Every now and then I run across an interesting snippet of Erie history. Here's one that started with a bang:
"While patrolling his beat early this morning, Officer George Warfel heard a shot ring out. He was directly opposite the Wilcox House at the time and distinctly heard the shot come from that place. Rapping on the sidewalk for help help he rushed into the house, where he found one of the night watchmen holding a .32 calibre revolver in one hand while brushing bits of broken glass off a dresser.
Upon investigation Warfel found that the gun was the property of Detective Caldwell, who is employed by Reed Manufacturing Company to protest non-union men employed at that shop. Caldwell had left the gun on a table when he retired for the night. The night watchman, being inquisitive, picked up the gun, pointed it toward a large mirror and pulled the trigger. The bullet plowed its way through glass and wood, making a clean hole.
Caldwell, in speaking of the affair said: 'I was never so scared in all my life.' Then with an air of bravado, he pulled out a drawer of the table and exhibited two .38's. 'If he got hold of this artillery,' said the detective, 'there would have been some damage.' Alongside the artillery was a quart bottle of whiskey almost half full.
Before leaving the place Officer Warfel ordered the detective to unload all three guns and put them safely away from the hands of boarders. One scare seemed to be enough for Mr. Caldwell as he was hasty in obeying the orders of the bluecoat." -Erie Sunday Herald, September 7, 1913.
There was a lot of labor unrest in Erie, Pennsylvania at the time. Iron workers had been on strike for ten months. The Reed Manufacturing Co. building at 1425 West 8th Street still stands. It is near the intersection of West 8th and the Bayfront Highway, kitty-corner from Frontier Park.
George D. Warfel, who was born in 1880, lived at 523 East 4th St. in Erie, PA with his wife and children. He died in 1930 and was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Millcreek Twp.
Enjoy more historical facts and photos of Erie, PA at: Old Time Erie