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:

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