Tuesday, July 31, 2012

WJET FM Sweepstakes tickets '82 Camaro Z-28

WJET-AM 1400 radio in Erie, PA had contests for as long as I can remember. I won a ton of them by calling the station over and over until I was the right caller.

This contest was a little bit different. You had to have a ticket and you had to listen for your lucky number to be announced on the air. And then, you had so many minutes to call in and claim your prize.

Prizes included video tape recorders, a microwave oven, a color television, a motorcycle, ten speed bicycles, sporting goods, furniture and much more. The grand prize was a 1982 Camaro Z-28.

Despite having a stack of these tickets, I don't remember winning anything. How about you?

Here is a link to WJET-AM surveys from 1975 and 1977: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/05/wjet-am-1400-erie-pa-surveys-1975-and.html

Smash Prohibition at Academy High School 1930

Ad from Erie Disptach-Herald May 15, 1930.
Smash Prohibition! Our speakers will tell you how! At the Academy High School Auditorium in Erie, PA. Really? I had to laugh when I saw this advertisement because when I attended Academy High School, the back hall resembled a scene straight out of Cheech & Chong's 'Up In Smoke' movie.

Prohibition ended in 1933. Here's an article about the first State Store opening in Erie, PA: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/07/first-state-liquor-store-opened-in-erie.html

Collegiate Academy is located at 2825 State Street in the old Academy High School Bldg.

I wonder what other organizations rented out Academy's auditorium to promote their agendas.

Monday, July 30, 2012

1938 William Gaber Western Union Telegram

Back in the old days, July 3, 1938 to be precise, people sent telegrams to inform friends and family of breaking news. Dot and Jack sent this telegram via Western Union at 10th and State Street in Erie, PA. They sent news to Mr. and Mrs. William F. Gaber of 507 East 7th Street, Erie Pennsylvania 16503. "We are at Atlantic City Having a grand time."

I couldn't resist including a link to "Western Union" by the Five Americans:

Sunday, July 29, 2012

State Street Federal Courthouse, Boston Store 1945

August 1945 State Street looking south from South Park Row.
Photo by Chester Wasielewski. ©Debbi Lyon 2012.
The Boston Store looms large in the upper right corner of this photo taken by Chester Wasielewski in August of 1945. The Federal Courthouse is on the left side of the the shot of downtown Erie, PA, as are the old pole street lamps. An old Erie Coach Company bus (#605) is taking passengers to the end of its route at 2nd and State. You can also see a number of military recruiting posters in front of the courthouse which are geared toward female recruits. The corner where the Isaac Baker building was on 7th and State (later the U.S. Post Office) looks empty. Lots of pedestrian traffic and cool old cars cruising State Street.

The retro buses of the Erie Coach Company replaced the old trolley lines. The Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority took over the Erie Coach Co. in the late sixties.

This shot of the Boston Store circa 1932 is taken from a similar spot: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/08/state-street-boston-store-circa-1932.html

Here's another shot of the Boston Store: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/06/state-street-at-night-murphys-and.html

And another shot of the Boston Store: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/05/boston-store-elks-club.html

Look closely...the Boston Store is on the left in the distance: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/05/boston-store-elks-club.html

And here's the Boston Store in the winter time: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/05/state-street-snowstorm-thanksgiving.html

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cathay House Chinese Food West 7th Street Erie PA

Ad from 1959 GenTel phonebook on left; photo on right by Chester Wasielewski ©Debbi Lyon 2012.
The Cathay House was one of the few places to get Chinese food in Erie, Pennsylvania in the late fifties. The restaurant was located at 12 West 7th St. and was open seven days a week. You could dine in or order a take-out meal. Chow Mein was a house specialty. This building was torn down to make way for the new Erie City Hall.

New Car Dealers in Erie, PA 1965 pt.2

1965 General Telephone Co. listing of new car dealers
Here's the second installment of the list of automobile dealers that sold new cars in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1965. This time we have Imperial, Jeep, Lincoln Continental, Mercedes-Benz and Mercury. Dealers included Dahl Motors, Pierce Motor Sales, Kimmel's, Reslink & Wiggers, Times Square Motors, MacKay-Swift, Maxson Buick, McQuillen, Meadowcroft, Shade's Auto Sales and Murphy's.

Times Square Motors was located at 138 East 12th St. in Erie, PA.

Here's an ad for a 1965 Imperial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yly88QbghTc

Here's a link to New Car Dealers in Erie, PA 1965 pt.1: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/07/new-car-dealers-in-erie-pa-1965-pt1.html

Friday, July 27, 2012

New Car Dealers in Erie, PA 1965 pt.1

1965 General Telephone Co. listing of new car dealers.
  Let's see how many of these new car dealers you recognize from the 1965 GenTel phone book. Here they are in no particular order: Don Rogala's, Blystone's, Maxson Buick, Plumpton Buick, Roth Motors, Reslink & Wiggers, Dailey's Chevrolet, Walker Brothers Buick-Chevrolet (the Detroit discount dealer), Meyers Chevrolet, Cramer Motors, Dahl Motors, Murphy's Mercury, Davis Ford, Girard Auto Sales, Mackay-Swift, Meadowcroft Dodge City, Times Square Motors, Ferraro Ford, Foreign Car Village, Pete Oatess Motors, Plack & Crandall.

Dailey's Chevrolet was located at 1925 State Street (on the east side of State) where Dave Hallman's is now. Here's a cool commercial for the 1965 Chevrolet line-up, promoted by some of the top TV stars in character: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cY9rqcmUW3A

Here's a link to New Car Dealers in Erie, PA 1965 pt.2: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/07/new-car-dealers-in-erie-pa-1965-pt2.html

Thursday, July 26, 2012

First State Liquor Store opened in Erie Dec. 27, 1933

The first State Store was opened in Erie, PA on December 27, 1933. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board was established just prior to the December 5, 1933 repeal of Prohibition. The store was located at 618 State Street, in the old Erie Trust company building. Two additional stores, at 1014 Parade Street and 1914 Peach Street (in the original South Erie post office building), were expected to open on January 2, 1934.

"The customer, upon entering, will be confronted with price charts. On them will be listed every type of whiskey, gin, wines, cordials, brandies, etc. After determining what he wants he fills out a blank, listing the liquors chosen. It is then given to a clerk who will get the purchase from the stock. A cashier will handle the money. The liquor will be kept in bins and they are not to be in plain view, the law states. That is to prevent clerks 'pushing' certain brands." -Erie Daily Times, Dec. 14, 1933

This is a far cry from the modern self-service store, which was adopted by the PLCB in January of 1969.

Click here for the History of the PLCB: http://www.lcb.state.pa.us/PLCB/About/HistoryofPLCB/index.htm

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Boys Baseball 1959 League and Team Listing

Boys Baseball 1959 Team List Erie, PA

One dozen leagues participated in Boys Baseball in the spring of 1959 in Erie, Pennsylvania. 

The leagues included Presque Isle, Commodore Perry, Lawrence, Carl Mango, Gridley, 3-B West Side, 3-B East Side, Anthony Wayne, Wolverine, Niagara, Marvintown and Kingtown.

Individual teams were sponsored by Cott Beverages, Gem City Ice Cream, Gasland, Sterling Milk, Erie Forge and Steel, Erie Sport Store, Bucyrus-Erie, Eckerd Drug Store, Ross-Copus Tires, Stanley Bros. Furniture, General Electric, Duchini Concrete Block, Erie Insurance Exchange, Sanida, Duggan's Niederriter, Mehler's, Erie Times News, Elks Club, East Erie Turners, Baldwin Bros., Pepsi-Cola, Alliance Home and Fraternal Order of Police.

Dr. Carl Mango was killed on December 14, 1944 in the Philippines. There was a field named for him off of Greengarden Blvd. in Erie. The Carl Mango League was named for him. His story appears in the book "Ghost Soldiers" and you can read an excerpt here: http://www.randomhouse.com/doubleday/ghostsoldiers/

Manendo's Market 21st and Wayne St 1959 Erie PA

Manendo's Market

Manendo's Market at 21st and Wayne Streets in Erie, PA offered several choice cuts of meat as advertised in the Erie Morning News on December 3, 1959. 

Prices were as follows:

  • Sirloin Steaks 69¢ per pound
  • Chuck Roasts 47¢ per pound
  • Rib Steaks 69¢ per pound
  • Round Steaks 69¢ per pound
  • Pork Shoulder Steak 49¢ /pound
  • Fancy Sliced Bacon 89¢ /pound
If you bought $5 or more from Dec. 3-5, 1959, you could turn in the coupon and receive 50 free H. O. Gold Stamps.

Anthony Manendo, Dominick Manendo and Christine Osiecki later had Manendo's IGA Foodliner at 1837 Buffalo Road.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sousa at Academy High School in Erie 1926

Yes, Virginia, John Philip Sousa really did perform at the Academy High School auditorium in Erie, Pennsylvania. This ad appeared in the Erie Daily Times on October 1, 1926 to promote a two shows on October 4. This was the 39th tour of the United States by the Sousa band.

Sousa was known as the 'March King' and many of his compositions can be found on YouTube, such as:

"Stars and Stripes Forever" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mRn9chmRAY

"The Pride of the Wolverines" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dx9dMbLPYcA&feature=relmfu

"The Gridiron Club" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6r1XgZcaMk

"The Sesqui-Centennial Exposition March" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rvetj6TKDaA

Monday, July 23, 2012

Gannon College ROTC Dale Hall French Street in Erie

Gannon College ROTC Dale Hall French Street in Erie, PA. Photo by Chester Wasielewski. ©Debbi Lyon 2012.
If you looked out the east window of the Reference Room at the Erie Public Library on Perry Square, you would see the Gannon College ROTC Building at Dale Hall. This building was demolished a number of years ago. Cars used to travel around Perry Square in the opposite direction of the current traffic pattern.

The photographer was standing in the road on South Park Row near the Federal Courthouse facing east.

The ROTC building is in the background in this picture: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/07/elks-club-on-state-street-in-erie-pa.html

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Erie Restaurants- Panos New York Lunch- Perry Square

Panos' New York Lunch in Perry Square. Photo by Chester Wasielewski. ©Debbi Lyon 2012.
Does anyone remember stopping at Panos' New York Lunch in Perry Square after getting off a bus at the nearby Greyhound station? The building was for rent when this photo was taken by Chester Wasielewski. This location of Panos' NY Lunch sold products by Meadow Brook Dairy. The New York Lunch sign on this building was painted over the sign of the previous tenant, Born's Dairy.

New York Lunch was a hot spot amongst workers at the Public Library, the Courthouse and City Hall who were looking for a quick, cheap meal and good conversation.

The donut shop on the right sold products by Sanida Dairy.

Four Mile Creek- Lawrence Park- GE Athletic Field

This old drawing of Lawrence Park appeared in the Erie Dispatch-Herald on December 2, 1934. Water Street used to be called Lawrence Parkway between East Lake Road and the main gate for General Electric. It was called Crowley Road before that. The old GE Athletic Field is right in the center, bordered by Water Street and Four Mile Creek. GE had some of the top football, baseball and soccer teams in the thirties and forties, and would entice top athletes with to play in return for easier shop jobs.

The dotted lines on the map show the proposed change to the path of Four Mile Creek, spearheaded by Lawrence Park Commissioners Charlie Thompson and J. J. Kennedy, for the creation of Napier Park. "As the sketch shows the park lays along Four-Mile Creek and extends from the bridge on East Lake Road to the bridge on Main st. and comprises 11 acres which will be graded and landscaped."

Friday, July 20, 2012

Top Erie Restaurants and Taverns 1962 pt.3

Here is a link to Part 1: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/07/top-erie-restaurants-and-taverns-1962.html

Here is a link to Part 2: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/07/top-erie-restaurants-and-taverns-1962_20.html

Here is a link to Part 4: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/07/top-erie-restaurants-and-taverns-1962_21.html

Panos' New York Lunch on North Park Row: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/07/erie-restaurants-panos-new-york-lunch.html

How about a 1961 ad for McDonald's: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/06/mcdonalds-4319-peach-st-erie-pa-1961.html

Top Erie Restaurants and Taverns 1962 pt.2

Let's see what restaurants and taverns you remember from this list. I see two on this list that still existed in 1980 at 22nd and Ash, the Golden Goose and the Lucky Strike Cafe. (I can't remember the name of the third one at 560 East 22nd; it was Bojarski's Cafe in 1968.)  I was always amazed that there were so many bars and clubs in such a small area- East 21st to East 26th- from Ash to Parade. And, you could buy a case of beer at City Beer!

The bar across the street from Serafin's at 24th and Ash sold lots of fish dinners. You could smell the fish frying two blocks away. Other places had specialties as well. Many also had a jukebox stocked with the latest top hits.

What are your favorite Erie PA memories? Do they involve a special meal with your family?

Here is a link to Top Erie Restaurants and Taverns 1962 Part One which includes Adelman's to the Elmwood Dinor. There is also a list of Erie cafes from that existed in 1959.

Here is a photo of Hall's on 7th and State in Erie.

Enjoy more fun facts about the History of Erie at: Old Time Erie

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Top Erie Restaurants and Taverns 1962 pt.1

1962 list of Erie, PA Restaurants and Taverns

Here's a list of restaurants and taverns in Erie, PA from the 1962 Atkinson's Erie City Directory. Which restaurant did your family eat at? What was your favorite item on the menu?
Which restaurants served Italian food? Where could you get the best burger? How about the best fish? Which places were college hangouts?

How many restaurants and taverns are still in business from this list? (Barbato's, Coney Island.) The Den at 832 Peach Street is long gone, but you can still buy the Den Sauce.

Here is a link the Top Erie Restaurants and Taverns from 1962- Part Two, which includes Ember's to Lucky Strike.

Here is a list of the Top Erie Restaurants and Taverns in 1962, Part Three which spans from Ma's Place to Russ' Dinor.

And finally, the Top Erie Restaurants and Taverns in 1962, Part Four list which runs from St. Vincent's to Zamie's.

This one should really take you back, an ad from Chuck and Ginny's, which opened in 1961.

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

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sorry, Captain Kangaroo Fans. 1956 Trask's ad

Ad in Erie Daily Times, October 15, 1956.


I came across this bizarre advertisement when I was scanning the Erie Daily Times on microfilm. There is no way I could make up something this strange. 

A kangaroo was going to make an appearance at Trask's store in downtown Erie, PA on one day, and then appear at its store in the West Erie Plaza the following day. 

"Sorry, Capt. Kangaroo fans, our kangaroo died en-route to Trask's. Watch this paper for further announcement for new kangaroo. Trask, Prescott & Richardson Co."

I don't know what to say, but I wonder if it was necessary to tell the kids that the kangaroo died on the way to Trask's. What happened to the poor thing? We may never know.

Trask's was four stores south of the Warner Theatre on State Street, where Mid-City Towers is now. 

Here is a picture of Trask's from 1965:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Grain Elevator, Erie PA Bayfront, PRR Tracks

Grain Elevator in Erie, PA. Photo by Chester Wasielewski. ©Debbi Lyon 2012.
The Grain Elevator was a fixture on Erie's Eastside for many years. After it was demolished, Holland Street was extended down to the end of this dock. The Blasco Memorial Library would later be built on the far left of this picture. The set of tracks in the forefront with the maroon Pennsylvania Rail Road car still exist, and you cross them as you come down Holland Street to go to the library.

The sets of tracks that curve to the north in this picture were ripped out to make way for the East Bayfront Parkway, which runs parallel to the PA Rail Road tracks. The Intermodal Transportation Center, where you can catch a Greyhound or an EMTA bus, replaced the two story building near the center of this photo. The beige building on the right still exists and is currently Donjon Shipbuilding and repair. Donjon has 4,000 feet of pier space. The old U.S. Border Patrol building sits on the northeast part of the dock where the skinny structure was.

This photo was taken from the bluff near the Russian church facing northwest. Presque Isle State Park is visible on the horizon.

Here is a shot of the Grain Elevator from the west bayfront in Erie, Pennsylvania from 1965: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/06/ice-fishing-in-erie-pa-bay-in-1965.html

Monday, July 16, 2012

I Wanna Rock- Debbi Lyon's FCC Radio Permit 1980

Debbi's FCC Radio Permit. ©2012 Debbi Lyon
My life changed for the better when I got a little red, white & blue transistor radio. The kind that took a nine volt battery and had one earphone that wedged uncomfortably into my little ear. If I fell asleep listening to the radio, as I often did, the battery was dead before morning. So my parents had to constantly buy me new batteries.

The dial was tuned to WJET-AM and I anxiously awaited my favorite songs....But wait, I already told you about that here: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/05/wjet-am-1400-erie-pa-surveys-1975-and.html

When I finished eighth grade, I decided I was going to be a disc jockey. I practiced and practiced with my little tape deck and a record player. Let's hope these tapes never see the light of day.

What did I need to do to get on the radio? I learned that I couldn't just walk in off the street, run the board and pop in the cart. No, I had to get a license (I don't remember if it was Jim Cook, John Minton or A.J. Miceli who told me this). I sent away for my FCC Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit. And I waited, and waited, for what seemed like eternity.

Then one day, my card showed up in the mail. Of course, I thought I was on my way to the big time. I was a typical fourteen year old kid with delusions of grandeur. I was convinced that I could have my own show on WERG-FM, which broadcast from the basement of the Zurn Science Center.  I was about to get my heart broken in a big, big way. Since I was not a student at Gannon University, I could not get a shift on the radio. And without an aircheck tape my career at WJET was doomed.

I never did jumpstart my radio career. Looking back, it's probably a good thing I didn't. Radio ain't what it used to be. Guess you'll have to settle for my closing announcements at the Blasco Library every Wednesday night between eight and 8:30.

Top 10 Summer Camps in Erie Co., PA

Did you spend your summer at a camp on the shores of Lake Erie? Lots of us did. Here's a list of the Top Ten Summer Camps in Erie County, Pennsylvania, in no particular order:

CAMP SHERWIN. Located in Lake City off of Route 5. Started in 1911. Run by the YMCA of Erie County.

CAMP SEQUOYAH. Located in Springfield Township off of Route 5, 19 miles west of Erie. Owned by the Boy Scouts of America. Started in 1929; closed in 1983. Here is a detailed history of the camp: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~paerie/scouts/CampSequoyah.htm

CAMP GLINODO. On East Lake Road in Harborcreek Township near Seven Mile Creek. Opened in 1930 by the Sisters of St. Benedict.

CAMP KIWANIS. Near Walnut Creek. Started in 1935 by the Kiwanis Club of Erie.

CAMP JUDSON. Located in North Springfield. Started in 1949 by the Northwest Pennsylvania Baptist Assembly.

GREAT LAKES CAMP FOR GIRLS. Located eight miles west of Downtown Erie. Also: Great Lakes Camp for Boys, located 11 miles west of Downtown Erie.

CAMP CALEDON. Located 14 miles west of Erie, owned by the Erie County Sabbath School Association. This camp existed in 1956.

CAMP NOTRE DAME. Located on Route 5 in Fairview. Started by the Diocese of Erie in 1959.

CAMP ERIEZ. Located in Lake City off of Route 5. Existed in 1976. Not sure of its history.

CAMP FITCH. Located in North Springfield.Started in 1914 by the YMCA. Read more about it here: http://www.campfitchymca.org/about.history.php

CAMP WHITE SWAN. Herb Palmer said, "In the 60's I went to Camp White Swan, which I believe was operated by the YMCA. It was located off Manchester Road in Fairview. PA. There is now a housing subdivision located where the camp once stood. Great camp with some great memories...loved the 'bug juice'!!!"

CAMP KATERI. This started as a day camp at Presque Isle in the summer of 1952. It was run by the Diocese of Erie. From 1960 to 1968 it was an actual camp on the shores of Lake Erie ten miles west of Erie. (It may have merged with Camp Glinodo in Harborcreek.)

(This article will be updated as more info is unearthed. Please add your comments below.)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Commerce Bldg demolition 12th and State St. in Erie, PA

State Street in Erie, PA looking north from the railroad tracks to watch the demolition of the
Commerce Building. Photo by Debbi Lyon ©2012. 
It was a sad day when the final truckload of rubble was carted away for the old Commerce Building in Erie, Pennsylvania. A crane and wrecking ball was used to slowly take down the mammoth building at 10 East 12th Street.

The Commerce Bldg. occupied the northeast corner of 12th & State for many years. I used to go to the studio of WCCK-FM K-104 to pick up boxes of 7" singles. WWGO had its studio there in Room 212 in 1968, when Larry Perrotto was the station manager. (WWGO-AM 1450 began in 1935 and became WWGO-FM 103.7 around 1968. and later evolved into Go Underground, where you could hear Moby Grape, Jethro Tull and Ten Years After in the wee morning hours. WWGO later evolved into K-104.)

Bill Shannon, program director of K-104, used to play local bands such as The Pulse, Friction and Prophecy, the pre-Stabilizers band

WYNE's Dan Geary (aka Captain Dan) remembers "an exceptionally young Johnny Holiday (aka Bob Bach) broadcasting 'From the edge of the ledge' at the Commerce Building, high above State Street." at WWGO.

Frank Ferreri (aka Ron Rondo) was on WCCK-FM from 1970 to 1976. He remembers one of the other tenants a couple of floors below the station. "Great bar in the basement, the Aristocrat Lounge."

Joel Miller says, "When I was on WCCK/K104 1974-1977 the studios were in the Commerce Building. I have VHS video of the building being torn down. I took it from along 12th Street while the studio was exposed from the outside walls having been knocked away."

Jim Griffey (aka J.J. Sanford) started as a DJ at WCCK-FM on March 18, 1976, spinning "You Sexy Thing" by Hot Chocolate. Jim says the Aristocrat Lounge "became an after hours haunt...the Pickwick Club. Many times I had to wade my way around drunks and hookers when I'd have to do an early Saturday shift."

Tami Bennett (aka Tami Hagar) also did a stint at K-104 after the station moved to West 26th Street. She visited the Commerce Building many times, "but not as an employee. My Mom did commercial traffic for WWGO in the days of Jim 'Lemmons' LaBarbara."

K-104 moved to 1946 West 26th Street in Erie, PA after leaving the Commerce Bldg.

Dr. Elmer Hess was one of the first people to open an office in the new Commerce Building around 1913. Richard Irwin of Pittsburgh, PA was the architect and the Commerce Building was soundly built by Mayer Brothers Construction Co. of Erie, PA.

WLEU-AM had a studio in the Commerce Building, according to Dorothy J. Anthony. "I worked there in the 1950's!"

At the end of its life, the Commerce Building rented out practice rooms to local bands, so I got to rock out on John Rainey's Flying V once or twice. You could crank up the Marshall stack and play as loud as you wanted- there were so few tenants that the place was practically a ghost town.

The Baldwin Building (the one with the First National Bank logo on it) overshadows the Commerce Building in this photo. You can also catch a glimpse of the Boston Store on the left, partially obscured by a street light. The block letter sign for Gem City Furniture at 1507 State Street is in the center.

K-104 survey from 1980: K-104 Survey from 1980

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

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Case of the Missing Grandparent

‘The Case of the Missing Grandparent’ is a project that I recently worked on where the client only had three clues to his grandfather’s existence: 

John Wodarczyk died before 1936

His wife Mary died in 1948

The family lived in Erie, PA.

Not much to go on. Mary was easy, because she was listed in the Erie County Public Library’s obituary index. Her obit didn’t hold many clues, other than to say she was survived by nine children, all named in the obit, and that she was a widow. Drat, I hoped it would give her husband’s year of death. No such luck. 

Next, I checked the 1930 federal census and learned that Mary was a widow living at 1216 East 8th Street with seven of her children, whose names fit those listed in her obit.  Her youngest daughter was nine years old. This narrowed John’s year of death to sometime between 1921 and 1930. OK, that’s a reasonable time-frame. My next step was to check the Pennsylvania Death Index, which is a year by year listing of everyone who died in PA. No such luck.
Curiously, Mary Wodarczyk was not listed in the 1929 Erie City Directory. Hmmm. That’s strange. Maybe she moved to Erie after her husband died? I looked in the address section of the book for 1216 East 8th Street and found Mary Wlodarczyk, widow of John. BINGO! Back to the Pennsylvania Death Index to check for John Wlodarczyk. I scanned a few years of the index and learned that John died February 7, 1928.
The headline read, ‘No Inquest in Death of Man.’ This small article in the Erie Dispatch-Herald stated, “Funeral services for John Wodarczik, 53, 914 East Twelfth street, who died Tuesday night in St. Vincent’s hospital, will be held at 8:30 o’clock from the family residence...Wodarczik was survived by his widow and one son, both residing in Erie.” could this be the right man? The address did not match, nor did the number of children. The 1927 city directory clinched it, showing a John and Mary Wlodarczyk, and three of the children named in Mary’s obit. 
An obituary for John Wloborczyk of 914 E. 12th street appeared in the Erie Daily Times on Feb. 9, 1928. “According to reports, Wloborczyk had just returned home from work Tuesday night and was carrying some coal into the cellar when he fell from the top of the stairs and landed on his head at the bottom.” He died at Hamot hospital from a fractured skull. The children listed in his obit matched the names of Mary’s children listed in the 1930 census.

Despite the various spellings of the surname, I'm certain this is the right person based on the preponderance of evidence. The family should be able to trace their roots back to the old country with this new information.

When I was born my parents lived at 1157 East 8th Street (which is very close to 1216 East 8th St.) I drive by 914 East 12th Street (near where the Eastside Bayfront Connector crosses East 12th St.) every day on my way to work.
What genealogy case shall I work on next?

Enjoy more facts about Erie, Pennsylvania at Old Time Erie

Friday, July 13, 2012

Save-An-Eye 1955 All-Star Football Game Erie, PA

Walt Strasser and Mike Ferarre coached the City All Stars in the annual Save-An-Eye football game at the Erie Stadium in Erie, PA on September 5, 1955. 

Academy High School was well represented with eight players, John Torrelli, Fred Trott, James Graham, Erwin Bloxdorf, Jerry Winters, Graham Parsons, Ernest Dunn and Ken Sullivan. Cathedral Prep Memorial High School also had eight players on the team, Charles Augustine, William Bujnoski, Dick Dill, Dan Desser, Frank Haraczy, George Mangol, Tom Corapi and Jim Schaaf. Strong Vincent High School had six players: Fred Bongiorno, Thomas Tomb, Angelo Zonno, Ronald Thomas, Walter Pelkowski and Ron Haugsdahl. East High School had Ed DeLuca, William Dodge, George Smith and Paul Shopene. Tech High School had Richard Anderson, Gordon Ketchel, Bernard Kowalski and Ed Bednarowicz.

The County All Stars featured players from McDowell, North East, St. Gregory, Waterford, Wesleyville, Lawrence Park, Harborcreek, Fairview, Girard, Union City, Corry, Cambridge Springs and Albion High Schools. The County team was coached by Lou Hanna and Russell Brandt.

Thirteen thousand fans watched the game at Veterans Stadium in Erie, Pennsylvania. The game raised money for the Erie Lions Club. The City won 19 to 13.

Fred Trott was a standout athlete at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Edinboro University Athletics Hall of Fame.

Here is a link to the 1953 Save-An-Eye scorecard:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Elk's Club on State Street in Erie, PA

Elk's Club on South Park Row and State Street. Photo by Chet Wasielewski, ©2012 Debbi Lyon.
Notice anything unusual about this picture? 
  • Cars used to travel in the opposite direction around Perry Square
  • The Elk's Club at the corner of South Park Row and State Street has been demolished
  • The Earle Hotel is no more
  • There were beautiful, tall trees in Perry Square
  • The new City Hall in Erie, PA was not yet built

The image that you see above was taken from the curb near Gannon's Old Main (the old Strong Mansion) on 6th and Peach Street looking east.

Here's a photo looking down at the Elk's Club from the Richford Arms Hotel.
Here's a shot of the Elk's Club sign from 7th and State before it was razed.

The Elk's Club is included in a list of the Top 100 Clubs in Erie in 1959.

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

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Coach Lou Tullio and Erie Vets 1948 Football at Erie Stadium

-ad in Erie Daily Times, Sept. 28, 1948.
The Erie Vets blanked the Brooklyn Eagles 35-0 at the Erie Stadium on September 28, 1948. Red Herron, a well-known local car salesman, owned the Erie Vets, a professional football team made up of returning veterans. Lou Tullio coached the team and Joe Robie played right guard for the Vets. (Joe would later become Mayor Lou Tullio's right hand man, serving as his administrative assistant.) Joe had played football for Georgetown.

The Erie Vets played in Erie, Pennsylvania. The team also included two Wesleyville High School classmates, Len 'Bull' Romecki and Bob Wykoff. Len was called the 'Glenn Davis of the Vets lineup' by the Erie Times.

The Vets also included Dave Wiley (who played briefly with the New York Giants and later the Jersey City Giants), Bob Orlando (Eastern All-American with Colgate), Leo Marzka, center Casella, right tackle Breon, Owen Kelly, Joe Kehoe (Wisconsin and Marquette), Augustine and Dom Berarducci, Matt Nickson (Tech High), Bill Schollenberger (Girard High) and Tom Brown (former end with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dodgers).

The roster of the Vets also included Frank Lichtenwalter, Henry Galla, Deco Schwindt, Jack Greip.

The Erie Vets also played the Long Island Indians of the American Association and the Staten Island Stapletons of the National Professions Football League.

Here's a picture of Mayor Lou Tullio boarding an EMTA bus.

Do you have any photos of members of the Erie Vets? Let me know and I'll post them here.

Enjoy more old Erie pictures and articles at: Old Time Erie

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Public Housing in Erie, PA in 1943 Franklin Terrace

The Erie Housing Authority was created in March of 1938, and will soon celebrate its 75th anniversary.  The Housing Authority issued a press release in April of 1943 to inform people of its properties:

"Five hundred dwelling units at Franklin Terrace, a defense housing project and the first one built in Erie. It consists of 465 acres of property between Victory Road and Franklin Avenue, adjacent to the General Electric Plant. It is bounded on the north by East Lake Road, and on the south by East Twelfth Street. The Project is built as a temporary one to house the large numbers of defense workers who have come to Erie.

The E. H. A. also has under management 224 dwelling units at Harbor Homes Project which is located on Buffalo Road and is destined to be of a more permanent nature. It is built on a tract of land from the New York Central tracks on the north to Buffalo Road on the south; from Downing Avenue east to Brooklyn Avenue; 29 acres in all, and located 2.8 miles from 10th and State Streets.

The third project is the Lake City Homes Negro Project located at German Street, between 16th and 17th. It consists of 40 dwelling units and is also of a permanent nature. These first three housing projects represent an investment of $3,129,000.

A fourth defense project is now (June 1943) under construction. It will consist of 200 dwelling units at 12th and Delaware Avenue and will be ready for occupancy soon. This again is of a temporary nature, the total cost being only $716,000. Owing to scarcity of materials, the houses will be heated with old-fashioned coal stoves, and refrigeration will be with ice-boxes. This project is to be known as the Delaware Avenue Housing Project and is about two blocks from the west city limits."

-Know Erie compiled by Emelia Bark, Teacher of Civics, Gridley Junior High, Erie, Pennsylvania.

Did you grow up in the projects?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Steamer City of Erie trip to Cleveland July 10, 1927 for Five Bucks

When was the last time you enjoyed a restful night on Lake Erie? 

In 1927 you could travel round trip from Erie to Cleveland, Ohio on July 10 for only $5.50, or take a trip to Buffalo, NY and back for $4.50.

The trip on the Steamer City of Erie featured clean, commodious staterooms and excellent meals.

The excursion line was run by the Cleveland and Buffalo Transit Company, with moorings at the Municipal Pier in Erie, PA. 

Find more facts about tourism in Erie, Pennsylvania at Old Time Erie

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Waldameer Tin Can Day July 15, 1927 Erie, PA

Waldameer Amusement Park ad in the Erie Dispatch-Herald from 1927.
This ad from the Erie Dispatch-Herald made me laugh. Tin Can Day at Waldameer Park in Millcreek Township, PA.

"Boys and Girls Save Your Tin Cans! Any old can and 3¢ entitles you to a ticket good on any ride. The more tin cans you bring to Waldameer the more rides you get!

One can and 3¢ for one ride.

No limit to the number of cans you bring, so put your cans on a string and come to Waldameer Friday, July 15th, 1927."

Can you imagine some kid dragging twenty tin cans behind him on his way to Waldameer? I wonder what the park did with all the tin cans?

Here is an ad which includes the Top Ten rides at Waldameer Park in 1941: Top Ten Rides at Waldameer Park in 1941.

Find more fun ads and fascinating photos of Erie, Pennsylvania at Old Time Erie

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Osiecki Music Center 22nd and Parade St. in Erie, PA

Osiecki's ad from 1959 General Telephone phone book.
I would like to offer a public apology to Val Osiecki for spending so much time in his store drooling over guitars and amps that I could never afford. I lived on East 22nd Street (upstairs of guitarist Preston Lindey) from 1975 to 1985 and I was in the store at least once a week to see what new trade-ins came in. The guitars hung on a rack behind the front counter on the south side of the store. I'm pretty sure there was a Fender Mustang (12-string?) and a Gibson Melody Maker hanging there for many, many months.

There were used amplifiers on the second floor at Osiecki's and I eventually found one that I had to have--a Fender Princeton. And once I had an MXR Distortion pedal, I could make that thing scream. It had a gritty, street tone that allowed me to play along to the Ramones and Sammy Hagar, among others. I broke a ton of 'E' strings due to my lack of patience. Val would just shake his head when I would come back in to buy another one.

Osiecki's was a cool place to hang out. It got kind of crowded in there on Fridays. I imagine everyone was stocking up on supplies for weekend gigs. The store sold Peavey guitars (which seemed to come in three colors- blonde, natural and black) and amps.

At some point Osiecki's moved from 2201 Parade Street to 2426 Parade Street before they finally shut their doors. The old ad from the 1959 phone book shows Harry and Jerry Osiecki playing the accordian.

Osiecki's had a branch in the West Erie Plaza in Millcreek Township in 1971: 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Ainsworth Baseball Clinic with Pittsburgh Pirate Dick Groat 1968 in Erie, PA

Dick Groat appeared at Ainsworth Field in Erie, PA on August 20, 1968 for a baseball clinic sponsored by the Erie Brewing Company and the City of Erie.

Groat was a shortstop who played in eight All-Star games and was the Most Valuable Player in the National League in 1960. He played in the World Series in 1960 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and again in 1964 with the St. Louis Cardinals. 

The two hour baseball clinic was free. 

Please post a comment if you attended this clinic. 

Top 7 Restaurants in Erie, PA in 1956

This ad from the Erie Playhouse production of "King of Hearts" from January of 1956 shows seven of the top restaurants in Erie, Pennsylvania. The list includes:

  • Riccardo's "We specialize in steaks, chops and spaghetti"
  • The Den- was located at 832 Peach St., you can still buy 'The Den' sauce
  • Kontis Restaurant "Handsome Italian prints and excellent service of better foods in a quiet atmosphere"
  • Angelotti's was located at 502 West 17th Street
  • Hotel Lawrence was located at 10th and Peach
  • Cathay House was located at 12 West 7th St. "Delicious Chinese food served with dignity in quiet surroundings"
  • Barnacle Bill's was located at 3122 West Lake Road "A Bill-o-fare of unusual dishes made from the finest food obtainable.
Enjoy more fun facts about the history of Erie, PA at Old Time Erie

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Record Country in Wesleyville, PA opened July 6, 1978

Mike Lyon standing in front of Record Country at 2905 Buffalo Road in Wesleyville, Erie Co., PA

Mike Lyon opened Record Country at 2905 Buffalo Road in Wesleyville, PA on July 6, 1978. He moved to a bigger location at 3306 Buffalo Road in 1982. Record Country was in business for over 26 years, and eventually suffered the same fate of thousands of record stores across the U.S. 

His love of music started early in life when he listened to his favorite groups on the radio. He began buying records at Murphys, Kresge's, Woolworth's and Grants in Downtown Erie and getting weekly  surveys from WJET, WWGO and WGYN. Mike had an oldies show on WERG-FM when he was a student at Gannon College in 1973.

Mike learned the ropes of the record business while working at the Record Bar in the Liberty Plaza from December of 1970 until 1973. "One time one of the higher-ups came down and I told him that I had thought about opening my own store," said Mike Lyon in an interview with Matthew Rink in the Gannon Knight on March 28, 2003. "I never should have done that." He was let go on September 13, 1973, shortly after this discussion with management. 

Armed with a degree in accounting from Gannon College, Mike next worked at General Electric just long enough to save the $15,000 he needed to start his own store. The rest, as they say, is history.

Record Country evolved from a place where you could buy a 45, album or an 8-track into a hangout for teenagers and musicians looking for the newest metal, punk or hardcore record or CD. The store was know as a tastemaker account amongst major and indie record labels. At its peak in the early nineties, Record Country reported its top record sales weekly to several trade magazines, including Album Network, CMJ, Hits and Billboard, and to local radio stations such as WJET and K104. 

In addition to prerecorded music, Record Country also sold t-shirts, magazines, buttons, bumper stickers, posters and other items. The store sold concert tickets for the Erie County Field House beginning with the Mahogany Rush/Head East show on July 28, 1978 and continuing until the last show there in 1983 (Judas Priest). The store sold tickets to the first few concerts at the new Erie Civic Center before TicketMaster took over ticket sales.   

The store carried tons of local bands on consignment. I will list some of these in a future post.

Record Country shut its doors in December of 2004.

You can read about the Record Bar in the Liberty Plaza here:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy Birthday, Chet Wasielewski

Chester J. Wasielewski was born in Erie, PA on July 3, 1925. I knew him as Uncle Chet or Tio. Chet grew up at 445 East 3rd Street in Erie, just a few blocks from the lake and from Downtown Erie, two of his favorite things.

Chet attended the old Tech High School and then served aboard the USS Shangri-La at the tail end of World War II. He then began a long career on the Great Lakes, retiring as a wheelsman on Bethlehem Steel's thousand footer Stewart J. Cort. (The Cort was assembled in Erie, PA.) He had also served on the William P. Snyder, the Steamer Johnstown, the Schoonmaker and a number of other freighters. He was working on the Lakes when the Edmund Fitzgerald sank, and was quoted several times in the Erie Times News reminiscing about that fateful night.

"He paid many visits to the crew in the sports department at the Times Publishing Company. Chet always had conversations in Polish with sportswriter Dennis Michalski. Never could figure out what those two were talking about," said Patrick Lyon.

"I have many fond memories of seeing Chester on the Cort when my sisters and I would go to visit my dad. I have no idea how or when it happened, but when we were very young, we decided that Chester was Santa Claus (it was the beard) and during the 'off season' from Christmas, Santa's 'day job' was sailing with our father. Ever the good sport, Chester played up the nickname for us, well into our adult lives. He was such a wonderful, fun-loving man," said Andrea Coppens.

"I worked with Chester for many years on the Cort. Always an upbeat, friendly man," said Robert Larson.

Chet was a man of mystery. He spent many winters in Texas and Mexico. He traveled to Poland to visit the town where his parents were born, and traveled extensively throughout the U.S. He was very knowledgable about U.S. lighthouses, and judging by his photos, he visited most of them.

Chet could often be seen walking downtown with a newspaper under his arm. He would stop in to visit his friends at local businesses, McDonald's and the public library.

Chet took many of the pictures of Downtown Erie that have been featured on this blog. He almost always had a camera strapped around his neck, and seemed to be in the right place at the right time.

Chet passed away on August 3, 2008. He was buried in Wintergreen Gorge Cemetery.

Young Chet steering the ship.
Chet the Barber at his shop.

Monday, July 2, 2012

UFO Sightings at Presque Isle State Park, July 31, 1966

UFO Sightings at Presque Isle State Park, July 31, 1966

Betty Jean Klem of Jamestown, NY had a very unusual experience at Presque Isle State Park on Sunday, July 31, 1966. Her boyfriend's car became stuck in the sand off of Beach 6 and they were still waiting for help after sunset. "We saw a star move. It got brighter. It would move fast, then dim. You could see it come down. It was metallic, sort of silvery. It landed between two trees. It came straight down. The car vibrated," said Klem in a report published in the Erie Morning News on Aug. 1, 1966.

Douglas Tibbets of Greenhurst, NY witnessed the entire episode from the front seat of his car. He related his account to Peninsula Patrolmen Ralph E. Clark and Robert Loeb, Jr. when they responded to his call for help. Tibbets was Klem's boyfriend. 

Klem also reported seeing a dark, featureless creature and hearing something walking on the roof of the car.

The Erie Daily Times reported on August 1, 1966 that eight others had seen a UFO the night before between 8 p.m. and midnight. They included:
  • Stephanie Lupo
  • Helene Roche
  • Alain Orcel
  • Charoly Mango
  • Sue Karle
  • Linda Henderson
  • Janice Dickey
  • Jane Moran
"Air Force Launches Probe of Erie UFO" ran in the Erie Morning News on Aug. 2, 1966. "Officials would not comment on the investigation except to say that all findings can be released only by the Secretary of the Air Force." The article went on to say "A test for radiation was made of the ground surface in the area of Beach 6 where the craft was said to have landed. But no sign of radiation was found by Erie County Civil Defense workers."

Two girls came forward and stated they had seen a UFO three months ago. "Cheryl Coffi, who lives at the light house at Presque Isle State Park, told of the incident. She said, 'This probably has no connection with what happened last night.'"

The Erie Daily Times reported on August 6, 1966 that "Major William S. Hall, of Youngstown, went to the scene of the occurrences near Beach Six, where strange imprints were found in the sand Monday morning, hours after a Jamestown girl was left hysterical from the strange events of the preceding night. The officer took plaster casts of some of the 'tracks.'"

"Five members of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena Tuesday night joined in the investigation of a reported landing of an unidentified flying object Sunday night on Beach 6 of Presque Isle State Park," reported Dick Ramsey in the Erie Morning News on August 3, 1966. The five members who came to Erie were Richard Hobbs, Joseph McGuire, James Reed, Jeffery Gow and James Sipprell.

Two police officers reported that they watched a UFO for two hours before the sun rose on Aug. 3, 1966. Lawrence Park patrolman William Rutledge spotted the UFO around 4:45 a.m. Wesleyville patrolman Donald Peck also saw the object, as reported in the Erie Daily Times on Aug. 3, 1966. A rash of sightings were reported in the Times the next day.

A headline in the Erie Morning News on Aug. 5, 1966 declared, "Peninsula Ruled Safe After UFO Investigation."

There was a follow-up published in the Erie Morning News on August 12, 1966 which stated, "Monster A Bear? Park Chief Says No." Reporter Dick Ramsey wrote, "The Air Force report was released by the Air Force Office of Information at the Pentagon. Information officers said it is the final report on the alleged Peninsula sighting unless significantly new information concerning the sighting is supplied to the Air Force."

Enjoy more Erie, Pennsylvania trivia at: Old Time Erie

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Corner of 7th and State Street, Erie, PA Hall's Restaurant

Corner of 7th and State Street, looking north. Photo by Chester Wasielewski; copyright Debbi Lyon 2012.

Remember Hall's Restaurant at the southwest corner of 7th and State Street in Erie, PA? The businesses in Downtown Erie used lots of cool neon and Coca-Cola signs to advertise their stores. Hall's was torn down, along with the Elk's Club and everything else on the block to make way for City Hall. The billiard hall and the news room were also demolished by the wrecking ball. 

The Hotel Richford, which was the old Ford Hotel, is visible on the right side of this photo. Richford Arms is now an apartment building. It is on the east side of State Street. 

Erieites are pretty hardy. It might be twenty degrees outside, but you just throw on an extra sweater and a pair of boots, put on a pair of mittens over your gloves and head outside. 

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