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

1 comment:

  1. Testing my memory now - thinking the Lawrence Hotel was on the "northeast" corner of 10th & Peach. Next to it going east was the Shea's theater. The YMCA sat on the southeast corner of 10th & Peach - directly across from the Lawrence Hotel. I also remember the Hertz car/truck rental on the west side of Peach, just south of 10th, across the street from the side door, (near the alley) to the YMCA youth entrance. I believe there was a Glidden paint store located next door to the Hertz garage.