Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hanging Out at the Erie Boys' Club

Hey, Billy, what'd you do today?
"Nothing much. I was just hanging out."

It looks like Billy was really hanging out when this photo was snapped at the Erie Boys' Club. This building, which was was located at 112 East 7th Street in Erie, PA, near 7th and French, was constructed in 1901. The Erie organization had the distinction of being the 31st Boys Club founded in the United States, and it was a charter member of the Boys Clubs of America.

The Erie Boys' Club had an enrollment of 537 boys in 1916, with an average daily attendance of 121. During the 1915-1916 season, 14,790 boys used the gym, 10,196 boys used the game room, and 4,656 boys used the library.

The Superintendent reported that "Every department is crowded to overflowing in the busy season. We have not nearly enough class rooms. This congestion has been noticeable for some time, and can only be overcome by the addition of another story or building an addition on the rear of the present building."

The Boys' Club Camp was held for one week at Shorewood. The club had a Lunch Company which sold sandwiches, cookies, pies, milk and candy and a Printing Company which printed odd jobs. The library got mixed reviews. "We are sorry to say the library is used for a game room most of the time. The library is now the midgets game room, and unless we get more room soon, we will have to go out on the roof to play."

I think it's a fair bet that some of the boys were already sneaking up to the roof. I remember climbing onto the roof of Wilson Middle School and the old elementary school near 26th and Peach in Erie to take pictures, and boosting my sisters onto the roof of the school in Wesleyville to get tennis balls. Good times.

The old Erie Boys' Club has since been demolished and is currently occupied by a parking lot.

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


  1. For several years following WWll, my father made a good living touring the country performing as a high wire/trapeze artist...all skills that he learned and perfected at the old Boys Club on East 7th. He spent all of his time there growing up when he wasn't working with his father in the theaters around downtown Erie. He also volunteered a great deal of his time there as an adult in appreciation for what the Boys Club had given him. I learned to swim there in the 50s at the swim classes they had in the summer for boys and girls. Benny Strand (my father's best friend) was my swim teacher there.

  2. Do you happen to have a photo of the Boy's Club on East 12th St. at St. Stanislaus School? I've been looking for a picture of it for years to no avail

  3. I remember going to a Boys Club on either East 12th Street. Yet, I cannot find any mention of it. I used to play bumper pool there and they would give us sandwiches.