House History

Have you found any interesting items while digging a garden in your backyard? I've found a number of odd things, including several small-caliber bullet shells, a milk-glass cover for an old Mason jar, a bunch of pennies, a medallion and some large, flat rocks that seemed out of place. The strangest thing was an empty 55-gallon drum buried under a couple of feet in the dirt outside the bathroom window. I can't even speculate what that was for.

Do you live in a house in Erie, PA that is over 100 years old? Want to share "then and now" photos of the house and tell about its former occupants? You can do so here. 

One way to learn the names of the people who used to live in your house is by searching old city directories in the Heritage Room at the Blasco Memorial Library. To find the people who owned the property, search by address at this website: Erie County Assessment Office.

Check the basement or cellar for clues about the age of your house. Was it made of stone or cement blocks. Are the support beams made of wood? How thick is the center beam? Was it roughly cut by had or neatly cut at a sawmill? Check your local library for books about this subject. 

Look closely at your house for features that make it unique or different from other houses in the neighborhood. Our neighbors recently got new siding on their house, and it was clear that a previous owner had covered up a small bathroom window with the old siding. You may discover that rooms were added on to an old house when it became too small to hold a growing family. 

There were a number of people and companies that built houses in Erie, including the Andrews Land Company, Atlas Construction and the Baldwin Brothers. Some homes (especially in the Glenwood and Frontier neighborhoods) were designed by local architects. 

Here are are few examples of homes in Erie:
109 West 6th St. Gannon's Old Main
146 East St. St. Tibbal's house
10 West 26th St.
1601 Myrtle St.
Strong Cabin

Learn more about the history of Erie, PA at: Old Time Erie


  1. I remember "the Big Fish" across near the entrance to the beaches. Was it there or did the 60's have to much fun in my head. A big fish-shaped stand that sold beach "Stuff"

  2. The "Big Fish" was located on the N-E corner of West Lake Road & Peninsula Dr. WE passed it each time we drove to the beach. If you visit the Tom Ridge Center on Peninsula Drive, you can enter a rendition of that "fish", and also enjoy old photos of the Peninsula.

  3. I remember the Drive In at 8th and Peninsula, I think it was called the Home.

  4. I live in the 3600 block of Buffalo road. the house was built in 1900. some day I will try to find out more about the house who lived there and what all has happened there over the past 114 years !