Friday, May 16, 2014

Top 10 Causes of Death in Erie, PA in 1946

June 1947 Erie's Health drawn by Helen P. Thurlow.
Sad to say, I don't have any fun facts about Erie. This post is pretty grim. One thousand five hundred and eighteen people died in the City of Erie, PA in 1946. The death rate per 1,000 population was 11.6. The number one cause of death?   Heart Disease

"Heart disease continues to rise and continues to be the greatest killer of mankind. There were 60 more such deaths in 1946 over 1945. Cancer is still unopposed for the second most common cause of death, although there were forty less deaths from that disease then in 1945. Apoplexy has shown a slightly lower trend for the past ten years. Pneumonia deaths have shown a gradual decline for practically the same period. Accidental deaths have shown a decline for the past three years, but the increase, already noted in automobile deaths, will probably tend to end this decline.

The epidemic of gastro-intestinal infection in young infants, which spread over the entire nation last year, accounted for this cause of death being elevated into the first ten causes of death in 1946. It also accounted for our highest infant mortality rate in a number of years. Diseases of early infancy and kidney diseases remained rather stationary. 1946 shown the gradual increase in diabetes deaths which has been evident for several years." -City of Erie Board of Health, June 1947.

Top 10 Causes of Death in the City of Erie in 1946:
1.   Heart disease, responsible for 528 deaths.
2.   Cancer, the cause of 193 deaths. 
3.   Apoplexy, 153 deaths.
4.   Pneumonia (all kinds), 84 deaths.
5.   Accidents, 61 deaths.
6.   Gastro-enteritis, claimed 50 children under two years of age.
7.   Nephritis (Bright's Disease), 47 deaths.
8.   Diseases of early infancy, including congenital deformities, 30 deaths.
9.   Diabetes, 27 deaths.
10. Tuberculosis (all kinds), 25 deaths.

For comparisons sake, here is a list from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Top 10 Causes of Death in the U.S. in 2010:
1.   Heart Disease
2.   Cancer
3.   Chronic lower respiratory disease
4.   Stroke
5.   Accidents
6.   Alzheimer's disease
7.   Diabetes
8.   Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis
9.   Influenza and pneumonia
10. Intentional self-harm (suicide)

Find more facts about Erie on my Erie History Blog

Friday, May 9, 2014

Where in the World is Weigelville?

Detail from a 1900 Sanborn Fire Map at 26th & Brown Ave in Erie, PA.
Where in the world in Weigelville? It's right in our backyard, if you happen to live in the City of Erie, PA. "Weigeltown or Weigelville, as it is variously called, at the intersection of Brown's Avenue with the Ridge Road, was named after George Weigel, Sr., who bought fifty acres in 1833, and laid out the Ridge road front into building lots. The hotel at Weigeltown was long a famous stopping place for parties coming to and driving from Erie. The village was then a mile and a half from the original borough limits." -Nelson's Biographical and Historical Reference Book of Erie County (1896).

"During the year 1828, a colony of 'Pennsylvania Dutch' reached the township [of Millcreek] from Lancaster County, consisting of George Weigel, Martin Warfel, Samuel Brenneman, Thomas Mohr, Jacob Metzler and others, followed by Jacob Charles in 1829." -Nelson's.

Looking for a Erie History Blog? You'll find it here.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bicyclist at the Erie County Courthouse

Bicyclist in fron of the Erie County Courthouse circa 1904.
Thousands of people have passed through the doors at the Erie County Courthouse. Think of how many young couples applied for marriage licenses. Or sat in a courtroom as an attorney, jurist, victim, witness or defendant. Children involved in custody battles, estranged couples filing for a divorce. Descendants filing an estate for a dearly departed parent. Perps in handcuffs escorted by a sheriff's deputy. Immigrants filing for citizenship. Members of the military filing their DD-214 separation papers in the Veteran's Affairs office for safekeeping. Genealogists researching their family tree. The man standing next to his bicycle. The list goes on and on. The County Courthouse, at 140 West 6th street, is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Erie County, PA.

Find more Old Time Erie pictures at my Erie History Blog.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Mystery of the Man in the Uniform

Take a close look at the gentleman shown in this mystery photo. A friend of mine saved this picture from going to the landfill and we are both curious about his story. Was he in the Army? If so, do you know what unit or regiment wore this style of double-breasted wool jacket?

I don't see any obvious clues about the rank of this man. There are no stripes, badges or insignia. The buttons may hold the key. Unfortunately, the image is too fuzzy to make out any details. The photograph was mounted in a large, oval frame, the style that was popular in the twenties and thirties. Could this be a World War I era photo?

There is not much detail shown in his shoes or legs, so it's hard to tell if he is wearing leather boots, canvas leggings or wool puttees.

The cap looks similar to old ones worn by members of the American Legion, but once again, there are no visible post numbers.

Please leave a comment if you have any knowledge about the uniform or, better yet, the name of the man in the picture.

Find more historical facts about northwest Pennsylvania on the Erie history blog Old Time Erie.