Saturday, June 30, 2012

Record Bar ad Dec. 20, 1970 Liberty Plaza, Erie, PA

Record Bar in Erie, PA had a huge classical music section, as well as sections for folk, country, rock, easy listening, soul, r&b and jazz. The first ad for the new Liberty Plaza appeared in the newspaper on December 6, 1970.

The advertisement shown on the right is from December 20, 1970 (from the Erie Times-News). It features albums by Blood, Sweat & Tears, Chicago, James Taylor, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Isaac Hayes. Classical and electronic music was popular. Selections on the left include Music from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, Furtwangler and Carl Nielsen.

The Record Bar also sold a lot of 45's and attracted a lot of neighborhood kids.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Aris Theatre remodeled in Sept. of 1925 in Erie, PA

Erie Dispatch-Herald, September 6, 1925.
The Aris Theatre on Peach Street was re-opened after a two-year hiatus on September 7, 1925, part of Rowland & Clark's chain of movie theaters.

The Aris was located on Peach Street between 16th and 17th Street and had been closed for nearly two years. Rowland & Clark, who controlled a chain of theaters in Pittsburgh, PA, had taken over the Strand in Erie (at 922 State St.) in March of 1920. They also ran the Perry, the State and the Colonial in Erie, PA. (They signed a lease in 1921 to run the Majestic in Erie, which at the time was owned by Feiber & Shea.)

The Aris, located at 1611 Peach Street, was a 650 seat movie theater. Ted Thompson managed the theater in 1925. James W. Clark was half of the Rowland & Clark team.

The Aris was still in existence in 1948: The Aris was still in existence in 1948. 

Learn all that you ever wanted to know about Erie, PA at Old Time Erie

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Record Bar in the Liberty Plaza, Erie, PA 1970 to 1976

Record Bar at 3524 Liberty St. circa 1973. Photo ©Mike Lyon 2012.

Record Bar in the Liberty Plaza, Erie, PA 1970 to 1976

Record Bar opened at 3524 Liberty Street in the Liberty Plaza in Erie, Pennsylvania in Dec. of 1970. This was one store in the chain owned by Trans Continent Record Sales. Len Silver was the President of Trans Continent, which was based in Buffalo, NY; they also owned Porter Electronics.

The Liberty Plaza store remained under the name Record Bar until at least 1976. The name was later changed to Record Theatre so all the stores in the chain would have one name (and possibly to avoid confusion with a totally unrelated Record Bar chain based in North Carolina).

Mary Lombardo transferred from the Record Bar on State Street in Downtown Erie to manage the new Liberty Plaza Record Bar, which opened a couple of weeks before Christmas 1970. Early staff members included Steve Juskewycz (the second manager), Mike Lyon (the third manager), Lee Taylor (the fourth manager), Bill Sheely, David VanAmburg (1970-71 and 1973-74), Leo McCabe and Mike Nuber. 

Record Bar at 3524 Liberty St. circa 1973 with David VanAmburg
playing guitar behind the counter. Photo ©Mike Lyon 2012.
Mike Lyon was named manager in 1973 and was fired on Sept. 13, 1973.  He opened his own store, Record Country, in July 1978 on Buffalo Road in Wesleyville, where he was in business for 26.5 years. 

Lee Taylor and Bill Sheely (who both played in the band Lincoln) purchased the Record Theatre locations in Erie shortly after that and changed the name to Razzberrys. They had stores at 3518 Liberty St. and 927 State St. (and one short-lived store in the West Erie Plaza). Lee died Feb. 26, 2000.

Mike Nuber aka Rasta Mike, was the lead singer of Symon Grace and the Tuesday Blues (which also included organist John Novello). They had an East Coast hit with "You Won't Get Me Workin" whose lyrics state: 'You won't get me workin'/Oh no/'Cause I tried workin' before/Let me tell you that workin' is a drag.' Rasta Mike only worked at the Record Bar for a few weeks. He lives in the Edinboro area. 

Other employees of the Liberty Plaza Record Bar include: Wanda Bialorucki (worked there around 1972; she died Oct. 27, 1995), Pam Verity (1972 to 1976), Bob Dobiesz (worked until the fall of 1973), Jimmy Daly, Missy Trocki, Carolyn Weiss, Carol Pollock (drove a yellow Mustang), Cathy Briggs and Bridget Sullivan and RussMarie Johnson (1974). Bob Seaman, Billy Hodak and Richie Kowalczyk (another member of Lincoln) also worked at Record Bar.

Record Bar was so popular that Grants decided to close its record department in the Liberty Plaza location due to dwindling sales.

Enjoy more fun facts about the history of Erie, Pennsylvania at: Old Time Erie

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Knox 5 and 10 became Woolworth's in Downtown Erie, PA

Knox 5 and 10 became Woolworth's in Downtown Erie, PA
S. H. Knox & Co. 5 and 10¢ store at 818 State St. became Woolworth's.
This 1915 postcard courtesy of Joanne Marchant Heim.
The old card is postmarked 1915. It shows the S. H. Knox 5 and 10¢ store on the right in downtown Erie, Pennsylvania near Eighth and State Street. This chain was owned by Seymour H. Knox and it appears to be the third store in his retail chain. Seymour later partnered with Frank W. Woolworth and changed the name to Woolworth's, said Joanne Marchant Heim. Woolworth's had a long history in downtown Erie and was a mainstay until it closed in 1994.

Woolworth's opened a store in the Liberty Plaza in October of 1955. You can read about the Liberty Plaza store here.

Woolworth's also had a store in the Perry Plaza for a brief time. The Perry Plaza store opened in 1952.

Enjoy more fun facts and photos of Erie, Pennsylvania at: Old Time Erie

Woolworth's Liberty Plaza 1955 Grand Opening Erie, PA

-ad in Erie Daily Times, Oct. 12, 1955

Woolworth's Liberty Plaza 1955 Grand Opening Erie, PA

F. W. Woolworth Co. held a grand opening for its new Woolworth's store in the Liberty Plaza October 13 to 15, 1955. The plaza boasted parking for 900 cars, and Woolworth's touted its new Self Service counters. 

The lunch counter at this new Erie, PA location on Liberty Street had 21 seats, and you could get a banana split for a quarter, a hamburger for 50¢, a hotdog for 15¢, hot chocolate for a dime, or a cup of coffee for 7¢.

You could also buy a parakeet for $2.27, a gold fish in a bowl for 37¢ or a blouse for 97¢. The store also had a curtain department and a wrought iron department.

Woolworth's still had two locations in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1994, one in the Liberty Plaza (3622 Liberty Street) and one at 818 State Street in downtown Erie. Both of these stores closed in early 1994.

Woolworth's had a store in the Perry Plaza in 1952. Not sure when this one closed.  The Perry Plaza had parking for 1,000 cars:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fred Biletnikoff Erie's All-American Football Player

Fred Biletnikoff Erie's All-American Football Player

Hall-of Famer Fred Biletnikoff had a long career with the Oakland Raiders, but he got a humble start playing for Tech Memorial High School, graduating in 1961. There is a tribute to him on Peach Street.

He was born on Feb. 23, 1943 in Erie and attended Florida State University, racking up the stats. 

Gene Cuneo wrote a nice tribute to Fred for this All-American Banquet booklet: "Fred is Erie's first 'Real' All American. When you take a boy from the North East side of Erie who goes to a West side school, plays basketball for an Italian Coach- Al Calabrese, plays football for a German and a Polish Coach- Walt Strosser and Ray Dombrowski, then goes to a Southern University- Florida State-plays for a Swede- Bill Peterson, marries an Irish girl and then goes and signs with a West Coast team- there you have a 'real' All American."

Here's a video of Freddie Biletnikoff telling his story:

Enjoy more historic facts and photos of Erie natives at Old Time Erie

Bike Race on French Street in Erie, PA 1966

Bike Race on French Street in Erie, PA 1966

Karen Spaeder, center of photo, was cut off by the dark-haired girl on the left.
The street was lined with kids of all ages waiting to line up for the big bike race on August 17, 1966. The little ones are shown here furiously pedaling their tricycles. This shot was taken near between 11th and 12th on French Street in Erie, Pennsylvania. The cop on the right looks like he'd rather be somewhere else.

The race was sponsored by the Times Publishing Company whose offices were on East 12th Street and French. Michael Camp remembers riding his red Sears bike in this race. "I wasn't dead last, but I sure didn't win," he said.

Find more fun facts and photos of Erie, PA at Old Time Erie

Mace Electronics Spectacular 5 Erie County Fieldhouse 1982

Front of four page flyer from Sept. 1982.

Mace Electronics Spectacular 5 at the Erie County Fieldhouse in 1982

The fifth annual Mace Spectacular was held at the Erie County Fieldhouse in Erie, PA Sept. 2 thru 5, 1982. More than 25 vendors set up booths at the fieldhouse, and you could buy stereo equipment, computers, car stereos, microwaves, games and televisions. 

Vendors included Technics, Audio Technica, JVC, Teac, Panasonic, ADC, Maxwell, Loran, Bush, GE, Fisher VTR, Quasar, RCA, Fisher Audio, Sanyo, Sound Dynamics, Mura, Jet Sound, Jensen and Panasonic Auto. Tappan, Toshiba and Litton sold microwaves. Apple Computers showed its latest models. Mace Electronics had a couple of booths set up for custom auto.

You could also buy a GE eight hour video recorder for $488 which had electronic tuning and a remote control, pretty novel for the time. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mace Electronics' Mace Spectacular at the Erie County Fieldhouse

Mace Electronics' Mace Spectacular at the Erie County Fieldhouse

I used wait all year for the big event- the Mace Spectacular- at the Erie County Fieldhouse on Route 8 in Erie, Pennsylvania. The place was jam-packed with stereo equipment and it was LOUD! Row upon row of equipment, some of which was featured in Stereo Review magazine. I saved every penny until I could afford the massive 20 watt Technics system. It had two speakers that were so big that you could sit on them. And a turntable, for crying out loud. A far cry from the MP3 players and bookshelf speakers of today. 

OK, so I'm kidding about the 20 watt system being massive, but it was loud enough to annoy my neighbors. I could pick up Canadian rock stations such as Q-104 and hear all kinds of songs that were not played here.

It was fun to walk up and down every isle and see what new systems were available. I remember one company rep selling blue cassette tapes that would not melt in a microwave. A microwave? What was that?

Mace Levin owned Mace Electronics. He had stores at 2631 West 8th Street, the Millcreek Mall, the Eastway Plaza in Harborcreek, the Meadville Mall in Crawford County, PA, the Chautauqua Mall in NY, one on Route 20 in Ashtabula, OH and stores in State College and Altoona, PA. (Mace had a previous location at 24th and French that was destroyed by fire.)

Al Jenkins and Pete Zesinger were salesmen at the W. 8th Street store.

Read about the Mace Spectacular 5 at the Erie County Fieldhouse.

Now all the music fits on one MP3 player.

Enjoy more fun facts and photos of historic Erie, PA at: Old Time Erie

Sunday, June 24, 2012

McDonald's 4319 Peach St. Erie PA 1961 Mother's Day ad

McDonald's ad in Erie Morning News May 13, 1961

McDonald's 4319 Peach St. Erie, PA 1961 Mother's Day ad

Cook-out, mom style? Would you really take your mom to McDonald's for Mother's Day? Hmmm.

This 1961 ad for McDonald's at 4319 Peach Street takes us back to the day when hamburgers cost 15¢ each, cheeseburgers were 19¢ apiece, golden French fries were 10¢, as was a cup of coffee, a coke or a root beer. A triple thick shake sold for 20¢ and a cup of refreshing cold milk was 12¢.

McDonald's franchise #110 at 4319 Peach Street was opened by Albert Covelli around 1959 and was later owned by his son Sam Covelli, of Warren, Ohio. Sam won the 1988  Golden Arch Award, which is given every two years to the six best McDonald's operators in the world.

The menu was much smaller in 1961 than it is today. The original McDonald's had the Golden Arches outside and you could walk up and order. They later added a sit-down, indoor dining area.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Rola Cola- Buy it by the case or mix and match

Rola Bottline Co. ad in Erie Morning News, 8-29-1968

Rola Cola anyone?

Remember loading up the kids in the station wagon for a trip to Rola Bottling Company at 341 East 3rd Street in Erie, Pennsylvania?

The plant sat on East 3rd near Parade Street. You could buy a case of Rola Cola, or mix-and-match between twelve different flavors. 

Rola Bottlind Co. was owned by Matthias and Virginia Rothstein.

Cinema 18 opened in 1968- from Poitier to porn

Cinema 18 opened in 1968- from Poitier to porn

Cinema-18 ad in Erie Morning News, August 18, 1968

The grand opening of Cinema 18 took place in August of 1968. This one-screen theater was located at 145 West 18th Street in Erie, PA. The screen was located at the back end of the theater, and you could hear trains rumble by along the 19th Street tracks. Not the most ideal place to see a movie. The opening feature was the Sidney Poitier film "For Love of Ivy." 

Cinema 18 was designed by Julius Thurtzi and Associates of Erie. 

My husband saw the movie "Doc" (about Doc Holliday) at Cinema 18 in 1971. I saw the Neil Young concert film "Rust Never Sleeps" there in 1979. By 1983, Cinema 18 had turned into a porn theater.
Enjoy more fun facts and photos of Erie, PA at Old Time Erie

Friday, June 22, 2012

Peninsula Drive-In Flea Market 1976 now Tom Ridge Environmental Center

Windshield card for Peninsula Flea Market, Aug. 22, 1976.

Peninsula Drive-In Flea Market 1976

The Peninsula Drive-In Theatre in Millcreek Township was a popular place in the seventies and early eighties. Movies were shown on two screens. Cars would line up in the early morning hours every Sunday morning in the summertime, some packed full of items to sell, and some full of customers. You never knew what you would find at the flea market. We bought a dog, comic books, cases of pop and lots of other items which are now forgotten. 

Buyers paid one price to get in, and parked on the south end of the drive-in. Sellers paid a slightly higher admission fee, and were herded to the north end of the drive-in. The place was packed on nice, sunny Sundays, and people came in from the tri-state areas to find bargains in Erie County, Pennsylvania. Lots of families spent the day at the flea market.

The old Peninsula Drive-in flea market is now the site of the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC) at 301 Peninsula Drive, Erie PA 16505. It was across the street from Waldameer Park.

Chuck and Ginny's opened in 1961 in Erie, PA

ad in the Erie Morning News, May 26, 1961.

Chuck and Ginny's opened in 1961 in Erie, PA

Chuck and Ginny's is well known for its spaghetti sauce. This family operated Italian restaurant was opened by Chuck and Virginia Serafini Smith in May of 1961 at 1064 West 5th Street in Erie, Pennsylvania and shut its doors in October of 2007. The address of the business was later shown as 429 Raspberry Street, but it is the same corner building. 

I ate at Chuck and Ginny's with co-workers a few times before the restaurant closed, and the plate of spaghetti and meatballs was served on a huge plate, providing enough food for two meals. Annie was our hostess. There was a small dining area as you walked in the entrance on Fifth Street, and the bar was in the north part of the building. If those walls could talk. It's a shame that many of the old family owned restaurants no longer exist.

You could still buy their sauce at Ginny's Place on West Ridge Road after Chuck and Ginny's closed. Not sure if that is still the case.

Enjoy more fun and fascinating strands of Erie, PA's history at: Old Time Erie

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Erie, PA Theaters in 1918: Columbia, Strand, Majestic and More

Erie, PA Theaters in 1918: Columbia, Strand, Majestic and more

Erie County Department of Health rating of movie theaters in 1918.
There were 17 theaters in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1918. Five of them were on Parade Street: the Isis, the Keystone, the New Wilkay, the Plaza and the White Eagle. Three theaters were on State Street, including the Nixon, the Princess and the Strand (the Warner Theatre didn't open until 1931).

Only four of the theaters had excellent sanitary conditions: the Strand, the Columbia, the Colonial and the Majestic. 

Joanne Marchant Heim added, "I never knew the Hillcrest was originally called the Hippodrome!!! The Strand and the Columbia were owned by Warner Bros. They could well afford to keep up their theaters and even build more, like the Warner during the Depression, thanks to Sam Warner. In 1926, he convinced his brothers to work with a sound engineering company called Western Electric and together they formed Vitaphone. The rest is history."

You might recognize some of the theaters in this list because they also appeared in an article on Old Time Erie called Erie Theaters in 1948: Warner, Columbia, Strand, Regent and more.

Enjoy more fun historical facts about Erie, PA at: Old Time Erie

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Central Market on State Street in Erie, PA

Central Market on 16th and State Street in Erie, PA

The Central Market was a huge retail outlet where people could buy fresh produce, fruit, meat, bread, milk and other items. Merchants could rent individual stalls, or a series of stalls, to sell their goods. Stalls on the State Street side had a door facing State so that goods could be unloaded from the trolley or from horse-drawn carts. I have the original slide of the picture shown above, so if you see it on some other site, it's a bootleg.

In addition to the Central Market, dealers could also rent stalls at the State Street Market or the Parade Street Market. It was not uncommon for a retailer to have stalls in two or three market houses. 

This shot was taken a little bit above the Erie Maennerchor Club, looking north on State St. The 'Black Label' beer billboard was on top of the building which now houses Jr's Last Laugh. You can see the railroad bridge which crosses state just south of 14th Street.

The Central Market was demolished by the Erie Redevelopment Authority. A bowling alley was built on this site. It was later turned into the Erie School District administrative offices and then became Perseus House at 1511 Peach St.

Here is a shot of the interior of the Central Market from the 1920s

Enjoy more historic facts and photos of Erie, PA at: Old Time Erie

Erie, PA Theaters in 1948, Warner, Columbia, Strand and more

Erie, PA Theaters in 1948: Warner, Columbia, Strand, Regent and more

Ad in the Erie Daily Times from April 2, 1948
Let's see how many Erie, Pennsylvania movie theaters that you remember. We'll start with the biggest, the Warner Theatre on State Street. If you went to the Warner on Saturday, April 3, 1948, you could see 17 big cartoons beginning at 10 a.m. for only a quarter plus tax. That included two hours of cartoons for kiddies of all ages, such as Bugs Bunny, Little Lulu, Daffy Duck and Tom and Jerry. What kid would say no to that?

You could see three big westerns at the State Theater on Friday April 2, 1948; a matinee was 25¢, the evening show was 33¢, and children cost 17¢ each, plus tax. The Columbia and the Strand offered the typical night fare with first or second run features.

There were plenty of neighborhood theaters, such as Hillcrest at 2505 Peach Street, the Folly at 26th and Poplar, the American, the Lyric at 548 West 18th Street, the Gem at 4th and Cherry, the Regent at 1019 Parade Street, the 18th Street Theater and the Aris Theater. (The Lake Theatre at 921 East 26th Street shows up in the 1957 Erie city directory.)

Warner Brothers controlled three theaters: the Warner, the Strand and the Columbia.

Here's a picture of the Warner Theatre on State Street about 1965.

Joanne Marchant Heim said, "In 1971, Congress used the anti trust law to force the movie studios to sell their theaters and Warner was forced to seel it's Warner, Strand and Stanley Theaters. The Columbia in Erie was gone by then. Warner sold the Strand and Warner in Erie to Cinemette, Inc."

Cinema 18 opened in 1968 on West 18th Street.

Here is a list of Erie movie theaters from 1918 which includes the Columbia, Folly, American, the Gem and more. In this list, the Strand was located at 922 State Street and the Majestic was at 20-22 West 10th Street. Did the Strand later move to 13 West 10th Street (the current home of the Erie Playhouse)?

Which theater was your favorite?

Enjoy more fun and fascinating reflections on the history of Erie, PA at: Old Time Erie

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Prophecy Another American Rock'n'Roll Story 1982

Prophecy Another American Rock'n'Roll Story 1982 pre-Stabilizers

Prophecy was one of the hottest bands in Erie, Pennsylvania in the summer of 1982, receiving airplay on K-104 FM and garnering the interest of record labels. The band included Bassist/vocalist Dave Christenson, keyboardist John Schaaf, drummer Brad Vargo and guitarist Mark Szuchmanski.

Dave Christenson later formed the Stabilizers with Rich Nevens and the duo signed with Columbia Records. The Stablizers recorded at least two albums, but Columbia only released the Tyranny album. The band had one Top 30 hit, "One Simple Thing." You can watch it here:

Check out these interviews with Stabilizers' members Dave and Rich from 1986. The first is an interview with Joan Murray on Newswatch 35 WSEE-TV (check out Phil Fatica!) and with Stacy Nogy from WJET-TV. This clip was posted to YouTube by ErieSummer85:

Monday, June 18, 2012

Koehler Beer ad 1952 There is no better Beer!

Koehler Beer ad 1952 There is no better Beer

Koehler Beer ad from Dec. 8, 1952 Erie Daily Times.
Here's a neat old advertisement for Koehler Beer, which was produced by the Erie Brewing Company on State Street in Erie, Pennsylvania. The Koehler Brewery was established in 1847.

The ad reads, "A Taste Treat that Can't be Beat...of course it's...KOEHLER'S. There is no better BEER!" The illustrations show a beer and a burger with cartoons of German characters with catsup and onions. 

In December of 1952, Koehler's advertised three fine brews: Lager, Pilsener and Jackson's Select.

The only thing missing from this ad? Jackson Koehler, of course. (Does anyone know the name of the actor who portrayed Jackson Koehler in print and tv ads?)

John Biggie says, "They used to offer tap rooms free of charge to anyone having an office party or something of that order...Beer was free, right out of the pipes."

Here's a link to a WSEE-TV interview with Koehler collector Mark Dana which shows a crowd watching the old Koehler building on State Street in its final stages of demolition:

Here's a photo of the Koehler beer sign on 10th and State Street.

Enjoy more fun facts about the history of Erie, PA at: Old Time Erie

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Two Books for You- Erie Public Library in 1899

Two Books for You- Erie Public Library in 1899

Postcard of the old Erie Public Library on South Park Row in Erie, PA.
The old Erie Public Library building sat on the corner of South Park Row and French Street, in Erie, Pennsylvania. The library was dedicated on February 16, 1899. The original tenants of this building were the Erie School District’s administrative offices, the Public Museum, the Public Library and the Art Club of Erie.

In 1899, the rules were very strict: 
  • Two books may be taken out at one time, provided one only is fiction
  • Works of fiction may be retained seven days; other books fourteen days
  • Marking, writing in, turning down the leaves of, or otherwise defacing books is prohibited. Under the law, any willful damage to Library property renders the offender liable to a severe penalty
  • When a book is due, notice will be mailed to the delinquent. If not promptly returned, a messenger will be sent for it, and a fine of twenty-five cents imposed 
In 2012, the rules are not so strict:
  • One hundred items may be taken out at one time (with limits on DVDs, CDs and Playaways)
  • Magazines and DVDs circulate for one week, best sellers for two weeks, books for three weeks
The library moved from the old location in Perry Square to a new building at 160 East Front Street, where the grand opening was held on December 23, 1996. The Blasco Memorial Library is definitely not your grandmother's library. The old library building on South Park Row is now part of the Federal Courthouse complex for the U.S. District Court, Erie Division.

Here is a plea from the library trustees from 1898.

Enjoy more historical facts and photos of Erie, Pennsylvania at: Old Time Erie

Saturday, June 16, 2012

State Street at Night- Murphy's and the Boston Store in Erie, PA

State Street at Night- Murphy's and the Boston Store in Erie, PA

State Street night scene by Chester Wasielewski. ©2012 Debbi Lyon.
Does this remind you of the good old days when you could shop in Downtown Erie, Pennsylvania at night? Pulakos 926 State Street is shown on the left, and G. C. Murphy Co. is the next large building to the north. You can see the Boston Store clock tower in the upper center of the photo. This is a really nice shot of the Christmas Lights on State Street.

You can also see the Boston Store in this article posted on Old Time Erie on May 19, 2012:

Here's another shot of the Boston Store:

Friday, June 15, 2012

Mercyhurst College Summer 1958 Expenses

Mercyhurst College Summer 1958 Expenses

Mercyhurst College in Erie, PA was bestowed with University status early in 2012. Once upon a time it was a humble, all-girl school run by nuns. It's amazing how much this sprawling campus has grown over the years, with a world class hockey team and a top tier intelligence studies program. Here are some interesting facts from a 1958 summer session brochure:
  • Classes were held June 23 to August 2, 1958
  • Tuition was $12.00 per credit (yes, TWELVE dollars)
  • Room and board was $120.00 for the entire summer session
  • Lab fees ranged from $5 to $10
  • Classes included Elementary Latin, German Literature, French Literature, Zoology, American Government and U.S. and Pennsylvania History (among others)
  • The disclaimer stated that 'Courses listed will not be given unless sufficient students enroll for them. Other courses will be added if there is sufficient demand.'
Curious about Mercyhurst University fees for the summer 2012 session per 3 credit course? Here they are:
  • Traditional Undergraduate Students- Erie Campus $2,715
  • Adult Students- Erie Campus $1,851
  • North East and West Campus student $1,380
  • Registration fee $45
  • Fee for Science Labs $140

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hold Your Cards! BINGO at St. Mary's in 1961

May 26, 1961 ad in the Erie Morning News.

Hold Your Cards! B-I-N-G-O at St. Mary's Every Fri. and Sat. Night!

Get out your daubers and your lucky charms and set 'em up. It's time for B-I-N-G-O! St. Mary's auditorium was packed to the rafters every Friday and Saturday night in the fifties, sixties, seventies and eighties. People were crammed into the auditorium, on the stage, in the hallway leading to the school and in the school itself. 

Women had bingo cards spread across the table in front of them. Some would play more than a dozen cards at a time, covering the numbers with red or green ink from a dauber, or vintage translucent red bingo chips. A cloud of cigarette smoke hung in the air.

The kitchen served burgers, fries, pop, slices of pies and scoops of ice cream. Chances are pretty good that someone in your family played bingo at St. Mary's on East 10th and German in Erie, Pennsylvania at least once a week. Busses brought loads of people from throughout the region to play here.

Enjoy more fun facts and old photos of Erie, Pennsylvania at Old time Erie

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Penn State University costs in 1955 and Behrend info

Penn State University costs in 1955 and Behrend info

Pages from a 1955 brochure "Introducing Penn State"
If the price of a college education doesn't give you sticker shot yet, just look back at this 1955 brochure from Penn State University in State College, PA. The minimum cost per semester at that time was $461 for male PA residents, and $462.50 for female PA residents. And there were some pretty strict rules to follow: "All freshmen are required to live in University residence halls and take their meals in University dining halls. All undergraduate women are required to live on campus at all times. After the first year, men students are privileged to live in fraternity houses or rooming houses not on campus."

Penn State had six centers that offered undergraduate courses: Altoona, DuBois, Behrend (Erie), Hazleton, Ogontz (Philadelphia) and Pottsville. 

Penn State also offered associate degrees in Drafting and Design Technology and in Electrical Technology at: Allentown, Altoona, DuBois, Erie, Hazleton, York, McKeesport, Ogontz, Pottsville, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre.

Wesleyville First to Build War Memorial in 1945

Wesleyville First to Build War Memorial

The Erie Tribune, August 26, 1945 courtesy of Nancy Schaffner Coake.

Here's a post in honor of the Wesleyville Centennial, which the borough is celebrating this year. The Erie Tribune featured a front page story about the construction of Memorial Field, the same five-acre plot where the Centennial picnic and fireworks were held in early June.

"Long before V-J Day, actually even before Victory in Europe, Wesleyville started plans for the construction of a suitable memorial for its men and women who fought in the armed forces and helped bring World War II to its victorious end.

Late in 1944, representatives from each civic organization met and formed the Wesleyville Memorial Association, Inc., with the purpose in mind to build a memorial athletic center in tribute to all Wesleyville G. I.'s, and particularly those who gave their lives for freedom. 

Through public subscription and various benefits, ample funds were secured to purchase necessary property and start clearing and grading work."

Pullman Train Tickets Erie to Pittsburgh, PA 1926-27

Pullman Tickets Erie to Pittsburgh, PA 1926-27

A luxury trip from Erie to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 30, 1926 or on August 12, 1927 cost $1.13, with 38 cents of the fare going to the railroad company. Passengers caught the train at the old Union Station in Erie (the new Union Station opened in December of 1927).

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Top 100 Clubs in Erie, PA in 1959

Top 100 Clubs in Erie, PA in 1959 Legion, Moose, CYS, PP, PNA etc.

You've heard the expression that Erie had a bar on every corner, right? The list of clubs in Erie in 1959 was not too shabby. Can you imagine stopping at each one of these clubs on the way home from work to sign in? You'd be lucky to get home by midnight. 

You could bowl at the Polish Falcons, Siebenbuerger, St. Mary's Club and Wesleyville Athletic Club.

What was your favorite club in Erie, Pennsylvania? Favorite spot for a wedding reception? Be sure to click on the title of this post so you can leave a comment on the next page. I look forward to reading them.

Here is a list of the top 35 defunct clubs in Erie, PA:

Enjoy more interesting fact and photos of Erie, PA at:

WERG-FM Erie, PA Heavy Metal Show Nov. 6, 1984 Richie Van Halen Survey

Richie Van Halen WERG Heavy Metal Show Survey 11/6/1984

You can listen live to Mix 94.1 Canton's Best Mix and hear Kathy and Rik every morning from 6 to 10 a.m. But did you know Rik got his start in Erie, PA when he was a student at Gannon University? It's true!

Here's a survey from the 'Heavy Metal Show' from Nov. 6, 1984, when Dio topped listener requests with "The Last in Line" and Van Halen topped Richie's weekly faves with "Hot For Teacher." Gotta love Rich's comment about Helix (Barforama!).

Richie Van Halen was also a DJ at WMDI-FM around 1980, but it must have been when he was in high school. It's great to see someone making a living doing what they love. Long live rock!

Check out Rik's blog:

Monday, June 11, 2012

Boxing Champs Bizzarro and Strub- Erie, PA 1971

Boxing Champs Bizzarro and Strub 1971 Interview in the Erie Press

The Pittsburgh Press ran a small article about Max Strub on Jan. 21, 1930 with the headline 'Strub Scores Kayo.' "Wheeling, W.V.- Maxie Strub, Erie lightweight, stopped Ray Collins of Philadelphia, in the fifth round here last night. Each weighed 136. Near the close of the fourth a right chop to the jaw dropped Collins for nine, and a left uppercut to the jaw had him out at the bell. The fifth was hardly under way when a short right ended the bout."

Here's a link to Max Strub's stats:

Max Strub retired in 1938, the year that Johnny Bizzarro was born.

Johnny Bizzarro got his start in the Police Athletic League in Erie, Pennsylvania and was coached by Sam Gemelli. Gemelli served as Erie Police Chief from 1972 to 1980.

Here's a link to Johnny Bizzarro's state:
Here's a rare video of Johnny Bizzarro fighting Carlos Ortiz in Pittsburgh, PA on June 20, 1966 in the Super Leightweight World Championship bout at the Civic Arena:

Just in case you want to start training:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Perry Plaza in Erie, PA turned 60 on June 5

Perry Plaza in Erie PA turned 60 on June 5

The Perry Plaza on Broad Street and Fairmont Parkway in Erie, Pennsylvania opened on June 5, 1952. Incredibly, the plaza had two grocery stores, Loblaws and A&P. The plaza still exists and is conveniently located on Route 20; the eastside Bayfront Connector runs right behind the plaza. 

Property for the plaza was selected on May 24, 1950 by Broad-Erie, Inc. Attorney Leonard P. Schur was secretary of this corporation. I. Margolin & Sons began construction on the plaza on July 27, 1951. The original plaza tenants, in addition to Loblaws and Atlantic and Pacific (A&P) included: Gray Drug Store, Quaker Dry Cleaner, Union Bank, F. W. Woolworth, Zehe's Bakery, Carter Shoes, National Meats & Vegetables, Pennsylvania Dutch Farms, Dean Phipps Store, Boston Factory Shoe Repair and a Pennsylvania State liquor store. 

Loblaws was billed as 'Erie's Most Modern 100% Self-Serve Market' and was open Thursday night until 8 p.m. and Friday night until 9 p.m. Erie County Farms currently occupies this site. Dunn Tire occupies the old Union Bank location on the right side of this drawing. 

This plaza was on the smaller side, with parking for 1,000 cars; the West Erie Plaza boasted parking for 3,000 cars (see article "West Erie Plaza Map 1971 posted on Old Time Erie on May 17, 2012: 

My parents shopped at Loblaws in the early seventies. I remember a bar on the right side of this plaza. Union Bank was in a different location than the one shown here- it was a few stores to the left of the one in this drawing, and it had a unique feature, you could drive right through the building and come out behind the plaza.

The Perry Plaza Bowling Center opened around 1953 at 2230 Broad Street, in the corner where the two sections of the plaza meet. I bowled there many, many times in the seventies and eighties. It had 20 lanes and was equipped with AMF automatic pinspotters. And, you could get pepperoni balls at the pizza shop nearby.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

P.A. Meyer Fire State Street Erie, PA part 1

P.A. Meyer Fire State Street, Erie, PA pt. 1

P.A. Meyer & Sons aftermath of fire. Photo by Chester Wasielewski. ©2012 Debbi Lyon.
P.A. Meyer & Sons was located on State Street in Erie, Pennsylvania, in between the Warner Theatre and Trask's department store (which was torn down and replaced by Mid City Towers, shown on the right in the  picture above.) P.A. Meyer's caught fire in the winter and was completely gutted.

See the article "Warner Theatre State Street about 1965" for a photo of P.A. Meyer's before the fire: P. A. Meyer before the fire. This article was published on Old Time Erie blog on May 21, 2012.

Bruce Moorhead was a rookie on the Erie Fire Department when the call came in. "Got called in on Friday night, around 7 p.m., got relieved Sunday morning at 7 a.m. I believe the snorkel froze with the basket hanging out over the burnt out building," said Bruce. "That was one h--- of a cold night." He responded from Station 8 at 23rd and Ash Street.

The building that formerly housed P. A. Meyer & Son caught fire on Friday, January 27, 1978. By that time State Street had been changed to include a pedestrian friendly shopping area as part of the Erie downtown redevelopment under Mayor Louis Tullio. The planters shown here are barely visible with all the snow plowed up against them.

Enjoy more fun facts and photos of historic Erie, Pennsylvania at: Old Time Erie

Friday, June 8, 2012

Rotival 1958 Study of Industrial Decline in Erie, PA

Rotival 1958 Study for Erie, PA Industrial Decline

Maurice H. Rotival & Associates prepared a Reconnaissance Study for Erie, Pennsylvania in 1958. One of the observations dealt with industrial decline in Erie County following World War II. We learned in a recent article on Old Time Erie (posted June 5, 2012) that there were 550 industries in the Erie region in 1929. The Rotival report tells what happened to some of the industries:
"Jarecki Manufacturing Company, an old family firm, was bought by an out-of-town firm. When they closed down, employees had no pension plan, and suffered hardship. This is an example of former industrial policy which brought about distrust of Erie firms in general. After a family dispute the plant was sold to H. K. Porter for a warehouse for Louis Marx Company toys. The foundry was utilized for Cessna-Erie Corporation castings.
Various causes are assigned for the disappearance of certain manufacturers from the Erie scene:
Conductor Manufacturing Co. (Reed Standard) moved to New York to consolidate their operations.
Griswold Manufacturing closed down in 1957. An old family firm, it began by producing iron kitchen utensils and recently tried converting its products to electric utensils. Its foundry has been taken over by another firm. The rest of its quarters were temporarily occupied by small industries. Its employment was 100-200. There has been little if any loss of jobs.
Its 90-year-old building was sold in September 1958 to Cohen Industrial Supply and Cohen Office Equipment Inc. The plant has 50,000 square feet and will be remodeled for display floors. The Cohen firm, 7 years old, has been occupying rented quarters covering 3,000 square feet.
Pelham Electric Company went bankrupt; recently there has been some attempt to revive the firm.
Talon moved to Meadville where the central plant was. Its plant is occupied by another activity.
Wayne Brewing Company has lost the fight for markets. An electrical contractor is using the premises.
At least two other firms are reported to be in danger of stoppage because their products are no longer in demand." 
Jarecki Manufacturing was on West 12th and Weschler
Cohen Industrial Supply Inc. was at 1053 West 12th Street, Erie, PA in 1981.

Tokyo Drift on a Marx Big Wheel. Here's a link to an old Marx commercial:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Dipson's Eastway Twin Theatres in Harborcreek, PA in 1972

Dipson's Eastway Movie Theaters in Harborcreek, PA in 1972

Dioson's & Blatt Bros. ad in Erie Daily Times June 21, 1972.
Dipson's Theatre was an anchor in the West Erie Plaza in Erie County, PA for many years. The theater sat on the north end of the plaza near West 8th Street. But, did you know that Dipson's also owned the theater in the Eastway Plaza on Buffalo Road in Harborcreek? Here's the proof, an ad in the Erie Daily Times on June 21, 1972 announced the upcoming opening of the twin theater.

The Eastway Twin Theatre, at the very east end of the Eastway Plaza, closed a few years ago. The Eastway Plaza has been refurbished and renamed the Giant Eagle Plaza.

Dipson's also ran the Skyway Drive-In Theatre at 5133 West Lake Road, just west of the airport in Millcreek Township, PA. The movies 'Airport' and 'Andromeda Strain' played at the Skyway in June of 1972.

Blatt Bros. ran the Star Drive-In Theatre at 2515 West 12th Street. Before it closed, it was located across the street from the current location of the Regional Cancer Center. This drive-in featured two Disney hits, 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks' and 'The Wild County.'

Here is a map showing the location of  Dipson's Dipson's Theatre in the West Erie Plaza.

Enjoy more fun historic facts, ads and photos of Erie, PA at Old Time Erie

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ice Fishing in Erie, PA Bay in 1978

Ice Fishing on the Bay in Erie, PA in 1978

Ice fishing on the bay at Erie, PA in 1978. Photo by Chester Wasielewski, ©Debbi Lyon 2012. 
Ice fishermen love it when Lake Erie freezes over. The proof is in the picture. This shot was taken near the Public Dock at the foot of State Street in Erie, Pennsylvania in January of 1978. The old grain elevator is visible in the background on the right. It has since been demolished. How many people went fishing on this day? It's hard to tell for sure. There are a couple of different strategies here; the simple one involves sitting on a bucket. The other involves dragging a small ice shanty out onto the ice (and hoping that a major wind-gust doesn't launch your shack to Canada.) 

The Maritime Museum and the Blasco Memorial Library were not located on East Front Street when this photo was taken. A new hotel may be in the works on the property where the grain elevator was.

On a good day, you can walk across the Bay to Presque Isle. Do you need a passport to walk across the lake to Canada? Hmmm...

Find more fun facts about Erie PA at Old Time Erie

WMDI-FM Erie, PA Started by Pentagon physicist?

WMDI-FM started by Pentagon physicist?

WMDI article was published in the Erie Press on Dec. 12, 1970
Was WMDI-FM, Erie's underground rock station, really started by a physicist who worked at the Pentagon? Yes, it really was.

Donald Mikovch built a station at the intersection of Waterford Road and Route 86 in Erie County, Pennsylvania in the winter of 1970. According to the Erie Press, WMDI was "the new home of soft, velvet sounds and hard, in-depth reporting." 

WMDI was owned by Mikro-Dawn, Inc. It's officers included Donald Mikovch, president, Conrad Clark, VP, Ronald Lang, treasurer and Wanda Mikovch, secretary. 

William Stanley was news director, Art Desin was advertising and sales manager. Keith Brown, Bernie Nitoff, G. Randall Stoddard and Leo Kehs were the on-air announcers. 

WMDI-FM 102.3 transformed into the 'stoned stereo' station that played underground rock and hard rock tunes in the mid-seventies.

Micro-Dawn Inc. sold WMDI-FM to Ron Seggi in the summer of 1980 for $465,000. "Seller is principally owned by Donald L. Mikovch, who has no other broadcast interests. Buyer is owned by Ronald, Guy and Sam Seggi, brothers (one-third each). Ronald owns Erie, Pa., advertising and public relations company. Sam and Guy operate construction business, also in Erie. They have no other broadcast interests. WMDI is on 102.3 mhz with 3 kw and antenna 400 feet above average terrain." -Broadcasting, Aug. 4, 1980, p.54.

Seggi later moved the station to Peach Street in Erie, PA and changed the format to MOR.  

Enjoy more fun facts and photos of historic Erie, Pennsylvania at: Old Time Erie

Sam Cooke at the Warner Theatre in 1958 Erie, PA

Sam Cooke played the Warner Theatre in 1958 in Erie, PA

Twenty acts appeared at the Warner Theatre in Erie, Pennsylvania for the 'Show of Stars for '58' tour on April 23, 1958. They performed two show, one at 7 p.m. and another at 9 p.m. Tickets were reasonable, ranging from two to three dollars. The following singers and groups appeared:
  1. Sam Cooke "You Send Me" (a #1 hit which debuted in Oct. of 1957)
  2. Jimmie Rodgers "Oh, Oh, I'm Falling in Love"
  3. Paul Anka "You Are My Destiny"
  4. George Hamilton the IV "Now and For Always"
  5. Clyde McPhatter "Without Love" 
  6. La Vern Baker "Jim Dandy"
  7. Frankie Avalon "Dee Dee Dinah"
  8. The Silhouettes "Get A Job"
  9. The Royal Teens "Short Shorts"
  10. The Storey Sisters "Bad Motorcycle"
  11. The Crescendos "Oh, Julie"
  12. The Monotones "Book of Love"
  13. The Play Mates "Jo Ann"
  14. Jimmy Reed "You're Somethin' Else"
  15. Jackie Wilson "Reet Petitie"
  16. Harold Cromer "Jim Dandy"
  17. Huey Smith and the Clowns "Don't You Just Know It"
  18. Jimmy Dell 
  19. Bobby Marchan (who later had a #1 R&B hit "There's Something On Your Mind Pt. 2"
Paul Anka, La Vern Baker and Clyde McPhatter had appeared at the Warner on Nov. 13, 1957 on the previous 'Show of Stars' tour. Sam Cook died December 11, 1964, just six years after performing in Erie.

Read all about the history of Erie, PA at Old Time Erie

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Top 5 Facts about Erie, PA in 1929

Top 5 Facts about Erie, PA in 1929

  1. There are 550 industrial plants, the third city in the United States in diversity of industry. Leads the world in the production of boilers, engines, wringers, gas-meters, electric locomotives, steam hammers, power equipment and appliances. Crowding the leaders in the manufacture of steam shovels, paper, hospital and sterilizing equipment, pipe tools, electric motors, stoves, hinges, pipe organs and chemicals.
  2. Area of the City is 20.5 miles. There are 250 miles of streets, 172 miles of paved streets. 210 miles of sewers.
  3. It is well lighted at night, having over 300 incandescent lights of various candle power, 1,700 pendant arc lights and 500 ornamental arc lights.
  4. The standard of living of the citizens is high, 67 per cent of them maintain savings accounts and over 45 per cent own their homes.
  5. 32 public schools and more being built. A school system second to none. 18 parochial schools of high caliber. *Note: facts are from the book Officials City of Erie 1929, published in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Enjoy more facts and photos of historic Erie, Pennsylvania at Old Time Erie

Monday, June 4, 2012

Warner Theatre 1957 Show of Stars Concert

Warner Theatre 1957 'Show of Stars' concert in Erie, PA

The ad on the left is for the 'Show of Stars' Nov. 13, 1957 show at the Warner Theatre in Erie. The ticket stub
on the right is from the 'Show of Stars' at the Warner on April 23, 1958. Courtesy of Nancy Schaffner Coake.
I was amazed the see the line-up for this show at the Warner Theatre in Erie, Pennsylvania on Nov. 13, 1957. DJ Alan Freed put together this package, which toured the U.S. and Canada. The performers only had one day off during the first 24 days of November! The tour hit Detroit on the Nov. 10th, Pittsburgh on Nov. 12th, Boston on Nov. 15th, Toronto on the 18th, Buffalo on the 19th and Philadelphia on the 20th.

This tour featured some of the hottest acts of the day, some of them at the start of their careers. Fats Domino was blazing hot. He had nine Top 100 hits during the first eleven months of 1957, including "I'm Walkin'" which peaked at #4, and "Blue Monday," which reached #5. Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers' "Goody Goody" debuted in July of 1957 and peaked at #20. You can watch a clip of it here: The Everly Brothers first hit, "Bye Bye Love" debuted in May of '57 and spent 27 weeks on the Billboard chart, peaking at #2. Watch the video here: (Phil Everly died on January 3, 2014.)

This line-up is mind-blowing! Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Eddie Cochran, LaVern Baker, Buddy Knox, the Drifters. Man, I was born too late. The next time I watch the Buddy Holly Story, Why Do Fools Fall In Love (about Frankie Lymon), I'll think about them performing at the Warner in Erie, PA. Here's a clip of Eddie Cochran singing his first hit, "Sittin' In The Balcony," which debuted on the chart in March of 1957:

On a side note, here's a link to the Canadian documentary about Paul Anka, which we had to watch in Mrs. Burgoyne's English class at Academy High School in Erie, PA. 

The "Show of Stars" came back to the Warner on April 23, 1958. We'll discuss that in another post. 

Enjoy more articles and old photos of Erie, PA at Old Time Erie

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Dee's Cigar Store 18th & Peach in Erie, PA

Dee's Cigar Store on 18th & Peach Street

Dee's Cigar Store on 18th and Peach. Photo by Chester Wasielewski ©Debbi Lyon 2012.
You may not remember that Dee's Cigar Store used to be near the corner of 18th and Peach Street before this was demolished for the construction of the Holiday Inn. The address for the corner store was 1729 Peach, and 1725 Peach was next door. The Redevelopment Authority demolished the entire section across the street between Peach and Sassafras, from 18th Street north to the railroad tracks, for the construction of the Central Mall. This shot shows the northeast corner of 18th and Peach Street. Dee's was the second store north of the corner. Dee's current address is 1705 State Street in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Erie Sailors 1948 Roster Ainsworth Field in Erie, PA

Erie Sailors 1948 Roster Ainsworth Field

Erie Sailors' Roster from a game at Ainsworth Field in Erie, PA.

The Erie Sailors played Class C ball in the Middle Atlantic League in 1948, when they were a minor league farm team for the New York Giants. The team included pitchers Walter Cox, Bill Peters, Joe Bastan, Charley Pipher, Joe LaCroix, Joe Galioto and Walter Nebor. Ziggy Jasinski played for the team during the 1947 and 1948 seasons. The Sailors made their home in Erie, Pennsylvania. The players hailed from New York, Detroit, Baltimore, St. Louis, Holyoke, Atlantic City and St. Paul, Minnesota. 

To learn more about the Erie Sailors, be sure to check this Baseball Reference Site.
The booklet for this game was about the size of a comic book. I had a color cover and contained a scorecard in the middle. Palace Hardware, Gorenflo and Johnson Lumber were long-time Erie businesses that advertised with the Sailors.

Enjoy more historic facts and photos of Erie, PA at: Old Time Erie