Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Bridge on the Ave or a Subway on Brandes?

"Why We Believe the Brandes Street Subway is More Important Than an Overhead Bridge in East Avenue." 

It looks like this has been a hot topic for a long time; the ad appeared in the Erie Daily Times on June 18, 1937. At that time, the area between East 12th and East 18th Street and Buffalo Road, from East Avenue to Wayne Street was a hodgepodge of train tracks. The Pennsylvania Railroad round house and car shop was near Wayne St., Erie City Iron Works and Erie Engine & Mfg. Co. had several sidings at their shops. The New York Central Railroad had about a half-dozen east/west lines, and the Nickel Plate Road cut across Buffalo Rd. to Commercial Street. 

The ballot asked people to vote for:
"A subway on Brandes Street 2 blocks east of East Ave...with a straight route to Buffalo Rd." 
"An overhead bridge 22 feet high over the tracks on East Ave. left and one right curve to Route 20."

The East Ave. Bridge a.k.a. McBride Viaduct opened in 1938.

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

Monday, July 29, 2013

Grab Your Skates and Head to the Lodge

Roller skating was the thing to do on a Friday night in Erie, PA in the mid to late 70s. There were several rinks to choose from, including Skate Lodge at 4646 Buffalo Road in Harborcreek Township. There was plenty of room to skate and the prices were reasonable; just two bucks for three hours in the evening, plus 75¢ to rent a pair of well-worn skates. Plus, if you were hungry, you could get a pepperoni ball and a cup of pop and not miss too much of the action.

The place used to be packed on Friday and Saturday nights, and kids would walk along the berm of Buffalo Road with a pair of skates slung over their shoulder on their way to and from the rink.

J. J. Lynch used to spin records at Skate Lodge, playing a mix of slow tunes (with dimmed lights) for the couples skate, and faster songs so experienced skaters could show off. Less experienced kids knew to get out of their way for fear of getting plowed over. Those kids would hover in the center of the rink or hang on to the railing, inching along the wall. It was cool to see people skating backwards or jumping over their friends. 

Seems like I heard every song from the soundtracks to "Saturday Night Fever" and "Grease" when I went to the Lodge.

I also remember waiting for the extended version of Heatwave's "Groove Line," which I still really like. It was the perfect song for a group of six or eight people to jam to. So grab your friends, Get the train, Comin' through!

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

Friday, July 26, 2013

Electricity Cures Nervous Debility

Are you suffering from a acute or chronic disease? Are you nervous and weak, frightened by every little noise or shadow? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might find the cure to be quite shocking.

Electricity Cures When Everything Else Fails

Or so claimed Doctors John E. Scanlan and Mary Scanlan in a classified advertisement in the Erie Morning Dispatch on Sept. 9, 1878. The couple operated an "institution" at 163 East 12th Street in Erie, PA. It appears that they treated medical conditions and neurological disorders "by application of galvanism, magnetism and electricity in its various modifications." 

Medical Electricians were not taken seriously by actual Medical Doctors, or by many other educated people. Check out the book "The Medical Electricians: Dr. Scott and his Victorian Cohorts in Quackery" by Robert K. Waits for more information about this field of study.

I'll have to look through the old city directories and see how long John Scanlan's business venture lasted. The house where the Scanlan's practiced is now the parking lot of the Family Dollar store on East 12th and Holland St. in Erie.

Enjoy more random facts about Erie, PA at: Old Time Erie

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Top 10 WJET and GO Radio May 1970

I'd like to dedicate the next song to....Captain Dan and WMCE FM. Today we're taking a look back at Erie radio history during the week of May 10-16, 1970 with surveys from WJET AM 1400 and GO Radio 103.7 FM.

Three songs made the Top Ten on both stations:
"Up Around the Bend" by Creedence Clearwater Revival was #1 on JET and #5 on GO. 
"Cecilia" by Simon & Garfunkel was #2 on JET and #3 on GO
"Love Land" by the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band was #9 on JET and #10 on GO

WJET-AM had:
"My Baby Loves Lovin'" by White Plains at #3
"Hey Lawdy Mama" by Steppenwolf at #4
"Time To Get Together" by Country Coalition at #5
"The Seeker" by the Who at #6
"Come Saturday Morning" by the Sandpipers at #7
"Something's Burning" by Kenny Rogers & the First Edition at #8
"What Is Truth" by Johnny Cash at #10

GO Radio 103.7 had:
"Turn Back The Hands of Time" by Tyrone Davis at #1
"Fall Inside Your Eyes" by Jackie Lomax at #2
"Make Me Smile" by Chicago at #4
"Vehicle" by the Ides of March at #6
"You Make Me Real/Roadhouse Blues" by the Doors at #7
"Last of the Wine" by the Robbs at #8
"Get Ready" by Rare Earth at #9

And a special shout out to Jeff George for hooking me up with the surveys!

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

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Get On Board Baby Elephant

It's anybody's guess what's going through the mind of this little girl as she meets Bubbles, the baby elephant, up close. She looks curious, but ready to run away at the slightest noise or movement. It doesn't look like there is any room for her to jump back on the bus since the other kids are all standing on the stairs.

This picture was taken in 1968 and was probably a promo shot for the EMTA summer run to the Glenwood Zoo on a route along West 38th Street. 

The Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority (EMTA) ran a number of promotions to try and increase ridership of public transit buses.

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

Monday, July 22, 2013

Lights Out For Cooney

It's hard to believe, but there was a time not long ago when we did not have instant access to all forms of entertainment and media. The World Heavyweight Championship was so big that hundreds of people paid $15 to $20 each to watch the fight--live--on closed circuit TV. And it wasn't piped into their living rooms. No, sir, not in this market. People got in their cars and drove to the Erie County Fieldhouse, stood in line, took their seats and waited for the game to begin. (The same fight that you can now watch for free on YouTube.)

The big fight was highly anticipated and there was a lot of trash-talking between the two camps. Neither fighter had lost a match yet. Larry Holmes had a 39-0 record; Gerry Cooney was 25-0. Promoter Don King never missed a chance to hype the match. The fans ate it up. It was time to put up or shut up.

The fight took place at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and it was broadcast via satellite to venues around the world. The spectators at the Fieldhouse watched every punch, hoping their guy would knock out his opponent. Near the end of the fight it was lights out for Cooney...and Holmes...and everyone watching the bout, when the signal was lost and the screen went dark. After what seemed like eternity, an image appeared on the screen. Cooney, it seemed, was the victor. Or was he? 

As it turned out, Cooney was the loser. Holmes won the match in the 13th round.

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

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fun Times At Camp Glinodo

Old Time Erie photo used with the permission of photographer Dr. Barbara Chambers.
Camp Glinodo is located off of Route 5 in Harborcreek Township, near Seven Mile Creek. This 40 acre site was opened in 1930 by the Sisters of St. Benedict. The camp, which is run by the Benedictine Sisters, has a great view of Lake Erie along its northern border. 

There are structured activities for campers such as games and hiking and nature exploration.  The photo above was taken by Barbara Chambers in July of 1959, when a friend talked her into taking a summer job at Camp Glinodo. The girls are Faye Marsh Clark, Jane Straub, Gretchen Diem, Carole Amenta, Caroline Bushelman and Marcia Petrini.

In order to keep an eye on the young campers, the camp counselors slept on the front porch of the cottage, ensuring that no one would sneak out during the night. Campers slept inside, dorm style, in bunk beds.

The camp name was changed to Glinodo Conference Center in 1980. The property includes 1,000 feet of lakefront property.

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

Friday, July 19, 2013

Ada Lawrence- An Exceptional Teacher

Wayne School ID for Ada Lawrence from the 1953-54 school year.
Ada Lawrence is the third generation of a pioneering Erie family. Her grandmother, Emma Gertrude Lawrence, owned Lawrence Cleaning and Dyeing, and was the first black business woman in town. Her father, Earl Lawrence, taught thousands of budding musicians at schools in Fairview, Summit and Girard, as well as in his own studio and at the Erie Conservatory of Music. 

Ada Lawrence made it her life's mission to educate children, and was hired as a full-time teacher on September 3, 1946. She was the first African-American woman to cross the color line in the Erie School District. She began her 36 year career at McKinley Elementary School at a salary of $1,600 per year.

Miss Lawrence was born in Erie, Pennsylvania. She attended Burns Elementary and Gridley Middle School, and then graduated from Strong Vincent High School (Class of '39) and Cheyney State Teachers College (Class of '43). She was a substitute teacher in the orthogenic department of the Erie School District at the end of World War II, teaching at Burton, McKinley and Jones Elementary schools, and became associated with Dr. Gertrude Barber. Ms. Lawrence also taught at Penn and Wayne schools.

Erie City Council honored Ada Lawrence with a Proclamation on October 3, 2007. This remarkable woman spent her final days at Sunrise Assisted Living at Presque Isle Bay, just one mile from her childhood home at 221 West Front Street, where Harry T. Burleigh was a frequent visitor. 

Ada passed away on March 14, 2014. She was buried at the Erie Cemetery. Read her obituary here. Click here to learn more about Ada Lawrence

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

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Schultz Warehouse on Parade Street

The three buildings on the southwest corner of 16th and Parade in Erie, PA have an interesting history. The smaller brick building on the left was Schultz's Wholesale Cash and Carry, which was located at 1612 Parade St. (at the site of a warehouse run by Charles Newkirk in the 1920s). If your parents or grandparents had a corner store in Erie, they probably stocked their business with items purchased here. Mr. Schultz had a variety of things, including showcases and store fixtures, school supplies, lamps and fans. You could also stock up on cigars, Necco candies, salted nuts, playing cards, razor blades and shoe polish. Fountain supplies included glassware, straws, Coca-Cola, Canada Dry, Saegertown and Borden's malted milk. They sold paper items such as Dixie Cups, napkins, envelopes, kraft bags, etc.

Arthur F. Schultz Company was located in the middle building, at 1608 Parade St. This retail business has been around for nearly one hundred years, having morphed into a huge furniture and appliance retailer. This brick building was constructed around 1914 and still bears the Schultz name in large white letters. When this card was used in the 1930s, Arthur F. Schultz sold confections and tobacco, which he used to deliver in a horse-drawn carriage. The A. F. Schultz Company later moved into the old Erie Silk Mills factory at 26th and Cascade St. in Erie.

The Germer Stove Company manufactured the Radiant Home base burner stove at 1602 Parade Street, the brick building on the right. This brick warehouse was built in 1875 on the corner of 16th and Parade, just south of the railroad tracks. Edward Germer was the president of Germer Stove, and his son Edward Jr. was the secretary of the company. Sales of the old claw foot cast iron stoves waned with the advent of natural gas and hot water furnaces. Some of the ornate Germer Stoves with art tiles, mica doors and medallions sell for a few thousand dollars to antique collectors today.

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

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Janniere Electro Physio Therapy Room

Old Time Erie: Janniere photo courtesy of the Ada Lawrence Archives.
"J. William Janniere attended the schools of Kingston and was graduated from St. George's College, a Jesuit college. After completing his hospital work in his native land, Doctor Janniere came to the United States in 1906 and established a practice in New York City, where he remained for eight years. He was graduated from the National College of Therapeutics in 1921 and then located in Erie, where he has a well established practice. Doctor Janniere specializes in electro physio therapeutics. His office is at 228 East 11th street. On June 4, 1919, Doctor Janniere was married to Miss Ruth I. Stewart, of New Haven, Conn., and they have two children: Marie E. and William James. Doctor Janniere is a Republican, a member of the Catholic Church and belongs to the Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World." -History of Erie, PA by John Elmer Reed (1925).

The treatment that Janniere practiced was likely the precursor to e-stim, or electric stimulation of muscles, that is widely used in sports medicine today. I had stim a couple of times a week following rotator cuff surgery. The premise is that electrodes are moistened and attached to the injured area (my shoulder) using conductive film or suction cups. The machine administers a series of electric pulses which trigger your muscles to contract. The intensity is turned up as high as the patient can tolerate. 

When the photograph shown above was taken, Janniere's office was located at 1106 Parade St. in Erie, Pennsylvania. (I would have taken one look at those contraptions and run right out the door.) J. William Janniere died in 1939 and was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Erie County, PA.

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

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Warner Theater Flood 1972

-articles in Erie Daily Times

Imagine the horror of coming into work on a Monday morning and finding several feet of water in your building. Imagine turning the key and opening the doors to a historic landmark in Downtown Erie and finding thousands of gallons of water in the isles.

That's exactly what happened at the Warner Theatre on Monday, January 17th, 1972 when Robert Bowman and Vinnie Marchant showed up and discovered water covering the seats inside the Warner. 

Two pianos- a baby grand and an upright- were destroyed, as was carpeting and a number of items that were stored in the basement. It was a real mess.

Luckily, crews were able to pump out the water and clean up the debris. Several generations of fans have enjoyed movies, concerts, plays, dance recitals, weddings and graduations at the Warner Theatre at 811 State Street in Erie, PA. 

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

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mackintosh Flavoring Extracts Bike

Unknown boy on a Mackintosh delivery bicycle.
"Get your Flavoring Extracts Here!" Can't you hear the boy hollering as he zoomed through the streets of Downtown Erie on the way to make his next delivery for the Mackintosh Drug Store?

John Mackintosh sold a number of concoctions, including Flavoring Extracts. A couple of his hair tonics had interesting ingredients. The Dandruff Cure was made with castor oil and bay rum, and was to be "applied at night, rubbing well into the roots of hair with fingers." The Stackhouse hair tonic was made with glycerine, alcohol and bay rum, an explosive combination, if you ask me.

Before he opened a drug store, Mackintosh enlisted in the 145th Pennsylvania Volunteers as Sgt. Major in Co. D. on August 27, 1862. He was captured at Petersburg, Virginia on June 16, 1864 and held prisoner at Andersonville. He escaped from prison four times and later wrote about his exploits for an Erie newspaper. 

John C. Mackintosh was born in Toronto, Canada in 1844. He died in Erie, PA in 1924 and was buried in the Erie Cemetery. He had a store at 1002 State Street and moved to 926 Peach Street around 1909-10. Jeanne Smart bought the store from Mackintosh, and then sold it around 1947.

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

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Roar From These Shores

Back in 1963, the Roar on the Shore had nothing to do with motorcycles. Erie residents were in a patriotic mood, celebrating the Perry Sesquicentennial in a big way. A replica of the Flagship Niagara was assembled in Veteran's Memorial Stadium at 26th and State Street, along with a 300 foot stage. Five hundred people appeared in a series of performances that spanned seven days in August of 1963. The Roar From These Shores came from the audience at the end of each show. 

Tonight Show host Jack Paar said, "One thing is evident- it's a great community effort. I've never seen such a project as this before. We need more of this in America."

PA Governor William Scranton said, "I've seen a lot of pageants. This is by far the best I have ever seen. I'm really impressed."

An advertisement claimed, "Any child who sees "From These Shores' will cherish the memory all his life and thank you for it. Don't be the on to deny him the best look he'll ever get at the history of Erie."

Were you one of the children who saw the show? Did you appear in "From These Shores?" I'm looking for pictures of the event and I'm sure someone has a few in a scrapbook. If you would like to contribute photos to an upcoming project about the Perry Sesquicentennial, be sure to act now. Contact me here to participate. Can't wait to hear your stories.

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

Sunday, July 7, 2013

First Annual Waterford Days 2013

Waterford, PA has an incredible history and the community never misses an opportunity to celebrate its past. Waterford Days includes everything you would expect, such as guided walking tours, carriage rides, an encampment of military re-enactors, music, games, and more food than you can shake a stick at. The event runs July 19-21, 2013 and takes place in the main park near the center of town on Route 19 and Route 97 in Erie County, PA.

What's so great about Waterford?
*Future president George Washington carried a message to Fort Le Boeuf in 1753 from the Governor of Virginia.
*Munitions for Perry's fleet were brought to Waterford and then taken to Erie for use in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.
*General LaFayette, who served in the Revolutionary War, visited Waterford in 1825.
*The Eagle Hotel, built in 1826, still stands.
*General Strong Vincent was born in Waterford in 1837.
*General Zachary Taylor visited Waterford just prior to becoming the 12th President of the U.S.

Want to learn more about Waterford Days? Here is a complete schedule of events.

Read more fun and fascinating facts about Erie, Pennsylvania at: Old Time Erie

Friday, July 5, 2013

Downing Building 75 Years Later

The Downing Building was a fixture in Downtown Erie from the time it was built in 1883 until it was demolished in the early sixties. This once grand structure sat on the northwest corner of 9th and Peach St. and was built in 1883 by Jerome F. Downing.

This photo was taken in the early sixties, and shows the Peach Street side of the building. The entrance to the Office Bar & Restaurant hangs from the northeast corner, and a political campaign sign for Judge Lindley R. McClelland is on the north side. 

The Fabric Shop and the Christian Science Reading Room were in a separate building to the north of the Downing Building.

Here's a sketch of the Downing Building in the late 1880s.

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

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Downing Building on 9th and Peach

The Downing Building was a refined structure at 9th and Peach Street in Erie, PA. It was built in 1883 for $40,000, and later demolished for the redevelopment of Downtown Erie.

"The interior is in keeping with the exterior, elegantly and conveniently arranged...finished in attractive hard woods, and provided with stained glass windows. The ceilings are lofty- thirty feet from the floors- tastefully decorated. 

The office force comprises some twenty-five clerks and assistants, a number of whom have been connected with the office for from ten to twenty years. To this office over 2,000 local agents, comprising fourteen states and five territories, render their reports, and are subject to the direction and control of the manager, Mr. Downing.

Jerome F. Downing is a native of Massachusetts, and a lawyer by profession. In 1863 he was elected District Attorney of Erie County, and it was while performing the duties pertaining to that office that he was offered the important position of general western agent of the Insurance Company of North America. In 1872 he accepted the general western agency of the Pennsylvania Fire Insurance Company. He is president of the Keystone National Bank; vice-president of the Erie Dime Savings and Loan Company, and a prominent member of the Board of Trade."

Here's a picture of the Downing Building 75 years later

Enjoy more historical facts and pictures of Erie PA at: Old Time Erie

Monday, July 1, 2013

Palace Hardware Towered Above Downtown Erie

The Palace Hardware building was constructed around 1914 and still stands at 913 State Street in Erie, PA. The Palace Hardware House was a retail store that had a variety of items, everything from guns and ammo to bicycles, automobile accessories, paints, sporting goods and cookware. The Erie store was a branch of the United Hardware & Supply Company. After the store closed, the building sat vacant for many years. It was refurbished in the late nineties and then used for a mixture of retail and apartments.

Clifford M. Turner managed the Palace Hardware store in 1922. The building was 42' wide by 65' deep. Marine Bank is the light colored building to the left of Palace in this photo. Some of the early tenants included attorney Miles B. Kitts, Commonwealth Oil Company, Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co., Truscon Steel Co., the Real Estate Board of Erie and the Erie Civic Music Association.

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