Wednesday, October 31, 2012

View of Erie from Academy High School 1928

View from Academy High School in 1928. Photo by Schauble.
"High stands our alma mater, overlooking lake and town..."

Here is a shot of the City of Erie taken by Schauble from the promenade of Academy High School in 1928 for the Academe, Academy's yearbook. The location of Academy makes for a great view of the city, looking north from the hill. Academy is now Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy, which is located at 2825 State Street.

The peak of St. John's Lutheran Church is visible on the upper left side of the photo. If you follow the grandstand bleachers along the left side of the picture, you can see the smokestack of the Koehler Brewing Company.

Here is a link to an article about Academy High School and Veterans Memorial Stadium:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Magician Blackstone at Park Opera House 1919

-ad in Erie Evening Herald, Sunday, May 4, 1919.
Harry Blackstone, Sr., the World's Master Magician, made quite a splash when he performed at the Park Opera House, 28 North Park Row in Erie, May 5-7, 1919. Blackstone was on the vaudeville circuit at the time. Prices for the matinee show on May 7th were 25¢ and 50¢; tickets for the evening shows ranged from a quarter to 75¢.

According to an article in the Erie Evening Herald, Blackstone performed with an entourage of beautiful women on stage. His act at that time included 'The Hand of Death,' and 'Magic, hypnotism, spiritualism, illusion, mind reading, card trickery and many other marvelous tricks.

The Park Opera House was torn down to make way for the Greyhound Station on North Park Row.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Greyhound Station at Perry Square Erie PA

"Sleek, streamlined, stripped of detail, the Art Moderne style became the architectural symbol of the Motor Age during the 1930s. Roadside motels and diners, gasoline and bus stations became new fixtures on the American scene; in this outgrowth of the European International Style of the 1920s, the fast-paced nature of American life found its perfect expression.

Built in 1939 on the site of the demolished Park Opera House, Erie's Greyhound bus terminal was designed by W. A. Arrasmith of Louisville, Kentucky, a nationally-known transportation architect responsible for dozens of Greyhound facilities in nearby states.

The glazed exterior surface, the sleek curvi-linear floor plan, the liberal use of glass brick and aluminum, make this Moderne building take on a streamlined, machinelike appearance expressive of America's newfound fascination with high-speed highway transportation.

The building is Erie's only pure example of the Art Moderne style and was incorporated into the National Register of Historical Places in 1979 as part of the West Park Place historic district. Recent exterior renovations, however, have stripped the terminal of much of its original character."
-article by Tom Weber, used with permission of the author. Here is a link to Tom Weber Films:
-ads in Erie Dispatch, March 22, 1940.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Grants and Peach Street from 8th to 10th Erie PA

Taken from the top of the parking lot at 8th and Peach by Jeffrey
George in late 1967 or early 1968. Photo ©Jeffrey George 2012.
Postcard of the Second National Bank on 9th & Peach.
The photo of the W. T. Grant Co. in Erie, PA (shown above) was taken in late 1967 or early 1968 by Jeffrey George from atop the parking lot at 8th and Peach. Cars in the bottom right side of the picture are traveling north on Peach Street. The back of the old Lawrence Hotel is clearly visible on the right side of the photo.

Grants was a huge retail store that had entrances on West 8th Street, Peach Street and at 18 West 9th Street. You could cut through the building instead of walking outside in the rain or snow and come out on the other street. Sounds like a nightmare for security.

To help with the orientation, I've included a postcard of the old Second National Bank, which was located on the southeast corner of 9th and Peach. It was still standing in 1967 and was used as a women's clothing store. You can see the side of the old bank in the top photo. The postcard also shows the back and side of the old Lawrence Hotel, which was demolished around 1968 (the Avalon Hotel currently occupies this site). Peach was a two-way street when the postcard was released.

The side of the Baldwin Building/Renaissance Center is also visible in the photo above; it's the second tall building from the  left. The side of Kresge's is visible directly below the Renaissance Center building. (The building that housed Kresge's still stands, but it is covered in mirrors.)

Here is a shot of the front of the Lawrence Hotel:

The old Grants building still stands at 18 West 9th Street. It's now the home of GECAC.

12th Street Market on French Street 1928 Erie PA

-ad in Erie Dispatch-Herald, April 25, 1928
The Twelfth Street Market was touted as 'Erie's food supply center in the heart of Erie.' This large indoor market had entrances on East 12th Street, French Street, East 13th Street and Commerce Street.

The building had 350 stores or booths inside in 1928. Some of the vendors at that time included Charles Foht, Frank Lore & Son, B. P. Bean & Son, Eli Phillips & Son, Meiser's, Mrs. J. H. Murphy, Driscoll's Fish & Oyster, the Lincoln Coffee Co. and St. George's.

There were also markets on Parade Street and on 16th and State Street.

The 12th Street Market had free parking for 500 cars. Customers could also take the bus to do their grocery shopping. Items for sale included fresh perch and pike, hamburg, pork, cabbage, asparagus and other fruits and vegetables in season. You could also purchase dairy products such as milk and butter.

Did your family have a stall or a store in any of the markets, such as the Twelfth Street Market, Central Market or the Parade Street Market? Drop me a line and let me know.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Lawson's Grand Opening Erie PA 1967

-ad in Erie Morning News, February 2, 1967.
Lawson's convenience stores moved into the Erie, PA market on February 3, 1967, with two stores on Erie's east side, one at 1907 Buffalo Road (near Cameron Street) and the other on East Lake Road near Downing Avenue. Lawson's provided direct competition for the Country Fair chain.

The full-page ad on the left explained what a Lawson store was all about: "It's a little store with a big stock of the foods and kitchen items you buy most often. It's a well-organized store- neat, bright and clean- and geared to fast two-minute transactions that speed you on your way.

Lawson's principal product is milk, and in Ohio we're famous as the company that has kept milk prices from 30 to 40 per cent below the national average for more than a quarter of a century. We'd like to sell milk for less in Pennsylvania, too, and perhaps we'll be able to if the state's minimum-price regulations can be changed...Morning, noon, and night-seven days a week- you get quick in-and-out service at Lawson's."

Friday, October 26, 2012

Roth Cadillac 1117 State Street and Plymouth Tavern

-ad in Erie Tageblatt, March 26, 1908
Today I'll take you on a trip, but first I want you to get your bearings. See the tall building near the center that says "United States" in large letters on the side? That is the current location of the Plymouth Tavern and Restaurant.

OK? Good. The wide building on the right in this postcard is now a parking lot for a bank, but it was the home of Roth Cadillac. Founder Jacob Roth sold automobiles and bicycles.

The ad on the right is from the German newspaper, the Erie Tageblatt. It says that Pennsylvania Bicycles represent Quality, Endurance and Economy. Roth sold roadsters and high grade business bicycles. He also sold bicycle tires ($1.50 to $4) and cemented tires for free.

"The Roth Cadillac Company had its origin in 1892 when Jacob Roth engaged in the bicycle business with his brothers at 18 West 9th Street. In the years following, the business was located at the following addresses: 1027 State, 1018 State, 1117-1123 State, and in April, 1922, it was removed to its present location, 20-22 East 8th St. In 1898 Messrs. Roth combined their bicycle business with the automobile industry and in 1903 discontinued the former altogether." -Reed History of Erie Co., PA, published in 1925.

Jake Roth was also the vice-president of the Erie Cycle and Athletic Association in 1897. Here is an article about Erie Cycling Clubs in 1897:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Public Dock and USS Wolverine Erie PA

Here's a cool old postcard showing the Public Dock in Erie, PA, which is now known as Dobbin's Landing. This bird's eye view was taken on the east side of the dock. The large white vessel sitting parallel to the dock is the USS Wolverine, also known as the USS Michigan. It was painted white around 1907. There were a number of commercial fishing companies that operated on Erie's lower east side, and fish nets are drying in the sun on racks on the lower left side of this picture.

Here's a newer shot of the Public Dock from a different angle:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Continental Rubber Works 19th and Liberty Street Erie PA

Continental Rubber Works, 19th and Liberty St., Erie PA. From 50th anniversary booklet. The building along West 20th Street still stands, as does the building on the left, 2000 Liberty St., which is now Triangle Tech.
Continental Rubber Works started operation on November 26, 1903 in the same factory where the Black Manufacturing Company made the Tribune bicycle on 19th and Liberty Street. Click here to read more about Black Mfg. Co. 

Continental Rubber was chartered in August 1903 in Pennsylvania. Theron R. Palmer, founder of the company, was President and General Manager. Alex Jarecki was Vice President, Charles S. Coleman was Treasurer and Charles Jarecki served as Secretary. (Alex Jarecki was also the superintendent of the Jarecki Manufacturing Co., which was co-founded by Charles Jarecki. Learn more about Jarecki's here. 

"Mr. Palmer had found an ideal plant location at 19th and Liberty Streets. The new plant, formerly occupied by the Tribune Bicycle Works, consisted of four large brick and stone buildings with a floor space of approximately 115,000 square feet...Within four years, all the original buildings were occupied by new machinery and other production facilities to meet the ever-growing demand for Continental tires, tubes, hose and other rubber products...

From the beginning, Continental was organized to produce bicycle tires and tubes, industrial hose and various calendared and molded rubber products. It was the bicycle tire, however, that was to provide the vehicle of rapid company progress in those early years...Within a few short years, Continental bicycle tires under the trade name Vitalic were accepted as the standard of quality not only in the United States but throughout the world...

When the nation mobilized for war in 1917, the company was equipped and staffed to take an important part in the fight to 'save democracy.' Tires, tubes, gas masks and scores of other rubber products for the armed forces were turned out as Continental's greatly augmented staff worked 'round the clock, seven days a week...

By 1914, it became apparent that still greater plant capacity was needed to keep pace with increasing sales. In that year, a three-story brick building known as Number 6 was erected. In 1923, an addition was made to Number 6 which extended it a full block from Plum to Liberty Streets. The new building almost doubled the manufacturing area." -Fifty Years of Service booklet.

The booklet failed to mention that workers went on strike April 2, 1941. "Officials of the Continental Rubber Works' Erie, PA, and of United Rubber Workers (CIO) union were asked to meet a mediation board panel here Friday to try and end the five week old tie up of the plant, which was making synthetic rubber for airplane engines. The union asked wage increases, a union shop, and vacations with pay, for the 840 plant employees."-Ellensburg Daily Record, Wednesday, May 7, 1941.

"The Continental Rubber Works...was reopened today with 100 men returning to their jobs. A seven cents an hour wage increase was negotiated at a Defense Mediation Board hearing. Of the 700 workers who went on strike, asking a 10 cents an hour increase, more than 300 are employed on other jobs, it was said." -Pittsburgh Press, May 14, 1941,

When the anniversary booklet was printed in 1953, John Beecher and Rose Pongratz had worked for Continental Rubber Works for 45 to 50 years each.

Pasquale DiMarco, Lena Hartline, F. R. McCarty and Fred Wolf had worked for the company for 40 to 45 years each.

People who worked at Continental Rubber Works for 35 to 40 years included: Joseph H. Bohrer, John Brutcher, James Ford, Joseph Hagmann, Dr. Paul H. Henkel, John Kosobucki, H. Edward Mehl, Clacy McNary, Anton Nowak, Delmar Shanks and Rolla Sturgeon.

Erie Forge & Steel bought Continental Rubber Works in 1961, and then sold Continental Rubber to Continental Copper & Steel Industries, Inc in 1963. The Liberty Street plant closed many years ago.

Five hundred workers at Continental Rubber were on strike from July 1 to September 13, 1963.

A rental hall called the Continental Ballroom operated in the eighties and nineties in a portion of the old Rubber Works on the northeast corner of West 20th and Plum Streets.

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

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Engine House No. 9 at 11th and Poplar, Erie PA

Engine House No. 9, West 11th and Poplar St. Photo by Chester Wasielewski, ©Debbi Lyon 2012.

Here's another piece of Erie history. The old firehouse at the corner of West 11th and Poplar Street was demolished to make way for a parking lot. 

Here's an article from the Erie Evening Herald  (May 5, 1903) which tells of the humble beginnings of this cool-looking building:

"Corner-stone ceremonies at the new No. 9 engine house were held this afternoon at 3 o'clock. Mayor William Hardwick, Fire Commissioners Heuer, Kaltenbach and Zimmerly and other city officials drove out to the new house at Eleventh and Poplar streets in the carriages leaving the City Hall at 2:30 o'clock...

The mayor conducted the ceremonies of laying the stone and then addressed a few well chosen remarks to the assemblage. He spoke as follows:

'This corner stone, which we are about to lay, marks the progress of a work which will meet the approval of all our citizens. The west side of the city which is building up so rapidly, has been without adequate fire protection, and we are wise in this movement to give to the various interests that center here the security they demand and deserve. The credit of this building belongs to a number of persons, chief among them, the fire commissioners, the councilmen and the business men of this part of the city, and to no one individual more than to a gentleman who formerly represented this ward in the Common Council, the late lamented Harry Bostwick, who worked an planned with enthusiasm for this enterprise...'

The new engine house is being erected by Contractors William Ackerman & Sons, at a cost of $14,000. It will be ready for occupancy by July 1st."

The firehouse at 11th and Poplar was abandoned in the late fifties. It was then used as a garage for the maintenance department. Firemen's classes were held in the building for about three years starting in 1961. The firehouse stood until the spring of 1964, when the redevelopment authority demolished buildings between Liberty and Sassafras to build parking lots for the industries on West 12th Street.

Enjoy more historic Erie, PA facts and photos at:

Monday, October 22, 2012

Jarecki Manufacturing Company East 9th and French St

-ad from Atkinson's 1874-75 Erie City Directory.
Jarecki Manufacturing Company was formed in 1872 by brothers Henry and Charles Jarecki and was located at 149 East 9th St. in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Henry Jarecki was born in Posen in 1826. He came to the U.S. in 1849 and started a small brass works on State Street prior to building a factory on East 9th Street between French and Holland Streets. Charles Jarecki was born in 1837 in Posen. He came to America in 1852.

"The portion of the plant which is located on East Ninth street, and includes the general offices, occupies over half a square, while the iron foundry department, on West 12th Street, covers three and three-fourths acres. The buildings are all substantial stone, brick and iron structures, and range from one to three stories high." -Nelson's Biographical Dictionary.

Jarecki's Iron Foundry was on the southwest corner of West 12th and Chestnut St. in Erie.

"Jarecki Manufacturing Company, an old family firm, was bought by an out-of-town firm...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." -Rotival 1957 Study of Industrial Decline in Erie, PA.

Henry and Charles were the sons of Carl William Jarecki, who died in Erie, PA in 1877 and was buried in the Erie Cemetery.

The buildings shown in the advertisement above have been demolished. Jerry Uht Park, home of the Erie Seawolves, now occupies part of the site of the old Jarecki Manufacturing Company.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Epp Furniture 1307 State Street Erie PA

-ad in Erie Dispatch-Herald, January 7, 1927.
Epp Furniture Company was in the same location for at least 45 years, at 1307-1309-1311 State Street in Erie, PA. The building still stands, although the facade has been covered by panels above the first floor. This is the third building south of 13th Street on the east side of the street.

George Epp chartered the Epp Furniture Company in 1921 with $350,000 in capital.

George L. Epp was president and treasurer of the Epp Furniture Co. in 1922. Edward M. Epp was vice-president, Arthur D. Epp was secretary. The store sold furniture, carpets, stoves and furnaces.

In 1967, Epp Furniture was run by Robert Taft, president and treasurer; Arthur Meyer, vice-president; James Daly, vice-president merchandising; Elizabeth Taft, secretary. The store sold furniture and floor coverings. It also offered an interior decorating service.

Elizabeth Taft was the daughter of Epp Furniture founder George L. Epp. She married Robert Taft in March of 1944. So, by studying the genealogy of the Epp family, we learn that this furniture company was a two-generation business venture.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Scott Block and Grant's Store 10th and State Street Erie PA

The Scott Block on the northwest corner of 10th and State Street in Erie, PA.
The Scott Block was built by William L. Scott in 1875 on the northwest corner of Tenth and State Street in Erie, Pennsylvania. The building had a number of cool features, including a mansard roof and unique sets of windows that were different on each floor. The Scott building had a number of tenants over the years, including the Warner Dry Goods Company and Erie Insurance Exchange.

The W. T. Grant Company moved into the Scott Block in 1924, holding its grand opening on November 8, 1924. Grant's leased all five floors of the building. The facade was green Vermont marble and burnished copper. The building was 62' wide on the State Street side and 142' deep along West 10th Street.

"One side of the store is also a great row of show windows, giving the store one of the largest display areas in Erie. Polished copper edging on the windows, lavish lighting effects and the brilliant gilt sign of the W. T. Grant Company make this front one of the brightest in the city...Its new highly polished walnut fixtures, surmounted by sparkling plate glass bins in which the merchandise has been neatly laid out...Above the shelving the walls are finished in cream color with a panel effect, the ceiling is snowy white...The wide and easy stairway leads to the lower sales room...The offices are located on a mezzanine across the rear of the main floor so situated that the entire floor can be supervised from the office." -Erie Dispatch-Herald, November 7, 1924.

Grant's moved into the Scott Block after vacating its original store at 909 State Street. The building was previously occupied by the Warner Bros. Dry Goods store The grand opening of this store, number 24 in the Grant's chain, took place on April 22, 1916. The John Scarlett Company was located at 909 State before Grant's.

So, what happened to the Grant's store at 10th and State? Fire ripped through the building on December 20, 1944, causing extensive damage to the Scott Block and loss of merchandise to Grant's.

Several surrounding businesses were damaged by the Grant's fire, including Pulakos confectioners at 926 State Street and the Strand Theater at 922 State Street. The Scott Block was rebuilt with a different style roof; the building was remodeled once again in the mid-fifties, when blue and white porcelain panels were used to cover the facade. The Scott block was demolished in 1969.

Grant's moved to Peach Street after it left the Scott Block at 928-932 State Street.

Here is another view of the old Scott Block, looking east from 10th and Peach Street

Enjoy more facts,  photos and Erie memorabilia at: Old Time Erie

Friday, October 19, 2012

State Street at Night Hanging Out at the Public Dock

State Street at night from the Erie Public Dock. Photo by Debbi Lyon ©2012.
Here's a time-lapse photo of State Street from the observation deck of the Public Dock in Erie, Pennsylvania around 1985 or 1986. The dock is now known as Dobbin's Landing. This shot looks south on State. The dock was a popular place to hang out on the weekend for lots of teens and young adults. On a warm night you would find locals and tourists sitting on the trunks and hoods of cars or going for a stroll along the edge of the dock. You can see McAllister & Son on the left (the white building) and the old Penelec station in the upper left corner (now the Maritime Museum).

Thursday, October 18, 2012

8th and State Street Western Union Erie PA

Detail from a postcard of State Street in Erie, PA. Courtesy of Erie Police historian Ken Sidun.
Here is an early scene from State Street in Erie, Pennsylvania from the days when the trolley ran down the center of State St. The first building on the left is the First National Bank at 715 State St. The next building to the right (south) is 719 State St., which has a sign advertising a 'Big Expansion Sale.' The next building, with the 'Billiards' arrow overhanging the sidewalk, is Gravin's at 721 State St. The 'Western Union' sign overhangs the sidewalk at 723 State St. The next building is 727 State St., which was later the home of Duggan-Rider.) The Ariel building is the tall, skinny brick building at 729 State Street, which is the northeast corner of Eighth and State Streets.

The facade of the First National Bank building was moved to East 26th Street in Erie.

Palace Hardware is the taller brick building with the American flag above the trolley car

Here is a view of the 700 block of State Street from around 1967:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tribune Bicycle - Black Mfg Co 19th and Liberty 1896 Erie PA

The Black Manufacturing Company, a nationally-known maker of high grade bicycles, had a factory at 19th and Liberty Street in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1896. The company's owner, W. T. Black, also owned Germer & Black, which had a factory at 16th and German Street. The former company made its mark with the Tribune Bicycle, which is now a highly sought after collectible bike.

1900 Mueller map detail of 19th and Liberty.
The Black Mfg. Co. made the cover of Scientific American magazine on January 4, 1896, quite a feat for an Erie-based company.
W. T. Black was the president of the Black Mfg. Co. George I. Black was treasurer, and Leonard B. Gaylor was vice president of the company.

George Black and Leonard Gaylor held U.S. patent no. 564,301 issued July 21, 1896 for a bicycle pedal.

The Tribune Bicycle was made by the Black Mfg. Co. in Erie approximately 1894 to 1899.

Scientific American close-up drawings of Tribune Bicycle parts.

Here's an article about bicycle clubs in Erie in 1897:

And one about the bicycle craze in Erie in the 1890s:

The factory formerly owned by the Black Manufacturing Company on 19th and Liberty Street was purchased by Continental Rubber Works in 1903:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Bicycle Cycling Clubs 1897 Erie PA

The bicycling craze took Erie, Pennsylvania by storm, and there were four different cycling clubs in Erie in 1897.

The West Side Cycling and Athletic Club was organized November November 7, 1895. The group had a clubhouse at 506 Walnut Street in Erie, PA. The club was led by President Charles Boyd, Vice President J. Hampel, Secretary C. Mauer, Treasurer H. Smith, Directors H. Leuschen, E. G. Mischler, W. MacDougall, H. Brice and J. Hampel. Also Captain S. Warren, Lieutenant F. Hill, Second Lieutenant K. Johnson and Buglar F. Schade, Jr.

The Y.M.C.A. Bicycle Club was organized in May of 1896. Members included President R. L. Sternberg, Vice President John Cummings, Captain W. J. Davison, First Lieutenant Will Keister and Second Lieutenant George Caskey.

The Erie Cycle and Athletic Association was organized March 15, 1897. Members included President Dr. C. H. Harvey, Vice President Jacob Roth, Secretary E. J. House, and Treasurer Stuart Shirk. The Board of Directors included the above mentioned men and W. J. Robinson. [Note: Jacob Roth was the founder of Roth Cadillac.]

The Erie League of American Wheelmen (L.A.W. No. 782) organized March 20, 1897. The group met twice a month at 1121 French Street in Erie, PA. Members included President Joseph G. Mooney, Vice President Henry N. Stahlbrodt, Secretary Charles L. Siegel, Treasurer Robert G. Dickinson and Captain Howard Fenno. [Note: J. G. Mooney held patents for bicycles and tires.]

This was the golden age of bicycles in Erie. The bicycle clubs were very active, attracting the top national teams for races in Erie. There were also at least five bicycle manufacturers based in Erie during this era, including Black, Koster, Roth, Lajeal and Mooney.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bicycle Races and Cycling Craze 1890s Erie PA

-ad in Erie Daily Times, August 15, 1896.
Cycling was huge in the 1890s, not only in Erie, PA, but across the entire country. Six thousand cyclists attended the meeting of the State League of American Wheelmen on September 9, 1895, and the group paraded through town as part of Erie's centennial celebration. Bicycle races were held at Reed's track.

The Erie Wanderers' Cycle Club, the local affiliate of the League of American Wheelmen, organized on Sept. 4, 1890. EWCC had a clubhouse at 925 French Street in Erie. Otto Maya was the 2nd lieutenant of the club in 1895. Other members at that time included President J. P. O'Brien, Vice President S. D. White, Recording Secretary Charles A. Mertens, Financial Secretary Charles L. Siegel, Treasurer William C. Brehm, Captain H. D. Fenno, First Lieutenant A. H. Baumann, Color Bearer George Knapp and Bugler N. C. Illig.

The competing club- the West Side Cycling Club- met at 506 Walnut Street. WSSC members in 1896 included: Jacob Hammer, J. C. Tabb, Jr., G. H. Forrester, Jacob Mauer, H. Leuschen, D. Habercorn, E. Weisman, F. H. Tufts, Charles Boyd, A. D. Redman, William Strick, E. G. Mischler and D. Bordollo.

A National Circuit Race was held in Erie, PA on August 18, 1896. The Morgan & Wright racing team,  which included the top cyclists from all over the United States, stayed at the Reed House on North Park Row the night before the big race. Ninety riders participated in the fifteen mile Koster Road Race, which started at 26th and Peach Street. William Kaiser, of the WSSC, won the race with a time of 42:11.5 minutes. "The course was in elegant condition, but there were numerous spills and accidents...The scratch men took an awful fall at Cochran street, five of them going down in a bunch." -Erie Daily Times, Aug. 18, 1896.

Erie rider Charles Moomy was declared a professional prior to the Koster race and was therefore disqualified. Only 31 riders finished the August 18th road race. Other regional riders included: Charles Gierke, Herman Garnow, A. P. Simons, W. Boyer, H. D. Fenno, J. Mason, Harry N. Link, Ed. McClelland, J. W. Disbrew, A. R. Neff, A. L. Baumann, C. I. Buman, P. Cunningham, C. Siegel, Charles Gruber, T. Lewelyn, William Baxter, J. Seibert, L. H. Gaither, E. A. Austin, Fred Link, Clint Watson, Peter W. Loffi, F. C. Williams, D. S. Kennedy, William P. Minnig, Charles S. Hooper, Lewis W. Wallace, J. C. Mowery, Frank Houck, A. D. Beckman, E. L. Ensign, Harry Post, C. N. Tyler, William Kaiser, W. P., McClellan, R. T. Nolan, W. H. Knoblock, Joseph C. Baumann, F. Hickox (of Swanville), G. H. McLaughlin, J. A. Ray, E. Stuhlfant, Thomas A. Stidfole, Charles N. Gross, J. H. Phillips, A. R. Zautner, L. Beckman, Thomas Purcell and George R. Aitken.

A series of races held at the Erie Wanderers' Cycle Club track on August 19, 1896 drew a crowd of 4,000. The biggest attraction of the day was the one mile City Championship Race in which Archie LeJeal placed first, followed by Otto Maya. It was announced the next day that Otto Maya would replace Eddie Bald on the Barnes team. Maya was expected to race in Rochester, NY on August 22, 1896. Maya went on to become a nationally-known superstar of the cycling circuit. (Maya died in 1930 and was buried in Trinity Cemetery in Millcreek Township, Erie County, PA.)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

6th and French St Savelli's Tavern Erie PA

East 6th and French St., Erie, PA. Photo by Chester Wasielewski, ©Debbi Lyon 2012.
Philip A. Becker constructed this building on the northwest corner of Sixth and French Street in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1872, a year before he served as the president of the Erie City Select Council. Erie Insurance occupies this corner today. The old building had a unique Mansard roof with porthole windows.

Savelli's Tavern was located on the first floor of the Becker building in the sixties. The Crazy Horse Saloon was located there in the late seventies/early eighties. The building was demolished in 1982. None of the buildings shown in this photo still stand today. Erie Insurance preserved four of the cast iron columns from the Becker building. They stand outside the French Street entrance to the company.

Perry Square is located on the left side of this picture, just out of view. This is a site you would have seen when you left the Erie Public Library on South Park Row.

Philip A. Becker served as Mayor of Erie from 1883 to 1884. He was born in Germany in 1835 and was the son of Jacob and Mary Bierle Becker. Philip operated a grocery store in the building shown above, with his sons Emil and Otto Becker.

Here's a picture of the Becker building with the top stories missing:

And a different shot of the southern end of this block:

Lost rocked the Continental Ballroom in Erie PA

Lost at the Continental Ballroom. L. to r.: DiPlacido, Beveridge and Stadtmueller. Photo ©Debbi Lyon 1989.

Erie punk band Lost releases EP

by Debbi Lyon ©2012

Lost, the thinking man's punk band, makes its vinyl debut this week with a self-financed, four-song e.p.

No stranger to the Erie scene, Lost has played almost a dozen times for an enthusiastic audience at the Continental Club. They've also recently traveled to Buffalo and Pittsburgh. The band will make a special appearance on Friday at Norb's Bar, 25th and Peach, to celebrate the release of its record.

Three of the four members of Lost have been together for a year and a half-vocalist Brian DiPlacido, guitarist Jim Beveridge and drummer Pete Stadtmueller. Bob Rhodes, who played bass on the record and demo tape, quit about a month ago, citing musical differences. Craig 'Freddy' Krugger has since joined the band.

The songs on the single are "99%," "More," "The Clown" and "Cut Out The Heart." Fortunately, a lyric sheet is enclosed, because at times the lyrics are hard to understand. According to Brian, there is no hidden message behind the songs. "What we want to emphasize is we're doing it ourselves. Most people think that if you're not on a major label the music's no good. But that's not true." Putting out a record "seemed more noble than not doing it," he said.

The passing months have brought a marked improvement and a sense of self-confidence in their live show. The guys no longer stand around between songs trying to decide which one to do next. The set list is tight but not confining. They plow through originals such as "I'm Sick," "Sometimes I Do" and the intense favorite "On and On." During the latter, Brian thrusts the microphone into the face of the closest fan, who screams "Who's right, who's wrong, who knows," at which point Brian grabs the mike to finish the line "On and on and on it goes."

Seeing Lost live is an experience in itself. One minute Brian is squirming on the floor. The next he's leaping in the air, with veins building from his neck, a sinewy body covered with sweat. 

Lost has received favorable reviews in Plain Brown Wrapper and in Jackhammer Pogostick. Maximum RockNRoll called its music "catchy, energetic stuff," like "the first Descendents' album. And fan mail has arrived from as far away as Mexico.

Since Jim, Brian and Craig are attending college, will their education interfere with their musical ambition? Jim doesn't think so, because "Most of our touring will be next summer." Plans for the future include a trip to Washington, D.C. this fall to lay down tracks for their upcoming album. They hope to secure the talent of producer and former Government Issue member Tom Lyle. The album will likely be released on the independent label D.S.I., which is based in the nation's capital. For now, they'll stay close to home and try to recoup the $1,000 that was spent to finance the single.

As a treat to loyal Lost fans, Brian kidded, with a devious gleam in his eyes, that "If over 100 people show up at Norb's on Friday, we'll play in the nude." To find out if he's serious or not, get there early and find a good seat.

Only 500 copies of the Lost record were pressed, and it's available in record stores now.
(Article by Debbi Lyon; originally published in Showcase, August 31, 1989)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Henrik Ostergaard pre-Dirty Looks band Crossfire

-ad in the Erie Star, Dec. 1982, courtesy of R. J. Arrowsmith.
Dirty Looks was one of the hottest hard rock bands to come out of Erie, PA, signing with a major label and touring the country. Dirty Looks was lead by Henrik Ostergaard, the enigmatic lead vocalist and guitarist.

Henrik was performing in local bands long before Atlantic Records released Dirty Looks' Cool From the Wire album in 1988.

Henrik fronted the Erie band Crossfire, and released a 45 with the songs "Love on Demand" and "Doctor" on the Select Sound label. In addition to Henrik, the band included Jim Chartley on bass and vocals, Chris Trott on guitar and vocals, and Ed Bosak on drums.

Ostergaard and Chartley moved to California to start an early incarnation of Dirty Looks. By the time Cool From the Wire was recorded, Henrik was performing with Paul Lidel, Jack Pyers and Gene Barnett.

Henrik Ostergaard is shown on the far right in the Crossfire photo, minus his usual long hair, sunglasses and baseball cap. Henrik died January 27, 2011. He was 47 years old.

Friday, October 12, 2012

What's Underneath Jerry Uht Park?

Detail of East 10th and French form the 1851 John Bevan survey.

What's underneath Jerry Uht Park?

It would be a stretch to say a river ran through it, but a creek certainly did cut through the Erie Seawolves' field of dreams. The John Bevan map shown above shows the location of Mill Creek in 1851.

Mill Creek overflowed on August 3, 1915 with disastrous results. Mill Creek was later tamed by a large tube which began on Glenwood Park Avenue, near 30th Street, and contained the creek underneath yards, buildings and businesses, including Jerry Uht Park and the Tullio Arena (Erie Civic Center).

The tube also ran under the old Sears building, which was demolished prior to the construction of Jerry Uht Park. Read about the grand opening of Sears here:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Was Buffalo Bill in Your Backyard?

Ad on left Erie Evening Herald, July 2, 1898; ad on right Erie Evening Herald, June 15, 1901.

Was Buffalo Bill in your backyard?

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show performed in Erie, Pennsylvania seven times between 1884 and 1916. Chances are pretty good that he played in your backyard, or paraded down your street on the way to your backyard. 

For instance, Cody's July 9, 1898 show was held in a field at 23rd and Parade owned by the Charles M. Reed estate. A stream cut through the middle of the block, which was bordered by Parade and Wallace between 22nd and 23rd Streets. 

If he didn't play in your yard, there's a chance that your grandparents or great-grandparents attended one of his performances. "Thousands were on hand to witness a street parade...The Indians, about eighty in all, resplendent in feather head-dress, paint, bells, etc., mounted upon their lithe and wiry mustangs, rode in amity with the Cowboys."

The Wild West Show was a huge production that was regularly updated. "Another new feature is a series of tableaux, depicting the famous Custer massacre, participated in by a number of Indians who fought against Custer on that memorable day in 1876. Among them is Red Horn Bull, who had a portion of his jawbone shot away by General Custer. Flat Iron, old and shrunken of limb, but rugged and active despite his 73 years, was at the head of the Indian warriors." -Erie Daily Times, July 9, 1898.

Annie Oakley was one of the stars of the Wild West Show. She began touring with Cody in 1885.

Cody's June 21, 1901 was staged under big tents at 8th and Cranberry in Erie, PA on property owned by Charles H. Strong. At the time, Cranberry was the western border of the City of Erie on the lower west side. Cody set up shop in a field was near the present-day Japan Street, just a few blocks from Frontier Park. "There are forty Sioux with the show...Chief Whirlwind is at the head of this tribe." -Erie Morning Dispatch, June 22, 1901. 

Here's an interesting observation about the size and scale of the show. "There is one feature about the show that may not have been appreciated by the thousands who looked at it from their seats, but which is worth remembering, and that is that every war that has occurred on this globe during the past thirty years- no matter in what country- was represented by men who had been actual participants in the battles...In August, after a tour of the Northwest, it will reach the Pan-American exposition and probably be located there a month or more." -Erie Daily Times, June 21, 1901.

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show performed at the Peach Street circus grounds on at least two occasions, July 15, 1907 and May 13, 1916.

Before he took his Wild West Show on the road, Col. William F. Cody performed at the Park Opera House on North Park Row a number of times. To learn more about this era of his career (1872 to 1876), be sure to check out the book Buffalo Bill On Stage by Erie native Sandra K. Sagala:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ten Reasons to Visit Dipson's Sky-Way Drive-In

-ad in Erie Dispatch, May 3, 1953.

Top Ten Reasons to Visit Dipson's Sky-Way Drive-In:

  1. No parking worries
  2. Smoke if you like
  3. No babysitters
  4. Dress as you please
  5. No annoyances
  6. Giant screen
  7. Perfect sound
  8. Two shows nightly
  9. Movies under the stars
  10. Extra added color cartoon
Enjoy more fun facts and photos of Erie, PA history at Old Time Erie

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

JFK Kennedy at the Lawrence Hotel in Erie PA 1960

The Hotel Lawrence was demolished in 1968.
The Lawrence Hotel sat on the northwest corner of 10th and Peach Street in Erie, Pennsylvania. Henry Shenk built the Lawrence in 1913.

John F. Kennedy, then Senator Kennedy, gave a campaign speech in front of the Hotel Lawrence on September 28, 1960 which began with the words "Governor Lawrence ladies and gentlemen, does not anyone ever go to school in Erie?" You can read the text of his speech here. 
Thousands of people crammed the streets to see the future President of the U.S.A. on West 10th Street near Peach. The Erie Daily Times devoted most of the front page of its final edition on Sept. 28, including six articles; '40,000 Greet Kennedy in Erie.' Ed Wellejus wrote 'Wild Reception Given Nominee in Appearances.'

Kennedy was on a hot streak, having just debated Richard Nixon on national TV two nights prior to his appearance in Erie. Watch a clip of the debate here: Watch a clip of the debate here. Adoring fans met Kennedy at the airport. Schools were closed, as were some businesses, so people could attend the downtown rally. JFK was elected president a few weeks after his Erie appearance.
Here's another view of the  Hotel Lawrence, the Majestic Theater and the Scott Block.
Erie Daily Times, Sept. 28, 1960.
Enjoy more fascinating facts about the history of Erie, Pennsylvania at: Old Time Erie

Monday, October 8, 2012

Majestic Theater and Scott Block Erie PA

Majestic Theater and Scott Block on West 10th St. Photo courtesy of Erie Police historian Ken Sidun.
The Majestic Theater was built in 1904 at 18-24 West 10th Street in Erie, PA. It was just west of the Scott Block and was located on the north side of Tenth St. between Peach and State. The Majestic was also known as the Perry Theater and most recently was Shea's Theater.

None of the buildings shown in this photo exist today. The Majestic was demolished in 1967.

The Lawrence Hotel, on the corner of 10th and Peach Street, is the first building on the left. The Lawrence was built in 1913 and was demolished in 1968.

The Scott Block, shown on the right in this photo, was built in 1875 and was demolished in 1969. It was owned by W. L. Scott. The Hilton Hotel occupied the site of all three buildings in the 1980s, stretching from State to Peach on West 10th St.

Brush up on the history of Erie, Pennsylvania at Old Time Erie

Sunday, October 7, 2012

State Street Erie PA pre-Bayfront Highway

State St. in Erie, PA looking north to Public Steamboat Landing. Courtesy of Erie Police historian Ken Sidun.

Here's a gritty-looking shot taken around 1910 from the west side of State Street in Erie, PA near the spot where the Bayfront Highway cuts across State. The building on the left with 'Chew Honey Scrap' painted on the side was demolished, as were the smaller buildings in the foreground. The bow of the USS Wolverine sat in the park on the left before it was moved to a spot on East Front Street in front of the Maritime Museum. This photo was taken before the Wolverine was cut up for scrap. 

The low building on the east side of State Street used to sit at the northeast corner of State and East Front Street. It no longer exists, nor does the big building on the right which is partially obscured by a man walking past the photographer. 

There is a delivery truck belonging to Ed. Kraus on the right side of the photo. Edward Kraus started Kraus' Department Store at 810-816 Parade Street in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1886.

 A cobblestone street similar to the one in this photo, called Dobbins Lane, still exists off of State Street, just north of the office building at 100 State Street in Erie, PA.

Friday, October 5, 2012

2525 Peach St Grocery Store Erie PA 1921

-ad in Erie Daily Herald, November 23, 1921.
The Witkop & Holmes Co. grocery store at 2525 Peach Street in Erie, PA had a going out of business sale in 1921. The partners lost their lease and had to be out of the building by November 30, 1921. 

By 1922, the Continental Grocery Stores of Pennsylvania had a store at 2525 Peach St. The Continental chain also had stores at 702 West 11th St., 1121 Parade 538 West 4th St. and 802 East Avenue. Continental also had stores in other cities.

When was the last time you could buy sugar for five cents a pound?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Crazy Horse Saloon 6th and French Erie PA

Crazy Horse Saloon photo by Chester Wasielewski. ©2012 Debbi Lyon.
The Crazy Horse Saloon sat on the northeast corner of E. 6th and French Street in Erie, PA. According to Tom Weber, "The building with the white columns...was once known as the P.A. Becker Building. At the time of its demolition in the 1980s, it was known as the Crazy Horse Saloon. Four of the iron pillars were preserved and stand in front of the Erie Insurance headquarters at E. 6th and French."

You could the Crazy Horse Saloon as you left the old Public Library at Perry Square. Erie Insurance currently occupies this corner.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Boston Store Before the Big One 718 State St

Old Time Erie: Boston Store (Erie Dry Goods Co.), 718-726 State Street.
Here is a photo of the Boston Store before the Big One was built. By Big One, I mean the building at 716 State Street that is so beloved in the memory of so many Erie natives. The one with the restaurant, the decorations, and several floors of merchandise. The one where you met your friends 'Under the Clock' at 716 State Street in Erie, PA.

The Boston Store was housed in the building shown above, at 718-726 State, before the one at 716 State Street was finished around 1931.

The Boston Store which was known as the Erie Dry Goods Company. The original retail store was located at 1604 Peach Street when it first opened in Erie, PA in 1885. At that time, the store had eight clerks and 2,175 square feet of floor space. Quite a bit smaller than the behemoth building that people remember shopping in on State Street, where there was a department (and sometimes an entire floor) for each category of items, such as toys, cameras, jewelry, ladies blouses, men's suits, children's back to school clothing. You name it and they probably had it in stock. 

The statistics from 1926 were impressive: "The present organization, in peak times, reaches a total of nearly 1,000 employees and more than 210,000 square feet of floor are now used. The Boston Store occupies the larger portion of an entire city block and has entrances on four streets. That the Boston Store meets all of Erie's needs in a fully satisfactory manner is apparent when its great progress is considered." This was one of the biggest employers in Erie County in the twenties.

Click here to view a shot of the Boston Store from 1932. If you would like to see other photos of the store, type 'Boston Store' in the search box near the upper left hand corner (to the right of the orange B). You'll be glad you did.

Enjoy more fun and fascinating historical facts about Erie, Pennsylvania at: Old Time Erie

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Jones Furniture Company 1130 Peach St Erie PA

Jones Furniture, 1130-1132 Peach Street, Erie, PA July 1924
The Jones Furniture Company at 1130 Peach Street is another in a long line of defunct Erie, Pennsylvania businesses. The five-story building that used to sit on the west side of Peach between 11th and 12th streets is long gone as well.

Ansel D. Jones owned the Jones Furniture Company, which existed for quite a few years. Mr. Jones described his business in a newspaper advertisement in the Erie Dispatch on October 3, 1914:

I have spent the greater part of my life in the furniture business, and know it from the preparing of lumber to the final polishing- know it in all its ramifications, all the old-fashioned and new-fashioned ways of buying and selling it.

Of course, there's nothing remarkable in the fact that I do know. I am old enough to know, and have had ample experience and every opportunity to learn.

I have bought and sold millions of dollars' worth of furniture- all of the most reliable kind- in metropolitan stores, where my position depended entirely upon giving satisfaction to every customer.

The most pleasant business relations of my life were severed to come to Erie. And I need not tell you that nothing but the most confident hope of still more pleasant relations could have brought me here. Therefore, you can readily see that the most important thing on earth to me is to gain and retain the CONFIDENCE of the people of this city- MY city.

As before suggested, there have been many changes in the methods of the selling as well as the making of furniture in the past quarter-century- and occasionally we find the old-fashioned ways still in operation. Dealers carried a very small stock, making the greater number of their sales from a catalogue- frequently obtaining excessive prices while giving the customer the impression that he was quoting the wholesale price or very near it.

Then, of course, when you (supposing you were the customer) received the furniture selected from a catalogue, you were obliged to keep it willy-nilly. No matter whether you liked it or not, you had to live with it. Whether it proved to be too large or too small, too heavy or too light, whether it fitted in with the surroundings or not, IT WAS YOURS FOR KEEPS. And it may have been delivered with scratches or abrasions- but it was in your home to stay.

But it is DIFFERENT now- or, at least it is different HERE. It is no longer necessary to buy a 'pig in a poke.'

We carry a very large and varied stock from a number of the best manufacturers in America. Here you can SEE THE FURNITURE and judge carefully of its design, proportions, size and finish before it is received into your home. Then, if it is not satisfactory in every way, just say so, and it will be exchanged or your money refunded without red tape or quibble. We are very careful in handling furniture, and guarantee its delivery to your home in perfect condition.

Our stock it practically all new, selected with good taste and judgement born of long experience. And our furniture for dining room, bedroom, library and den, is almost invariably carried in matched suits, but single pieces can be bought, to be added later or not, as you please.

And please remember that you cannot buy anywhere else in Erie the makes and designs we show.

I retain the very same relations with the large manufacturers as when I conducted the furniture business of one of the half dozen largest department stores in this country- not only every advantage in selection of design and control of distinctive lines, but EVERY ADVANTAGE IN PRICE, and every opportunity to secure the occasional close-out lines and special lots.

Everything sold by the A. D. Jones Furniture Company is marked in plain figures, and the most scrutinizing comparison is invited. You are always welcome. Come and go as you please, without feeling any obligation to buy.

I shall be very glad to personally consult with you upon any furnishing problem you may have.

Sincerely yours,
A. D. Jones

(Jones Furniture was in direct competition with Reliable Home Furnishing Co. Read about Reliable here: )

The Wayne Furniture Company, 1225 State Street, announced that "We have purchased the entire stock of the A. D. Jones Furniture Company" in an ad in the Erie Dispatch-Herald on November 7, 1926.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Harley-Davidson 1915 Anderson Cycle Works

-ad in Erie Dispatch-Herald, October 11, 1914.
Anderson Cycle Works was located at 546 West 18th Street in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1914. The business was owned by Theodore R. Anderson. A 1917 advertisement for Anderson's Cycle Works shows an address of 540 West 18th St. in Erie, PA. T. R. Anderson repaired motorcycles and bicycles. The business also dealt in new motorcycles, bicycles and supplies. The shop was an authorized agent for Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Buzz Kanter and Classic American Iron magazine have a video of a 1915 Harley here:

Please contact me if you have a photo of Anderson Cycle Works. Thanks!