This neat old brick house was constructed around 1842 and was the home of James M. Sterrett. James owned a tannery on East 5th Street between Holland and German. He died ten years later and his descendants lived in the home until the end of the century. His granddaughter willed the house to the Florence Crittenton Home.
"The Florence Crittenton Home... for unmarried mothers... was established in 1896 by the Y.W.C.A. as the 'Door of Hope' at 325 West 23rd St., and moved 501 Holland Street on June 7, 1908…Three hundred girls, alumni of the Home, who are now mothers of families, respected by their friends and neighbors, are leading moral, healthful lives…The Home always insists that the patient keep her child, because the first concern is always the welfare of the child…
Since its incorporation, 472 girls and their babies have been cared for. The Home can care for twelve girls and ten babies…Were it not for the Florence Crittenton Home, the girls, instead of receiving proper medical attention and necessary instruction and training which enables them to start life anew, would suffer, bear the shame of publicity and be branded as social outcasts. With such handicaps they would not be able to start out in life with a fair opportunity to succeed. The guilty fathers would not be induced to accept their responsibilities at home and parents and relatives, humiliated by the conduct of the girls, would not be brought to see their duties in a true light. The girls themselves would not learn to become strong again and care for their children and home." -Albion News, February 23, 1922.
The Florence Crittenton Home remained in the old Sterrett Home from 1905 until 1982, when it moved to East 6th St. near Reed. The Sterrett house on the southeast corner of 5th and Holland was demolished around that time and is now a parking lot for Erie Insurance.
Enjoy more historic facts and photos of Erie, Pennsylvania at: Old Time Erie