Thursday, September 13, 2012

8th and State Street Bank and Library 1868 Erie, PA

The City Library was located on the southwest corner of 8th and State in 1868.
-ad in Erie Business Directory 1868-69.
This rare photo might look like Deadwood, but it's really the west side of Eighth and State Street in Erie, Pennsylvania circa 1868. The large building at 804 State St. is the Walther Block, a three-story brick building. It was the home of the Second National Bank, the Y.M.C.A. and the City Library and Reading Rooms. You could tie your horse up to a hitching post out front. State Street was a giant mud hole, so a wooden walkway stretched across the street on State and on 8th St. Gaslights illuminated the street at night.

"The Second National Bank was organized December 12, 1864, with a capital of $300,000. William L. Scott, President; Joseph McCarter, Vice President; W. C. Curry, Cashier. This bank is on the southwest corner of State and Eighth streets, and its present officers are Joseph McCarter, President; W. W. Reed, Vice President; C. F. Allis, Cashier." -Bates History of Erie County, PA.

The City Library was located upstairs of the Second National Bank. "This library was opened to the public November 14, 1867, and now contains about 4,000 volumes, nearly all new books, embracing the choicest  works in the departments of History, Religion, Biography, Poetry, Arts, Science, Natural History, Classics and Fiction; also a large collection of encyclopedias and other books of reference. All new books which are worthy of a first-class public library, are added as fast as published.

This Library is a monument to the liberality of our public spirited citizens (whose names may be found in the subscription book at the Librarians desk). It is under the control of a committee of eight persons, four of whom are chosen from among the members of the Young Men's Christian Association, and four from the subscribers to the library fund who are not members of the association. By paying $5 any person may have the use of the library for one year.

The Reading Rooms are free to all. The tables are well supplied with newspapers, magazines, pictorials and periodicals from every section of the United States and Europe. These rooms are frequented by the literary of both sexes, and are supplying a great want, long felt in this city, viz., a proper place of resort for our young men." -Erie Business Directory, 1868-69.

The Young Men's Christian Association was organized in 1860. Officers in 1868 included Charles C. Shirk, President; E. L. Pelton, Vice President; Charles E. Gunnison, Recording Secretary; C. W. Lytle, Corresponding Secretary; John L. Russell, Treasurer; A. H. Caughey, Librarian; H. S. Jones, Assistant Librarian; A. L. Littell, Jr., Acting Librarian, and a board of seventeen directors." -Erie Business Directory, 1868-69.


  1. Love these old pictures! Thanks.

  2. Look at the character in this's just incredible! Thanks for the post.