|Old Time Erie photo courtesy of Ada Lawrence.|
The business was born of necessity. Emma's husband John passed in 1889 and she was left with four young children to care for. She started from scratch, taking in laundry in her own home. She excelled at her job and as word spread, business began to increase. Lawrence Dyeing and Cleaning was founded in 1906 and was well known throughout all of Erie. When Gertrude passed away in 1934, her son Charles Lawrence took over and the operated the business until 1963, working with his sister Effie Lucas.
Gertrude made time in her busy life to maintain membership in several civic organizations. Her work ethic was not lost on her children. Earl Lawrence was a well-known musician and popular teacher in the Erie area. To learn more about other African-American families in Erie, read the wonderful book Journey From Jerusalem by Sarah S. Thompson and Karen James.
Enjoy more historical facts and photos of Erie, Pennsylvania at Old Time Erie