Sunday, September 30, 2012

Old Federal Courthouse was Majestic

Old Federal Courthouse 1888-1937
The old Federal Courthouse stood on the southeast corner of State and South Park Row in Erie, Pennsylvania. The old Erie County public library at Perry Square is visible on the left side of this picture.

Federal Courthouse

"The ground was secured by purchase June 7, 1883, for $36,000. It was broken in April, 1885, and the building was completed and occupied in the latter part of 1887, the cost of construction being $223,759.35.

The walls of the basement are of granite, and of the superstructure sandstone. The building has a cubic contents of 667,500 feet; is provided  with steam heat supplied by the Home Heating Company, and is equipped with an electric passenger elevator. Besides the first floor, which is used entirely by the post-office, the number of rooms occupied is twenty-eight, they being assigned principally to the postal, customs, internal-revenue, and marine-hospital services, United States courts, United States engineers, pension examiners, and Weather Bureau.

The legislation on its account is contained in acts of Congress approved June 27, 1882, February 17, 1885, August 4, 1886, March 3, 1887, and August 5, 1892 (elevator).

During the year ended June 30, 1899, the gross postal receipts amounted to $84,241.10. In 1890 the population of the city was 40,634 and in 1900 it was 52,733."
-History of Public Buildings Under the Control of the Treasury Department

The old Federal Courthouse was demolished in 1937 and replaced with the current federal courthouse at 17 South Park Row.

Here is a photo of the Federal Courthouse from 1913: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/08/this-image-which-is-missing-boston.html

Saturday, September 29, 2012

11th and State Street 1893 Erie PA Wonderland

State Street looking north from 11th Street circa 1893.
Hard to believe that this photo was taken at the intersection of 11th and State Streets in Erie, PA. It's amazing what a difference 120 years makes. The trolley tracks are long gone, along with the horses and the unsightly utility poles on either side of the street. The Boston Store and Baldwin Bldg. are not yet in the picture.

The store on the left, 1022 State Street, was the home of Aaron Smith. H. V. Claus & Co. was at 1020 State along with the Wonderland Theatre and Museum. Cronin & Prendergast was next door at 1018 State and George E. Weber was located at 1014 State. A building in the center of this block has an American flag as an awning. The tall building on the left (near the trolleys) is the Scott block on the southwest corner of 10th and State.

The barrel on the back of horse-drawn cart on the right is a Studebaker sprinkler carriage. There is an ad for the People's Shoe Store on the side of the building at 929 State Street, right above the sprinkler.

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

Friday, September 28, 2012

REO Speedwagon Master of the Road and WJET-AM

-ad in Erie Dispatch Herald, November 23, 1924.
Neal Doughty at WJET-AM in Erie, PA circa 1983. Photo by Debbi Lyon.
REO Speedwagon was the Master of the Road in 1924 and then again in 1984. Depending on what generation you grew up on, REO Speedwagon has two different connotations. Same logo, but two very different things. Both good for Ridin' the Storm Out.

The Arbuckle Company at 1806 State Street in Erie, PA was the local dealer for the Reo Motor Car Company. The Speedwagon was a light motor truck with a flatbed that could be converted to carry cargo or passengers. REO was short for Ransom E. Olds, who also founded the Olds Motor Vehicle Company. Check out a short video of the 1924 REO Speedwagon here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4FUCLdCGGg

REO Speedwagon used this name and logo for their band. They've played Erie, PA a couple of times, one of them at Gannon University's Hammermill Center on March 21, 1990, and another at the Liberty Park Amphitheater on June 12, 2011.

The band received tons of local airplay for hits such as "Ridin' the Storm Out," "Keep On Lovin' You," "Can't Fight This Feeling" and "Don't Let Him Go" to name a few.

Keyboardist Neal Doughty stopped by WJET-AM at 1635 Ash Street in Erie, PA on May 21, 1987 to sign autographs and promote a concert at the Erie Civic Center. Neal founded REO Speedwagon in the late sixties.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Summit Hotel Hofbrau 50th and Peach Street Millcreek

-Ad in Erie Dispatch, May 11, 1954.

Summit Hotel Hofbrau

by Debbi Lyon

The Summit Hotel at 50th and Peach Street in Millcreek Township was owned by J. Raymond 'Ray' Englert. The hofbrau specialized in German food. The Fireside Room had a seating capacity of 200. The Cypress Lounge had floor shows and dancing every night. The Stardusters played for the dance crowd in May of 1954, and Ray Styles and Peggy Adams provided 'sophisticated comedy.'

Ray Englert was born in Erie, PA in 1921. He owned Englert Brothers Dairy, Ray's Chat N Chew and the Summit Hotel. He retired from the Erie Maennerchor in 1990. Ray died on July 27, 1994 in Erie.

(By the way, I'm looking for photos of Ray Englert, Englert Brothers Dairy and the Summit Hotel. E-mail dlyontamer@gmail.com if you have these pictures in your collection.)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Undertaker Valentine Heidt 1711 Peach St

Valentine Heidt, Erie, PA Undertaker

Valentine Heidt, Undertaker, 1711 Peach Street, Erie, PA. These buildings no longer exist.
Valentine Heidt worked as an undertaker in Erie, PA for 43 years before he died in the fall of 1906. The genealogy of the Heidt family is interesting, and there are a number of sources available to document this German family. One of the main sources that genealogists look for are obituaries. A quick check of the obituary index books at the Blasco Memorial Library revealed that Valentine's obit was published on September 1, 1906. The following information was gleaned from the newspaper on microfilm:

"The death of Valentine Heidt, Erie's oldest undertaker, took place at his home, 1711 Peach street, yesterday afternoon. He was 75 years and 10 months old and was born in Reinpfalz, Germany. He came to the United States when he was 15 years old and has been a resident of Erie since 1845. He is a good citizen and well liked by everyone. He had been in the undertaking business for 43 years. Mr. Heidt in 1852 married Elizabeth Stritzinger, who died ten years later. In 1864, he married Mary Theresa Abel, who survives him, as do four children by his first wife, Mrs. Anna Vreeland, Frank J. Heidt, William Heidt and Mrs. Katie Denean, and one by his second wife, Mrs. John Gingrich. He is also survived by two brothers, Roland, of North Dakota, and Jacob, of this city."
Grandma Heidt and John F.

There is a photograph of his headstone in Trinity Catholic Cemetery on findagrave.com which shows a birth year of 1830 for Valentin Heidt.

According to the familysearch.org website, Valentinus Heid, the son of Francisci Heid and Mariae Evae Malthaner, was baptized on October 31, 1830 in Neupfotz, Bayern, Germany. (If I was researching this family for a client, I would order FHL microfilm 367605 to view the actual document.)

On the U.S. passport application found at ancestry.com, Valentine Heidt stated that he was born in Neupfotz, Bavaria on October 30, 1830. It lists his occupation as 'undertaker' and his residence as Erie, PA. The passport application has a physical description of Valentine, who was 5 feet 8 inches tall, with gray eyes and light gray hair, a high forehead and a round chin. This matches the photo of him.
Grandpa Heidt.

Our last bit of information comes from the History of Erie County, PA by Samuel Bates:
"Valentine Heidt, undertaker, No. 1711 Peach St., Erie, Penn., was born in Germany, Oct. 30, 1830; son of Francis andn Maria E. (Malthaner) Heidt, natives of Germany, who came to America in 1851, settling in Erie. The former was a lumber dealer and reared five children. Our subject, who was the fourth, acquired his education in his native land and learned cabinet making, at which he worked from 1847 till 1852. In the latter year he came to this city, where he has since carried  on his trade in connection with undertaking; being also, at one time engaged in the manufacture of oil cloth. Mr. Heidt was married March 30, 1854, to Elizabeth, daughter of Nicholas Stritzinger. They have five children- Anna C., Francis J., Frederick W., Katie and Julia. The family are members of the Roman Catholic Church."

Basic funeral services were often provided by a skilled carpenter or cabinet maker such as Heidt, who filled a need for building coffins and transporting bodies to the cemetery. It's possible that his father provided lumber for the caskets.

There is much, much more to discover about the Heidt family, just one of many successful German-American families that settled in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

City of Erie Public School Buildings

The old Central High School (postcard decorated with glitter) on Sassafras Street between 10th and 11th St.

City of Erie Public School Buildings

by Debbi Lyon

Ever drive by one of the old schools in the City of Erie, Pennsylvania and wonder when it was built? You've come to the right place.

We'll start with the old Central High School (pictured above), which was located on Sassafras Street between 10th and 11th Street, to the west of St. Peter's grade school. Central was built in 1890 and then enlarged in 1896. The architect on the 1890 job was D. K. Dean & Son; the contractor was Henry Shenk. The architect on the 1896 addition was Joseph Frank and the Kirschner Brothers were the contractors. The school had 32 rooms and 1,136 seats, not counting 1,000 opera chairs in the auditorium. The lot size was 330 x 206 feet. Demolished.

School No. 1 Lafayette. Located on northwest corner of 3rd and French Street. Built in 1877. Designed by D. K. Dean, built by C. Kerner. This four-room school had 201 seats. The lot was 165 x 165 feet. (Still in use in 1923.) Demolished.

School No. 2 Jones. Located at 150 East 8th Street (on Holland Street between 7th and 8th). Named for Erie School Superintendent Henry S. Jones. Designed by Joseph Frank. Built in 1899. This 10 room school had 436 seats. Built on the same site as a three-story brick school that stood from 1860-1899. Lot size 206 x 165 feet. No longer used as a school. Used the Erie School District Administration building. Still standing!

School No. 3 Lowell. Located at 158 West 16th (and Sassafras Street). Named for James Russell Lowell. Designed by D. K. Dean. Built by F. W. Mueller in 1895. This six-room school had 366 seats. Lot size 123 x 128 feet. Classes discontinued after September 1929. Demolished.

School No. 4 Burns. Located at 414 West 5th Street (on West 5th St. near Chestnut). Named for James R. Burns. Designed by Joseph Frank. Built by F. W. Mueller in 1895. This 10 room school had 507 seats. Lot size 165 x 165 feet. No longer used as a school. Still standing!

School No. 5 Marshall. 234 East 12th Street (between Holland and German). Named for John Marshall. Designed by Joseph Frank. Built by S. Kirchner & Sons in 1891. This eight-room school had 414 seats. Lot size 165 x 165. Demolished. (Note: Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary School is nearby at 235 East 11th St. It takes up the entire block bordered by Holland, German, 11th and 12th Streets.)

School No. 6 Irving. 2310 Plum Street (West 24th between Plum and Cascade). Named for Washington Irving. Designed by Joseph Frank. Built by H. Himberger in 1897. This 10 room school had 500 seats. Lot size 270 x 180 feet. (Closed in 2012?) Still standing!

School No. 7 Washington. 148 West 21st Street (near Sassafras Street). Designed by D. K. Dean. Built by J. J. Hogan in 1875. This eight-room school had 385 seats. Lot size 325 x 135 feet. Now used as the Erie School District Administration Bldg. Still standing!

School No. 8 Columbus. 655 West 16th Street (near Poplar). Designed by Porter & Watkins. Built by Constable & Ramsey in 1875. This eight-room school had 418 seats. Lot size 247 x 205 feet. No longer used as a school. Still standing!

School No. 9 Franklin. 2617 Peach Street. Designed by Joseph Frank. Built by S. Kirschner & Sons in 1891. This eight-room school had 396 seats. Lot size 165 x 250 feet. No longer used as a school. Still standing!

School No. 10 Gridley. 816 Park Avenue North (between Liberty and Plum). Designed by Porter & Watkins and built by Henry Shenk in 1871; The architect on the 1896 addition was Joseph Frank and the contractor was G. W. Fassett. This eight-room school had 462 seats. Lot size 165 x 165 feet. Now Emerson-Gridley Elementary School. Still standing!

School No. 11 Jackson. East 11th and French Street. Designed by Rose & von Langen. Built by Constable & Ramsey in 1873. This eight-room school had 51 seats. Lot size 123 x 160 feet. Demolished.

School No. 12 Wayne. 650 East Ave. Designed by Porter & Watkins. Built in 1875 by John Hendey. The architect on the 1893 addition was Joseph Frank and the contractor was G. W. Fassett. This eight-room school had 423 seats. Lot size 165 x 165 feet. Was a middle school and now an elementary school. Demolished and rebuilt on the same site. Architects J. W. Yard & Son were awarded the contract to design a three-story fireproof school building at the corner of 6th and East Avenue. Constable Brothers was awarded the contract for the construction of Wayne Middle School, in May of 1913, with a budget of $100,000. Still standing!

School No. 13 Penn. 554 East 10th Street. Designed by D. K. Dean. Built in 1881 by S. Kirschner. Joseph Frank designed the expansion and it was built by William Ackerman in 1896. This ten-room school had 556 seats. Lot size 158 x 160 feet. No longer used as a school. Still standing!

School No. 14 Garfield. 316 East 21st (and German Street). Designed by Joseph Frank. Built by F. W. Mueller in 1895. This ten-room school had 570 seats. Lot size 247 x 170 feet. Demolished.

School No. 15 Jefferson. East 23rd and Ash Street. Designed by Porter & Watkins. Built by Henry Shenk. The architect on the 1890 addition was D. K. Dean & Son and the contractor was C. Kerner. This eight-room school had 442 seats. Lot size 248 x 128. Demolished. (This name was used for the new Jefferson Elementary School at 230 East 38th Street.)

Jefferson Elementary School. 230 East 38th Street. Still standing!

School No. 16 Longfellow. 509 West 8th Street (8th and Walnut Street). Designed by D. K. Dean. Built by C. Kerner in 1883. This eight-room school had 479 seats. Lot size 165 x 196. Still standing!

School No. 17 McKinley. 961 East 22nd Street. Designed by C. P. Cody, built by Gunnison Brothers in 1901. Lot size 270 x 210 feet. Demolished and rebuilt on same lot, different footprint, new address: 933 East 22nd Street.

School No. 18 Emerson. 1010 West 10th (and Cascade Street). Designed by Gaggin & Gaggin. Built by Henry Shenk Co. in 1905 and remodeled or enlarged in 1924. Lot size 247 x 330 feet. No longer used as a school. Still standing!

Burton Elementary School. 1661 Buffalo Road. A very old school which was added onto. It was acquired by the Erie School District when Erie annexed this part of Millcreek Township.) No longer used as a school. Still standing!

JoAnna Connell Elementary School. 1820 East 38th Street. Opened in 1958. Still standing!

Diehl Elementary School. 2300 Fairmont Parkway. Built in 1953. Still standing!

Edison Elementary School. 1921 East Lake Road. Opened between 1925 and 1931. Still standing!


Glenwood Elementary School. 3549 Peach Street. This school was acquired by the Erie School District when Erie annexed this part of Millcreek Township.  Still standing!


Grover Cleveland Elementary School. 1540 West 38th Street. Still standing!


Hamilton Elementary School. 2931 Harvard Ave. No longer used as a public school. Still standing!


Lincoln Elementary School. 831 East 31st Street. Lincoln was built around 1918. Still standing!

Perry Elementary School. 955 West 29th Street (and Cascade). Designed by J. W. Yard. Built by Kirschner Brothers in 1913. Lot size 270 x 330 feet. Still standing!

Roosevelt Middle School. 2300 Cranberry Street. Still standing! 


Wilson Middle School. 718 East 28th Street. Opened in 1927. Still standing!


Academy High School. 2825 State Street. Opened in 1920. (Now Northwest PA Collegiate Academy.) Still standing! Click here for more information about Academy.


Central High School. 3325 Cherry Street. Memorial Jr. High School was built in 1956; Technical Memorial High School was built in 1959. (This school has had different names through the years, such as Tech, Twin Tech, Technical Memorial, Memorial Junior High School was next door, connected by the auditorium.) Still standing!

Strong Vincent High School. 1330 West 8th Street. Designed by W. W. Meyers. Built by Upton-Lang Co. in 1930. Still standing!

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

Monday, September 24, 2012

Erie Public Transit History 1867 to 1967 Erie PA

Erie City Passenger Railway Company, 202-222 State Street. GE Erie Plant photo No. VD2.

Bicentennial Review of Erie Transit

-Published in the Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority 1975 Annual Report

Erie's first bus line carried passengers from the foot of State Street to Federal Hill at 26th and Peach. It was Bill Loesch's Omnibus Line, with headquarters in South Erie House at the southern terminus of the route. An advertisement in the 1867 edition of the Erie Business Directory boasted: "Having refitted and refurnished this house and supplied it with every means of comfort, I respectfully invite calls from the public, assuring them that they will find me prepared to do them justice."

A single ticket cost 10 cents or 100 for $8. Children's fare was 20 for $1. Loesch did a thriving business.

Each omnibus was drawn by two fine horses, according to the illustration in the business directory. The driver sat on top and frequently blew loudly on his long tin horn. The periodic tooting of the horn, accompanied by the noise of the wheels on the cobble-stoned streets gave the omnibus the name 'Bill Loesch's Band.'

Unfortunatley for Loesch, the year 1867 marked the founding of the Erie Passenger Railway Company. Its purpose was to lay tracks and provide street car service to the community. Loesch held a state charter along the most profitable route, but a requirement of the charter was that he provide regular service every day. One morning, Loesch found that every one of his horses had been poisoned. He was unable to replace them in time to save his charter.

Railway Formed

The Passenger Railway Company had ambitious plans. They included laying of 7.7 miles of road at $8,000 a mile, purchase eight cars at $1,200 each, 40 horses at $150 each, and construction of a stable at $5,000.

The first horse drawn street cars were placed into service in 1868, the main line beginning at 2nd and Holland Streets, proceeding to State and south to Turnpike, then to Peach and continuing south to the stables at the South Erie Turn Hall beyond Ridge Road, now 26th Street.

Fare was seven cents and the novelty made the trolleys an immediate success. However, the fare was reduced to a nickel as the novelty wore off and passenger volume declined. Horses wore out and the struggling company replaced them with mules.

Switch to Electric

1888 saw the birth of the Erie Electric Motor Company. Within a year, electrified cars were carrying passengers and once more the street car became a fad. The initial vehicles were brilliantly lighted summer cars with passengers seated back to back. 

The company aggressively laid trackage throughout the city and out into the county in every direction. The existing system was refurbished with new track. A forest grove, then known as Hoffman's Grove, was leased and then purchased. It was a picnickers paradise. The company renamed it Waldameer. Visitors flocked there by trolley...In May, 1918, the nickel fare was raised to seven cents or four for a quarter. The number of stops was reduced. Waldameer was sold...In 1921, ridership dropped 20 percent from the previous year. The automobile was taking its toll.

The First Bus

In September, 1924, the Erie Railways Company was formed to take over the street car system. The following year, the parent firm organized the Erie Coach Company to operate a bus line. On December 7, 1925, the first motor bus left Perry Square, proceeded out 5th Street to Liberty and south to 30th and west to Elmwood. The last trolley completed its run on May 2, 1935. In 1955, Erie Coach Company came under new ownership.

Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority

Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority was founded on September 20, 1966...On December 27, 1966 the public authority acquired the bus system. Under the agreement with Erie Coach Company, the EMTA rented the company's bus fleet and service facilities while the modern new 45-passenger buses were being manufactured...By Christmas of 1967 fifty new buses had arrived...The entirely new fleet of 50 buses was financed two-thirds by the federal government, one-sixth by the state, and one-sixth by the city and county. The city paid 60 percent of the local share and the county 40 percent.

Find more fun facts about the History of Erie, Pennsylvania at Old Time Erie

Sunday, September 23, 2012

French Street from 5th to 6th before Erie Insurance

East side of French St. between 5th and 6th. Photo by Chester Wasielewski. ©Debbi Lyon 2012.
1880 view of French Street.
This photo of Downtown Erie starts about a quarter of a block up from East 5th and French Street and continues south to East 6th St. These buildings were demolished years ago and Erie Insurance currently occupies this site. The three-story building to the right of Buyer's Fair in the top photo can be seen in the small photo from 1880 on the right, when the building was painted white or yellow.

The space on the far left of the photo was employee parking for a downtown business. The D. C. Sullivan Co. (wholesale novelties) is the first building on the left, at 511 French Street in Erie, PA. The second building, at 515 French, was Buyers Fair, owned by the late Jack Lectner. The Perry Square Cafe (owned by George and Andrew Markopoulis) was located at 523 French St. There was a tavern at 531 French, on the corner of 6th and French.

The posts from the building on the far right were salvaged and still stand near the corner of 6th and French.

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

Ellsworth House State Street now Richford Arms Erie PA

Ellsworth House at State and North Park Row in Erie, Pennsylvania circa 1880.
The Ellsworth House is the five-story building on the left that used to stand on the northeast corner of State and North Park Row. According to Ed Wellejus, this building was constructed in 1851 and was torn down in 1891. It was known as Brown's Hotel until about 1869. Guests of the Ellsworth hotel had a great view of the park at Perry Square.

The left side of the building shown above faced State Street. The old Reed Hotel, which anchored the block at the corner at North Park Row and French Street, is now a parking lot.  None of the buildings in this picture exist today. The stretch of buildings on the right side of the photo (on French Street) were torn down to build Erie Insurance.

The Ford Hotel, now known as Richford Arms, occupies this Erie spot at 515 State Street. The Ford Hotel opened in 1928. You can see a picture and read about it here: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/09/ford-hotel-now-richford-arms-on-state.html

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Donald DeNardo Erie Principal died in 2012

-Academy Star, December 1982 issue.
Donald R. DeNardo was born in Erie, PA on June 12, 1927. He died on June 29, 2012 in Millcreek Twp., PA. Mr. DeNardo had a positive influence on the lives of many students in Erie, PA. Here is an article I wrote for the Academy Star in December of 1982:

DeNardo Enjoys Early Retirement

by Debbi Young
After serving thirty years within the Erie School District, (eighteen of them at Academy) Principal Donald DeNardo decided to take a well deserved early retirement. Mr. DeNardo was offered the opportunity to retire during the 1981-82 school year; changes in regulations would have made him ineligible for early retirement had he delayed the decision another year.

Prior to becoming principal at Academy, Mr. DeNardo held a variety of positions at other city schools. From 1950 to 1952 he was a substitute teacher at East High School and Wilson Junior High School. He secured a position teaching social studies at Strong Vincent High School from 1952-58. In 1958 he was promoted to the ever faithful position of Guidance Counselor at Strong Vincent. Here he remained for six years.

Mr. DeNardo came to Academy in 1964 and was thrust head-long into the authoritative position of vice-principal. The real fun began when he replaced the former principal Michael Ferrare in 1972. Mr. DeNardo was only one of seven principals that reigned during Academy's 62 years of existence.

Mr. DeNardo received his Bachelor's degree from Duquesne University in 1951, and his Master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1956.

During his college years, Mr. DeNardo was employed in a wide array of summer jobs. He worked as a bus boy, sold shoes, worked in a bakery, worked at an Erie industrial plant, and was a mail man. He served in the army for two years, and in the occupation forces after World War II.

The job of principal revolves around an intricate set of day to day duties; a work load that most people wouldn't encounter in an average week's time. What other job involves developing a program and curriculum guide, scheduling classes for over eleven hundred students, preparing for evaluations, dealing with the administrators from downtown, and disciplining students. Added to the list is attending banquets and social functions, taking phone calls from irate Academy neighbors and last but not least, Mr. DeNardo read the announcement twice a day over the school P.A. system.

Mr. DeNardo felt that in general, the student body at Academy was well behaved. But there are always exceptions; locker break-ins and drug use were uncalled for. That was and still remains the general attitude among administrators. Mr. DeNardo conceded that he wasn't particularly fond of teachers strikes, but at the same time added that he respected the teachers' rights.

The serious atmosphere in the main office sparks a different reaction from various individuals. Mr. DeNardo found the time to kid around with students, teachers, and the office staff. Fortunately enough, the reverse was also true. In celebration of Mr. DeNardo's fifty-sixth birthday, the office staff and the two assistant principals bestowed upon him a somewhat unusual present. Much to his surprise, a belly dancer relayed the birthday wishes to the staff.

Along with the responsibilities of being principal, Mr. DeNardo was involved in the PIAA District 10 Sports Administration. For the past ten years he has had a seat on the board of control in Harrisburg. The Board of Control makes up the rules and regulations that govern the Pennsylvania athletic teams. Mr. DeNardo was Chairman of the Board from 1975 until his retirement last year.

Mr. DeNardo was particularly pleased with the advances that have been made in the girls' sports programs. The growth has resulted in a girls' sports program that is equal to the boys'.

Mr. DeNardo will spend the immediate future relaxing and enjoying his retirement. In the coming months he plans to look for part time employment and is seriously thinking of becoming a substitute teacher once again.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Academy High School and Veterans Memorial Stadium

Academy High School, 2825 State Street, Erie, PA. Now NW PA Collegiate Academy.
Veterans Memorial Stadium and Academy High School.
Academy High School at 2825 State Street in Erie, PA opened in 1920 and closed in 1992. The school was located on East 29th Street and stretched from State Street to French Street. Academy was closed for several years and later reopened as the Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy.

The Academy Lions fielded a number of sports teams, including football, basketball, baseball, golf, bowling, softball and tennis. The school colors were blue and gold.

Two professional magicians graduated from Academy High School. Here is a link to Ben Salinas

Here is a link to his Bobby Borgia (Class of '85) on his YouTube channel: Borgia Magic

Veterans Memorial Stadium has hosted a variety of events, including football games, circuses, concerts, automobile races and a re-enactment of the Battle of Lake Erie during the 1963 Perry Sesquicentennial.

Allendale101 has posted vintage dirt track racing at the Veterans Stadium on YouTube. These clips are from Joe Mobilia's collection. Check out the Stadium in this clip: Stadium Racing

Find more information about Erie PA history at Old Time Erie

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Columbus Furniture 440 West 18th St Erie PA

Where did all the stores go in Little Italy? There was a time when you could purchase all the items you needed from family-owned stores in this neighborhood.

Here is an ad for Columbus Furniture Company at 440 West 18th Street in Erie, PA. It was printed in the Erie Daily Times on January 3, 1928.

Confectioner Fred Ore operated a store at 440 West 18th St. in 1922.

This building was located on the north side of West 18th Street near Chestnut St. in Erie, PA. The building no longer stands. There is a small plaza which includes 438-440-442-444 West 18th St. It is just east of the Trinity Center. St. Paul Catholic Church and the old Columbus Elementary School are located within walking distance.

Enjoy more fun facts about Erie Pennsylvania at Old Time Erie



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Penn State Behrend Glenhill Estate Aerial Photo

The Glenhill Farm, now Penn State Behrend, circa 1948. Photo courtesy of Dr. Barbara Chambers. 
Mary Behrend donated the Glenhill Farm off of Station Road for use as the campus of the new Pennsylvania State College Behrend Center in 1948. Her husband, Ernest Behrend, a co-founder of Hammermill Paper Company, passed away on this estate in 1940, leaving her a widow. Mr. Behrend was buried nearby in Wintergreen Gorge Cemetery.

The black rectangle near the center of the photograph is the heated pool. You can also see the Glenhill Farmhouse and the Carriage House. It's amazing how much property Behrend now owns in Harborcreek Township. Check out a Google Earth view of Behrend to see how this sliver fits into the big picture. The campus is bordered by I-90, Route 290 (the Eastside Bayfront Connector) and Route 430.

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

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Lincoln School Real Estate 1917 Development Southeast Erie

-ad in the Erie Dispatch, October 21, 1917.
The Andrews Land Company owned several chunks of land in the City of Erie, PA. One of the areas they developed was called 'Lincoln Green,' and was centered around Lincoln Elementary School. It stretched from East 28th to East 33rd Street, and from Pine Avenue to East Avenue.

According to the ad, Lincoln Green had some of the most modern amenities:

Storm water sewers have been laid on 28th, 30th, 31st and Wayne streets, and part of East Ave.

Sanitary sewers have been laid on 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st, Ash, Reed, Wayne and Perry streets, and East Avenue.

A $65,000 paving contract for 28th street has been let, and the work of paving this street from Parade east is almost completed. Contract has also been let to pave Wayne street from 26th south to 29th street, and as soon as the storm-water sewer is completed pavement will be continued to 31st street, the site of the new Lincoln school. Contract has been let to pave East Avenue from 24th to 28th street, with plans to carry this south to the city limits next year...

Electric street lights have been placed on the corner of 28th and Ash streets, 28th and Wayne streets, 28th and Perry streets, 28th and Reed streets, 28th and East Avenue, 29th and Wayne streets, 30th and Wayne streets, 31st and Wayne streets, 31st and East Avenue, 31st and Reed streets, and 29th and East Avenue.

Prices range from $350 to $800 with a few business locations higher.

The new Lincoln School, at 31st and Wayne streets, to cost when completed $310,000, and accommodating nearly 1,000 pupils...The school means a new civic center for Southeast Erie.

Andrews Land Co. ran an ad showing the growth of Erie, Pennsylvania from 1910 to 1927. You can read it here: Growth of Erie PA

Find more fun facts about Erie PA at Old Time Erie

Monday, September 17, 2012

How Different is Erie from 1927?

-ad in Erie Dispatch-Herald, July 6, 1927.
The Andrews Land Company placed an interesting advertisement in the Erie Dispatch-Herald on July 6, 1927: "How Different is the Erie of 1927 From the Erie We Knew in 1910."

The article states: "What a difference a few years make in the growth of a city! In 1910 Erie had no Lawrence Hotel. Remember? There was no Marine Bank Building- no Second National Bank Building- no Commerce Building. The Ariel Building, the Palace Hardware Building, have been built since 1910.

And the beautiful Erie Trust Company building was not completed until this year. In 1910 there were very few residences west of Cascade Street. There was almost no houses west of East Avenue- and only a few scattered groups of homes south of 26th Street.

Central High School was regarded in 1910 as our leading educational institution. But since that time five new and beautiful high schools have been built- East High, Wilson High, Lincoln High, Academy High, and Roosevelt High. And another new high school is planned for West Eighth Street.

The entire General Electric Company plant; almost all of the Hammermill Paper Company plant, and more than half of the newer manufacturing plants in Erie have gone up since 1910.

More than 12,000 new homes have been built since 1910. And many new grade schools, new churches, and additions to Hamot and St. Vincent's hospitals.

That's progress!"

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

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ford Hotel now Richford Arms on State Street in Erie, PA

Ford Hotel postcard courtesy of Dr. Barbara Chambers.
The Ford Hotel at 515 State Street in Erie, PA opened to the public on May 12, 1928. This grand hotel had 400 rooms, some of which overlooked Perry Square. Rooms on West 4th Street offered a view of the Bayfront.

Richard T. Ford, president of the Ford Hotels Company, attended the grand opening, as did Erie Mayor Joseph C. Williams. J. Foster Warner designed the ten-story hotel.

"The old underground restroom entrances on the corner of North Park Row and State are visible here," said Joanne Marchant Heim. "The building to the right of the Richford housed the old Prozan Drapery and Furniture Upholstery shop. The old Brown House Hotel, which burned down in 1840, was located where the Richford now stands. After the Brown burnt down, the Ellsworth was built, and later the Ford (Richford) replaced it."

The old Ford Hotel still stands and is now known as Richford Arms.

Read all sorts of historical facts about Erie, Pennsylvania at Old Time Erie

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Frisco's 2024 West 26th now I-79 North On-Ramp

-ad in Erie Dispatch, July 8, 1948.
Frisco's Food Market at 2024 West 26th St celebrated its first anniversary in July of 1948, but it would not be around to celebrate its silver anniversary. Why? The construction of the I-79 cloverleaf on and off ramps on Route 20 wiped out a number of homes and businesses.

Frisco's was open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to midnight, and offered free delivery. The store had fresh fruits, vegetables, cold cuts and canned goods. In addition, it had a complete line of household notions.

The store was supplied by Erie Wholesale Grocery Co., Nehi Bottling Co., Drink Mor Beverage Co., Carl Pedano Fruits & Vegetables, George's Bakery, Nunes Groceries and Meats, Jacob Haller Co., Sterling Milk, Januleski Bros. and John Casale Food Market, to name a few.

Baldini Superette was located at 2024 West 26th Street in 1967. Other businesses on the north side of the street included: Cirino's Fine Foods Grocer at 2130 W 26th and Sullivan's Mobile Service at 2160 W 26th St.

Businesses on the south side of West 26th in 1967 included: West Ridge Lawn Repair at 2071 W 26th, West Ridge Beer Distributors at 2109 W 26th, Mazza's Restaurant and Pizza Shop at 2119 W 26th and Andrews Service Station at 2165 W 26th St.

What other businesses were displaced by Interstate 79 near Route 20?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Highland Park W. 26th and Evanston 1929 Lot Prices

-ad in Erie Dispatch-Hearld, August 14, 1929.
Lots in the Highland Park subdivision sold for $69 to $499 in the summer of 1929. As an added bonus, you did not have to pay interest during the first year, or taxes for the first two years.

Highland Park's southern border was West 26th, later to become much busier when Route 20 was widened. This area is a busy commercial district in Millcreek Twp. in Erie County, PA. The old McDonald's restaurant on the north side of Route 20 was part of Highland Park.

The are stretches north to approximately 21st Street and includes the cross streets Filmore, Lowell and Evanston Avenue.

Drown-Russell Co. owned Highland Park in 1929. As an enticement to get potential buyers to visit the property, the realty company gave away a ticket to win a 1929 Chevrolet Sedan, aluminum cake pans, coffee and sandwiches to all adults who visited the site. There is still a playground called Highland Park on West 22nd St. between Lowell and Evanston Ave.

Peninsula Drive is labeled as Trinity Road on this 1929 map. It also shows the location of the old West Millcreek High School, which was just west of Westminster Presbyterian Church on Route 20.

Highland Park was just west of Sportsman's Field. You can read about the races there in this article: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/08/sportsmens-field-car-races-26th-and.html

Thursday, September 13, 2012

8th and State Street Bank and Library 1868 Erie, PA

The City Library was located on the southwest corner of 8th and State in 1868.
-ad in Erie Business Directory 1868-69.
This rare photo might look like Deadwood, but it's really the west side of Eighth and State Street in Erie, Pennsylvania circa 1868. The large building at 804 State St. is the Walther Block, a three-story brick building. It was the home of the Second National Bank, the Y.M.C.A. and the City Library and Reading Rooms. You could tie your horse up to a hitching post out front. State Street was a giant mud hole, so a wooden walkway stretched across the street on State and on 8th St. Gaslights illuminated the street at night.

"The Second National Bank was organized December 12, 1864, with a capital of $300,000. William L. Scott, President; Joseph McCarter, Vice President; W. C. Curry, Cashier. This bank is on the southwest corner of State and Eighth streets, and its present officers are Joseph McCarter, President; W. W. Reed, Vice President; C. F. Allis, Cashier." -Bates History of Erie County, PA.

The City Library was located upstairs of the Second National Bank. "This library was opened to the public November 14, 1867, and now contains about 4,000 volumes, nearly all new books, embracing the choicest  works in the departments of History, Religion, Biography, Poetry, Arts, Science, Natural History, Classics and Fiction; also a large collection of encyclopedias and other books of reference. All new books which are worthy of a first-class public library, are added as fast as published.

This Library is a monument to the liberality of our public spirited citizens (whose names may be found in the subscription book at the Librarians desk). It is under the control of a committee of eight persons, four of whom are chosen from among the members of the Young Men's Christian Association, and four from the subscribers to the library fund who are not members of the association. By paying $5 any person may have the use of the library for one year.

The Reading Rooms are free to all. The tables are well supplied with newspapers, magazines, pictorials and periodicals from every section of the United States and Europe. These rooms are frequented by the literary of both sexes, and are supplying a great want, long felt in this city, viz., a proper place of resort for our young men." -Erie Business Directory, 1868-69.

The Young Men's Christian Association was organized in 1860. Officers in 1868 included Charles C. Shirk, President; E. L. Pelton, Vice President; Charles E. Gunnison, Recording Secretary; C. W. Lytle, Corresponding Secretary; John L. Russell, Treasurer; A. H. Caughey, Librarian; H. S. Jones, Assistant Librarian; A. L. Littell, Jr., Acting Librarian, and a board of seventeen directors." -Erie Business Directory, 1868-69.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Health Spot Shoes West 9th near Peach, Erie PA 1952

Helen Kratzke, Ann Logan, Jean Unknown, Grace Sawdy and Lana Pace standing in front of
Orra-JeanBeauty Academy in June of 1952. Photo by Chester Wasielewski. ©Debbi Lyon 2012.

Health Spot shoes is another in a long list of buildings in Downtown Erie that no longer exist. The store was located at 108 West 9th St. in Erie, PA. It was directly across the street from Orra-Jean Beauty Academy in 1952. 

The house in the center of the photo, at 110 West 9th Street, was the office of podiatrist John N. Petrus. The Petrus family lived on the first floor in the west half of the home and Dr. Petrus had an office in the east half of the building. There were apartments upstairs, and one was occupied by Mrs. Wood, a seamstress.

The three buildings shown in this photo have been demolished. There is now a three story building on the right (east) side and a parking garage on the left (west) side.

The ladies shown in the photo above include Helen Kratzke, Ann Logan, Jean, Grace Sawdy and Lana Pace. This shot was taken in June of 1952.

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

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Orra Jean Beauty Academy, Erie PA 1952

Chester Wasielewski and Ann Logan, June 1952. Photo ©Debbi Lyon.
The Orra Jean Beauty Academy was located in downtown Erie. Graduates of this school became beauticians, barbers and cosmetologists.

The school was located at 109 West 9th Street in Erie, PA when it was founded in 1941. It was in Rooms 201-207 of the Selina Bldg. The beauty academy was owned by Orra Bolkey, Jean Heubel and Winnifred Lyons.

Jean Heubel married John Foulk on July 4, 1942. Their son Bradley Foulk, the future District Attorney of Erie County, PA, was born in 1947.

Tuition at the Orra-Jean Beauty Academy was $250 for a 1,000 hour course in July of 1949.

Orra-Jean Beauty Academy was located at 107 West 9th St. in 1952, when it was owned by Orra B. Ames and Winnifred Lyons.

The Orra-Jean Barber School was also located at 107 West 9th. It was run by Otto Borgia, John DeBias and Peter Trimbol. Otto, John and Peter purchased the barber school in May of 1949. "The course costs $400 for 1,250 hours of instruction and practice, and usually takes about six months to complete...Students are carefully groomed for state examinations which they must pass in order to be licensed," wrote Howard Jack in the Erie Dispatch-Herald.

Otto Borgia had a heart attack at the Orra Jean Barber School, 1130 State Street, and died on January 6, 1965. He was born in San Lucido, Italy and was the owner/operator of the barber school.

107 West 9th St. is now a parking lot. The Erie Redevelopment Authority demolished all the old buildings on this street. Plaza 9 is just west of the storefront pictured above.

By 1968, the Orra-Jean Beauty Academy was located at 1028 Sassafras Street, and was run by Winnifred Lyons and James P. Rosetto.

Orra Bolkey Ames died April 11, 2003.

"The beauty school was on one half of the building, and the barber school on the other half," said Beverly McCurdy. "I went to Orra Jean Beauty Academy. I went for my operators license and back again for teachers and managers license. I also worked for Louie Rosetto, whose salon was down stairs from Orra Jean's."

You could walk in off the street and get a haircut at a price that was much less expensive than an established beauty shop, because students would cut your hair under the guidance of their teachers. Some were really good. Some, well....

Did you attend the Orra-Jean Beauty Academy? Please drop me a line at Dlyontamer@gmail.com and tell me your story.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Brooklyn Addition Buffalo Road 1918 Erie PA

-ad in Erie Dispatch, August 15, 1918 for the Brooklyn Addition.
The Callahan-Reed Development Co. offered 60 lots for sale on the Brooklyn Addition on August 16, 1918. This area, from Downing Avenue to Brooklyn Avenue, was developed by the Erie Housing Authority as the Harbor Homes in 1938. This is in the 1800 block of Buffalo Road.

The advertisement for the Brooklyn Addition in 1918 stated:
"A Remarkable Opportunity! To secure inside property at prices way below adjoining values. Sixty lots that have laid dormant while the city grew up to, over, around and beyond them. The owner being a non-resident did not realize the value. We induced him to place them on the market at his old prices- prices that were made before the big things began to happen in Erie- prices that leave a wide margin of profit between the prices that we can sell at today and their actual value.

These sixty lots are in the Brooklyn Addition which is located on the Buffalo Road, a wide paved highway, at Stop 6 just beyond Downing Avenue; on a city car line, city water, electric lights and telephone service right at the property now.

Brooklyn Addition is within a few minutes walk to the General Electric Co., Nagle Engine Works, Nagle Boiler Works, Erie City Iron Works, U.S. Horseshoe Plant and may other big East Side plants. You can come home to your meals, you can walk to your business if you live in Brooklyn Addition."

The Brooklyn Addition is the current site of a Project in Erie, Pennsylvania. Here is information about the Harbor Homes: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/07/public-housing-in-erie-pa-in-1943.html

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hank Snow at Erie County Field House 1974

-article in the Gannon Knight, April 26, 1974.
Country star Hank Snow appeared at the Erie County Field House on Route 8 in Erie County, PA on April 5, 1974. Michael Lyon attended the show and interviewed Hank after the show. The following article appeared in the Gannon Knight on April 26, 1974. Photo by Allen Smith.

Ageless Hank Snow: Still Movin' On

by Pamela Verity and Michael Lyon

Country music is known for producing performers who have careers lasting twenty and thirty years. If you happened to have been at the Erie County Field House on April 5 you had a chance to see one of these performers- Hank Snow.

Hank- at age 60- has been at this business a long time. He's been under contract to RCA records for 38 years and has released about 80 albums and numerous singles.

In previous years he used to do anywhere from 250 to 275 one-nighters a year. "That's why I look this way," he says with a smile. But for the past five or six years he has cut down to about 75 concert dates a year.

Adorned in a beautifully embroidered and sequined suit, Hank came out amidst the welcoming applause and immediately broke into his biggest hit "I'm Movin' On." From the additional audience response you could tell that after twenty-four years, it was still a big favorite.

During that first song and even after its conclusion, people kept coming to the stage to snap pictures of Hank and his band, the Rainbow Ranch Boys.

Hank and the boys, displaying the kind of warm, friendly humor that Hank is known for, quickly got into into a humorous pose which included one member of bank putting his hand behind Hank's head and making the two-fingered "Indian" sign. You could tell that they were enjoying everything as much as the audience was.

The whole show went along in that same good, fun-loving fashion. Hank did some of his past hits such as "A Fool Such As I" and "I Don't Hurt Anymore" as well as a Jimmie Rodgers' original, a railroad song, and two instrumentals.

The audience enjoyed everything he did. When Hank did his current single "Hello Love" he received his largest response from the crowd to that point. Maybe that helps explain why "Hello Love" is his biggest record in eleven years.

Hank finished his show with another of his hits "I've Been Everywhere." The audience as it had done numerous times during the show, clapped along with the song.

You don't have to talk to Hank Snow to realize that he likes performing country music. But if you do mention it to him, he doesn't hesitate to answer.

"I'm a person that likes to be occupied all the time. I don't work in the wintertime and I nearly go crazy waiting for the time to go out on the road again."

Hank says he's thought about retirement but will stick with it "as long as my health stays good and people enjoy my work." As far as the Erie area people, Clarence E. 'Hank' Snow was really impressed. "When you come to a city as friendly as Erie and you get a welcome like that, you know you've been away too long. We're not gonna do that again."

Here's a video of Hank Snow performing "I'm Movin' On" which was posted to YouTube by Gatorrock787: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRz8nXFVegc&feature=related

Learn more fun facts about Erie, Pennsylvania at Old Time Erie

Route 20 Flood on Buffalo Road in 1947

Buffalo Road was flooded on April 5, 1947. Photo from "Greetings from Wesleyville" Vol. 1 book by Debbi Lyon.
Torrential rains on April 5, 1947 sent rivers of water down side streets across eastern Erie and Erie County, PA, flooding a swath of land between Route 20 and the railroad tracks. Buffalo Road in Wesleyville was one of the hardest hit areas, as you can see in the photo above. The long string of connected buildings served as a dam, and the water soon rose high enough to cover the roadway and seep under front doors. Basements quickly filled with water. Firemen and business owners smashed out basement windows on the north side of these buildings to allow the water to escape, fearing the mounting pressure of the water would sweep away buildings like in did in the great Millcreek Flood in 1915.

Schaffner's Esso Station on Buffalo Road and Willow Street was one of those hardest hit by the flooding. Cans of oil floated in the basement, stripped of their labels. Grocery and meat stores had to throw away their inventory.

The stores in the photo above run from about 2926 to 3020 Buffalo Road in Wesleyville, just east of Erie, PA on Route 20. Most of the buildings still exist, for example, 3010 Buffalo Rd. is the home of JDL Computers. 3014 Buffalo Road was demolished in 2009 following a fire at J&L Sports Pub (the tall brick building in the center where Wesleyville Paint & Glass used to be).

The flooding affected many communities in Pennsylvania. Two to three feet of water flooded a long stretch of Buffalo Road from Harborcreek all the way to Downing Avenue in Erie and people in the Harbor Homes housing project had to be evacuated.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Perry Square Civil War Statue 1875 Erie PA

Old Time Erie Civil War statue near 6th and Peach circa 1875.
Here is a rare photograph of the Civil War statue in Perry Square near 6th and Peach St. in Erie, PA. The inscription on the front states, "In memory of the Soldiers and Sailors from Erie County who gave their lives to save the Union." The back reads, "We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that the government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the Earth."

Perry Square was named for Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, a hero of the War of 1812. Peach Street was a dirt road when this photo was taken. The fence, gaslight and water fountain shown in this picture no longer exist. The monument, however, still stands; it is within walking distance from City Hall, the Erie County Courthouse and the Federal Courthouse.

Enjoy more facts and pictures of historic Erie, Pennsylvania at: Old Time Erie

Friday, September 7, 2012

Craig Oil Co. Esso Stations 1933 Erie PA

-Ad in Erie Dispatch-Herald, July 21, 1933.
Craig Oil Company had two Esso gas stations in Erie, PA in 1933; one at 12th and Sassafras Street and one at 26th and French Street near Academy High School. They opened a brand new super service station on the southeast corner of East 6th and Parade Street on July 22, 1933. The company planned to open a fourth station at West 12th and Liberty Street in the fall of 1933.

John W. Craig owned the Craig Oil Co. He invited people to watch a free demonstration of a 5-minute oil change and get a free 8 oz. bottle of Coca-Cola just for visiting the new service station on July 22nd.

Craig Oil was an agent for the Standard Oil Company of Pennsylvania. The stations sold Essolene gasoline

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Erie Summer Festival of the Arts 1977-1978

Inside cover of Debbi's autograph book circa 1979. ©Debbi Lyon 2012.
The Erie Summer Festival of the Arts was a great place for to see local bands, especially for someone like me who was too young to catch a bar show. The City of Erie blocked off State Street and set up the main stage near the crosswalk of North Park Row on State between the two parks at Perry Square. Bands played from noon until 11 p.m. or so.

The following bands performed on the main stage on June 23, 1978:
Noon: Smitty and Kenny (country rock)
1 p.m. To Be Announced (they got a lot of gigs)
2 p.m. Jack Anderson (folk guitar)
6 p.m. B. B. Wolf (rock and roll)
7 p.m. Jordan (white soul)
8 p.m. Pistol Whip (punk rock)
9 p.m. Guardian (original rock)
10 p.m. Justin Time (classic rock)

The following bands performed on the main stage on June 25, 1977:
Noon: Osiris
1 p.m. Easy
2 p.m. Omega
3 p.m. Thieves
4 p.m. The Sky's the Limit
6 p.m. Pistol Whip
7 p.m. B. B. Wolf
8 p.m. OPRA
9 p.m. Calypso
10 p.m. Jordan

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Eckerd Drug Store Chain Started in Erie PA

-ad in Erie Daily Times, September 18, 1958.
Eckerd Drug Store, a national chain, got its humble start in Erie, Pennsylvania. J. Milton Eckerd opened a store at 1105 State Street in 1898. Eckerd's had 46 stores in 1958 when it celebrated its 60th anniversary. Six of these drug stores were located in Erie, PA. They included:
1109 State St.
832 State St.
706 State St.
3530 Peach St. (had a soda fountain)
3702 West 12th St. (had a soda fountain)
Perry Plaza on Broad St. (had a soda fountain)

Eckerds also had store in Meadville, PA (2 stores); Oil City, PA (1); Franklin, PA (1); New Castle, PA (1); Jamestown, NY (1); Zanesville, OH (1); South Bend, IN (1); Wilmington, DE (6 stores- first one opened in 1912); Tampa, FL (2); Clearwater, FL (2); St. Petersburg, FL (1); Asheville, NC (3); Charlotte, NC (5 stores, first one opened in 1921); Durham, NC (2); High Point, NC (1); Raleigh, NC (1); Columbia, SC (2); Greenville, NC (2); Chattanooga, TN (2); Winston-Salem, NC (2); and Greensboro, NC (1).

Founder J. Milton Eckerd died in 1967 at the age of 94.

In 1976, Eckerd's had eleven stores in Erie County, PA:
832 State St.
3530 Peach St.
Perry Plaza on Broad St.
2169 West 12th St.
3702 West 12th St.
2601 West 26th St.
38th and Pacific
714 East Ave.
4415 Buffalo Rd., Harborcreek
West Main and South Mill, North East, PA
202 Waterford St., Edinboro, PA

J. C. Penney purchased Eckerd Corp. in 1997.

R.I.P. Eckerd's.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Union Depot Railroad Station 1925 Erie, PA

The old Union Depot railroad station in Erie, PA in 1925 before it was demolished.
-Erie Business Directory, 1868-69.
The old Union Depot was located along the railroad tracks at 14th St. between Peach and Sassafras Streets in Erie, Pennsylvania. "It was erected at an expense of $100,000. The building is of brick, in the Romanesque style, and is 480 feet in length, 88 feet in width, two stories high, and is surmounted by a handsome cupola, of the height of 40 feet." -Erie Business Directory, 1868-69.

The new Union Station replaced the old depot around 1927. It still stands and is now home to Amtrack, a restaurant and a brewpub. There was a time when there were several passenger trains each day the stopped in Erie and traveled to Chicago and New York City.

The Arts & Drafts Festival was held in the Station at Union Square Sept. 6-8, 2012, featuring a number of local artists, musical performers and short films in the park across the street.

For more old photos and history of Erie PA, check out Old Time Erie

Monday, September 3, 2012

Duggan-Rider East 8th and State Erie PA

Eastside of State St. from 7th to 8th. Photo by Chester Wasielewski. ©Debbi Lyon 2012.
Check out the giant camera perched atop the Duggan-Rider Office Supply Co. at 727 State Street in Erie, Pennsylvania around 1967. If this scene does not look familiar, it's because most of these buildings have been demolished. (The facade of the smaller First National Bank building at 715 State St. was moved to 138 East 26th St. in Erie.)

The businesses that are visible in this photo, from left to right, are the Erie Sport Store at 709 State; First National Bank, 715 State;  Block's Billiards; Strub's Restaurant at 725 State St.; Duggan-Rider at 727 State St., Beneficial Finance Co. at 729 State St. Beneficial was on the southeast corner of 8th & State.

The buildings to the north of Erie Sport Store in the photograph above were torn down in February of 1969 to make way for the new Erie Sport Store building. The construction caused the collapse of 709 State Street, and damaged buildings at 713 and 715 State St. Six employees were inside the Erie Sport Store when it started to crumble on February 18, 1969. A construction worker ran inside to warn John 'Jack' Weber to get out of the building. "I yelled back one last time for anybody inside to get the hell out of there," Weber told the Erie Daily Times, "then I got out. Minutes later  the whole thing came down."

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield can currently be found at 717 State St. Here is a map of this block from 1950 which lists the names of all the stores.

Here is a picture of the east side of the 700 block of State

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