Tuesday, November 27, 2012

May the Force Be With You, 1884 EPD

-Detail from photo of the 1884 Erie Police Dept. from Erie Dispatch, January 11, 1920.
Joseph Ferguson was the Chief of Police in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1884 when there were a couple dozen coppers on the force. I'm looking for real photos of the Erie Police Department. The older the better. Copies from the old newspapers just don't cut it. 

Daniel Mitchell was captain of the police department circa 1884-85. Patrolmen included Patrick Applebee, William Brown, Thomas Culhane, Cornelius Daily, Jacob Dudenhoffer, Michael Emling, William J. Grant and Henry Gross

John W. Henry, James Higgins, J. P. Hiller, Roger Kane, John Kelly, Jacob Metz, T. Jefferson Miller, Mark Morrison, Adolf Pamperrien, John Sandusky, George Schaffer and Peter Shufel also served as patrolmen at this time. 

I'm also looking for a photo of Chief Crowley, or any unidentified photos of Erie police officers. Chief Crowley is mentioned in the book Memoirs of a Great Detective .

Did one of your ancestors serve on the E.P.D.? Do you recognize one of them in the picture above or see their name in the list? If you do, please leave a comment below.

If you've visited Erie before or lived here for a time, reminisce at Old Time Erie

Monday, November 26, 2012

WICU-TV Sunbeam Christmas Show 1955

-ad in Erie Dispatch, December 25, 1955.
Christmas of 1955 was a special time for kids in Erie, Pennsylvania. 'Let's Be Friends,' the tri-state area's number one live show, presented a special Christmas Show on December 25, 1955.

The show aired on WICU-TV, the local NBC affiliate, and was sponsored by the Firch Baking Company. Firch's spokesperson was 'Little Miss Sunbeam.'

Paul Dwyer was the host of 'Let's Be Friends.' The Christmas Show featured Judy Zalewski, a seven year-old singer; Judy Yoculan, a ten year-old ventriloquist; Tech High School grad Carmen Riazzi, who played basketball at the University of Dayton; Cathedral Prep grad Jim Schaaf, who played football at the University of Notre Dame; and Dan Kelly, the Academy High School concert pianist.

The Tune Toppers performed the music on this live show. The guests performed live at the WICU studio at 3514 State Street in Erie, PA.

Click here for a 1931 Firch Baking Co. ad.

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

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Perry Square Carnival, State Street, Erie PA

Perry Square Carnival around 1963. Photo ©Debbi Lyon 2012.
Perry Square was blocked off for a winter carnival around 1963 in Erie, Pennsylvania. Food vendors lined up along the west side of State Street. You could buy a foot long hotdog, cotton candy or a candy apple. There were rides on the east side of State Street. The flying helicopter ride was set up here near South Park Row.

The Hotel Richford, which is now Richford Arms, is the tall brick building in the center of the picture. The old State Store was in the building to the right of the hotel on North Park Row; that building has since been torn down.

Here is an old postcard of the Richford Hotel: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/09/ford-hotel-now-richford-arms-on-state.html

A number of events have been held on State Street at Perry Square over the years, including We Love Erie Days, Erie Rib Fest and Roar on the Shore.

What's your favorite Perry Square Erie festival?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Marvintown Golden Dawn, 28th and Parade, Erie PA

Golden Dawn at 28th and Parade Street in Erie, PA. Photo ©Debbi Lyon 2012.
This area of town at 28th and Parade Street in Erie, Pennsylvania is known as Marvintown. Golden Dawn, shown in the photograph above, was a mid-sized grocery store located on the east side of Parade Street at 28th Street. The store was managed by Raymond Fitzgerald.

Robert's Five & Ten Store was located next door, to the north, at 2711 Parade Street. It was previously known as Meister's, and was a really neat old-style store with a creaky wooden floor. It had dump bins full of items and the setup was such that you could see across the entire store. I bought a clear 'shatter-proof' ruler at Robert's, which broke in two when I used it as a drumstick to tap on my desk. (Shatter-proof and unbreakable must be two different things, like a 'wrinkle-resistant' shirt.) The store was owned by Robert and Patricia Tatara.

Golden Dawn and Robert's were demolished to build a drug store.

This shot was taken around 1979 looking north from the parking lot at Herman's Cafe, 2802 Old French Road. The cafe, which is not shown here, would be on the left of this photo. The cafe was owned by Herman Marquardt, Jr., who died in 2007. Herman's was formerly known as the Marvintown Inn. This building still stands.

There were two donut stores right in this vicinity: Dunkin' Donuts at 2801 Pine Avenue and Mighty-Fine Donuts at 2612 Parade Street. There was also a gas station on the northwest corner of 28th and Parade.

Old French Road and Pine Avenue converge at 28th Street, forming a triangle at the traffic light. 

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

Friday, November 23, 2012

Railroad Bridge at Four Mile Creek and Water Street

Steps to the New York Central Railroad tracks at Four Mile Creek. Photo ©Debbi Lyon 2012.
This railroad bridge on Water Street near the General Electric Plant in Lawrence Park Township has been covered with graffiti for as long as I can remember. The bridge was built in 1865. I took this photo in the late eighties.

The stairs used to lead to the New York Central Railroad tracks before an iron bar was welded on to block access to the steps. The New York Central roundhouse and repair shop used to be located just east of this bridge. The old roundhouse had twelve bays to repair trains.

Fishermen often cast a line over the cement wall. Fourmile Creek is now posted with 'No Trespassing' signs just north (left in this photo) of this bridge. If you look over the edge of the wall after a rainstorm you'll often see raging, muddy water. On a hot summer day, the creek runs at a trickle.

There is a footbridge just north of here that you can use to cross over the creek; it comes out at Bell Street and Napier Avenue.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Abraham Lincoln in Erie, PA 1861

Abraham Lincoln stopped in Erie, Pennsylvania at the bequest of the Erie County Republican Club in 1861. 

The club wrote a letter to Lincoln on February 1, 1861, which stated:

Hon. A. Lincoln, President Elect
Dear Sir,
As it is announced that your route to Washington will be through Cleveland & Buffalo, and consequently through this place we address you to ascertain if it would be convenient for you to make a short stay at Erie. Our city is connected with the interior of the State by the Sunbury & Pittsburg Railroads, thus enabling the people at the lines of those Roads an opportunity of meeting you which they could not have at any other point. Your reception here would not be partisan in its character, though the political sentiment of this part of the State is largely Republican- As the trains change engines here, you would be necessarily detained and if you could prolong your stay sufficiently to enable our citizens to pay their respects to you as the President elect, you would place them under many obligations. 

Please inform as whether this would be agreeable, and at what time you would reach here.
Very respectfully yours
R. F. Gaggin [Richard F. Gaggin]
A. M. D. Lyon [Alexander McD. Lyon, Yale graduate]
A. H. Caughey [Andrew H. Caughey]"
Citation: The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916. Erie Pennsylvania Republican Club to Abraham Lincoln, Friday, February 01, 1861 (Invitation) 

Lincoln arrived in Erie, PA on February 16, 1861, on his way to his first inauguration, which took place on March 4, 1861. Erie Mayor Sherburn Smith was the chairman of the welcoming committee. The old Union Depot on Peach Street was decorated with flags. An arch was built over the railroad tracks and evergreens were wrapped around the pillars. 

"The train bearing Mr. Lincoln and suite and the Erie committee arrived at twenty minutes past twelve, announced by the booming of cannon and huzzas from the assembled multitude. Great enthusiasm was manifested as he passed from the car he occupied to the depot dining room." -Erie Observer, December 20, 1876.

Lincoln stopped in three communities in Erie County, PA.
"At Girard station several baskets of splendid fruit and flowers were presented to the Presidential family. No little sensation was produced at this point by the unexpected apparition on the train of Horace Greeley, equipped with a valise and his well known red and blue blankets. He was at once conducted into the car of the President, who came forward to greet him. He got off again at Erie, after traveling about twenty miles with the company.

At Erie quite a scene occurred, by the breaking down of a roof on which a large number of curious republicans had gathered. The sudden appearance of the whole group, and the scramble among the ruins, was most ludicrous. Fortunately no one was seriously hurt.
After dinner at Erie Mr. Lincoln addressed the people, excusing himself for not expressing his opinions on the exciting questions of the day. He trusted that when the time for speaking should come he should find it necessary to say nothing not in accordance with the constitution together with the interests of the people of the whole country.

At North East station a flag, inscribed 'fort Sumter,' was carried right up to where Mr. Lincoln stood, but he did not seem to take the hint, and made no allusion to it in his remarks. At the same station Mr. Lincoln took occasion to state that during the campaign he had received a letter from a young girl of this place, in which he was kindly admonished to do certain things, and among others to let his whiskers grow, and that, as he had acted upon that piece of advice, he would now be glad to welcome his fair correspondent, if she was among the crowd. In response to the call, a lassie made her way through the crowd, and was helped on the platform and kissed by the President." -New York Herald, February 17, 1861.

Lincoln's Funeral Train passed through Erie, PA on April 28, 1865 at 3 a.m. on its way from Buffalo, NY to Cleveland, OH.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Snowstorm 1956 Wesleyville, PA

Thanksgiving Snowstorm 1956 on Station Road in Wesleyville, PA. Photo ©Dr. Barbara Chambers 2012.
The great Thanksgiving Snowstorm of 1956 was so big that it is still talked about to this day. The storm dumped 27 inches of snow on Erie County, Pennsylvania over the Thanksgiving holiday. The City of Erie came to a standstill. The snow was so deep that the National Guard was called in to deliver food and clear the streets in November of 1956. 

The picture above shows Hill's Market at 2013 Station Road in Wesleyville, PA. As you can see, cars were stranded on both sides of Station Road (Route 430). Some people had to shovel a path to the street to unbury their cars. Station Road ends at the traffic light at Buffalo Road (Route 20). The big white house is in the center of this photo is located at 3216 Buffalo Road. Plubell Hardware was located on the southeast corner of Buffalo Road and Station Road. It has since been torn down.

How did your family survive this winter storm? Please click here to leave a comment.

Check out this photo of the: 1956 Thanksgiving Snow Storm in Erie, PA.

Enjoy more fun photos of Erie, PA from the warmth of your home at: Old Time Erie

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

West 10th Street, Times They Are a Changing

Here is a cool shot of Tenth Street, taken from the middle of the block between Peach and Sassafras, in Erie, Pennsylvania, looking east. The old Lawrence Hotel is the tall building on the left. The sign for Shea's Theatre is visible just beyond the Lawrence.

The Baldwin Building (now the Renaissance Center) is the light colored building on the horizon on the right side of the photo. The YMCA is the tall red building on the right. The State Department of Public Welfare was located at 103 West 10th Street for many years before the building was demolished. This building is shown on the far right of this postcard.

An eagle-eyed reader pointed out this interesting fact: "If you look on the right you can see the bowsprit of the old Eastern Shore Restaurant, which eventually moved to West Lake Road and became Barnacle Bill's Eastern Shore." [Thanks, J. H.!]

Yes Virginia, the Erie Daily Times was located on West 10th Street before the company built a new facility on West 12th Street to this location: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/11/bessemer-railroad-12th-and-sassafras.html

Here's a photo of Shea's when it was known as the Majestic Theatre: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/10/majestic-theater-and-scott-block-erie-pa.html

Monday, November 19, 2012

Bessemer Railroad 12th and Sassafras Erie, PA

Bessemer Railroad on West 12th Street in Erie, PA. Photo ©Debbi Lyon 2012.
The old Bessemer Railroad building stood on the south side of West 12th Street near Sassafras Street in Erie, Pennsylvania. The Times Publishing Company currently occupies this site. If you drive behind the Times building, you can still see a pair of tracks that lead to the south side of the building, where giant rolls of newsprint were delivered by rail car when the paper was printed in Erie, PA. The Times bought this property around 1968.

This shot was taken just off of Twelfth Street looking east. The Commerce Building is visible on the left side of this photo, with the radio tower on top of the building. The WSEE-TV tower, at 1220 Peach Street, is visible near the right side of the picture. About 90% of what you see in this photo has been demolished.

Erie Mayor Charles B. Williamson succeeded in having the railroad tracks ripped out for about a four-block stretch in this area on West 12th Street.

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

Sunday, November 18, 2012

President Taft at Strong Mansion in Erie PA

Front page of the Erie Sunday Herald, September 18, 1911.
President William Howard Taft visited Erie, Pennsylvania on September 16, 1911. He stayed with the Charles H. Strong family in their mansion at 109 West 6th St., better know today as Gannon University's 'Old Main.'

Taft stayed at the Strong mansion for two nights. It is rumored that he became stuck in a bathtub in this house.

Taft arrived by train at the old Union Depot on Peach Street at 9:12 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16, 1911. The headline of the Erie Sunday Herald stated, "Monster Crowd Greets President Wm. H. Taft." Taft went directly to the Majestic Theater, 18-24 West 10th Street, to a banquet hosted by the Erie Chamber of Commerce. "The Majestic Theater was decorated with flags and bunting and made an ideal banquet hall. A floor was built over the parquet seats on a level with the stage, thus providing seating arrangements for over 800 people...the President's table was almost in the center of the hall and he was seen and heard to the best possible advantage."-Erie Evening Herald, September 17, 1911.

While in Erie, Taft attended the Unitarian Church at 147 West 9th Street with the Strong family on Sunday morning, followed by a luncheon in his honor. "After luncheon, the President was taken for an auto drive in Mrs. Strong's automobile. In addition to the President were Mrs. Strong, Major [Archibald] Butt and Secretary [Charles] Hilles. In addition to driving about a number of streets, a stop was made at the Log Cabin west of the city...At 10 o'clock the President left the Strong residence being accompanied to his private car by Mr. Strong. His car left Erie at 1:21." -Erie Evening Herald, September 18, 1911.

The Herald published Taft's message of appreciation on Sept. 18th:
"It has been a great pleasure to meet the people of Erie. I am glad to have been the first President to visit this interesting and enterprising city. The police arrangements, due to the efficiency of the local police, supplemented by the National Guard, were perfect. The cordial reception by the people, who in great numbers lined the streets from station to auditorium, was very gratifying.

The audience at the Chamber of Commerce banquet, including the 1,600 members and the ladies who honored the occasion by their presence, were in a most hospitable and responsive mood, and encouraging in the highest degree to those whose good fortune it was to speak to them. I was delighted to find such a sympathetic response to the cause of Arbitration Treaties, which I improved the opportunity to present and urge. The Sunday's rest in Erie was grateful.

John F. Kennedy visited Erie, but he was a senator at the time, and was campaigning for the presidential election. Senator Kennedy spoke from the Lawrence Hotel, one building west of the old Majestic Theater.

Here is a photo of the Majestic Theater: Majestic Theater

Enjoy more historical facts and photos at: Old Time Erie

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hotel Wayne and Commerce Bldg, 12th and State

Hotel Wayne on West 12th Street near State around 1960. Photo ©Debbi Lyon 2012.
The Hotel Wayne was located at 12-14 West 12th Street in Erie, Pennsylvania. This four-story hotel was the third building west of State Street on the north side of the street. It was constructed by Valentine D. Eichenlaub, who made all of the concrete blocks for the project. The tall building on the right is the Commerce Building, which was on the east side of State Street.

Here is a color shot of the Hotel Wayne from a different angle and an old postcard of the Commerce Building at 12th and State.

None of the buildings shown in the photo above exist today; this area is now occupied by a bank. 

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

Friday, November 16, 2012

Grain Elevator Demolition 1986 Erie PA

Grain Elevator at Erie, PA in October of 1986. Photo ©Debbi Lyon 2012.
The Grain Elevator was located near the foot of Holland Street in Erie, Pennsylvania. It was built around 1918 and was demolished in October of 1986. The United States Border Patrol was located in the Cruise Boat Terminal at 1 Holland Street. I took this photo from the top of the Bluff near the Russian Church.

Here is a photo of the Grain Elevator in its prime: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/07/grain-elevator-erie-pa-bayfront-prr.html

And another shot of the Grain Elevator and ice fishermen on the Bay: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/06/ice-fishing-in-erie-pa-bay-in-1965.html

Thursday, November 15, 2012

12th and State, Commerce Building Erie PA

Old Time Erie: Commerce Bldg. courtesy of Ken Sidun.
The Commerce Building was located on the northeast corner of 12th and State Streets in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Twelfth and State was a very busy intersection, so its hard to believe that there was NO TRAFFIC LIGHT at this corner.

The old postcard of Erie on the right shows the trolley traveling south on State Street and turning west onto 12th Street. There is also a woman pushing a stroller across 12th Street with a group of people walking behind her. And the cars seem pretty close to each other.

There does not appear to be a radio antenna on top of the Commerce Building in this shot. WLEU and later WCCK both broadcast their stations from this location.

Richard Irwin was the architect of the Commerce Bldg. It was built by Mayer Brothers Construction of Erie, PA. Dr. Elmer Hess was an early tenant of the Commerce Bldg.

The Commerce Building was demolished in the 1980s. Click here to view a photo of the demolition of the brick-faced building.

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

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

State Street from 7th to 8th, Mayo Leather Shop

The Mayo Leather Shop, located at 709 State Street in Erie, Pennsylvania, is shown in the lower left-hand corner of this postcard of Downtown Erie. The trolley ran right down the center of State Street when this shot was taken. There are lots of cars parked along the west side of State St. at right angles to the curb (too many fender-benders with parallel parking?).

Mayo Leather was owned by Henry Mayo. The company existed at 709 State Street as early as 1878 and was later owned by Maxwell Mayo. The Erie Sports Store had a location here after Mayo Leather. Read about early Erie leather manufacturers here: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/11/25th-and-ash-boot-factory-built-1871.html

Here is a view of the Mayo Leather building circa 1959 when it was occupied by the Erie Sport Store: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/05/erie-sport-store-at-709-state-street.html

The small stone building with the flag is First National Bank at 715 State St. The tall beige building was located on the corner at 729 State St.

None of the building shown in the first block on the left exist today, with the exception of the facade of the First National Bank Building, which was moved to East 26th Street.

The old Penn Building is the white building shown here on the southeast corner of 8th and State.

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield currently occupies the building at 717 State St.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

West 7th Street, Gannon College Theatre, Erie PA

The old Gannon College Theatre on West 7th St. in Erie, PA. Photo ©Debbi Lyon 2012.
The Gannon College Theatre was located at 128 West 7th Street in Erie, Pennsylvania. You can see the old Playhouse sign in front of the theater in this photograph. This shot was taken on West 7th Street looking west, between Peach and Sassafras Streets. The three-story building to the left of the theater was the Cathedral of Saint Paul Chapter House office at 134 West 7th Street. The two-story brick building on the far left was the Pennsylvania State Bureau of Employment Security at 144 West 7th St. These buildings were all demolished.

These buildings have all been demolished. Gannon College is now Gannon University. The Nash Library occupies the western end of this photo. The times they are a changing.'

Read 'em and weep at Old Time Erie

Monday, November 12, 2012

Rainbow Gardens at Waldameer Park, Erie, PA

Rainbow Gardens has held many events over the past eighty plus years, everything from concerts, dances, antique shows, ethnic festivals and craft shows. The venue is located in Millcreek Township, Erie County, PA, on the grounds of Waldameer Park and Water World. The park has entrances on West 8th Street and on Peninsula Drive.

Rainbow Gardens was built around 1925. The roof of Rainbow Gardens collapsed under the weight of a heavy snowstorm just before Christmas in 1950, causing the cancellation of four Christmas and New Year dances. (There was also a destructive fire at a different building at Waldameer Park, the Hofbrau German restaurant, in 1941.)

Some concerts at Rainbow Gardens include:
Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians, May 23, 1927
Fletcher Henderson and his orchestra performed around 1928
Tal Henry and his North Carolinians, August 4, 1930
Duke Ellington & his Cotton Club Orchestra with Ivy Anderson, Sept. 10, 1931
Fats Waller and his orchestra performed for 6,000 people on April 25, 1936
Freddy Bergin with Mary Tudor, Oct. 17, 1936
Tommy Reynolds and his orchestra, May 22, 1942
Dick Stabile and his orchestra featuring Gracie Barrie, Nov. 26, 1942
Les Brown and his orchestra, December 5, 1942
Jack Teegarden performed around December, 1942
Richard Himber, April 24, 1943
Buddy Rich and his orchestra, July 6, 1946
Ina Ray Hutton and her orchestra, July 17, 1946
Carmen Cavallaro and his orchestra, July 9, 1947
Tex Beneke and his Glen Miller orchestra, Aug. 22, 1947
Gene Parlette and his orchestra, July 12, 1952
Les Brown and his Band of Renown, July 14, 1952
Stan Kenton, August 8, 1952
CJ Bri, February 13, 1970 Sweetheart Hop ad
Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians, May 13, 1973
Maynard Ferguson, August 7, 1975
The Moonlighters
The Pulse and Friction, Nov. 13, 1981
Generic Beat 1985 (Battle of the Bands)
Generic Beat 1986 (show sponsored by WSEG-FM)
Shok Paris, Dirty Looks, Blackout, Rex and Thunder, Friday, March 7 (1987?)
Ronnie James Dio, April 25, 1997

This is going to be a long list. I will add more dates as I find them. Feel free to add a comment with the dates of concerts you have attended at Rainbow Gardens in Erie, PA.

Enjoy more historic facts and photos of Erie, PA at: oldtimeerie.blogspot.com

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Chestnut Street Pool and Waterworks Park, Erie PA

Waterworks Park postcard courtesy of Erie Police historian Ken Sidun.
The Chestnut Street Pool was located at the foot of Chestnut Street in Erie, Pennsylvania. The City of Erie operated this pool to give its citizens a place to swim for free. This old postcard shows people having a picnic and sitting on benches at Waterworks Park.

One of the most vivid things that people remember was scraping their knees on the old concrete pool. A number of people still have the scars to prove it. Others remember that the pool was always very popular and was always crowded.

How far did you walk to swim at the Chestnut Street Pool?

Here's a more modern shot of kids swimming in the pool: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2013/01/swimming-at-chestnut-street-pool-in.html

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Magician Harry Kellar Played Erie in 1904

-ad in Erie Evening Herald, Oct. 13, 1904.
Harry Kellar, known throughout the world as a brilliant magician, was born in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1849. Kellar appeared at the Majestic Theatre on West 10th Street in Erie, PA for two shows,  October 17 and October 18, 1904.

"The popularity of Harry Kellar, or 'Our Harry,' as he is familiarly called in Erie, (his old home), was attested last evening...Kellar uses very little apparatus, and performs many of his most wonderful tricks simply with the aid of his bare hands and in the glare of the brilliantly lighted stage." -review in the Erie Evening Herald, Oct. 18, 1904.

Kellar performed one of his most famous acts at the Majestic, the Levitation of the Princess Karnac. "The illusion is only another of the mighty Kellar's marvelous accomplishments, showing the ease and grace with which he defies the laws of nature and makes even the unbending rules of science sway to his will and skill."

Here is a picture of the Majestic Theatre. Magician Harry Blackstone, Sr. also performed in Erie.

Enjoy a magical history tour of Erie, PA at Old Time Erie

Canal Boats Under West 4th and Sassafras

-Detail from Ruger & Stoner's 1870 bird's eye map of Erie, PA. Library of Congress 73-694523.
Erie, Pennsylvania was a much different town back in 1870, when the canal flowed underneath 4th and Sassafras Street and emptied into Lake Erie. The bird's eye view of Erie shown above was made by Ruger & Stoner in 1870. The current Bayfront Highway loosely follows the dirt road shown at the bottom of this old map of Erie.

The path of the canal is shown in blue near the center of this drawing. It went under Sassafras Street south of Fourth Street, then under Fourth Street east of Sass. Its path then became parallel to Peach and Sassafras Street until it reached the bay by a series of three locks. West 2nd Street was blocked by the canal between Peach and Sassafras in 1870.

The Beaver and Erie Canal met its terminus at Reed's Wharf, which was also known as Reed's Pier. The was important for shipping, but it was also an attractive nuisance, as these notices in the Erie Gazette will attest:

"On Friday evening, Mr. G. D. Buckley rescued a little son of Dr. McGill from drowning in the canal near Walnut street, above eighth." -May 26, 1870.

"On Wednesday afternoon of last week, a little son of John McCuminskey fell into the out-let lock, and all efforts to save him were unavailable. His body becoming wedged in the 'wicket,' it was 15 minutes before it was extricated."

The Beaver and Erie Canal is just a memory in Downtown Erie. Part of the canal used to run through Gannon University's Intramural Field near 3rd and Sassafras St.

Enjoy more historic facts about Erie, Pennsylvania at: Old Time Erie

Friday, November 9, 2012

Midnight Horror at Shea's Theatre in Erie PA

Shea's ad in Erie Morning News, September 12, 1963.
How about a spine-chilling horror hit featuring Leonard Nimoy? Nimoy appeared as Professor Cole in the 1958 cult-classic "The Brain Eaters" which was part of a double feature five years later at Shea's Theater in Erie, PA.

Shea's ran an interesting promotion, which included:

  • Free admission if your name had 13 letters
  • A Vampire Cocktail to the first 100 people
  • A free Dead Body to some lucky patron

The Horror at Midnight promotion coincided with Friday the 13th, which in this case was September 13, 1963. Shea's lined up two Ed Nelson films, "The Brain Eaters" and "Night of the Blood Beast." The latter was directed by Roger Corman.

Shea's Theatre was located at 22 West 10th Street in Erie, Pennsylvania. This theater was demolished. The site is now occupied by the Avalon Hotel. Here's an old photo of the theater.

There's nothing Eerie about Old Time Erie, or is there?

Public Dock Winter of 1967-68 Erie, PA

East side of Erie Public Dock, winter of 1967-68. Photo ©Jeffrey George 2012.
Remember rambling down State Street in your old boat of a car, pumping the brakes to make sure you didn't slide down State and spin out? And then gunning it to get back up the hill? Gotta love those old rear wheel drive cars. The big chrome bumpers made it fun for kids to latch onto and hitch a ride (not the safest sport).

This photo was taken by Jeffrey George the Public Dock during the winter of 1967-68. It's amazing how much this area has been built up with the newer Dobbin's Landing and Bicentennial Tower replacing this old antenna-like metal contraption on the dock. Local pranksters used to steal the 'L' from  the old Public Dock sign, much to the embarrassment of the local authorities...or maybe this is another one of those Eerie myths?

"Several cars went over the Dock, some accidentally and several on purpose!" said Beverly M.

At any rate, it looks like it was a mighty cold day when this picture was snapped.

Very little changed from 1967 to 1985 when this photo was taken at the Erie Public Dock.

Enjoy more facts and photos of Erie, PA at: oldtimeerie.blogspot.com

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Shaw Piano, West 12th and Raspberry Erie, PA

-ads in Atkinson's Erie City Directory (1894, 1897) and Shaw Piano die-cut trade card.
If you live or work in Erie, PA, there's a good chance you have driven by the old Shaw Piano factory and not even realized it. I know I have. The Shaw Piano Company was located in the four-story brick building on the southeast corner of 12th and Raspberry.

Shaw Piano was organized by Congressman Matthew Griswold on March 28, 1890. He was president of the company, his son Matthew Jr. was vice-president, Henry J. Raymore was secretary, and Marvin Griswold was treasurer. This is the same family that owned the Griswold Manufacturing Co.

Shaw was originally located at 1124 Peach Street; the factory opened around 1892 at 1053 West 12th Street in Erie.

Creditors forced the Shaw Piano Company into bankruptcy on August 23, 1901. Griswold Mfg. moved into the old Shaw building shortly thereafter. This 63,550 square foot factory was later occupied by the Cohen Industrial Supply Co. This building still stands; developers are going to turn it into a haunted house.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Rider's On The Bay State Street Restaurant

Postcard and ad in Erie Dispatch-Herald, September 20, 1945.
Rider's on the Bay Restaurant was located on West Dobbin's Landing in Erie, PA from the forties until the sixties.

The restaurant was owned by Manly and Caroline Rider in 1946 and was located at 4 State Street, near the Public Dock. In the mid-sixties, Rider's was owned by Nick Markopoulos and Alex Platis (who also owned Tony's Restaurant & Marine Bar on the east side of State Street.)

Rider's On the Bay was a place to take the family to eat.

"If you haven't already sampled our seafood specialties, why not stop in this evening for one of our tangy Fish Dinners. Then you'll know why the whole town is raving. Whether you crave Fish, Oysters, Lobsters, Soft Shell Crabs, Shrimp or Scallop, you'll be satisfied...and then some!"

This restaurant was demolished. The Sheraton Bayfront Hotel currently occupies this site.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Erie's First Integrated Stage Show in 1936?

-ad in Erie Dispatch-Herald, August 1, 1936.
Is it possible that the first integrated floor show in Erie took place at Cogan's Grill during the first week of August in 1936?

The advertisement claims, "Erie's most popular grill is celebrating its third anniversary this week and as a special treat to its patrons and friends it is featuring something new in Erie in the line of floor shows. Black and Tan Entertainers. For the first time in the history of Erie you will see a floor show of white and colored entertainers. There's nothing like it between here and Chicago."

It is possible that the headliner, Mellise, was a member of the "Streets of Paris" revue that performed at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. The other performers are not mentioned in the ad. I checked but did not find a review of the Cogan's show.

Joseph Cogan owned Cogan's Grill at 1711 State Street in Erie, PA. He was born in Balto, Russia around 1910. His older brother, Meyer Cogan, was the bartender. The family lived at 1709 State Street.

Ember's Steak House and Cocktail Lounge was located at 1711 State Street in the Sixties.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Koehler Brewery 1888 Trifecta Erie PA

-ad in Cooke, Howard & Co. Erie PA 1888 directory.
The Koehler family members are amongst the best-known brewers from Erie, Pennsylvania. Charles Koehler, the patriarch of the family, had a brewery on 26th and Holland Street. Following his death in 1869, his sons- Fred, Louis and Jackson Koehler, carried on his business.

By 1888, the sons had their own businesses. Fred Koehler & Co. was located at the corner of 26th and Holland Streets. Fred was a partner of Adolph L. Curtze.

Louis Koehler owned the City Bottling Works at 1311 State Street. In addition to beer, he bottled and manufactured ginger ale, pop, birch beer, pear cider and mineral water.

Jackson Koehler, owner of the Eagle Brewery at 22nd and State Street, was the brewer that most people are familiar with. By 1895, Jackson was brewing 30,000 barrels of beer per year.

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

Sunday, November 4, 2012

25th and Ash Boot Factory Built 1871 Still Stands

Erie Boot and Shoe Factory at 25th and Ash Streets. Photo by Weber.

Erie was a well-known leather manufacturing site in the late 1800s

The Erie Boot and Shoe Company at the corner of 25th and Ash Street in Erie, PA was one of six companies that manufactured leather goods in 1878 in the City of Erie. This building still stands at 602 East 25th Street, and is just south of Serafin's Market. The J. H. Bennett Storage & Carting was located in this factory for a number of years, and Stanganelli's currently occupies this site.

The Erie Boot and Shoe Company formed in 1871 with $100,000 capital. It's annual output in 1882 was 1,800 cases of boot and 2,800 dozen shoes, with an annual value of $225,000 in products. Joseph Eichenlaub, who was born in Germany, was president and general manager of the company, and J. W. Ryan was treasurer. By 1882, the company employed between 75 and 100 people, a slight drop from the 120 people who worked there in 1878. The factory was 35 feet wide on the East 25th Street side, and 150 feet deep along Ash Street.

Erie Boot made ladies, misses, mens and youths boots and shoes. "The factory is divided into several departments, comprising that for cutting of upper leather, the cutting of sole leather, the crimping, bottoming, treeing, stitching, finishing, packing, etc...The trade extends over Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan, and wherever introduced at once gains a reputation for superior workmanship." -Manufacturing and Mercantile Resources of Erie City and County.

Gunnison's Tannery was located at 134 West 18th Street in Erie, PA. Charles E. Gunnison and John B. Gunnison established the business in 1859. The company increased from 12 to 16 employees between 1878 and 1882, producing $50,000 worth of goods annually, and used 7,500 hides, 1,500 calf skins and 600 cords of hemlock bark annually. (Gunnsion's was located where the Central Mall was later built.) This building no longer stands.

"The tannery consists of a large brick building, partly two and partly three stories in height; the three-story part 53x54 feet, and the two-story part 22x70 feet in dimensions. Attached to this building is their office 20x20 feet, besides an engine and boiler room 30x75 feet. They use a 20-horse power engine and boiler much larger in capacity...and have a capacity of about 250 sides per week.

They make rough harness and rough leather principally, and find a ready market for all they produce, the harness leather being sold to the general trade here, while the rough leather is shipped to Boston."

Keystone Boot and Shoe Works was located on East 12th Street. William Himrod was president of the company and J. F. Downing was treasurer. Keystone had $40,000 in capital. The business had 75 employees and produced $100,000 in boot and shoes annually.

Henry Mayo was located at 709 State Street in Erie, PA. His business had $5,000 in capital and produced $10,000 worth of harnesses, whips, saddles and bridles annually. He employed five people. The Mayo Leather Shop was still in business in 1922 at 709 State Street and was owned by Maxwell Mayo. (The Erie Sports Store was located at 709 State Street at one time.) This building no longer stands.

Richtscheit's Tannery was located at 197 East 11th Street in Erie, PA. Joseph Richtscheit established the tannery in 1860 with $5,000 in capital. In 1878 he had two employees and the business consumed 1,000 hides and skins and 100 cords of bark annually. The business was not operating in 1878.

Streuber's Tannery was located on State Street between 18th and 19th Streets in Erie, PA. The business was founded in 1861 by John Streuber. His sons, Emil and George Strueber, took over the business in 1871, a year before John died. The Streubers were born in France. The tannery had $40,000 in capital and had an annual use of 6,000 hides, 5,000 calf skins and 600 cords of hemlock bark.

"The premises occupied are a brick building, most of which is five stories high, covering an area of 100x165 feet. The establishment gives employment to 34 men, and turns out finished calf, kip, upper, harness and sole leather, besides some unfinished light stock, which is worked into carriage leather, etc. The total value of the product reaches $120,000. The stock is shipped to all sections of the country, principally to the West, but sales are not confined to any locality."

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Loblaws We Love Erie 1982 Promotion

-Loblaws ad in Coupon Carnival monthly mailer.
Loblaws had a big promotion in 1982 centered on the theme 'We Love Erie.' The retailer sold t-shirts, mugs, baseball caps, frisbees, bumper sticker and soda pop, pretty much anything they could print the logo on, to raise money for the Erie, PA Tourist Convention Bureau.

There was also an All About Erie game that was sold in June of 1982 at all the Erie area Loblaws stores.

How many of the 'We Love Erie' items do you have in your collection?

Loblaws had thirteen locations in Erie County, PA in 1974. To see a list, click the blue link below: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/09/loblaws-had-13-erie-pa-grocery-stores.html

Friday, November 2, 2012

Griswold Sale at Boston Store 1934

-ad in Erie Dispatch-Herald, April 9, 1934.
Don't you wish you could jump in your time machine, go back to the Boston Store, and buy a No. 8 Griswold Cast Iron Skillet for just 69¢? Most of the pieces shown in the advertisement should look familiar...I bet your grandmother used them in her kitchen.

Griswold was manufactured in Erie and is a highly collectible brand. To see how popular it is, just search eBay for Griswold. These cooking utensils are so tough that some frying pans have been in continuous use since this ad appeared in the mid-thirties. The common items show up regularly at antique shows and flea markets.

Check out the Griswold Chromium Cast Iron 5 piece gift set for only $7.95. I wonder how many couples received this set as a wedding present? Individual pieces included a 6 inch skillet, a 8 inch skillet, a 10.5 inch skillet, a 10.5 inch griddle and a 4.5 quart Dutch oven.

Griswold had a four-story brick factory on the south side of West 12th between Cascade and Raspberry Streets in Erie, PA. This building still stands at 1053 West 12th Street.

Matthew Griswold, Jr. holds a number of patents for Griswold cookware, including a waffle-iron, a food-chopper, a coffee mill and a gas heating stove. In 1922, the company  included: Marvin E. Griswold, President; Ely Griswold, Vice-President; R. Wolcott Griswold, Treasurer; and Blaine M. Oxtoby, Secretary.

What is your favorite piece of Griswold?

Examples include:
Griswold Skillet No. 8 
Griswold Skillet No. 6
Griswold Skillet No. 3

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

Thursday, November 1, 2012

8th and State Woolworth's and Penn Bldg Erie PA

Postcard courtesy of Erie Police historian Ken Sidun.
This postcard shows a couple of Erie, PA landmarks that no longer exist- Woolworth's on the left and the Penn Building on the right. The F. W. Woolworth Company was located in the Gabel Block at 810 State Street. In this early version of Woolworth's, the store was more prominently known as the S. H. Knox Co., a five and dime retailer. The Woolworth's that most of us remember in Downtown Erie was much bigger than the store shown here.

Check out the old Woolworth's from a different angle: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/06/knox-5-and-10-became-woolworths-in.html

The Penn Building was located at 801-813 State Street, on the southeast corner of 8th and State. The Peoples Bank was located on the first floor of this red brick building. Look closely and you can see the yellow sign for the bank, right above the frame of the awning.

"The Penn Building was erected in 1868-1869 and was known as the Noble Block, having been built by Orange Noble. In January, 1894, the Jarecki estate bought the building for $80,000 and spent $60,000 for rebuilding and improvements. In the late 1890s, fire partly destroyed the structure, after which it was then remodeled again." -Erie Dispatch, January 17, 1914.

Orange Noble, by the way, was formerly the Mayor of Erie.

Security Savings & Trust Company, the Peoples Bank and haberdasher Frank S. Bond bought the Penn Building from the Jarecki estate for $250,000 in January of 1914. Security Savings merged with Peoples Bank to become Security Peoples Bank. Isaac Baker, whose store was located at 629 State Street, was a director of Security Peoples Bank until he died in 1929. Oh, what a tangled web we weave!

First Niagara Bank currently occupies the site of the old Penn Building in Erie, Pennsylvania.