For the month of February, the Hagen History Center will be recognizing African Americans in Erie County: A Trail of Shared Heritage (The Trail).
Trail #3: Pennsylvania Soldiers and Sailors Home – 560 E. 3rd Street, Erie The campus of the Home includes the four-acre Veterans Memorial Cemetery, established in 1886 and maintained by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs as the only state-owned cemetery. Of the 1,300+ gravesites, 19 belong to veterans of the United States Colored Troops (USCT), a division of the Union Army created after July 1862 when “Free men of color” gained the ability to enlist. Though none of these men originally hailed from Erie, they were all residents of the Home at their times of death, earning them places in the Veterans Memorial Cemetery. Originally intended to only house Marines, the Pennsylvania Soldiers and Sailors Home became a haven for all wounded, aging, and indigent U.S. military veterans after its 1886 dedication. The first residents were patriots from the Union’s grand army of the Republic who fought to secure what Abraham Lincoln called “a new birth of freedom” during the Civil War. The 16th President is beautifully memorialized in the Chapel with stained-glass portrait.
For the month of February, Hagen History Center will be recognizing African Americans in Erie County: A Trail of Shared Heritage (The Trail).
The Trail is a community history project that dates back to 2013, that continues to inspire us about Erie’s Black History. Hagen History Center planned to present multiple images for each stop on the Trail, but then realized our collections lack visual materials for a few of the stops.
To help us rectify this, we are inviting readers to become Citizen Archivists.
A Citizen Archivist is a term coined in 2010 by the National Archives and describes a virtual volunteer who helps professional archivists by locating and uploading relevant information, tagging, and adding metadata to already established online archives.
Click the link for the Trail, and if you happen to have documents, photographs, maps, or other images associated with a trail number, send us a message on social media! We will be posting a few times a week, so stay tuned!