Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Stearns Strikes it Rich in Erie, PA

Stearns Manufacturing Co., ad in Erie Morning Dispatch, January 7, 1880.
Glenn Stearns put Erie on the map with 'Undercover Billionaire' in 2019, a hit Discovery Channel television series based on the premise of building a million-dollar business with just $100 and a pickup truck. But long before Glenn came to town, a different Stearns struck it rich in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Edward H. Stearns moved to Erie after a fire destroyed his planing mill in Massachusetts. E. H. Stearns bought property at East 10th between Holland and German Streets in Erie and built a company that was known throughout the world, thanks in part to his keen eye for industrial necessity. 

E. H. Stearns held over 30 patents, one of which was issued by the United States Patent Office in 1856! His machines made it faster and safer to remove bark from trees and to turn logs in saw mills. This entrepreneurial spirit made life easier at a time when most houses were made of wood, and timber was king. 

"These productions, which are known in every lumber camp and saw mill in the United States, have maintained their excellence of construction during the entire period of their manufacture." -History of Erie County, PA (Warner, Beers 1884).

Enjoy more fun facts about Erie, PA at Old Time Erie!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Big Rubber Duck Rocks Tall Ships Festival in Erie, PA

Mama Duck was the star of the show at the 2019 Tall Ships Erie festival. Billed as the World's Largest Rubber Duck, Mama weighed in at 15 tons, and was tethered to the dock at the foot of Holland Street in Erie, PA from August 22-25, 2019. Her offspring, Baby Quackers, nestled next to Mama for the duration. Children and their parents lined near the ducks to take selfies. 

Mama Duck and Quackers have made appearances on Lake Erie, Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and other Great Lakes ports in the United States and Canada.

Tall Ships Erie is a benefit for the Flagship Niagara League, the group that operates the historic reproduction of the U.S. Brig Niagara. Tall Ships Erie was last held in 2016.

Enjoy fun facts about all things Erie at Old Time Erie

Monday, December 28, 2015

Birdseye View West 6th and Peach

Aerial photograph of the Erie County Courthouse and surrounding area of West 6th and Peach Street in Erie, PA.
The Erie County Courthouse is the 'U' shaped building near the center of this photo. Old Time Erie history blog.
Here is a scene that has seen a lot of changes over the years. The Erie County Courthouse is the 'U' shaped building in the upper half of this photo. The part shown here is at 140 West 6th Street in Erie, PA, before the addition with the jail was built on West 5th Street. It would be interesting to find out how many thousands of people have walked the halls of the courthouse, appearing as jurors, filing a will or applying for a marriage license.

The bulk of this shot is between Peach and Sassafras Streets. Perry Square is in the center on the left, and below that is the old Greyhound Station on North Park Row.

Old Main, part of Gannon University, is partially hidden by trees, but the Erie Club at 524 Peach Street is clearly visible. The old First Presbyterian Church at 502 Peach Street is the one with the whitest roof and steeple. 

The Cathedral of St. Paul Episcopal Church is across the street from the courthouse. The triangle near the bottom right has seen the most change. It now contains green space, walkways and tall apartment buildings housing students attending Gannon University. 

LifeWorks Erie is now currently occupies the building at 406 Peach Street, visible in the very bottom right corner of this picture. The photographer was looking southwest more or less when this was taken.

Enjoy more cool photos and fun historical facts at Old Time Erie!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Soap Box Derby at the Dock

Soap Box Derby on State Street in Erie, PA on July 31, 1935. Old Time Erie photo by William Liebler. 

It's finally here! The big day. The event everyone has been waiting for. The Soap Box Derby! Hundreds of people lined both sides of State Street to see local boys participate in this race on July 31, 1935. Events like these were held all over the country, building an estimated 50,000 cars. The champion of each city went on to the national race.

"On August 11th at Akron, Ohio, the finals drew a crowd of between 75,000 and 90,000 people who watched Maurice E. Bale, Jr., age 13, of Anderson, Indiana, race down the incline to become the 1935 Soap Box Derby Champion." -Boys Life (May 1936).

There was a lot at stake for the boys. The first place national champion won a four-year college scholarship; 2nd place won a Chevrolet Master Coach and third place won a Chevrolet Standard Coach.The first boy who won the local derby in Erie, PA is shown at 5:09 in this short film of the 1936 All American Derby racing in the elimination trials Akron, OH. It's pretty exciting to watch the race, and it's no wonder so many spectators showed up. 

Find more historical facts about Erie, Pennsylvania at Old Time Erie.