Company to enter the city on 12th St.
The company called hundreds of section hands into service at midnight
on a Saturday, and began laying tracks into Erie over Sunday, the law
being that city officials were unable to make arrests on Sunday. Late
Sunday night the Bessemer Company ran its first train to W. 12th and
Sassafras Sts., where its passenger station now stands, thus laying claim
to a franchise.
L. from W. 12th St. on Liberty Blvd.
39. The JEWISH TEMPLE, REFORMED CONGREGATION
ANSHE CHESED, NW cor. W. l0th St. and Liberty Blvd., is a tan-
colored brick building, one story high, of North Italian design. The
main entrance on the Liberty Blvd. side consists of three massive panelled
oak doors, with small arches over each and the whole contained in a large
arch. Surmounting the middle door are the Tablets of the Law and above
those is a semi-circular window lighting the balcony. The roof is of tile
in soft shades of red and brown. The vestibule has a vaulted ceiling.
Three panelled doors lead into the temple, which is an octagonal room
54 ft. across and 43 ft. high, seating 500. In the upper part of the walls
are six pairs of stained glass memorial windows, each of which carries
symbols of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. The activities house, reached
through a lobby to W. loth St., contains the memorial library, rabbi's
office, educational rooms, and auditoriums.
CITY TOUR 3
Northeast Erie 8.5 m.
E. from Perry Square on E. 6th St.
40. The PENNSYLVANIA NATIONAL GUARD ARMORY
AND ARSENAL, NW cor. E. 6th and Parade Sts., is a 2-story, red brick
building. The western half was built in 1920, and the eastern half in 1930,
at a total cost of $150,000. It is the headquarters of the Wayne Rangers,
a company of the Pennsylvania National Guard, composed of 20 officers
and 325 enlisted men.
L. from E. 6th St. on Ash St.
41. The PENNSYLVANIA SOLDIERS AND SAILORS HOME,
560 E. 3d St. at the foot of Ash St., occupies a tract of 133 acres formerly
known as Garrison Hill, overlooking Presque Isle Bay. The building is
three stories high, of red brick. The central part of the main building was
erected by the State prior to 1885 as a hospital for sick and disabled
seamen in the Great Lakes service, but it was never so used and was un
occupied for many years. In 1885, the State made an appropriation for
alterations and improvements. The hospital contains four wards with
accommodations for 80 patients. It has a large reception room and a
library containing 7,000 volumes. An average of 350 veterans reside in
the home, the majority having served in the World War. Others are
Spanish-American veterans, and a few served on the Mexican border in
1916-17. The home is governed by a board of trustees, appointed by
the governor of Pennsylvania, and staffed by 50 persons.
The SITE OF FORT PRESQUE ISLE, erected by the French in 1753 at the
mouth of Mill Creek, is on the grounds of the Soldiers and Sailors Home.
The site was easily traceable by mounds and depressions until 1863.
42. The GEN. ANTHONY WAYNE MEMORIAL, a blockhouse
on the site of Fort Presque Isle, is a reproduction of the one in which
Wayne died. It is square at the base, with an overhanging octagonal
second story, built of roughly finished logs. Portholes or windows are
in each of the four lower and eight upper walls. It was built by the State
in 1880 as a memorial to Wayne, who died here on Dec. 15, 1796 and was buried at the foot of the flagstaff of the former blockhouse on this
In 1809 hi s body was disinterred; the flesh was boiled from his bones
and reinterred in the same grave. The bones were taken to Radnor, near
Philadelphia, by his son, Col. Isaac Wayne, for interment. The kettle
used for this task, and a chair from the blockhouse, are in the public
museum at the Erie Public Library.
For a time the blockhouse was used as a barn. Sometime after 1812
the old structure burned to the ground. Dr. E. W. Germer, Erie health
officer from 1872 to 1887, became interested in restoring the blockhouse,
and was instrumental in locating Wayne s grave. When it was found the
present blockhouse was built over the site in 1880.
Dr. Germer did much to make Erie a healthful place. He was Erie s
first health officer, and in that capacity roamed the streets with an ax in
his hand and fire in his eyes. Pigs and geese in old Erie were allowed
to wander the streets at will until Germer halted the practice; and if
his warnings to eliminate unsanitary outhouses and crude sewage gutters
went unheeded, he put his ax to them. Dr. Germer was also the first
president of the Pennsylvania State Board of Health, and he acquired
a national reputation during a health convention in Washington, D. C.
when he vigorously protested against the importing of rags from southern
Mediterranean countries where Asiatic cholera was raging.
Retrace Ash St.; L. from Ash St. on E. 6th St.; L. from E. 6th St. on
43. The LAKE VIEW HOSPITAL, 136 East Ave, a 2-story white
frame building, is municipally owned and operated for the treatment of
contagious diseases. It succeeded an old hospital established in 1904. In
1927 a new building was erected on the original grounds in front of the
old building. It has 85 beds.
Retrace East Ave.; L. fro?n East Ave. on E. 6th St.; L. from E. 6th St.
on Dunn Blvd.
44. The OLD LAND LIGHTHOUSE, foot of Dunn Blvd. in Land
Lighthouse Park and overlooking the entrance to Erie Harbor, was the
first land lighthouse erected on the Great Lakes by the United States
Government. It is a circular structure, about 18 feet in diameter at its
base, and with a slightly smaller dimension at the top. Built of gray
stone, it rises 70 feet from its water-table to the focal plane of the lens,
and about 127 feet above the lake level. It was first erected in 1818, rebuilt in 1858, and again 1866, but was not used as a lighthouse after 1885.
Retrace Dunn Blvd.; L. -from Dunn Blvd. on E. 6th St.
45. The HAMMERMILL PAPER PLANT (open during office
hours), lake front between Hess Ave. and Lakeside Cemetery, is internationally known as the maker of Hammermill bond paper. The company was founded in 1898 by Moritz Behrend and his sons, Ernst R. and
Otto F. Behrend.
Hammermill pioneered in the manufacture of sulphite writing papers.
Principal products at present are writing and printing papers. The plant
has a floor space of 16 acres on a tract of 211 acres, and employs 1,400
persons. Most of its pulp wood comes from Canada, and its products are
exported to all countries.
Erie was chosen as the site for two reasons. First, the lake furnished
an unlimited supply of clear water, so necessary to the making of clean
paper. Second, the Great Lakes offered economical transportation, thus
making accessible enormous quantities of spruce wood from American
and Canadian forests. Hammermill received its name in the following
manner: three generations ago a site on one of the branches of the
Whipper River in Pomerania, Germany, became known as "The Ham
mer," from a small blacksmith shop and trip-hammer forge. Years later
a paper mill, built on the forge site by Moritz Behrend, took its name
from the earlier industry, and was called "Hammermuhle." The mill
founded at Erie was named for the parent mill, but was given the English
Only northern spruce is used in the manufacture of Hammermill papers.
During the winter, crews of lumberjacks fell selected trees, cut them into
four-foot lengths, and pile the logs on the ice of the rivers. During the
spring thaw, the logs are floated down the rivers to the boats that carry
them to Erie.
Most of the spruce comes from Canada, where Hammermill owns a
timber tract of 128,000 acres on the St. Lawrence River. By cutting only
selected trees this tract would supply the mill for twenty years; however, by using modern reforestration methods the supply can be continued
At the docks in Erie harbor the logs are transferred to railway cars.
Each log is carefully inspected, and the culls are thrown aside. The piles,
about 14 feet high, are so arranged that a maximum of air circulation
reaches each log, thus preventing decay. Logs are seasoned for a year
in the yards before being used. The yards hold about 100,000 cords.
The logs are then conveyed to the barker, the first operation in paper
The barker consists of a long trough with a steel bottom. Steel cams,
revolving through slots in the bottom alternately raise and lower the logs
in the trough. The rising and falling motion causes the logs to revolve
against one another, thus rubbing off the water softened bark. The bark,
washed away, is removed through the bottom of the barker. The barked logs are inspected, and those imperfectly barked are reprocessed. The
barked logs are washed and all knots and other imperfections are care
fully removed in the wood room.
The prepared logs are fed against a steel disc four feet in diameter to
which are affixed four steel knives. The disc, rotating at 300 revolutions
a minute, reduces the largest logs to chips within a few seconds. The chips
are conveyed to a series of screens and sorted according to size. Those
too large are crushed to proper size, and sawdust and small chips are
burned as refuse. The correct size in inches is about one-eighth thick,
five-eighths long, and three-fourths wide. It is important they be uniform
so that they will all cook into pulp at the same time; that is, that some
will not be over cooked and some under cooked.
The acid-making plant is a factory in itself. Sulphur is burned and the
resulting gas, sulphur dioxide, after being cooled, is blown into the bottom
of a concrete tower, 68 feet high, filled with limestone which absorbs
the rising gas and forms sulphurous acid, which dissolves the limestone,
forming calcium bi-sulphite, or "cooking liquor." More than 250,000
gallons of acid are made daily at Hammermill, requiring about 20 tons
of sulphur and from 27 to 28 tons of limestone.
Acid-resisting brick-lined steel tanks, 50 feet high, called "digesters,"
are filled with the chips. These great kettles hold more than 30 cords of
wood, in chips. The cooking liquor is injected, and live steam allowed
to circulate in the digester. Chips are "cooked" under varying temperatures and pressures for 14 hours.
At the expiration of the cooking, the ligneous and resinous parts of
the wood have been dissolved, leaving pure cellulose fibres. The contents
of the digester are then forced by steam into "blow tanks," which have
slanting tile floors with holes drilled at such an angle that fibres cannot
pass through them. For several hours the pulp is washed with pure water
until free from excess acid and dissolved impurities.
From the time pulp leaves the digesters until it reaches the bleachers,
it passes through a number of cleaning processes. The first is a series of
rotary screens or "knot strainers" into which the pulp is pumped. The
screen meshes allow the fibres of pulp to pass through readily, but are
too small for particles of uncooked wood and knots which are removed
at the opposite end.
The pulp is then allowed to flow over the rifHers. The flow of pulp
and water causes a circular current under the baffles. The dirt and other
impurities fall to the bottom, and are washed under the baffles where
The screens, 75 feet long, are made of heavy bronze plates perforated
with slots two or three inches long and seven one-thousandths of an inch wide. A rubber diaphragm, moving up and down, causes a partial vacuum
or suction under a screen, and draws the cellulose fibres through the fine
slots. Heavy dirt and other impurities cannot pass, but work their way
to the opposite end of the screens and are removed.
So much water is added during these purification steps that the pulp
is next run through a series of pulp thickeners to be partially dried. These
thickeners are finely meshed rotary screens, slightly conical in shape.
The pulp is mixed with bleaching liquor (a solution of hypochlorite)
in large glazed tile-lined tanks holding about 15,000 pounds of pulp each.
It is thoroughly mixed, and kept in circulation for six hours, at a temperature of 100F. The fibres have then been bleached from a natural light
brown wood color to pure white. The bleach liquor is then washed away,
and the pulp is ready to be beaten, the first operation in the paper mill.
Old paper makers say, "Good paper is made in the beaters." Paper
made from pulp as it comes from the pulp mill would be coarse and flimsy.
It is in the beater room that pulp is given special characteristics fitting it
for different grades of paper. The beater is a tub partly divided by a
partition called a "mid-feather." The beater roll, four feet in diameter,
revolves beside the mid-feather and the side of the beater. Regularly
spaced around the roll are bronze bars. A "bed plate" of similar bars is
placed under the roll on the floor of the beater. As the roll revolves the
pulp circulates around the beater, and the fibres repeatedly pass between
the roll and the bed plate. This reduces the fibres in size, and frays their
ends, causing them to lock together more strongly in a sheet of paper.
A device for raising and lowering the beater roll enables the beater en
gineer to regulate the intensity of the beating. This device enables him
to give stock characteristics essential to any particular grade of paper
desired. The floor of the beater is raised just behind the roll and is called
the "back-fall." The slope thus given the floor of the beater aids in the
circulation of pulp and its return to the beater roll.
Besides beating the stock, which process lasts several hours, the beater
is a mixing tub where other necessary ingredients are added to pulp. It
is here the paper is colored the shade desired. The fibres are also sized so
that the finished paper will not absorb ink like blotting paper. Each fibre
is a tiny tube, and will absorb moisture by capillary attraction. "Size milk"
(an emulsion of rosin soap) is added to the pulp, and, when thoroughly
mixed, a solution of alum is added, curdling the milk and causing fine
particles of free rosin to deposit themselves on the fibres, sealing them.
After the beating process the pulp passes through a continuously acting
machine called a Jordan refining engine. The action of the Jordan is
similar to that of the beater, its continuous action insuring uniform pulp.
The pulp is then stored in a "stock chest," ready for the paper machine.
A modern Fourdrinier paper machine is more than 200 feet long and it
converts stock to paper at a rate of 450 feet a minute. Hammermill has
five of these machines.
The stock is first mixed with a large quantity of water, and is then run
over a series of rifflers and screens to remove foreign particles that may
have mingled with it in the beaters. The pulp and water are retained in
the "head-box" for a moment, to break any current and to insure a
thorough, even mixture. From the head-box the stock flows through a
long, narrow, open gate, called a nozzle, onto the Fourdrinier wire.
The Fourdrinier wire is an endless bronze screen, 65 feet long (32 feet
double), of fine mesh (70 wires to an inch), the speed of which is so
adjusted that the diluted stock gently flows over it as the wire travels
under the nozzle. The water flows through the meshes of wire, depositing
fibres on top. At the same time the fibres are thoroughly woven together
by a shaking motion of the wire.
More water is removed by suction, and the fibres are gently pressed
together by a fine wire roll called a "dandy roll." The paper is then about
20 percent dry (contains 80 percent water). It is next pressed between
heavy granite rolls, called "press rolls," pressing out more water.
Deckle straps are heavy rubber strips traveling along with the edge
of the wire and preventing the stock from overflowing. The weight of
paper on the machine can be varied in one of two ways. It can be made
heavier or lighter by making the machine run slower or faster, thus
allowing more or less stock to flow onto the Fourdrinier wire. Again,
the weight can be controlled by the amount of stock mixed with water
as it flows from the nozzle. A greater amount of stock to a certain volume
of water will make heavier paper, and vice versa.
The Hammermill watermark, invented by E. R. Behrend, president
of Hammermill Paper Company, does not noticeably indent the surface
of the paper thus keeping its printing quality unimpaired. It is applied
by lettered rolls which press into the soft, wet fibres. After passing under
the press rolls the paper is run over a series of steam-heated dryer rolls.
Cotton dryer felts or blankets carry the paper and hold it against the rolls
which dry the sheet and iron it. After dryer rolls, the paper goes to the
calendars, chilled cast iron rolls which give the paper a smooth writing
surface. For a very smooth or high finish the paper is run between all
the rolls, and is sometimes calendared again on separate machines. Duller
finish "bond" paper runs through fewer of the rolls. The rolls of paper
are rewound onto smaller cores for handling, and the rough "deckle"
edges are trimmed. A roll of paper weighs about 2,500 pounds and is
completed in 40 minutes.
46. The LAKESIDE CEMETERY (open weekdays 7 am. to 8 p.m.),
1718 E. Lake Rd. (State 5), borders on Lake Erie. The cemetery covers
a 45-acre tract planted with trees, shrubbery, and hedges. Burial plots
receive perpetual care. Capt. Charles Vernon Gridley, commander of
Admiral Dewey s flagship, Olympia, is buried in a plot called Gridley
Circle, near the northern edge of the cemetery. It is marked by four
antique bronze cannon, taken at Cavite when the Spanish surrendered.
His son, John P. V. Gridley, who was killed by an explosion on the
U.S.S. Missouri, is also buried there.
47. The GENERAL ELECTRIC CO. PLANT, E. Lake Rd., between
Franklin Ave. and Lawrence Parkway, is a large group ot red brick industrial buildings occupying more than 800 acres. General Electric is
the largest employer of labor in the Erie district with 6,300 on the payroll
in 1938. The plant manufactures electric locomotives, motors, airbrake
equipment, and refrigerators (see INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE).
Retrace E. 6th St.; L. from E. 6th St. on East Ave.; R. from East Ave.
on E. wth St.
48. The PENNSYLVANIA TELEPHONE BUILDING, 20 E. loth
St., is a modern, modified Greek Classic structure of simple bold proportions. It houses an operating unit of the General Telephone Corporation
of New York, which owns and operates the telephone systems in Corry,
Union City, North East, Girard, and Edinboro. The Mutual Telephone
Company, chartered in 1897, took over the Erie Telephone Co., and the
New York-Pennsylvania Telephone and Telegraph Co., absorbed the local
subscribers of the Bell Telephone Co. in 1926. The Mutual Telephone Co.
became the Pennsylvania Telephone Corporation in 1930. The Bell Telephone Co. in Erie, however furnishes service for all long distance calls.
L. from E. loth St. on French St.; from French St. on E. 12th St.
49. The TWELFTH STREET MARKET, SW cor. E. i2th and
French Sts., housed in a 2 -story gray brick building extending to 13th St.,
is one of Erie s most popular market places. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. a
steady stream of customers pass through the aisles to select vegetables,
groceries, and meats. On Saturdays the regular clientele is enlarged by
throngs of shoppers from outlying communities. Stalls are rented in most
instances by farmers who market home-grown produce directly to the
consumer. A State liquor store occupies the N.W. corner of the building.
50. The ERIE COUNTY ELECTRIC CO. OFFICE, NW cor. E.
12th and French Sts., is a 2-story red brick building. The company was
chartered in 1898 as a subsidiary of the United Gas Improvement Company, of Philadelphia. It later absorbed the Edison Electric Light and
Power Company, which Charles H. Strong, an early associate of Thomas
A. Edison, had established in 1886. Strong was president of both companies until his death in 1936. The company supplies light and power to the townships of Greenfield, Greene, Venango, West Millcreek, and the
borough of Wattsburg.
51. The ERIE DISPATCH-HERALD BUILDING, 20 E. mh St.,
occupying an "L" of the Erie County Electric Bldg., is the home of one
of Erie s two daily newspapers, and the only Sunday newspaper published!
in the city. It has a daily circulation of 40,000, and a Sunday circulations
of 30,000. Its history involves a series of mergers dating from the found
ing of the Gazette by Joseph M. Sterrett, on January 15, 1820. The
Dispatch, founded in Waterford by James S. Young in 1851, had an important part in the Railroad War, or "Peanut War," of 1854. In 1856
the paper was moved to Erie, where it was operated as a weekly until
1 86 1, when it became a daily. Not long afterward it was discontinued;
then, after three years, it reappeared. From 1864 to 1878 it was virtually
the only English daily in Erie. In 1 890 the Dispatch purchased the Sunday
Morning Gazette, a publication that was started on March 20, 1875, as the
Saturday Evening Gazette, an outgrowth of the older Erie Gazette. The
Sunday edition was discontinued in 1894, but the paper was continued
as the Dispatch Gazette. It was purchased in 1902 by Charles H. Strong,
The Erie Herald appeared as an evening paper on July 20, 1876, with
James R. Burns and H. C. Missimer, Erie high school teachers, as publishers.
A few months later the paper was purchased by William L. Scott, who
added a weekly edition. The Lake City Daily, a small paper started in
1878, was merged with the Herald in 1879. At Scott s death in 1891, his
daughter, the late Mrs. Anna Wainwright Scott Strong, became owner.
In 1922 Mrs. Strong s husband, owner of the Dispatch, bought her interest
in the Herald and merged it with his paper, forming the present Erie
Dispatch-Herald. The paper is a member of the Associated Press, and is
conservative in editorial policy.
OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST
52. The CENTRAL MARKET HOUSE, State St. between i 5 th and
1 6th Sts. i? a long, rambling, one-story building of concrete and corrugated
sheet iron. Stalls are rented to farmers who bring their produce here and
sell it directly to the public. Sidewalk space is at a premium during the
summer months, when green groceries are displayed and sold there.
53. MERCYHURST COLLEGE, 501 E. 3 8th St., conducted by the
Sisters of Mercy, is an outgrowth of St. Joseph s Academy, founded in
Titus ville in 1871. The college, built of variegated salmon-colored brick
and trimmed in limestone, occupies the highest elevation in Glenwood
Hills, and commands a splendid view of Erie City, Presque Isle Bay, the
Peninsula, and Lake Erie; on clear days the Canadian shore, 30 miles distant, is clearly visible. The buildings occupy the center of a 75-acre tract
of meadow and woodland. The principal building is a large brown tapes
try brick structure with cut cast-stone trim. It is of Collegiate Gothic
design. The high blue slate roof is pierced with tall dormer windows and
The curriculum covers three four-year courses of study leading to
degrees in arts, home economics, and commerce. In the 1937-38 term,
212 women students were enrolled.
54. ACADEMY HIGH SCHOOL AND STADIUM extends from
E. 26th St. to E. 29th St., and from French St. to State St. The building,
of bold Tudor design, is of red brick, trimmed with sandstone, and was
erected in 1920. It is a public senior high school with educational facilities for 2200 students, and a faculty of 81. The school was a pioneer
in the school band and orchestra movement of Erie; and it is also the
home of an a cappella ^hoir. The stadium adjoining the school to the
north is Erie s largest outdoor arena. It is used for athletic activities of
the city s schools and is equipped with electric flood lights for night sports.
It has a seating capacity of 15,000. The grounds belong to the Board of
Education, but the stadium was built with funds raised by subscription.
55. ERIE BREWING COMPANY, 2131 State St., a 4-story red brick
building, is partially housed in a plant built by the Eagle Brewing Company in 1846. Ghosts of an older era of beer-making linger about the
old cellars long and narrow with ceilings low and arched, the brick walls
glistening with moisture. The office, repair shop, and bottling works are
on the east side of State St. Great wooden vats, a huge copper kettle with
a 420-barrel capacity; a cooperage room, where barrels are repaired; a
boiler room; and a power house are on the west side of State St. The two
buildings are connected by a brick-lined tunnel which runs under the
street. The great kettle was first used on February 22, 1896. After each
batch of mash is brewed, the kettle is washed and sterilized. As empty
bottles are returned to the brewery, they are placed on a conveyor which
carries them to a machine that steams and sterilizes them. They are then
placed in cleaned boxes and sent on another conveyor to a machine that
fills and caps the bottles. Again on a conveyor they pass the critical eye
of an inspector who searches for any defects in contents, bottle, or cap.
The last step before they are packed in crates to await shipment is pasteurization, during which the bottled beer is put through a heat test.
The method for handling barreled beer is slightly different; returned
empty barrels are cleaned and tested for leaks and are then placed under
the machine that fills them. A nozzle is then fitted over the bunghole,
and the beer is pumped into them. When the nozzle is removed the bung-
hole is plugged with a wooden seal.
The WAYNE BREWING CO., E. i 7 th and Parade Sts., is the other
large Erie brewery, the two comprising one of the leading industries of
56. The UNITED STATES (POST OFFICE, Griswold Plaza between W. 1 3th and W. i4th Sts., is a light brick structure of Italian Renaissance inspiration, with an arched colonnade of 1 2 light marble columns
on the main facade. It was built in 1932. A subway for the transfer of
mail runs under i4th St. to the Union Station.
57. The UNION STATION, Peach St. between W. i 4 th and W.
15th Sts., was built in 1927 of rough brown firebrick and sandstone. It
is modern in design, harmonizing in scale with the Post Office across the
Plaza. Waiting, baggage rooms, and ticket offices are on the first floor,
railroad offices and business firms occupy the second floor. The station
is used by trains of the New York Central and Pennsylvania R. R.
58. HARRY KELLAR S BIRTHPLACE, SE cor. Sassafras and W.
1 6th Sts., a 2 -story unpainted frame house, was moved to its present location in 1890. At the time of Kellar s birth in 1849, the house was on
W. 1 2th St. Kellar, an internationally famous magician, died in 1922.
59. ST. VINCENT S HOSPITAL, 2420 Sassafras St., a closeknit group
of 6-story red brick and limestone buildings, was founded in 1874 by the
order of the Sisters of St. Joseph. The older part of the building was erected at that time. The hospital was incorporated on December 10, 1894, as
the St. Vincent s Hospital Association, which now consists of 60 members.
These members elect annually a board of 7 trustees. Additions to the
original structure have increased its capacity to 226 beds.
61. GLENWOOD PARK, Glenwood Park Rd., is a city-owned Park
with a ZOO, picnic grounds, and recreational facilities. The zoo houses an
East Indian elephant, monkeys, birds, and many animals of tropical origin.
Enclosures on the hill back of the building contain bear, deer, bison, owls,
and small game native to the county. Along Mill Creek, which traverses
the park, are picnic and camping grounds (free), and a small open air
auditorium. A baseball field and a 9-hole golf course (250 a round: $oc
all day) are among the park s recreational facilities.
62. ERIE CEMETERY (open daily from 7:30 a. m. to sundown),
main entrance at 2116 Chestnut St. The cemetery association was formed
on January 29, 1850 and the grounds were opened the following May.
The grounds, sloping gently towards the south, are cut into square sections by cement roads and walks. Some of the large elm and maple trees
are a remnant of the original forest that covered the tract. In the NE
section, near Chestnut St., is a sunken flower garden containing thousands
64. ERIE LIGHTING COMPANY OFFICE, 21 W. loth St., is a
3 -story gray brick building trimmed with granite. The company was
chartered in 1893 as the Merchants and Manufacturers Light, Heat and
Power Company. The present name was acquired in 1911. It is a subsidiary of the Pennsylvania Electric Company and serves the boroughs of
North East, Mill Village, and Wesleyville, and the townships of Lawrence
Park, Harborcreek, and Millcreek.
CONTEMPORARY ERIE COUNTY
Topographically, Erie County consists of a series of ridges following
a course parallel with the shores of Lake Erie. Beginning at the New York
State line on the east, the hills rise 1,000 feet above the lake level and 1,500
feet above sea level. As the ranges extend westward they gradually decrease
in altitude and the valleys become wider and smoother until, in the
western half of the county, they flatten into gently rolling tablelands.
With the exception of Lake Erie there are but three lakes in the county,
and they are small. Lake LeBoeuf, a mile east of Waterford, is the largest,
and is widely known because of its historical associations as part of the
route of early transportation down LeBoeuf Creek to the Allegheny River.
The lake is about a mile in length and a half mile in width.
Conneautee Lake in Washington Township at Edinboro is about the
same size as Lake LeBoeuf, but owes its area to a dam constructed at the
point where Conneautee Creek pours from the south side of the lake t(
meander southward to join French Creek in Crawford County. Lake
Pleasant, the smallest of the three, is in the extreme southwest corner oi
The ranges of hills running through the county act as a divide for Eric
County streams, those south of the divide emptying into French Creel
The most important of these streams are the Cussewago, Conneautee, and
LeBoeuf Creeks. Creeks emptying into Lake Erie are: Crooked Creel
Elk Creek, Walnut Creek, Trout Run, Mill Creek, Four Mile, Six Mile
Twelve Mile, and Sixteen Mile Creeks. Conneaut Creek runs across the
southwest corner of Erie County to enter Ohio State and flow into Lake
Erie at Conneaut, Ohio.
The soil of Erie County is varied. Along Lake Erie, stretching back from
the bluff overlooking the shoreline, is a fertile plain composed of an alluvia
sandy loam. This plain sinks to a swampy terrain, the whole floored
a stratum of rocky shale or a clay hardpan. There are gravel beds at place in the foothills ascending from the lake plain. On the hills the soil is a
heavy clay, hard to till, but made productive by constant working and
the use of fertilizer. The wider valleys of the southern part are of deep,
rich soil and are Erie County s most highly prized agricultural lands.
Most common trees of the area are beech, maple, birch, ironwood, hemlock, elm, ash, and oak, growing usually in woodlots without being segregated as to species. The ash, elm, and birch are found along streams and
swamp lands. The others are found on plains and hillsides alike.
Other trees once plentiful but now few and scattered are: basswood,
cucumber, whitewood, cherry, tupelo, hickory, walnut, butternut, hazel,
and two species of poplar. Locust trees are grown by farmers because of
their adaptability for fence posts. The chestnut, once plentiful but stricken
by blight, is again increasing in number.
Among the shrubbery common to the region is dogwood, pawpaw,
alder, wild plum, water beech, service berry, sumac, and several other
varieties of swamp vegetation. Blackberries, wild raspberries, wild straw
berries, dewberries, and a variety of blueberry, grow profusely in every
fence corner, along every railroad track, and along highways and byways.
Hundreds of varieties of wild flowers are scattered over the entire region,
the most common being violets, anemones, trilliums, may apples, adder
tongues, bluebells, hepatica, Solomon s seal, and jack-in- the-pulpit.
Many birds inhabit Erie County s forests and cities. The English spar
row, which remains all winter, the migratory robins, bluebirds and finches,
every type of songbird, warbler, thrush, and ground sparrow is present,
as well as predatory hawks, crows, and blackbirds. Game birds, quail,
pheasant, woodcock, grouse, and snipe live in the swales and shrubbery.
Ducks and geese stop in their long flights to rest and feed in the lakes
Wild animals include mink, muskrat, opossum, coon, skunk, rabbit,
squirrel, weasel, and an occasional fox. Two small herds of deer inhabit
the county, one in Conneaut Township and one in Peninsula State Park.
The streams abound in bass, muskellunge, trout, pike, perch, and the
less desirable carp, sucker, and bullhead.
The county, exclusive of the city of Erie, is primarily agricultural.
Although there are several large factories in the various boroughs, most
of the communities are agricultural Girard and Springfield are known for
potatoes; Waterford for dairies and cabbage; and North East for grapes
and cherries. Many acres of Concord grape lands and cherry orchards
lie along the county s shore line.
Moisture from Lake Erie moderates the climate so that the region is
little troubled by early frosts. Grapes, melons, cherries, apples, berries of various kinds, as well as virtually all vegetables, are grown abundantly.
In recent years tomatoes have become a large crop.
South of the lake shore plain dairying and general farming are the chief
agricultural pursuits. Cereal grains, hay, corn, potatoes, cabbage, and
maple sugar products are raised in large quantities. Erie cabbage is especially
fine and abundant. Poultry raising is a recent but highly profitable in
dustry. Erie County ranks sixth in the State in the production of cabbage,
peaches, and apples.
An important activity is the culture of grapes, which in Erie County
are largely of the Concord variety. Vineyards border the highways in
eastern Erie County, where hundreds of acres are given over to them.
Grapes grow well all along the lake, but are most abundant in Harborcreek and North East Townships. Before the depression of 1929, grape
lands brought high prices.
Catawba grapes are a very old crop, some vineyards having been planted
as early as 1857. But intensive grape cultivation did not begin in this
region until 1866, when Concords became the favorite variety. In 1935
Erie County had approximately 7,000 acres or 7,384,089 grape vines
The price of Erie grapes has ranged from $20 to $100 a ton. Because
of this erratic price range, the acreage in recent years has been reduced
about 20 per cent. Grapes are shipped throughout the United States, and
even to Europe in recent years, but large percentages of the crop is now
being processed in the county. Grape juice is the chief product in the
county, but some of the crop goes to wineries in New York.
The growing of other fruit is extensive, especially on the lake shore
plain. Approximately 4,700 acres are devoted to apple trees, 5,100 to
peaches, 1,165 to cherries, and about 500 acres to plums.
In 1935 Erie County had 71,158 acres in hay, 23,312 in oats, 4,235 in
winter wheat, and 9,080 in potatoes. While the potato acreage has de
creased somewhat in recent years, the yield is higher, because of better
seed and methods of production. According to the 1930 census, there were
6,926 acres in buckwheat, 1,712 in rye, and 568 in barley.
About 1,500 acres along the lake front and extending across the count
are devoted to truck farming. Erie County potatoes and cabbage are
usually marketed in Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Sweet corn is another
There were 41,984 head of cattle (of which 24,490 were milch cows).
8,555 horses, 6,909 hogs, and 3,334 sheep in the county on January 1,
1935, an average year.
There are only about half as many horses in the county as there wei
15 years ago, the auto and truck having supplanted them. The total value of Erie County's livestock is approximately $2,500,000; livestock products,
including dairy, poultry, and wool, amount to an additional $2,500,000.
The value of all farm lands is approximately $25,000,000, including buildings. There are 5,386 farms, with average value of $4,663. The total
acreage of farmland in the county is 403,563, with an average individual
farm of 74.9 acres.
The chief instrument of government in Erie County is a board of three
commissioners elected by the people. The commissioners appoint certain
minor officials, assess and levy county taxes, appropriate county funds,
initiate building and road projects, and administer all elections.
There are 2 2 townships in Erie County. Lawrence Park, the only first-
class township, is governed by five commissioners elected by the people.
They appoint a solicitor, an engineer, police officers, and other employees.
All the other townships of the county are of the second class. They are
governed by a board of three supervisors. Other officials are one township
assessor, three auditors, and one tax collector. Schools in first and second-
class townships are managed by an elected board of five directors, who are
responsible to the county superintendent of schools.
There are three elected judges in Erie County courts. They preside
over the Court of Common Pleas, the Court of Quarter Sessions, and Orphans Court. Other elected officials of the county government are a county
controller, a treasurer, a surveyor, a sheriff, a coroner, a district attorney,
a prothonotary, a clerk of courts, a register of wills, a recorder of deeds,
and two jury commissioners.
ERIE COUNTY TOUR 1
Presque Isle Primula State Park
Erie to Peninsula State Park and return, State 5 and State 832, 22.2 tn.
Paved throughout. Speed restricted to 25 m., 15 m. in Water Works Park reservation. Cars may not pass on the park highways.
W. from State St. on W. mh St.; R. from W. 12 St. on Liberty Blvd.; L. from
Liberty Blvd. on State 5; R. from State 5 on State 832.
FROM the entrance of Waldameer Park, 4.3 m., a commercial amuse
ment center, the highway winds down a cliff overlooking Lake Erie
and Presque Isle Bay. Tall, slender trees form a canopy over the highway.
A constant lake breeze sweeps the entire peninsula, cooling the flat, sunswept beach.
At 4.7 7/2., near the "Neck," as the narrow approach to the Peninsula
is called, is the SITE OF THE LAST INDIAN VILLAGE in Erie County.
The now extinct Massassauga Indian tribe lived here. The remains of the
Massassauga Hotel, a summer resort of the i85o s, are on the R., hidden
by trees and underbrush.
Along the Neck, brief patches of Lake Erie are visible through the
trees (L); R. is Presque Isle Bay. The area of woods, lily pads, and mud
lying between the mainland and the Neck, (R), known as The Marshes,
is a refuge for ducks and geese. Sandpipers race busily along the water's
edge, and just of! shore large and small mouth black bass lurk in shadows
of root growth and water-soaked driftwood.
Willows, poplars, and other fast-growing trees have been planted on
the Neck as protection against storm damage to the highway, once under
constant threat of the lake washing a channel through to the bay during
The BOUNDARY OF PRESQUE ISLE PENINSULA STATE
PARK, 4.9 m., is just east of Edgewater Beach Restaurant.
The park, now occupying most of the peninsula acreage, was created by an Act of Assembly in 1921, making possible development of the area
as a recreational center. A commission appointed by the Governor of
Pennsylvania administers the affairs of the park. Employed by the Park
Commission are a police detail which patrols the park and a force of life
guards for the protection of bathers. Thousands visit the bathing beaches
during the summer, and the peninsula is thronged on holidays and week
Bathing suits are not rented at any of the beaches.
At various points along the shore, a riprap makes bathing dangerous,
and care must be taken along the unguarded beaches to avoid striking
large, sharp-edged stones under the surface while diving.
Both the bay and lake afford good fishing. Many fine catches of black
bass are taken from the bay. Perch, pike, catfish, and bullhead are caught
in large numbers from the stone jetties and from the north pier, while a
mile off the northeastern tip of the peninsula are the famous pike grounds
which have given Erie a high rating in the fresh water fish industry.
In Peninsula State Park all animal as well as plant life is protected. Dogs
must be on a leash.
The park is open from sunrise until midnight from June through
A bridle trail parallels the drive (R), for about 2 m.
Eastward of the entrance the peninsula gradually widens, forming a
broad beach on the lake front (L), where picnic tables have been set
for public use.
BEACH NO. 1, j.^ m., (L), is the westernmost of the protected beaches.
Lifeguards are on duty continuously during the summer. A bathhouse
and a refreshment stand are situated at this beach between the highway
and the water s edge.
POLICE BARRACKS, 5.6 m., (R), a newly constructed cottage of
rust-colored shingles, is the headquarters of the park police. A first-aid
station is maintained here.
The beach opposite the police station, though unguarded, is extensively
BEACH NO. 2, 6.0 m., (L), is equipped with a bathhouse and refresh
ment stand. This beach, one of the most popular on the peninsula, is
favored by family parties. Tables and simple but serviceable cook stoves
are provided for picnic lunches. There is a diving board on the break
water. Horseshoe courts are R. of the highway.
The LILY POND, 7.0 m., (R), is named for the yellow and white pond
lilies along its shores. It is a breeding ground for bass, sunfish, and frogs.
The narrow inlet leading from the bay is only a few yards in length and
is crossed by the bridle path. A small rustic bridge arches over the sluggish little stream, making a scene with its flanking trees and bay background.
At 7.7 m., is a BASEBALL DIAMOND, (R). Amateur teams of Erie
industrial plants use this field.
The highway here gradually leaves the lake shore and approaches the
bay side. The bridle path crosses the road near the ball diamond and enters
a forest, (L), through which it meanders for several miles.
Under the trees on the bay shore, 50 yards to the R., Commodore
Perry s ship, NIAGARA, 7.4 m., lies patiently in her cradle, awaiting ac
tion of the State legislature to be restored. The hull, painted with creosote,
looms darkly in the shadow of the trees. Devoid of decks or superstructure,
the old craft presents a sad contrast to her famed record. An appropriation of $50,000 was passed in 1931 for rebuilding and repairing the
Niagara, to preserve her as an historical relic. Before restoration work
was begun, the money was diverted to relief purposes by the passage
of the Talbot Act.
With the Lawrence and the Ariel, the Niagara had been constructed
in Presque Isle Bay near the foot of present Cascade St. (see CITY TOUR
2). Capt. Daniel Dobbins, prominent Erie citizen, was commissioned by
President Madison to start building a fleet powerful enough to cope with
the British. Oliver Hazard Perry, a young Navy lieutenant, arrived in
Erie on March 27, 1813, to take command. Ship carpenters were few, and
timber had to be cut in the forests and used green. The Lawrence and the
Niagara, each of 260 tons, were launched May 24. On August ist, Perry
received the troops he had awaited, and, after the heavy ships had been
floated over the sand bar at the channel, the fleet set out for Sandusky,
Ohio, on August 12.
The fleet arrived at Sandusky Bay on August 17 and awaited the arrival
of Gen. William Henry Harrison, who was 27 miles distant with an army
of 8,000 regulars, militia, and Indians. Perry was informed the enemy
was short of provisions, and must engage the Americans to open the way
to Long Point, opposite Erie, in Canada. The British naval force consisted of 502 men, commanded by Capt. Robert Barclay, who had served
with Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar Bay. The British squadron
consisted of six vessels and 63 guns.
The Americans numbered 490 men, nine vessels, and 54 guns.
At sunrise, September 10, the British fleet was sighted approaching
Put-in-Bay. The American squadron cautiously maneuvered to inter
cept the British fleet. While the British were still 5 miles distant, Perry
called the crew about him, raised the burgess on which were the famous
words of Capt. James Lawrence, "Don t give up the Ship."
"My brave lads, the flag contains the last words of Captain Lawrence.
Shall I hoist it?" "Aye, aye, sir" was the ringing answer, and the blue and white flag soon was flying from the main masthead.
The two squadrons slowly neared each other, and at a distance of 1 1 / 2
miles a bugle call was heard aboard the Detroit, flagship of the British
squadron. The ships sailed into battle formation. The slower sailing craft
among the American vessels were out of their positions and the American
line overspread the British by 1,000 feet.
In accordance with his plan to bring the British vessels to close range,
Perry s flagship, the Lawrence , withheld fire until within canister shot of
the Detroit. After two hours of fighting the Lawrence was a battered
wreck, two-thirds of her crew killed or wounded, and Perry abandoned
her and boarded the Niagara.
For two hours neither fleet gained a point. The wind had died down
and the ships were becalmed. With a slight freshening of the breeze, Perry
turned the Niagara s course toward the enemy s line. The British, still
unable to gain steerage way, were compelled to sit idly by as the Niagara
slipped between the Queen Charlotte, British ship of the line, and the
Detroit, raking them both with grape and canister. So successful was
(Perry s strategy that the British fleet was soon forced to surrender.
The shattered Lawrence hoisted her flag amid feeble cheers on her deck.
The British casualties had been 41 killed and 94 wounded; in the American
fleet, 27 were killed and 96 wounded.
That day Perry wrote his famous message to General Harrison on the
back of an old envelope.
Dear General: We have met the enemy and they
are ours; two ships, two brigs, one schooner, and
Yours with great respect and esteem.
O. H. Perry
Of the American ships which so jauntily sailed into battle, efforts have
been made to preserve only one, the Niagara.
Within a few months of the arrival at Erie of the victorious fleet and
its captives, the Lawrence was scuttled in Misery Bay, being no longer
fit for service. The Niagara was made a receiving ship, but she too was
soon sunk beside the Lawrence.
One hundred years from the time she was sunk, the Niagara was raised
and rebuilt to take part in the 1913 Perry Centennial at Erie. She toured
the lakes under sail and was returned to Erie. She passed from the hands
of the State to the City of Erie, and was beached in Misery Bay, where
she remained a short time before being pumped out and towed to the
foot of State Street, at the public dock, where she was visited by thousands
of sightseers. In 1931, the Niagara was taken to her present location on
WATER WORKS PARK RESERVATION (175 acres owned by the Water Commission of the City of Erie,) and WATER WORKS BEACH are at
7.57 m. There is a large picnic ground with tables and seats to the R.; the
bathing beach is to the L. At this beach clothing may be checked free
of charge. There is a refreshment stand and a public telephone beside
The beach is smooth and level, the water ranging from a few inches
to several feet in depth. The formation of the lake floor along the peninsula beaches is unusual, in that for several yards from the shore the water
becomes about five feet in depth, then, at a distance of 20 yards or more
from shore, sandbars parallel the shore and again lessen the depth.
At the eastern extremity of the Water Works Reservation the peninsula
At 8.0 m., the highway forks to form the loop known as GOVERNOR
FISHER DRIVE. This driveway leads along the lake beach, circles the
peninsula and returns along the bay shore. A gray stone marker, commemorating ex-Governor Fisher, to whom the loop was dedicated, stands
at the entrance of this drive.
L. at the fork on the lake side.
The RED CROSS STATION, 8.1 m. (R), is open during the bathing
season. Great oaks and maples, interspersed with hemlocks, form a
wooded area (R). Among the trees are clumps of shrubbery and flowers
and examples of almost every type of flora common to the region.
STONE JETTY BEACH, 8.4 m. (L), was named for the heavy stone
jetty that slants out into the lake. The beach is fringed with trees under
which are laid out attractive picnic grounds with stone fireplaces and
rustic benches. There is a bathhouse and refreshment stand.
At 8.6 m., is the FOX POND (R), a protected preserve where hundreds
of wild mallard duck have their nesting places. Mallards seldom permit
close approach and at the slightest suggestion of danger take to the air.
These wild fowl of the Fox Pond colony, however their fear of hunters
now allayed noisily beg titbits from the throngs who gather at the rustic
fence separating pond from road. Leaving the water they waddle to the
fence and take food from the hands of visitors. Protected from hunters,
they enjoy a life of ease and well-fed comfort; and never fail to excite the
admiration of game lovers with their richly colored feathers and not
For nearly a mile the highway leads through a dense forest growth on
one side, with the blue waters of the lake on the other, before reaching
the PRESQUE ISLE LIGHTHOUSE, 9.3 m. (R), operated by the United
States Department of Commerce, Bureau of Lighthouses. The brick portion, including the square light tower, was built in 1871. The well-keptgrounds about the buildings are surrounded by a white picket fence, and
are tended by the lighthouse keeper s family.
In the log book kept by the present lighthouse keeper and his predecessors for more than 50 years, are graphic stories of the life of Lake Erie
seamen. Made highly dramatic by extreme simplicity are the terse his
tories of shipwrecks and human suffering.
Life for the early lighthouse keeper and his family was one of isolation
and loneliness. His supplies came weekly from the mainland by boat to
Misery Bay, and were then packed on sturdy shoulders and carried two
miles over a narrow path through the forest. There were no highways
on the peninsula then, and few visitors called at the snug brick cottage.
The heaviest forest on the peninsula is to the rear of the lighthouse.
Some of these great trees are the oldest in the county, and in this area are
found some of the rarest specimens of plant life in northwestern Pennsylvania. A certain variety of mocassin, a flower of the orchid family,
little known in the western hemisphere, is found here, growing from dead
logs and stumps partially buried in the ground. Indian pipe and wisteria
are plentiful. Certain rare types of grasses have interested botanical students.
Once famous for cranberries, the peninsula attracted hundreds of pickers seeking the rich, red fruit, and was the scene of an annual celebration,
Cranberry Day. With the exception of a few small patches along the
walk running from Misery Bay to the lighthouse, cranberries are now
Cranberry Day, the first Tuesday in October, was once one of the
important annual festival days in Erie. Thousands of Erie s citizens
packed picnic baskets and crossed the bay by boat to enter the cranberry
marshes that were in the center of the peninsula directly opposite the
Erie Public Dock. The cranberries were used in home made jams and
jellies, and were occasionally marketed at the public market places. The
State Legislature, in 1841, made Cranberry Day an Erie holiday. An Act
of Assembly soberly decreed "that it shall be contrary to the peace and
dignity of the Commonwealth and subversive of the good order of the
community, as well as of the great State of Pennsylvania, for any person
to pick cranberries on the peninsula between the first of July and the first
Tuesday of October."
City Council, in order to halt a growing practice of poaching, passed
an ordinance in 1865 providing that the right to harvest the cranberries
be sold to the highest bidder, the successful bidder to be empowered to
prosecute the cranberry poachers. The ordinance proved to be ineffective inasmuch no provision was made for enforcement. The poachers
devised long handled rakes to comb the vines, thus stripping the cranberry bushes bare of fruit. The successful bidder was thus defrauded
the benefits of his franchise.
Council rescinded the monopoly ordinance after indignation meetings
were held by Erie citizens who demanded the right to gather the cranberries on the first Tuesday of October.
Cranberry Day, however, is no longer observed. Affected by a blight
early in the 1900 $, most of the cranberry bushes died and Cranberry Day
became an empty occasion.
THE UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH BOTANICAL OBSERVA
TORY, 9.4 m., (R), is a small building located in an open field. Here
students come in summer to study peninsula flora.
BEACH NO. 3, 10.9 m., (L), lies near the east end of the peninsula
It is wide and sandy, has a refreshment stand and bathhouse. Tables and
benches, cook stoves and firewood are free to visitors. It is the longest
patroled beach on the lake shore. Just beyond the refreshment stand the
combined churches of Erie celebrate Easter services annually.
Two hundred yards L. of the highway is a GULL SANCTUARY
These gulls, or terns, flock in thousands on the sandy shore. They are
a familiar sight as they wheel about over the water, diving for fish. The
Park and Harbor Commission feeds them in winter.
THE FOGHORN, n.o m., (L), located half way between the roac
and the beach, is supported high on stiltlike steel columns. On foggy
days and during the misty early morning hours when navigation is open
from March until late December, the horn can be heard five to ten miles
away. Every three minutes three great husky notes roar warning to approaching craft that land is near and sandbars endanger the fog-blinded
At / 7.5 m. is a junction with a cinder road.
Left on this road is THOMPSON S BAY, 0.4 m. Many people with
small children use this protected beach for picnics and bathing parties
The water is shallow, and is considered safer than the regular beaches
THE COAST GUARD STATION, i.o m., (R), is a small reservation on the lake channel. The few houses are inhabited by members
of the station and their families. The first United States Coast Guard
Station on the peninsula was established about 1880, near the old
foghorn on the north shore. In the early part of this century the station was moved to its present location. The station is manned by
a crew of 15 regular seamen under the command of a boatswain's mate
At 12.1 m., (R), a cement walk leaves the highway and traverses the
peninsula to the lighthouse. The two-mile walk was built to facilitate
the transporting of supplies to the lighthouse. It passes through some of
the peninsula s heaviest thickets and stands of timber. Poison ivy should
be avoided. Mosquitoes are also troublesome. Wildflowers are profuse
during the spring and early summer.
In this area are birds of every local kind, small animals, and a herd of
30 deer. Deer tracks are often seen on the soft banks of the lagoons, and
occasionally the shy animals may be glimpsed through the underbrush.
Mink, muskrats, and weasel are plentiful, as are raccoon, skunk, and
At 12.2 m., is the entrance to the LAGOONS and Captain Cook s Boathouse (rates $oc an hour and up). The highway crosses the lagoons
over a concrete bridge, from which is a view of the westward reaches
curving around a wooded spit. The boathouse is to the R. The lagoons
may be explored by boats and canoes.
The main waterway penetrates the peninsula more than five miles,
swelling occasionally into ponds. There are four of these ponds between
the entrance and Fox Pond, the last. The water is shallow, and the bottom
is of soft mud. Along the shores and extending several feet, sometimes
yards, into the water are dense growths of lily pads and reeds. Fishing
is fair; catches consist of bullhead, suckers, carp, and various species of
bass. Pickerel and muskellunge are sometimes taken.
During the early spring, redfin suckers and carp invade the lagoons in
droves to spawn. Fishermen row their skiffs into the lagoons when the
fish are so numerous that boatmen stun them with their oars and haul
them into the boats. Some of the carp weigh as much as 50 pounds.
Small boys wade into the water, grasp the huge fish by the tails and
wrestle them through the mud to the banks.
Trees hang over the lagoons on both sides. Along the banks are many
kinds of plant life. Pink ladyslippers and wild columbine make the open
places in the forest even more lovely in spring.
MISERY BAY, /2.j m., (L), is a body of water covering 50 or more
acres, extending into the peninsula and connected by a wide inlet in
Presque Isle Bay. Lieutenant Holdup, an officer of Perry s fleet, named
it Misery Bay because of the gloomy weather and comfortless living conditions aboard the navy ships during the winter of 1813-1814, when the
victorious fleet anchored there.
In CRYSTAL POINT PARK, 12.6 m., (L), is the PERRY MONUMENT,
erected, in honor of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. Erected by the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1926, the monument is a tall quadrate
shaft of Indiana limestone. Around the base are wide, low steps, which
visitors climb to read the inscription on a plaque listing the names of the
ships that took part in the Battle of Lake Erie. It is 50 yards from the
highway on a narrow point extending between Misery Bay and Presque
Isle Bay. The plot has been landscaped. Shrubbery, carefully nurtured
lawns studded with cannon and anchors from Perry s ships, and well-
trimmed trees furnish the foreground of the memorial.
Left of the monument is the old battleship, Wolverine, formerly the
USS Michigan, the first iron ship of the United States Navy (built 1843),
and the only warship on the Great Lakes for over 80 years. The Wolver
ine was used as a training ship and sailed under her own power until 1923.
She was then towed to her final moorings near the monument where she
now lies, listing uneasily in the mud of Misery Bay. Lily pads grow about
her hull, sunfish and pollywogs play in and out of her paddle-wheel housings, her planking is fast rotting, decks are unsafe, and the cabins marred
James Nesbit, who named Crystal Point, was familiarly known as "Skip
per Jim." "Skipper Jim" claimed squatter rights, denied by a court ruling, to a large section of peninsula land. He claimed he obtained these
rights by occupation of the property over a period of twenty-one years.
The aged man and his family lived in a rude shelter in a plot which he
called "Crystal Point." Although considered eccentric, the skipper was
big hearted and companionable.
From Crystal Point there is another good view of Erie. Several hundred yards off shore from 10 to 20 lake freighters anchor for the winter.
Presque Isle Bay is an ideal wintering place, because of the shelter af
forded by the peninsula.
At 13.4 m., FLOATING MARSH TRAIL branches to the R. and
passes through a stand of beech and oak timber to approach the lagoons.
At Long Pond, one of the largest of the lagoon ponds, the trail forks. The
L. fork continues along the ridge, and Long Pond Trail turns R. to follow
the shores of the lagoons. A half mile distant, east, is the only fire tower
on the peninsula.
From this point tall trees line both sides of the road.
At 14.2 m. is the loop intersection. The tour returns to Erie by way
of State 832 and State 5.
COUNTY TOUR 2
This boat tour passes many of the points of interest described in City Tours i, 2,
and 3 and County Tour i. The usual tour treatment of these points has therefore
been omitted. County Tour 2 is a trip around Presque Isle Bay, through the lake
channel, and into Lake Erie. The tour ends at Six Mile Creek, eastward of the
channel, and retraces to the bay. Most visitors to Erie arrange to take a boat trip, and
Erie citizens assert that this is the best way to see the city.
(Boats are available at the Public Steamboat Landing, foot of State St., during the
summer season. Ro.wboats, 25$ for ist hour, 15$ for additional hours; motor boats
50$ ist hour, 30$ an hour thereafter. Better rates by the day.)
(Motor yachts at the Public Landing offer frequent trips around the bay and on
the lake. 50$ a person. Guide.)
THE SHORE line to the left, as the boat moves west from the public Steamboat Landing, is a panorama of boats, drying nets, squat buildings,
and smokestacks. Great reels of drying fish-nets stand in rows between
the rambling buildings of the fish houses. This is the scene of an industry
that for a long period made Erie the greatest fresh water fish center in the
world. Because of the sudden unexplained disappearance of the ciscoes,
a fresh water herring, in 1925, Erie has fallen from the production average
of 30,000 tons a year between 1895 and 1920, to 1,750 tons in 1937. Of a
fleet of 125 fishing tugs only a dozen remain. Sturgeon, before 1865, were
considered valueless and were a nuisance to fishermen. The finding of
several large sturgeon in a net meant that the net was torn and ruined
by the desperate efforts of the fish to escape. Weighing from 50 to 200
pounds, they were powerful and their struggles were terrific. After
their numbers had been considerably reduced they were found to be of
value in the making of caviar. Their roe, averaging from 20 to 60 pounds
a fish, was spiced and pickled for that purpose and shipped to eastern
cities. Isinglass and slunk were made from their bladders. Slunk is a
tube used in breweries to fasten over brass barrelling taps to direct the
flow of beer and ale into kegs.
At the foot of Chestnut St. is the State Fish Hatchery. Millions of
ciscoe spawn are hatched here annually and released in the lake (see
CITY TOUR 2).
West of the Fish Hatchery is a unit of the Erie City Waterworks Pumping Station and Filtration plant. A concrete bathing pool is maintained
by the city. Bathing is free to children. The city provides swimming
The sand and coal docks of the Pennsylvania Railroad extend 200 yards
into the bay and are easily identified by the huge piles of sand and the
hundreds of cars of coal standing on the tracks.
Behind the docks is visible the 5o-foot cliff which overlooks the bay
and atop which is the city of Erie. On a prominence overlooking the
coal dock and railroad yards, at the foot of Cascade St., is a marker on
the site of the shipyard in which ships of Perry s fleet were built (see
CITY TOUR 2).
Around the end of the coal dock and snuggled under an overhanging
cliff, on the shores of a deep cove, is a group of shacks occupied by a
dozen families who have pre-empted about two acres of city-owned land
and have built homes thereon. Between the produce derived from their
gardens and desultory fishing expeditions these people eke a bare living
without the necessity of holding jobs in Erie s industry. They pay no
taxes. Efforts on the part of the city to break up the colony have been
unsuccessful and the squatters continue their occupation unmolested by
city or county authorities.
At the foot of Lincoln Avenue, about three miles from the Public Steam
boat Landing, is a small community called Eaglehurst. Here, on the
shores of the bay, is a group of summer cottages owned by Erie residents.
Here, also, is a company which rents boats and fishing tackle to sportsmen.
A short distance west is the Erie Yacht Club. Moored to floats in the
bay are a number of motor yachts and sailing craft belonging to members
of the club. The three-story, frame clubhouse, standing under the bluff,
is a favorite recreational spot for socialite members.
Between the Yacht Club and the head of the Peninsula is an area known
as The Marshes. This is a favorite bass fishing ground. It is also a
refuge for migratory birds, geese, ducks, and swan, during their annual
flights from the far north to winter resting grounds. During the months
of November and December, before the bay has frozen over, the water
in this area is black with the resting migrants. During the season, hunters
may shoot these birds, but must be careful not to hunt within several
hundred yards of the Peninsula, or shoot towards its shores.
Hidden by the trees on the head of the Peninsula is an old weather-
beaten frame building. The exterior is of vertically nailed hemlock boards
battened with strips of fir. A decorative frieze board and two ornate
cupolas adorn the shingled roof. This was the old Massassauga Hotel, a
resort hotel of the i89o s. It was named for an Indian tribe, the last to
occupy the region (see COUNTY TOUR 1).
The shores of the Peninsula curve eastward around the north side of
the bay. The entrance to the yacht slip on the Erie Waterworks Park
Reservation is marked by a buoy. The Niagara, flagship of Perry s fleet,
is also on the Reservation (see COUNTY TOUR 1).
At Crystal Point is a small landscaped park containing PERRY S MONUMENT and the Wolverine (see COUNTY TOUR 1).
The entrance of Misery Bay into Presque Isle Bay is east of Crystal
Point. Misery Bay is a small body of water connected to the bay by a
narrow strait. The Niagara, the Lawrence, and a British ship were sunk
in Misery Bay after the Battle of Lake Erie (see COUNTY TOUR1).
The lake channel is at the extreme east end of the Peninsula. The con
crete breakwater to the left is North Pier, on which is the U. S. Coast
Guard Reservation (see COUNTY TOUR 1). The breakwater to the
right is South Pier. These two piers are the scene of many fishing parties.
Fishermen daily flock to the piers to still fish for bass, sheephead, and perch.
When the boat leaves the channel and enters the lake a distinct difference in motion is noticeable aboard. The boat rises and falls in a swinging,
To the right is Erie s shoreline. The Soldiers and Sailors Home sets at
the top of Garrison Hill. Wayne Blockhouse is nearby (see CITY TOUR
3). The Perry Iron Works and the Hammermill Paper Company oc
cupy about a mile of the shoreline from the Soldiers Home eastward.
Four Mile Creek, with its densely wooded valley, is about two miles
from the channel. This was once the scene of a large amusement park.
The coming of Prohibition in 1918 ruined the commercial value of the park
and the buildings were allowed to deteriorate.
Eastward the lake bluffs rise higher along the shore line, and the beaches
are less sandy. Boulders on the lake floor force boats larger than row-
boats and small motor-craft to take a route farther out into the lake.
Some distance off shore, in water about 30 feet in depth, are commercial
fishing nets. The nets are attached to long, slim pilings driven into the
lake floor, and are suspended from buoys placed between the pilings at
intervals of six to eight feet. Once a day the nets are emptied by a fleet
of fishing smacks.
At Six Mile Creek, a stream favored by fishermen, there is a boat con
cession and refreshment stand. The beach, covered with fist-sized, water-
smoothed stones, is not well adapted to swimming.
Erie-Fairview-Girard West Springfield N. Springfield Erie, US 20, State 5, 52.9 m.
New York Central and Nickel Plate R.R. s. parallel throughout; the Pennsylvania
R.R. system parallels route to Girard.
Paved throughout. Tourist accommodations available.
THIS route traverses a farm region ideally adapted to the growing of
cereal grains and to truck farming. A large number of greenhouses
and tree nurseries are on US 20. State 5 crosses Erie County near the
shores of Lake Erie, and, because of the Lake Country climate, is rapidly
becoming a favored fruit growing belt. Peaches, apples, cherries, and
numerous berries including a heavy crop of strawberries, furnish an increasing income to Erie County farmers. Roadside stands offer wide
choice of farm produce.
S. from izth St. on State St.; R. from State St. on W. 26th St. (US 20).
At j.2 m. 9 is the village of WEST MILLCREEK.
At 8.f m., is the crest of WALNUT CREEK HILL. This place is known
locally as Swanville, for Capt. Richard Swan, an early settler. The
KAHKWA COUNTRY CLUB (L), with a private i8-hole golf course,
is screened by a hedge and tall rows of Lombardy poplars.
After descending Walnut Creek Hill, the highway crosses Walnut
Creek. High sandstone and shale cliffs border the creek.
The road climbs from the creek and enters FAIR VIEW, n.8 m. (alt.
717, pop. 459, borough, inc. 1868) on the first terrace-like plain above
Lake Erie. It was named by early settlers because of its scenic beauty.
The borough is served by the New York Central Railroad, the Central
Greyhound Bus Lines, and the West Ridge Transportation Co. The rail
road station is half a mile north of Fairview.
The village, originally called Sturgeonville for William and Jeremiah
Sturgeon, covers an area of one square mile. William Sturgeon built
and operated the first hotel, and built the first schoolhouse. Neither is
Agriculture is the chief industry of the region, and the soil is rich and
productive. The borough is almost exclusively residential, a small basket
factory being the only manufacturing enterprise.
Fairview has four churches Methodist Episcopal, Presbyterian, Epis
copal, and Evangelical Lutheran.
At 12.5 m., is BNAI BRITH (R), a Jewish home for orphans between
the ages of 5 and 12. The group of three two-and-one-half story red
brick buildings is set back from the highway in a wide landscaped lawn.
Supported by individual contributions, a per capita levy on members of
the B nai B rith lodges, and the Erie County Institutional district, the in
stitution provides a home and educational facilities for about 60 children.
At 12.5 m., (L), is the ERIE COUNTY AIRPORT, privately owned
and equipped as an aviation school.
The ERIE COUNTY HOME, 13.0 m., (open Friday) is a 3 -story red
brick structure with two wings fronting toward the highway connected
with a long, rectangular rear portion. A low pediment over the entrance
is supported by four fluted columns. The home is maintained by the
County as a residence for indigent citizens. Connected with the home
is the County Farm, a large tract of land cultivated by the residents, the
produce being used to help support the home.
The SACRED HEART MISSION HOUSE (R), is at 14.7 m. (open
daily; guide). The main building is a large red brick, rectangular structure with the entrance fronting a small circular flower bed. A figure of
Christ surmounts the low pediment supported by two fluted columns. A
private roadway over a slightly arched bridge crossing a narrow water
way connecting two ponds, leads to the main building. The grounds are
screened from the highway by tall evergreens. The Mission is conducted
by Priests of the Order of the Divine Word. It has an enrollment of
students who come from all parts of the United States to train for foreign missionary service.
At 15.3 m. y is GIRARD (818 alt.; 1,554 PP-; borough, inc. 1846). The
borough and township were named for Stephen Girard, Philadelphia cap
italist, who owned a large tract of land in the vicinity. Girard is served
by the Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad, the Nickel Plate Railroad, the
Central Greyhound Lines, and the West Ridge Transportation Company.
Along the tree-shaded streets of the quiet town are large rambling
white-painted dwellings of the farmhouse type.
The first settlers in the township were William Silverthorn and his son,
Capt. Abraham Silverthorn, who came from Fayette County in 1798. The
next year Robert Brown settled at the mouth of Elk Creek, nearby. The
original town was on the west side of Elk Creek and is now known as
West Girard. When the Erie-Pittsburgh Canal was built in 1844, on the
east side of the creek, many families built homes on the top of the hill to
Girard residents are largely retired farmers and business men who have
chosen this pleasant village for their homes. The older stock of the settle
ment were English and German, with a sprinkling of Scotch and Irish. In later years there was an influx of Slavs and Russians, who purchased or
The HUTCHINSON HOUSE, 155 Main St., was built about 1830 by Myroi
Hutchinson, an Erie County judge. The simple 2 -story red brick build
ing is Georgian Colonial in style.
The DAN RICE SOLDIERS and SAILORS MONUMENT, a cylindrical marble
shaft surmounted by an American eagle, was erected in 1865, by Dan Rice,
circus owner and clown. Designed by Leonard Volk of Chicago, the
monument occupies a prominent position in the public square. Rice always maintained a residence in Girard, and was considered one of its
leading citizens. His monument is said to be the first erected to the memory of Civil War veterans.
A weekly, the Cosmopolite-Herald, the only newspaper in the township,
is published in Girard. The borough has five churches: Presbyterian,
Methodist Episcopal, Roman Catholic, Universalist, and Evangelical
At 16.5 m., is a junction with State 440.
Left on this road 2.0 m.j is the Porter Bridge School, a one-room county
school. (Park car in school yard). South along foot trail to junction with
Elk Creek. Left, along trail bordering Elk Creek, is the DEVIL S NOSE,
The Devil s Nose, a shale and sandstone formation, is at the convergence
of Elk Creek and Brandy Run. The bluff, rising 60 ft. from the creek level,
resembles a human nose. The banks of the creeks are popular picnic places.
At /.j- m. on the trail is the DEVIL S BACKBONE, a long shale and
sandstone ridge with steep walls rising 200 ft. above creek level. The
ridge is fringed at its top with maple, ash, and oak trees. At the SE corner,
where Elk Creek cuts through the ridge, the wall dwindles to a height of
EAST SPRINGFIELD (664 alt, 391 pop, borough, inc. 1887) derives its name from the numerous springs in the area. The Nickel Plate
R. R, and the Central Greyhound Lines serve the borough.
Capt. Samuel Holliday, of Franklin County, Penna, came to the township in 1796, and settled on 700 acres at the mouth of Crooked Creek. He
built a cabin and returned to his former home in the fall. The next year
he returned, bringing his bride. Soon after his arrival, he was joined by
John Devore, of Bedford County; John Marshon of New Jersey, and
William Mclntyre and Patrick Ager, natives of Ireland, all of whom be
came permanent settlers. Most of the present inhabitants are Anglo-Saxon,
with a scattering of Germans, Slovaks, and Poles.
In 1796 the first potatoes were brought from Pittsburgh by James Mclntyre, who carried them in a sack on his back. Potatoes are still one of
the chief agricultural products of the area.
Holliday built the first sawmill in the township in 1801 and a gristmill
in 1803, near tne mouth of Crooked Creek. Neither is standing.
There are four churches in the township: the East Springfield Federated
Church, Baptist, Methodist, and the Methodist Episcopal.
WEST SPRINGFIELD, 24.7 m., (660 alt., 400 pop., borough) is a
residential community, with houses of old farmhouse type, and occasional
modern homes. Rows of tall maples line the road.
On the road are many poultry farms. Thousands of White Leghorns
are visible from the highway.
At 26.0 m., is the junction with State 5; R. on State 5.
At 31.9 m.j is NORTH SPRINGFIELD, a small community consisting
of a school, a store, two churches, and about 30 houses.
At 55.7 m., is a junction with a dirt road.
L. on this road is the mouth of Elk Creek z.j m. This is a favorite spot
for bass and grasspike fishing. Many persons camp here during the summer months. Boats are for hire at a store located on the beach at the
mouth of the stream.
AVONIA, 40.9 m., is a community of farm homes and commuting
The LAKE SHORE GOLF CLUB, 44.3 m., (members only), lies along
both sides of the highway. It has an i8-hole golf course.
PORT ERIE AIRPORT, 46.0 m., (R), is a modern air terminal. The
airport, covering 140 acres, was constructed in 1936-37 by the Works
Progress Administration and by Erie City and County. Scheduled passenger and mail service were inaugurated by the American Airlines, Inc.,
in June, 1938 (taxi fare from downtown Erie: $1.2$; time, 15 minutes).
Waldameer Park, 48.6 m., (L), is a commercial amusement park.
At 48.8 m., is the beginning of PENINSULA DRIVE, L. (see COUNTY
COUNTY TOUR 4
Erie Lawrence Park North East Wesleyville Erie, State 5 (East Lake Road),
State 150, US 20, 42.1 m.
Roads paved throughout.
Hotels and tourist accommodations in all the route towns.
The highways are wide, curves regular and banked; traffic and directional signs
adequate; kept open by continuous snowplow service in winter; hills, curves, and
intersections cindered during icy conditions. Pennsylvania Motor Police substation
at North East.
Parallels the Nickel Plate and the New York Central R.R. s throughout.
STATE 5, until 1937 State 99, follows an old Indian trail from Presque Isle
to Niagara, and parallels the shore of Lake Erie to the New York State
line. Crossing the valleys of streams entering Lake Erie, the tour traverses
rolling country and continues as New York 5 after crossing the Pennsylvania State line near Ripley, N. Y. US 20, known locally as the Buffalo
Road, was surveyed in 1805 and opened over most of its route the same
year. The highway parallels Lake Erie at a distance of from one to two
miles throughout, following the crest of the first ridge of land above the
E. from State St. on E. izth St.; L. from E. izth St. on Parade St.; R. from
Parade St. on E. 6th St. (State 5).
At 4.0 m., is the General Electric Co. Plant (see CITY TOUR 3).
LAWRENCE PARK, 4.6 m., (687 alt.; 3,200 pop. township, inc. 1926)
is an industrial suburb of Erie City, and is the newest and only first-class
township in Erie County. It was named for Commodore Perry s flagship,
Freight service is furnished by the New York Central, Nickel Plate,
Bessemer & Lake Erie, and Pennsylvania R. R. s. The Greyhound Lines
and the West Ridge Bus System and Erie City buses serve the township.
The first extensive development of Lawrence Park began with the coming of the General Electric plant in 1911. The Federal Government
erected 400 houses in 1917 for employees engaged in producing wartime
supplies. These Government houses, in groups of six to eight, are built
of brick and have four to six apartments.
The township s outstanding civic activities are the General Electric
Company s Children s Day, held the second Saturday in September; the
annual Hallowe en Festival; and the Community Festival, on Christmas
There are three churches, the St. Mary s Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal, and Christ Lutheran.
At 11.3 m., is the entrance to Shorewood Beach, a popular bathing place
(free; no bathhouse).
At 75.7 m., is the junction with an unimproved road.
Left on this is ORCHARD BEACH, 0.3 m., a popular summer resort
and bathing beach at the mouth of Sixteen Mile Creek. (Boats and fishing
tackle; reasonable rates). Judah Colt, in 1796, maintained a harbor here for
unloading supplies from ships to be freighted by ox team to Colt s Station,
a pioneer settlement at the headwaters of French Creek.
At the foot of a stiff grade to the level of the lake, the route crosses
TWENTY MILE CREEK at 19.3 m. There is a suggestion of the wilder
ness in this rugged, tree-covered area. It once was a camping ground for
Indians. Game was plentiful and fish easily caught. At the mouth of the
stream, during Prohibition, many boatloads of illicit spirits were smuggled
into the State.
At 20. i m., is the junction with State 150; R. from State 5 on State 150.
At 22.0 m., is the junction with US 20; R. from State 150 on US 20 at
STATE LINE (alt. 871, pop. 300) is a small village on the NEW
YORK-PENNSYLVANIA BOUNDARY. Eastward from State Line the
highway passes through a short stretch of level country, paralleled (L)
by the New York Central and the Nickel Plate Railroads. Along the
roadside are substantial farms with buildings 50 or more years old.
On both sides of the road are acres of grapes, peaches, cherries, and other
fruit. During the spring and early summer fruit trees are in blossom, and
the foliage of the vineyards creates the illusion of a green sea, with the
Lake Erie breeze rippling the surface.
NORTH EAST, 24.6 m., (alt. 805, pop. 3,670, borough, inc. 1834) is
the center of the Pennsylvania grape industry. The dwellings, built near
the street, are rather old, although there are a few modern cottages of
Georgian Colonial architecture. All are neat, well painted, and have large
lawns dotted with shrubbery and flower beds.
North East derives its name from its geographical position in the extreme northeast sector of the original 16 townships of Erie County. Be
fore 1800 the section was known as Lower Greenfield.
South of North East is a chain of hills with cultivated slopes and wooded
summits. A mile and a half north is Lake Erie.
The Greyhound Lines, West Ridge Transportation Co., Martz Bus
Lines; also the New York Central and the Nickel Plate Railroads provide
interurban transportation facilities.
The first dwelling at North East was a log house built in 1801 by William Dundass, a short distance to the east of the present cemetery on Oa
Hill. In 1806 Henry Burgett purchased the Dundass property and con
verted the house into a tavern. Two years later Lemuel Brown opened
a tavern at what is now Lake and Main Streets, and for several years
was a stopping place for stages running between Buffalo and the West.
By degrees a village developed around the taverns. The community
was first known as Burgettstown. From 1819 to 1834 it was called Gibsonville. Originally it covered 275 acres. The limits were extended in
1852, and another expansion in 1894 increased the acreage to 540.
The first church in North East was organized by the Presbytery o
Ohio in 1801. The borough now has nine churches: Baptist, Emanuel
Evangelical, Free Methodist, Holy Cross Episcopal, St. Gregory's Roma
Catholic, St. Paul s German Lutheran, St. Peter s English Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian.
The largest manufacturing plant in North East is the Eureka Temperec
Copper Company. A major industry is the nationally known Welch
Grape Juice Company, with its home office in nearby Westfield, N. Y
North East, is, however, predominantly an agricultural district.
The North East Community Fair Association holds a fair and grap
carnival for three days each September in the high school building. A
flower show and street carnival, sponsored by the American Legion, is
held at the same time.
North East is a little town with shaded streets and quiet neighborhoods
where the tempo of life is not too swift and where the people have leisur
to enjoy the amenities of social intercourse.
ST. MARY S COLLEGE, Lake and Division Sts., is a Catholic educational institution. The college buildings, of red brick and granite, are
Victorian and Tudor Gothic in design. The chapel is French Gothic in
design, and its interior was decorated by Gonipo Raggi, painter and
decorator. The first building of the present group was erected on a
5 -acre tract of land by the Methodist Church in 1869, and was named
Lake Shore Seminary. It closed because of financial difficulties. The
building stood unoccupied until February 1881, when it was sold to the
Redemptorist Fathers and dedicated by the Most Reverend Tobias Mullen
The Reverend Joseph Schwarz was the first rector of the college, which
also has a preparatory school for youths desiring to enter the Redemptorist Order. It offers four years of high school, accredited, and two year
of college courses. When purchased by the Redemptorist Fathers there
was but one building, a 3 -story brick structure on a 5-acre plot. Since
then the grounds have been enlarged to 101 acres. The college now has
an enrollment of 220 students and a faculty of 18.
At 30.6 m. } is the small community of MOORHEADVILLE (pop 195). Several dwellings erected in 1850 and earlier are still standing.
Some of the doorways are classic in appearance, with Ionic columns and
old green wooden shutters. The houses are built square, many of them
of brick. In a few instances, a small square cupola rises above the center
peak of the roof. Later day builders have erected small, comfortable
cottages. In addition to the fruit and grape industry, many farmers have
specialized in poultry raising. Along the highway are flocks of White
Leghorn hens, a prolific egg layer; and heavier meat-producing breeds.
At 33.9 m., is the residential village of HARBORCREEK.
WESLEYVILLE, 37.0 m. (731 alt.; 2,840 pop.; borough, inc. 1912)
was named for John Wesley, founder of Methodism, by early settlers,
followers of his faith.
The borough is served by the Greyhound Lines, the West Ridge Bus
System, and the Erie Coach Company.
Wesley ville was laid out in 1828 by John Shadduck, a farmer, who
built a gristmill in 1823 and two years later erected a sawmill, both on the
banks of Four Mile Creek, which runs through the borough.
First settlers were William Saltsman, Amasa Prindle, and Andrew
Elliott, in 1797. They were followed by Hugh McCann and Alexander
Brewster in 1800.
Industries are the New York Central Railroad car shops, Nickel Plate
Flour Mills, and General Electric Co.
The Wesley Methodist Church was built in 1828 and rebuilt in 1866.
Other churches are the Baptist, Messiah Lutheran, Church of the Nazarene,
and St. James Roman Catholic.
COUNTY TOUR 5
Erie Wattsburg-Corry-Union City-Edinboro-Wellsburg-Girard-Erie, State 8, US
6, US 6N, State 18, and US 20, 72.0 m.
Highway is paved throughout. Bus lines connect the county towns. The various
highways are kept open by snowplow service through the winter months. Patroled
by the Pennsylvania Motor Police. Tourist accommodations in all route towns.
STATE 8, also known as the Wattsburg Plank Road, was opened in 1809
from Erie to Wattsburg. In 1851 the Erie & Wattsburg Plank Road
Company was organized, and in 1853 the planking was completed. The
road was not profitable and was permitted to deteriorate, though toll
charges were continued. A group of irate farmers tore down the toll
houses in 1865, ending the career of the company.
E. from State St. on E. mh St. R. from E. i2th St. on Parade St. L.
from Parade St. on Pine Ave. (State 8).
At 1.6 m., is the crest of the first ridge overlooking the city. There
is a fine view of the lake, bay, Presque Isle Peninsula, and the city.
BELLE VALLEY, 3.1 m. (alt. 1,007, PP- 200 )i 1S a group of houses
scattered along Mill Creek. Many of the houses are from 50 to 75 years
old, and most are of heavy timber frame construction.
The village of HAMMETT, 7.0 m., is a few dwellings scattered along
The highway follows the valley of the west branch of Elk Creek to the
village of LOWVILLE, 16.9 m. (alt. 1,325, pop. 200). The one-story
farmhouses, built of wide hemlock planks nailed vertically to hewn
framework, are set along the sides of the road in small, neatly kept lawns.
The land was cleared in 1 796 by Thomas Smith and the town was named
for Samuel Low who located there in 1822 and established a gristmill, a
sawmill, and a woolen factory.
The hills tower above the West Branch Valley on the L., and small
meadows lie in the curves of the stream. Huge river willows lean over
the creeks, and to R., the hills rear above the west side of the valley. At
one time these hills were covered with tall, slender hemlock and pine
trees. The best of the trees were cut, stripped of bark, and sold to ship
builders of New York and Philadelphia to be used as masts. Lesser grade
timber was milled into boards and planks, and millions of feet went down
French Creek, the Ohio, and the Mississippi to be sold in New Orleans.
Not one tract of the original timber stands today. The hills are now covered with second growth timber.
WATTSBURG, 18.7 m. (alt. 1,340, pop. 256, borough, inc. 1833), is a
sleepy borough near a fork of French Creek. Wattsburg was named for
David Watts of Carlisle, Pa., father-in-law of William Miles, who laid out
the original site in 1828. Miles built a storehouse for furs and as a depot
for the surrounding country. A weekly mail route was inaugurated in
1828 between Erie, Pa., and Jamestown, N. Y., by way of the village.
The mail was carried by a man who walked the entire distance, approximately 50 miles.
Wattsburg is in the center of a dairying section, and "Wattsburg Butter" is widely known.
The Wattsburg Fair, started about 1885, is held annually and attracts
from 25,000 to 40,000 persons. One of the best poultry shows in north
western Pennsylvania is held here. The only horse races held in Erie
County are run during this fair, with purses amounting to $3,500.
The highway winds slowly upward out of French Creek Valley, to
the crest of a high ridge, 22.6 m., from which there is a wide view of hills
and valleys. Occasional old apple orchards, noted for their russets, north
ern spies, greenings, and Baldwins, border the route.
UNION CITY, 27.2 m. (1,312 alt., 3,788 pop., borough, inc. 1863), is
a town of small industry and agriculture on the south branch of French
Creek. The borough was originally named Miles Mills for William Miles,
who surveyed the section in 1785. The name was changed to Union Mills
in 1863, and to Union City in 1871.
The founder of Union City, William Miles, a native of Ireland, came
to this country with his parents at the age of eight. In 1800 he came to
Union and erected a gristmill and a sawmill. Miles cleared the land,
opened roads, secured a mail route, had a post office established, and was
the first postmaster. Until 1855 the settlement consisted of a few buildings, adjacent to the Miles mills.
The Philadelphia & Erie Railroad was built through the town in 1858,
and the Atlantic & Great Western Railroad, now the Erie Railroad, was
laid down in 1862.
The discovery of oil at nearby Titus ville in 1859 gave farther impetus
to the town s growth. Oil wells were drilled in Union City the same
year, but the field was not productive.
The recent growth of Union City is due to agriculture and to several
small manufacturing plants. The region has a climate adapted to raising
hardy products, in addition to excellent facilities for dairy farming, an
important industry of the region.
The Presbyterians of Union City formed a congregation in 181 1, and in 1831 built a church which was replaced in 1874 by a larger building. The
Methodist Episcopal congregation was organized in 1817, and its first
church building was erected in 1847. St. Theresa s Roman Catholic
Church was organized in 1857. The Baptist Church was founded in 1859,
and the United Brethren Society in 1872. Present churches in Union
City are the Baptist, Free Methodist, Methodist, Presbyterian, St. Theresas, and the United Brethren.
Union City is served by the Pennsylvania and Erie Railroads. It is also
on the route of the Greyhound Lines and the West Ridge Transportation Co.
The Union City Times-Enter prise, a weekly, is the borough s only
At Union City is the junction with US 6.
L. from State 8 on US 6.
The STATE FISH HATCHERY 0.5- m. (L), is a breeding place for
bullhead, bass, and other fish common to the streams of the area. The
buildings are of yellow stucco, and the grounds are landscaped with ever
greens and shrubbery.
At 4.9 m., the highway skirts the northern boundary of ELGIN (alt.
1,361, pop. 130). Originally known as Halltown, for Joseph Hall, who
operated a sawmill and a gristmill there, the name was changed to Concord
Station when the Philadelphia & Erie Railroad was opened. The village
was incorporated as a borough in 1876, and given its present name.
CORRY FISH HATCHERY, 9.0 m., (L), is State owned and operated
(open 7 to 5 daily). There are hemlocks and maples about the buildings
and a fountain near the highway at the entrance. Trout are raised here
for stocking streams in Erie and Warren counties.
CORRY, 9.8 m., (alt. 1,427, pop. 7,152, 3rd class city, inc. 1866), was
named for Hiram Corry, early landowner. Second in size to Erie in the
county, Corry is a busy mercantile and industrial city. Situated on level
ground, it has attractive residential sections and a compact business district.
The first settler in Corry was Michael Hare, a soldier in the Revolution
ary War, who, in 1795, built a log cabin on the bank of Hare Creek, on a
tract of land given to him by the government. The land on which the city
stands was originally a swamp. Familiarly known as the City of Stumps
and legally as Atlantic and Erie Junction, Corry experienced a brief boom
in 1859 with the discovery of oil at nearby Titusville.
In the summer of 1862 an oil refinery, several factories, two hotels, a
theatre, a church, and a number of storehouses and residences were erected.
The panic of 1873 checked Corry s advance, and the shifting of oil pro
duction to nearby Bradford had further adverse effect.
A public library building, erected in 1917 at North Centre and Franklin
Sts., was a gift of the Carnegie Endowment Fund.
The Evening Journal, a daily, is the only newspaper.
Corry is served by the Pennsylvania and the Erie R.R. s. The Greyhound Lines and the West Ridge Transportation Co. also enter the city.
The greater proportion of the citizens of Corry are of Anglo-Saxon
origin, descendants of the New England pioneers who were its first setders.
At junction in Union City State 8 and US 6 join; straight ahead on US
6-State 8; at edge of town R. on US 6.
The rolling valley of French Creek is to R. The hills are dotted with
small woodlots, pastures, and farms. Small streams meander through shallow ravines and empty into French Creek.
At 32.9 m., is a settlement of five houses and a church. Late in the
iSoo s this promised to be a thriving community and was called New Ire
land, a name remembered by a few of the older residents of the vicinity.
The highway passes through a dense hardwood forest along the top
of a ridge, 34.9 m.
MILL VILLAGE, 35.8 m. (alt. 1,217, PP- 2 33 borough, inc. 1870),
was originally named Milltown for three sawmills, a gristmill, and a cheese
factory on Mill Run.
Mill Village occupies part of a 2,875 acre tract granted in 1791 by the
State to the Society of the United Brethren for Propagating the Gospel
among the Heathens commonly known as the Moravians. The Moravians did not settle the land, but sold it in 1850 to James Miles and N.
The chief industry of the town is a cheese factory. The countryside
is an extensive dairying section.
To L. of the highway and paralleling it, is a double row of river willows, planted by the early settlers to prevent erosion. The great trees
add much to the beauty of this section of the highway.
At 57.0 m. US 6 turns L.; straight ahead on US 6N.
The highway gradually ascends the hills overlooking the west side of
French Creek Valley.
A panoramic view of Conneautee Lake (Edinboro Lake), some distance
to R. of the highway unfolds from the top of a hill, 42.4 m.
EDINBORO, 43.6 m. (alt. 1,500, pop. 789, borough, inc. 1840), is the
seat of the Edinboro State Teachers College. The town presents a clean
and livable appearance, of white clapboard houses with green shutters.
There are no important industries, the State Teachers College providing
the chief source of income.
Edinboro was founded by Scotch-Irish colonists from eastern Pennsylvania. It was named by William Culbertson, who divided a portion of
his farm into town lots. Culbertson came from Lycoming County in
1796 with his friend, Alexander Hamilton (not the famous Secretary of
the Treasury), to look for desirable lands. Here they found an attractive
little lake which the Indians called Conneauttee, or Little Conneautee (pronounced by them Kon-ne-yantee), or "the snow place."
Culbertson took up 500 acres of land, embracing virtually all the present
borough. In 1801 he built a gristmill, the third in Erie County, on Conneauttee Creek a short distance below the outlet of the lake. A year later
he built a sawmill. The sawmill in time passed into new hands and larger
mills were built, but eventually the timber became scarce and the mills
less active. The ancient gristmill with its old wheel is still standing (R),
on Conneautee Creek at the western limits of Edinboro.
Edinboro settlers were mostly from the eastern part of the State, of
Scotch-Irish descent or of New England Anglo-Saxon stock. The first
school was built of planks in 1815, now destroyed, and was called the
"Old Plank School." The building was also used for town meetings.
The Greyhound Lines and the West Ridge Transportation Co. serve
Edinboro has four churches. The Presbyterian church was organized
in 1810; the Methodist Episcopal, in 1829; the Baptist, in 1838; and the
Adventist, in 1863.
EDINBORO STATE TEACHERS COLLEGE, Meadville St., a group
of 2- and 3 -story red brick buildings set in a broad, tree-shaded lawn, was
founded as an academy in 1856. Four buildings were constructed by
1860. In the next year, the State, under the Normal School Act of 1857,
authorized the training of teachers, and the name of the school was
changed to Edinboro State Normal School. In 1914 the school propern
was bought by the State, and in 1926 the present name was adopted.
The four original buildings are still in use. Loveland Hall, an art building, was added in 1930. At present (1938) an auditorium, gymnasium,
training school, and power house are under construction. The college
normally enrolls 300 students.
At Edinboro is the junction with State 99.
R. on this is Conneauttee Lake, 0.5 m., more commonly known as Edinboro Lake. It is a pleasure and fishing resort. Summer cottages line its
shores, and camping grounds are available (information at boathouse).
After leaving Edinboro, the highway enters an almost flat, and fairly
fertile farm region. The serrated terrain of eastern Erie County gradually becomes ironed out, and the topography is monotonous with its low
hills and shallow valleys. In the iSoo s this area was covered with a heavy
hemlock and hardwood forest and sawmills flourished. , There is no virgin
timber remaining, and the second growth trees are of little lumber value.
The region excells in dairying and agriculture.
WELLSBURG, 53.6 m., (alt. 954, pop. 415), was named for the Wells
family and was once a center of industry for the southwestern Erie County
area. Near the road, in a small tree-filled park, is the Universalist Church
(R), a simple frame building, erected in 1853.
At Wellsburg is the junction of US 6N (see COUNTY TOUR 8)
with State 18; R. from US 6N on State 18.
CRANESVILLE, 54.7 m., (alt. 965, pop. 487), was founded in 1800
by Fowler Crane, and named for his father, Elihu Crane, the first settler.
A general store operated by Charles Kennedy, a prosperous storekeeper
of earlier days, occupies a choice site on the main cross street. This store
is one of the few remaining general stores of the past century. Its stock
includes everything from a toothbrush to a horse blanket, a keg of nails
to a baby s wardrobe.
PLATEA, 57.7 m.y (alt. 955, pop. 249, borough, inc. 1870), was form
erly known as Lockport, from the fact that there were 28 locks in the
Erie and Pittsburgh Canal within two miles of the town site.
Platea owes its origin to Silas Pratt, who went there in 1840 with a
contract for building 28 locks for the canal. Foreseeing the need for a
town at this point, he built a general store, a church, hotel, and several
dwelling houses. The canal brought a period of prosperity and the town
flourished. The borough is largely populated by retired farmers and a
few persons who work at a local planing mill.
As early as 1762 the construction of a canal from the Delaware River
to Lake Erie had been suggested. An Act of Legislature in 1823 provided
for appointment of commissioners to survey a canal route between Lake
Erie and French Creek. A convention of delegates from 46 counties met
in Harrisburg in August, 1825, and urged the construction of a canal from
the Susquehanna River to the Allegheny River, and thence to Lake Erie.
The State made an appropriation and began construction.
Two routes were proposed from the Allegheny River to Lake Erie, the
one to use the Allegheny River and French Creek, the other the Ohio
River and the Beaver and Shenango rivers. The Beaver River route was
chosen. The canal was built to follow Lee s Run into Presque Isle Bay
on the west side of Erie. In 1832 the State ceded 2,000 acres of land to
Erie to be used as a terminus.
On December 5, 1844, two boats from Pittsburgh entered Presque Isle
Bay (see TRANSPORTATION).
At 58.9 m., is FARM OF FRANK BARNEY (R). Barney, a life-long
resident of Erie County, believed that potatoes could be raised in Erie
County on a large scale. Neighboring farmers scoffed at his plans, telling
him there could be no profit in such a scheme; that the soil, climate, and
cost of production were against him. For many years he experimented
with many varieties of potatoes and potatoes from many sources, seeking
one that would flourish under local conditions. Several years ago he developed a potato plant of his own and planted a large field. They prospered, and as the years went by, Barney enlarged his fields and improved
on the quality of his product. Annually his crop became greater in quantity and better in quality. Today, Barney is known as the "Potato King of Erie County." Thousands of bushels are shipped annually from his
acres to the markets of Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and New York.
At 59.9 m. is the junction with US 20; R. from State 18 on US 20 (set
COUNTY TOUR 3).
COUNTY TOUR 6
Erie-Kearsarge Waterford-Cambridge Springs-Edinboro-Erie, US 19 and State 99,
The tour is paved throughout. Winter driving, during periods of ice and snow, is
made safe and expeditious by continuous State snowplow service and by spreading
cinders at intersections, curves, hills, and other perilous places. Traffic regulations
are enforced. Accommodations and meals are available in any of the route towns
at reasonable rates.
RISING from the level of Lake Erie at Erie, US 19 reaches successively
the various land levels ascending from the lake, and attains the highest
altitude in Erie County. The hills are covered with second growth stands
of maple, oak, beech, and other hard woods. The valleys are broken up
into small farms. From Waterford south the route follows historic LeBoeuf and French Creek Valley.
W. from State St. on W. mh St.; L. from W. nth St. on Peach St.
The road climbs a long, steep hill to NICHOLSON HEIGHTS, 3.6 m.,
named for the family who owned the farmland before its development.
Now a residential suburb, it is sparsely built with modern homes. A long
row of tall Lombardy poplars line the highway at the top of the hill.
KEARSARGE, 4.6 m., first known as Walnut Creek, is a small community of frame houses and cottages straggling along the highway, its
only street. Col. Seth Reed, first settler to locate permanently in Erie,
also established a settlement at Kearsarge, 1796, making this village one
of the oldest in Erie County.
From Kearsarge the highway traverses gently rolling farm country.
Hedges of osage orange planted by early settlers enclose several of the
older farmhouses. Aged pine and spruce trees, and old apple orchards
are near the farm buildings.
At 13.2 m. is STRONG SCHOOL (R), a typical Erie County rural
school. The one-story, one room frame building is painted white, with
three windows on each side. A bell tower rears above the shingled roof
of "third pitched hip" variety. In the one classroom, common to all
grades, seats are so arranged that students sit facing the back of the
building and the teacher s table-topped desk. The seats become gradually
larger toward the entrance. At the rear of the room is a huge wood-burning stove, and shelves where lunch boxes are placed. A blackboarc
covers the entire end of the room behind the teacher s desk.
At 1 6.0 m. is WATERFORD (alt. 1,193, PP- 7 6 9 borough, inc
1833), a rural community noteworthy for its history. It is the site of ok
Fort LeBoeuf (see HISTORY).
The streets are wide, and lined with tall maple trees. The homes are
rural in aspect, and set decorously in large, grassy lawns. Occasional ok
brick dwellings intersperse the rows of small frame houses. The business
district adjoins a large public park and consists of a number of 2-story
brick structures joined closely together.
Waterford was so named in 1794 when Maj. Andrew Ellicott, under
authority of the Pennsylvania State Legislature, surveyed the town. It
was the first town to be laid out in Erie County; the second, Erie, was
not surveyed until the following year.
Often referred to as the historical center of N. W. Pennsylvania, Waterford s past is unusual and spectacular. Prior to 1749, the French claimed
the territory by right of discovery but failed to settle the land. Forma
occupation began in 1753 when Sieur Marin, Major Pean, the Chevalier
Mercier, and about 500 men, marched by land from Niagara to Presque
Isle (Erie). On August 3, 1753, Fort Presque Isle was complete, the
portage road to LeBoeuf was ready for use and Fort LeBoeuf was nearly
completed. During the autumn of 1753 Commander Sieur Marin died
leaving Fort LeBoeuf in charge of Legardeur de St. Pierre who received
Washington during his visit there in the winter of 1753.
Washington, in his journal, described the French Fort LeBoeuf as being
on the west fork of French Creek, near the water, almost surrounded by
the creek and a smaller branch of it. He said: "Four houses comprise the
sides; the bastions are poles driven into the ground, are about twelve feet
high and sharpened at the top, with ports out for cannon and small arms
Eight six pounders were mounted on each bastion, and one four pounder
before the gate. In the bastions are a guardhouse, chapel, surgeons lodgings, and the commandant s private store."
Fort LeBoeuf was evacuated by the French in August, 1759, after their
defeat in the French and Indian wars and it was garrisoned by the English
During the British occupancy, LeBoeuf was raided by Indians June 17,
1763, and the blockhouse burned. The American Fort LeBoeuf built in
1794 consisted of four blockhouses surrounded by pickets, with a 6 pound
cannon on the second floor of each building and a swivel gun over each
A memorable incident in the history of Waterford was the visit of the
Marquis de LaFayette in 1825. He remained there overnight, June 2, 1825, at the hotel of George W. Reed which stood just east of the Judson
At the close of the Indian wars, many soldiers settled in Waterford, taking advantage of the donation law which provided land for them as bonus
from the State in recognition of their military services. Lieut. John
Martin, commander of the post, was one. He opened the first tavern.
Amos Judson came from New England the same year and started a feneral store. Robert Brotherton built the first sawmill in 1797 and the
rst gristmill in 1802.
The WATERFORD ACADEMY, Walnut and 5th Sts., was incorporated in
1811 and building started in 1822. The school was opened in 1826. It is
2 -story dressed stone building with an unusual arched doorway, pedilent, and graceful cupola. A brick addition was built in 1859, and the
structure is still in use as a high school.
The WASHINGTON MONUMENT, in the center of the main street, US 19
id State 97, is a life-sized statue of Washington. The monument was
erected in 1922 to commemorate Washington s visit in 1753.
The EAGLE HOTEL, SW cor. First St. and US 19, was built in 1826 by
liomas King. A 2-story-and-attic building of gray fieldstone and white
:ut-stone trim, the structure is American Georgian in design. Flat arched
windows, white cut stone quoins, and an elliptical arched central door
way overlook the main highway. Within the hallway is a glass display
case showing artifacts excavated from the French and English Forts LeBoeuf . A few clay pipes used by the soldiers, a mass of military buttons
of the period, several rusted, broken bayonets, and some decayed Indian
blankets comprise the exhibition. Further excavations of the site, south
of the hotel, were made by the Frontier Forts and Trails Survey (W.P.A.),
who uncovered the old baking ovens, and the foundation walls of the
two forts (French and English).
The AMOS JUDSON HOUSE, SE cor. First St. and US 19, is of Connecticut
design. It is of the post-Colonial period, built in 1820. The rambling,
unpainted, 2-story frame structure has corner Doric pilasters, and within
the broad pedimented gable front is a lunette window. The side wing,
built for Judson s general store, now occupied by a restaurant-tavern, has
quaint dormer windows.
The population of Waterford has varied but slightly during the last 80
years, hovering around the 800 mark. The area is mainly agricultural or
dairying country. The raw milk supply of the city comes chiefly from
the Waterford area, and the Carnation Milk Company s plant at Cambridge Springs processes Waterford milk to be shipped all over the world.
The Pennsylvania R. R., Central Greyhound Bus Lines, and the West
Ridge Bus Company serve the community.
The first newspaper was the Waterford Dispatch, begun in 1831. In
1856 it was moved to Erie and became the Erie City Dispatch. The
Waterford Museum was launched shortly after the Dispatch was removed
to Erie. It became the Inquirer in 1857. The Waterford Leader, a weekly
newspaper, is now the only publication in the borough.
The Methodist, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, United Presbyterian, Nazarene, and Roman Catholic denominations have churches in Waterford.
South of Waterford the highway descends a slight grade to the LeBoeuf
Creek Valley. At the edge of town is SENTINEL TREE (R), a time-
beaten hemlock that legend says George Washington climbed while reconnoitering the French Fort LeBoeuf.
At 13.5 m. is the junction with State 97 (see COUNTY TOUR 7).
LAKE LEBOEUF, 73.7 m. (R), is the site of a small amusement park
open in summer with fishing, boating, and swimming. It is noted for
At 20.6 m. is a junction with US 6N; R. from US 19 on US 6N (see
COUNTY TOUR 5).
At 34.2 m. in EDINBORO (see COUNTY TOUR 5), is a junction with
State 99; R. from US 6N on State 99.
The Conneautee Valley, W. of Edinboro, is rolling. The hills, with
their growths of brush interspersed with hardwood stands, are laid out
in small farms. Numerous small creeks cross and recross the highway.
McLANE, 37.9 m. (pop. 100), straddles the peak of the range, and
sprawls along the highway for about a mile.
Over the crest of the ridge, the community of BRANCHVILLE, 39.9
m., overlooks the headwaters of Elk Creek.
MIDDLEBORO, 42 m. (alt. 1,470, pop. 300, borough, inc. 1861), is
a small community of a number of houses, stores, a church, and a schoolhouse. Its postoffice designation is McKean.
McKean has an unusually high altitude for Erie County, its surroundings are hilly with numerous deep ravines along small streams. The valleys
are highly productive in grains. Above the valleys the land is heavy clay
but fertilizers make it fairly fruitful. Dairying is the chief industry.
The Central Greyhound Bus Lines and the West Ridge Transportation Co. serve the borough.
Churches are Baptist, Methodist, St. Francis Roman Catholic, St. Peter's
Lutheran, and Trinity Lutheran.
At 57. / m. is a junction with US 19; L. from State 99 on US 19.
COUNTY TOUR 7
Erie-Wesleyville-Colt s Station-Lowville-Union City-Eric, State 399 (Station Road)
State 89, State 8, State 97, 56.1 m.
O TATE 399, Station Road, was laid out in 1813 to provide a road from
*J Erie, to Mayville, N. Y., and was named from having become a main
route into the village of Colt s Station, which was an important depot for
goods shipped down French Creek to the Allegheny River.
S. from i zth St. on State St. L. from State St. on E. 26th St. (US 20).
At 6.1 m., in Wesley ville is a junction with State 399. R. from US 20 on
South of Wesleyville Borough (see COUNTY TOUR 4), the highway
passes through a residential district.
The highway turns abruptly east at the outskirts of Wesleyville and
crosses Four Mile Creek.
The village of BROOKSIDE is at 6.6 m. This subdivision was built by
the smaller wage earners of the General Electric Company, and is composed of one-family dwellings. A modern brick schoolhouse stands L.
from the highway, and a frame church houses a small congregation. Fruit
trees and small grape vineyards grow in vacant lots and along the roadside.
The highway follows an undulating route to cross a wide valley.
GOSPEL HILL, 7.0 m. y is the first elevation above the lake plain and
offers a wide view of Lake Erie. To the northwest are the buildings of
the General Electric Company, Erie Works. The long arm of the Peninsula, jutting into the blue expanse of Lake Erie, is visible (L). In
the valley below are the headwaters of Six Mile Creek.
From the top of Gospel Hill the road curves L. and descends to the
valley of Four Mile Creek.
HORNBY, 14.5 m.j is a small group of houses built around a general
store and post office. The community was the shopping center of the
farm area before improved highways and automobiles gave the farmer easy
access to larger towns.
OLD GRANGE HALL, 14.6 m., (L), stands at the crest of a knoll
overlooking a small valley. The building was once the social center of the
community and the scene of agricultural fairs.
COLT S STATION, 16.6 m., is a crossroads community of a few houses
and a general store. This section, Greenfield Township, was one of the first settled in Erie County. Attracted by the beauty of the hills and
streams, a number of settlers built homes around the community which
became Colt s Station, named for Judah Colt, one of the first settlers. The
settlement became important as a supplies depot. Merchandise shipped
from Buffalo was landed at Freeport, near the present location of North
East, and thence transported to Colt s Station. The village was the head
of flat boat navigation on French Creek.
In a small log building Judah Colt conducted first Protestant services
in Erie County. The sermon, which became a weekly event after July
2, 1797, drew settlers from the entire township.
At 16.6 m. is a junction with State 89. R. from State 399 on State 89.
The West Branch of French Creek is crossed at 24.5 m., and the road
ascends the south side of the valley to LITTLE HOPE, 25.0 m. The com
munity consists of a few scattered homes, and a tiny frame church. The
settlement was founded in 1798 by Leverett Bissel.
The road wanders over the hills for the next few miles, passing many
old farmhouses, with huge barns overshadowing the adjacent buildings.
From the top of the hill at 26.7 m. there is a wide view of French Creek
Valley, R. French Creek is crossed at Lowville, 30.1 m. (see COUNTY
UNION CITY is at 32.1 m. (see COUNTY TOUR 5).
At 32.1 ?n. is a junction with State 97. R. from State 89 on State 97.
State 97 was originally the old portage road between Presque Isle (Erie)
and LeBoeuf (Waterford), built by the French in 1753 (see HISTORY).
It follows the course of a small stream that winds back and forth across
the valley, edged with rows of willows. Pastures occupy the level stretches
between the curves. The Erie and Pennsylvania railroads follow the south
side of the valley.
At 36.2 m. is the crest of the divide overlooking Elk Creek Valley. To
the R. is rolling country, the hills wood-covered and torn by the valleys
of creeks running into French Creek. On each side of the road are
many old farmhouses with huge bank barns. These barns are of early
Dutch farm construction.
The early settlers planted willow slips along the streams to protect their
land from erosion. Today, as stately trees, their gnarled roots washed
naked, they make a graceful screen across the valley. They are more
numerous near Waterford.
At 41.2 m. is WATERFORD (see COUNTY TOUR 6).
The terrain for the next few miles is somewhat swampy at the right of
the highway. To the L. the hills rise above the valley. Hemlocks grow
densely on the hillside and offer haven to pheasant, quail, and many
CAMP KLINGER, 46.8 m. (R) is a camping spot (small fee) on LeBoeuf Creek. Fishing is excellent along the creek, which is stocked with
bass every year by the State Game Commission. The hillsides abound
in season with blackberries.
The highway rolls over a series of gentle hills out of LeBoeuf Creek
Valley. For five miles the road passes farm land and nondescript rural
The highway enters Erie on Parade St.
COUNTY TOUR 8
Erie-Fairview-Lavery s Corners- Albion-West Springfield-Erie, US 20, State 98, US
6n, 62.3 m.
STATE 98, improved throughout, traverses Fairview, Franklin, and Elk
Creek Townships from Fairview to the Crawford County line, passing
through some of the best farmland of Erie County. There is little roadside
advertising and no sizable towns on the route. The highway follows the
valleys of Elk Creek headwater streams, crossing the main stream near
Fairview, and, after passing through Lavery s Corners, enters the valley
of Cussewago Creek.
S. from 12th St. on State St., R. from State St. on W. 26th St. (US 20).
At 11.8 m., is a junction with State 98; L. from US 20 on State 98.
At 12.6 m., the crest of a ridge, the road enters a wooded area, crosses
Brandy Run, and traverses a short stretch of level country before descending into Elk Creek Valley. Elk Creek is crossed at 14.8 m. The shale
formations on both sides of the narrow valley tower 50 to 100 feet above
At 18.5 m. 9 is FRANKLIN CENTER (pop. 100), a crossroads village
of a few frame houses and a general store.
The ridge a short distance south of Franklin Center marks the division
of the county watersheds. Elk Creek and its smaller tributaries gather
water from the north of Franklin Center to drain into Lake Erie. Cussewago Creek, on the south side of the ridge, flows into French Creek at
LAVERY S CORNERS, 22.4 m., is the intersection of State 98 with
US 6N. This is a particularly dangerous crossing. US 6N is a through
traffic highway and cars approaching the intersection on State 98 are confronted by sign after sign, starting 3,000 feet from the crossing, painted
in letters two feet high, warning travelers of the crossing, and stating that
State 98 traffic must stop.
R. from State 98 on US 6N.
At 26.8 m., is WELLSBURG (see COUNTY TOUR 5).
ALBION, 29.3 m. (alt. 857, pop. 1,681, borough, inc., 1861), is atop a
short but rather steep hill. With modern homes and well-kept lawns, the
town presents a pleasing appearance.
The borough is served by the Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad, Pennsylvania Railroad, the Greyhound Lines, and the West Ridge Transportation Co.
Albion derives its name from a poetic name for England. Originally
the community was known as "Jackson s Crossroads."
Johnathan Spaulding, who came from New York State in 1795, was
the first settler in the area. Two years later the Pennsylvania Population
Company sent Col. Dunning McNair as its agent in surveying and selling
lands in the district.
Albion s early growth was rapid. It was a freight station and terminal
of the Erie-Pittsburgh Canal. Sawmills and flour and feed mills and other
small plants prospered. Its later development was influenced by the
Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad, which maintains its northern terminal in
the borough. The Bessemer, a subsidiary of the United States Steel Corporation, transports millions of tons of iron ore yearly to the Pittsburgh
district steel mills. Most of the ore is shipped to Albion from the lake
port at Conneaut, Ohio. Great quantities of ore are stored here every
year and hauled to the mills during the winter months; 9,600,000 tons were
hauled in 1937. The Bessemer normally employs about 2,000 men in
Albion and nearby Cranesville and Conneaut Townships.
Rogers Trailer Works is located there. It employs about 30 men and
constructs heavy duty overland hauling units.
Albion has four churches: Methodist Episcopal, Presbyterian, United
Brethren, and St. Lawrence Roman Catholic.
The community is served by the Albion Neivs, a weekly newspaper.
The Airport Journal, national stamp collector s trade magazine, is edited
and published by the News.
The American Legion Labor Day ox roast and picnic is an annual Albion
affair. The town is thrown open to the Legion for the day, and thousands
of visitors from northwestern Pennsylvania and western Ohio flock to the
At 30.0 m.j the highway passes over the Pennsylvania Railroad.
CONNEAUT CREEK, crossed at 30.2 m., courses through a fertile
valley which produces rich crops of hay, wheat, corn, oats, and buck
wheat. The creek is deep and wide and affords excellent muskellunge and
bass fishing. In March, when the spring rains melt the snow of the valley,
the creek often rises to flood stage and deposits a fine silt over the fields,
contributing to their fertility.
Conneaut Creek winds through a valley cut and cross-cut by old stream
beds. Its course has changed many times, leaving backwaters and dead
ponds. Muskrats have found shelter in these small ponds and schoolboys
trap these small fur-bearing animals each winter. Mink, skunk, and weasel are also caught and it is not uncommon for amateur trappers to earn several
hundred dollars each during the season.
At 36.6 m., in WEST SPRINGFIELD, is a junction with US 20 (see
COUNTY TOUR 3); R. from US 6N on US 20.
C. 1615 French missionaries arrive.
1634 Erie Indians defeat Seneca Indians in poisoned arrow warfare. Hundreds killed or wounded on each side.
1654 Senecas exterminate Erie tribe.
1753 French troops build Fort Presque Isle and Fort LeBoeuf.
December 11-16. George Washington visits Fort LeBoeuf (Waterford).
1758 French settlers abandon village at Presque Isle.
1759 French troops evacuate and burn Fort Presque Isle.
1760 British troops occupy and rebuild Fort Presque Isle.
1763 June 18. Indians capture Fort LeBoeuf.
June 20. Indians capture Fort Presque Isle.
1783 Great Britain cedes western district, including Erie County, to U. S.
1784 Treaty with Six Nations gives Triangle lands to Pennsylvania.
1785 General Assembly of Pennsylvania authorizes David Watts and William Miles to survey Tenth Donation District, which included Erie.
1789 General Assembly authorizes payment of $2,000 to Half -Town, Cornplanter, and Big Tree in settlement of claims to part of Triangle lands.
1791 Pennsylvania pays Seneca Indians $800 to quit Triangle lands.
U. S. Government sells Triangle lands to Pennsylvania, after considerable
1792 General Assembly enacts bill to lay out towns at Presque Isle and LeBoeuf.
1794 Andrew Ellicott surveys and lays out town of Waterford.
1795 Treaty of peace with Six Nations at Canandaigua, N. Y., removes remaining obstacles to settlement of Presque Isle.
Andrew Ellicott and William Irvine lay out town of Erie. Thomas Rees
and John Grubb, with their families, settle in Erie. Colonel Seth
Reed erects first dwelling in Erie. Louis Philippe, afterward King
of France, visits Erie.
1796 December 15. Gen. Anthony Wayne dies and is buried in Erie.
1798 Sloop Washington, first sailing vessel built in Erie, launched at the mouth
of Four Mile Creek.
1800 March 12. Erie County established by Act of General Assembly. First county census taken; population 1,468. First public school built at Waterford. Salt industry established.
1801 First mail route opened between Erie and Pittsburgh, by way of Waterford and Meadville.
1803 First county officers elected. First court held in Erie County, the Hon. Jesse Moore, presiding. Opening of court announced by blowing of horn, a custom followed until 1823.
1805 Erie incorporated as borough.
1808 The Mirror, first newspaper in Erie County, started by George Wyeth.
Gen. Anthony Wayne s body disinterred and removed.
1813 March 27. Perry arrives in Erie to build fleet. Sept. 10. Battle of Lake Erie. Perry captures British fleet.
1818 First U. S. lighthouse on Great Lakes built on Presque Isle. May 28. Walk-in-the-Water, first steamship to sail on Great Lakes,
launched at Erie.
1825 June 3. Marquis de LaFayette visits Erie.
1826 May 18. The steamboat William Penn, 200 tons, of the Erie & Chautauqua Steamship Company, launched at Erie.
1830 First major influx of German population.
1831 Horace Greeley works as printer on the Erie Gazette.
1832 Girard Township incorporated.
1833 Waterford incorporated as borough.
1834 North East incorporated as borough.
Wattsburg incorporated as borough.
1836 Proposed canal connecting Erie with Pittsburgh quadruples price of real estate within few weeks. Sales in February exceed $1,000,000.
1839 Building constructed for Erie branch of United States Bank; used later as customs house.
1841 August 9. The steamship Erie burns near Silver Creek, N. Y.; 249 persons drowned; 26 of whom were from Erie; and $180,000 in gold and silver lost.
1843 November 9. U.S.S. Michigan (Wolverine) launched on Lake Erie.
1844 December 5. Queen of the West and R. S. Reed, first boats to enter Erie on new Erie & Pittsburgh Canal, dock at foot of Sassafras St.
1846 Girard incorporated as borough.
1847 First telegraph line opened in Erie County.
1851 Erie incorporated as city.
1852 January 19. First passenger train enters Erie, on 6-foot gauge tracks of the Erie & North East Railroad.
1854 Railroad War. Popular resentment against standardizing the gauge results in a riot.
1855 Police department organized in Erie. West wing of county courthouse completed.
1858 City divided into four wards.
1861 Albion incorporated as borough. Abraham Lincoln visits Erie.
1863 October 22. First newspaper in Corry, the Corry City News, established.
1866 South Erie incorporated as borough. Gen. U. S. Grant and Andrew Johnson visit Erie.
1870 South Erie Borough annexed to Erie City.
1871 Erie Canal to Pittsburgh abandoned.
1874 St. Vincent s Hospital dedicated.
1876 Perry s original flagship, Lawrence, raised from Presque Isle Bay and rebuilt. First telephone exchange opened.
1878 First labor union, Typographical Union, receives charter.
1880 Wayne Blockhouse rebuilt.
1881 July i. Hamot Hospital dedicated.
1891 W. L. Scott, Erie industrial magnate and philanthropist, dies. Grover Cleveland attends funeral.
1896 Public Library built.
1898 Hammermill Paper Company founded. May 1. Capt. Charles Vernon Gridley of Erie fires first shot in Battle
of Manila Bay.
1910 March 18. President William H. Taft arrives in Erie and speaks for Y.M.C.A.
1911 General Electric Company builds branch in Erie.
May 17. St. Peter s Cathedral consecrated.
1914 Erie Forge & Steel Company founded.
1915 August 3. Mill Creek flood causes 25 deaths and large property loss.
1916 Erie National guardsmen take part in war on Mexican border.
1918 July 14. Erie troops participate in Battle of Marne in France.
1920 Academy High School constructed.
1921 Presque Isle made a State Park.
East High School finished.
1926 Mercy hurst College constructed.
1931 Buses replace trolley cars on streets.
Church of the Covenant built.
Strong Vincent High School constructed.
1936 President Franklin D. Roosevelt speaks at mass meeting.
1938 Erie Municipal airport opened, and mail and passenger service inaugurated.