Friday, January 11, 2013

Exchange Building on North Park Row in Erie PA

Postcard of the Exchange Building on North Park Row courtesy of Tom DiLuzio.

Commercial Italianate Architecture on North Park Row

by Tom Weber

"Built in the 1860s, the row of elaborately ornamental commercial buildings extending along North Park Row and State was the showplace of downtown Erie in the Civil War era. Rounded window openings on the ground floor, elaborate window moldings on upper floors, projecting cornices and elaborately shaped pediments carried out the Italianate tradition.

The district was anchored by two outstanding buildings- the Exchange Building on the corner, and the 'Marble Front,' now Purcell's Hardware [in 1982]. A variety of businesses and offices occupied the block, including Marine Bank and Dr. John Carter's pharmacy, birthplace of the internationally known 'Little Liver Pills.'

Below street level, their entrances surrounded by ornamental iron fences, were a series of smaller shops. Further west on North Park Row stood the Park Opera House, considered one of the finest entertainment halls between New York and Chicago.

By the 1920, however, the hub of commercial activity had moved even further south, and the Exchange Building and its neighbors underwent change and deterioration...Jewelers, clothiers and bankers moved their businesses uptown, and a succession of transient owners altered the district's stylistic integrity.

In 1979, the district was incorporated into the National Register of Historic Places, marking the beginning of a period of restoration in Erie's most valuable nineteenth-century commercial block." -used with permission of the author. Check out Tom Weber's latest creation, Troubadour Blues:

The address of Marine Bank, shown in the postcard above, is 518 State St. in Erie, PA. The Exchange Building still stands and is located in Perry Square.

Here is one of the run-down businesses to the west of the Exchange Building:

Here's the Greyhound Station, also on North Park Row:

Enjoy more historic facts and photos of Erie, PA at:

1 comment:

  1. My mom and dad were friends of Leo and Dot Purcell back when I was a boy. I vaguely remember Purcell's Hardware, from the 1960's.