Monday, December 31, 2012

Friction Rocked Rainbow Gardens on New Year's Eve

You and me we're goin' Rockin' Tonight at Rainbow Gardens, where Friction will help ring in the New Year. But not tonight.

In the 80s and early 90s, we had a Love to Live By, courtesy of Friction. Sure, we were younger then, but as we said, we ain't bad kids, we're just tryin' to fake it. So when the ball drops, At Midnight I Go Punk. It's Too Late to Cry, and this ain't no Broken Heart Charity Ball.

Rockin' my baby on the tree top, Baby Talk. You couldn't turn on the radio and not hear a Friction tune, especially if you listened to K-104. Nobody was Down & Lonely when these guys were around.

Bob Michel, Marty Scott, Marlon Coe and the boys in Friction packed them in at Rainbow Gardens at Waldameer Park, and at practically any other gig they played in Erie, PA and the Tri-state area. If you followed the band you always had a chance to Wave Goodbye to a Friend at the end of the night.

Friction performed a reunion gig at Rainbow Gardens in 2008.

Enjoy more fun and puns about Erie, Pennsylvania at: Old Time Erie

The Moonlighters Rocked Rainbow Gardens

Remember Rockin' in the New Year with the Moonlighters at Rainbow Gardens in Erie, PA?

This poster is probably from 1989, since guitarist Keith Veschecco is in this photo, second from the left. Wendy Stevens was the lead vocalist, and Tim Papotnik (far right) played keyboards. 

The musician on the far left is drummer John Portonova, and Steve Witkowski might be the third man from the left. 

The Moonlighters were a very popular local Top 40 rock band in the 1980s. Their New Year's Eve show at Rainbow Gardens at Waldameer Park was usually performed in front of a packed house.

Bill McLean opened for the Moonlighters for this show.

Here is a link to a 1990 article about the late Keith Veschecco:

John Portonova was in Vertical Union prior to joining the Moonlighters. You can read about Vertical Union here:

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Kraus' Store at 8th and Parade with Trolley

Parade Street postcard looking south from 8th St. courtesy of Ken Sidun.
Kraus' Department Store has been a fixture on Parade Street in Erie, Pennsylvania since it opened around 1886. "The city's main shopping center of that era was centered mostly on Parade Street and some of Erie's finest homes were to be found in this community. It was originally settled by people of German ancestry so it was only natural that Edward Kraus was to be a successful merchant in that area. He was a pioneer in department store merchandising and early knowledge in that field provided a foothold for later expanding. Several years after he opened his little establishment, Mr. Kraus started construction on an ornate three-story building adjoining the original store."- Erie Dispatch, August 11, 1951.

The postcard above shows the 'new' Kraus' building on the far right, at 810 Parade St., and the 'old' Kraus' store (the two-story yellow building), at 814 Parade. As you can see, Parade Street was a wall-to-wall business district, with a double trolley track running north to south. There was plenty of space to hitch a horse and buggy along the wide, cobble-stone street.

This family-owned retail store continues to play a vital role in the community, especially for those who own old houses. My friend Barbara inspired this post with her kind words about a recent shopping experience: "Kraus' Department Store to the rescue again. For some months the faucets in the tub would not turn off. Drip, drip, drip. I decided today was the day I would try to fix them. Off I went to Kraus' with two zip-locked bags of parts-- one for hot and one for cold faucet. In a matter of minutes the gentleman found just what I needed, greased the parts and put them back together for me. I just installed them. They work like a charm. Cost $15.88! ... I love Erie!"

Ed Kraus' delivery truck is visible in this 1910 photo of State Street in Erie, PA:

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Dinner at Central Market, 16th & State 1922

ad in the Erie Dispatch-Herald, December 22, 1922.
The Central Mall was located on the west side of State Street in Erie, Pennsylvania, from the railroad tracks south to West 16th Street. You could buy meat, poultry, fruits and vegetables at one location. This was long before Wegman's, Giant Eagle, Erie County Farms and Tops Friendly Markets came to town.

The Central Mall was a place for individuals or families to rent a booth to sell their goods. John C. Nick sold butter for 52¢, Philip Bova had oranges for 40¢ a dozen and Fred E. Bowers (who also had a corner store at 21st & Ash) had raisins for 33¢ for two pounds. 

Roy E. Tarr (who also had a butcher shop at 1102 West 10th St. in Erie, PA) sold fresh ham for 20¢ per pound. Ernest Throop sold chickens, ducks and eggs from his farm. He also sold cigarettes for $1.25 a carton and two pounds of sugar for 15¢. 

Central Market was the "Market at the Market, where you could buy everything for the table." This public market house was demolished by the Erie Redevelopment Authority. If you would like to step back in time and have a shopping experience similar to that of the Central Market, be sure to visit the West Side Market, at 1979 West 25th Street in Cleveland, OH.

Here is a link to a photo of the old Erie Central Market:

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Let Us Buy the Hassam and Grow Up To It

Childe Hassam painting "Summer Afternoon, Isle Of Shoals."
Jennie Cleveland's letter in defense of the purchase of the Childe Hassam painting 'Summer Afternoon, Isle of Shoals' was published in the Erie, PA Sunday Messenger-Graphic on March 13, 1904:

"Whenever there is any discussion as to the purchase of pictures for our Public Art Gallery, the question arises, 'What kind of picture shall we buy? Shall we get one that pleases the people now, or something to grow up to?'

Now, the central thought, around which our Public Library is built, is to educate, to elevate, hold up higher standards.

The idea of a library is not to fill the shelves with books of any and every kind, just to make possible the boast of the great number of publications we possess. We want to put better books into the hands of children and adults, and want them to learn to enjoy them. It is quality not quantity for which we must stand, if we would not go backwards.

This thing is equally true of our picture gallery. People say, 'Wouldn't it be better to buy two cheaper pictures, rather than a more expensive one?' Well, a cheap picture is much like a tolerable egg- we soon wish we had a better one.

What is the use of buying pictures simply to fill the gallery? Every housewife, when she sees a piece of handsome furniture, bemoans her already crowded rooms. Every book lover regrets his filled shelves. Let us leave some space on the gallery walls for the picture that, ten or twenty years hence, is so beautiful that its purchase is compulsory. But this is for the future. 

For the present the picture we need is the one which we cannot comprehend at a glance. We do not want to read 'Mary had a little lamb' all our lives, although that poem served its purpose very well when we were children. We must progress to Milton, to Tennyson, to Shakespeare, to Browning.

Just so, we want to progress in our study of art, and to progress we must have mental exercise; we must study pictures for their technique, their drawing, their color, their meaning.

As to who shall say how hard a lesson shall be given us, how high our standard shall be, let me use a material illustration: If one wanted to buy a reaper he would care more for the opinion of an intelligent farmer than for Paderewski's. Why? Because such a farmer has used the machine, and Paderewski has not. But if he wants to buy a piano the situation is reversed. The farmer's opinion on the subject is worth nothing except to himself.

If a man is ill, he does not trust his precious anatomy to a barber or to the blacksmith- that is, if he is a wise man- but to the skilled physician. Apply the same principle to the judging of pictures. Is not the opinion of those who have made a special study of the subject more reliable and valuable than the hap-hazard opinion of the many who simply know what they like?

Would an audience expect Thomas's orchestra to play popular airs and rag-time simply because the people like such music? That we would soon tire of it, our street pianos are noisy witnesses. 

Now the one picture that fulfills the conditions that we think indispensable, is Childe Hassam's New England Coast, a picture correct in topography, fine in drawing, unique in method and style, beautiful in color. Let us buy the Hassam and grow up to it."

Miss Jennie R. Cleveland (1859-1937) taught at the old Erie High School in downtown Erie, PA. Her family home at 8th and Peach is currently the site of the Masonic Temple Building. Miss Cleveland was a charter member of the Art Club of Erie.

The community raised $1,000 through popular subscription to purchase the Hassam painting.

The Childe Hassam painting 'Summer Evening, Isle of Shoals' is on display at the Blasco Memorial Library, 160 East Front Street, Erie, Pennsylvania.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Millcreek Subdivision Names, Lakewood

Zahniser ad in the Erie Daily Times, May 29, 1927.
The Zahniser Company placed an ad in the Erie, PA newspaper in 1927 to show potential homebuyers where the new Lakewood subdivision was located. Little did they know it would someday be in the path of the Erie International Airport Tom Ridge Field, shown on this map as the 'Flying Field' on the left.

Lakewood was situated in Millcreek Township. Lakewood Park still exists between 10th and 12th Streets, from Chelsea Avenue to Oakmont Ave.

There are several subdivisions shown on this map, including Avondale, Kelso Park, Orth Gardens, Forest Park, Eaglehurst, Glenrudah, Hartt Estates, Pulakos, Whitney Garden, Richland, West Lawn, Duncan Acres and Westminster.

Waldameer Park is shown in the circle in the top center of the map. Here is an article about Rainbow Gardens at Waldameer Park:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Erie Public Library Trustees Letter 1898

The  Erie Public Library at 17 South Park Row was dedicated February 16, 1899. Prior to its opening, the Board of Library Trustees made a public plea to the citizens of Erie, Pennsylvania.

"Erie, Pa., June 17, 1898.
The board of trustees of the public library desire to call your attention, and the fact that the new library building is fast approaching completion, and will soon be ready for the inspection of the public. Due notice of the opening will be given through the newspapers, when yourself and friends are cordially invited to visit the structure.

The means at the disposal of the board for the first year will not allow them to purchase more than eight to ten thousand volumes, but they are strong in the hope that the gifts of our liberal-minded citizens, who have never failed to respond in the right spirit to any worthy public enterprise, will increase this number, so that the library may be opened with fifteen or twenty thousand volumes.

To this end, they solicit donations of Books, Magazines (bound or unbound), maps, charts, prints, newspapers, newspaper files and publications generally that may be of use to any class of readers.

An important feature of the library will be the children's room, for which literary matter that is calculated to please and improve the little ones will be especially acceptable. 

In addition to the rooms for library purposes, spacious quarters have been set apart in the building for an art gallery, a scientific, mechanical and historical museum, and a collection of maps, plots, letters, legal papers, etc., relating to the settlement and growth of the city, county and northwestern portion of the state.

No public fund has been made applicable by the law for the last stated objects, and it will be necessary, in order to carry out the plans of the board, to rely solely upon the good will and generosity of the citizens. Many persons are the owners of some valuable article, or collection of articles, which may be lost or destroyed in the course of time, and which they are anxious to have preserved for the benefit of those who are to come after them. All such can be safely deposited in the library building, with an assurance that they will be properly and permanently cared for.

Further information may be had from the several members of the board, and contributions for either of the purposes mentioned may be sent to the library building at any time in care of Mr. Chas. E. Wright, Librarian.

Respectfully yours,
George P. Colt
J. F. Downing
M. C. Dunigan
Charles Jarecki
L. M. Little
John W. Little
H. C. Missimer
L. Rosenzweig
Benjamin Whitman
Board of Library Trustees"
-published in the Erie Journal, June 17, 1898.

Here is an article about the rules of the library in 1899:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

10th and State circa 1908 Looking South

Tenth and State St. in Erie, PA, looking south, around 1908. Postcard courtesy of Ken Sidun.

This drug store was located on the southwest corner of 10th and State Street in Erie, Pennsylvania around 1908. You could purchase cut glass, hand-painted China and novelties at 1002-1004 State St. Ostheimer had a clothing store next door at 1006 State St., and Charles Beck was next door to the south. O'Conner's had a storefront to the left of the large American flag. A number of stores had racks out front so they could showcase the items they sold.

This is a nice example of the varied brick and block work that was crafted by skilled laborers in so many old time Erie blocks.

Here is a picture of the same side of State Street in Erie, PA, taken around 1893, but it was taken from 11th Street, looking north:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Loblaws 6th and East Ave circa 1935 Erie PA

-newspaper clipping of Loblaws circa 1935.
When I think of Loblaws, I remember big supermarkets spread out around Erie. Judging by this picture, it looks like the Loblaw chain had humble beginnings. The store shown here was located at 528 East Avenue. It had been the Fred Eisert grocery in the 1920s.

This building no longer exists. This stretch of East Avenue, which was across the street from Wayne School, became part of the street when East Lake Road was re-alligned to connect with East 6th Street.

Loblaw had thirteen stores in Erie County, PA in 1974.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Lee Aaron played Erie in 1984

-ad in Showcase/Erie Daily Times, May 17, 1984.
This post is a special request from a reader in Sweden, who wrote: "This is a bit of a long shot, but will give it a try. I have an old bootleg video with Canadian rock singer Lee Aaron (The Metal Queen) recorded at some club in Erie in 1984 and I'm trying to find out where it was shot. The sound quality isn't that good on the video, but she says something like 'Down here at Change's in Erie, Pennsylvania tonight.' Was there a club called Change's/Chance's or something similar in Erie around that time? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Best regards. Johan Lee Aaron fan page."

Changes was located at 3619 McClelland Avenue in Erie, PA. Lee Aaron played on May 18-19, 1984 as part of her U. S. tour. If I had to make an educated guess as to who filmed her show, I would say it was probably Eddie DeDionisio.

The Erie metal band Satin Steel played Changes on May 17, 1984.

Changes had several different names over the years, including the Place, the Hullabaloo, Gadsbys and the Alternative. It was right between Skaterie Roller Rink and Eastland Bowl.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Lincoln Funeral Train in Erie PA

President Abraham Lincoln died on April 15, 1865 several hours after he was fatally shot by John Wilkes Booth. A train bearing the president's remains toured the country on its way from Washington, D.C. to Springfield, IL. The Lincoln Funeral Train stopped in Erie, Pennsylvania on Friday, April 28, 1865.

The people of Erie, PA knew the train was going to travel through Erie on its way from Buffalo, NY to Cleveland, OH, but due to a mix-up, they were told that the train was not going to stop here.

Erie Mayor Fernando F. Farrar wrote a letter which was published in the Erie Weekly Observer:
"While acknowledging with profound humiliation the absence of a proper demonstration of respect on the part of this city to greet the remains of President Lincoln on their arrival here last Friday morning, justice to our citizens who have ever delighted to honor the lamented patriot while living, and who have second to none in heartfelt devotion to the memory of the distinguished dead, requires publicity of the fact that in the midst of preparations for the mournful occasion they were informed by a Superintendent of the Cleveland & Erie railroad that the funeral escort had made a special request that no public demonstration be made at his place, in order that their committee might have rest and repose. Acquiescing with this unauthorized request is therefore the true cause of the apparent national discredit attributed to this city.
(Signed) F. F. Farrar, Mayor."

Telegraphed reports in the Erie Daily Dispatch accounted for every stop made along the route of the Lincoln Funeral Train. When the train reached the New York/Pennsylvania border at 1:32 a.m. on April 28, 1865, a contingency from Erie, Pa boarded the train to escort President Lincoln's remains to the station at Erie. The escorts included: Erie Mayor F. F. Farrar; George W. Starr, the president and one of the founders of the Erie Forge Company; Bethuel B. Vincent (father of Col. Strong Vincent); businessman E. P. Bennett and Jacob F. Walther; and Lt. Commander Francis A. Roe from the U.S.S. Michigan. 

The train reached Erie, PA at 2:50 a.m. on April 28th. "There was no particular demonstration at this place. The employees running this train are the same who were on the train that brought the late president to this point."

The Erie Weekly Gazette later reported: "Under the auspices of Major Scott, a demonstration was made at the Lake Shore Depot in Erie, on the arrival of the funeral cortage of President Lincoln about 2 o'clock on Friday morning. The city bells were tolled, minute guns were fired, etc. A much larger number of persons would have been present but for a misunderstanding with prevented timely notice."

Lincoln stopped in Erie,  PA on February 16, 1861 on the way to his first inauguration in Washington, D. C.