"Long Life & Happiness for All its Residents" #1

Becky Weiser, ECHS

Wednesday Apr 1st, 2020

I’ve never really “blogged” before, but as the Curator for the Erie County Historical Society and, due to the current pandemic, unable to work with the physical objects in our collection, I have decided to give this a try. 

There is a book I have been wanting to read for a long time and it has a long title: “The City of Erie, PA with Illustrations of its Public Buildings, Churches, Schools, Summer Resorts and some of its Residences, Business Blocks, Manufactories and Citizens”.  Published in 1888, this sizable volume, 16.5 inches x 11 inches with about a size 10 font, takes some dedication to read cover to cover.  What I propose is a “then and now approach” in my writing.  I will give a synopsis of an aspect of Erie from the 1888 book then write a little about how the buildings or parts of the city have changed, or not.  This is meant to be a fun, optimistic approach to our community. 

In addition to discussing the book, periodically I will at times also like to focus on some of the objects in the collection of the Historical Society and the stories behind them.  For example, why we have coffin fragments, a doll made of wax and over 700 pieces of Griswold cast iron cookware.

The title in this series, “Long Life & Happiness for all its Residents” is taken directly from the first page of the book.  It’s something that expressed the thoughts of the authors in 1888 and a sentiment I would like to express now during this difficult COVID 19 time.  We are all in this together and my hope is to support each reader not only by escaping a bit into the past but to showcase parts of our community that really do make Erie a wonderful place to live.  It may take me the whole of our virus quarantine to list all the attributes of Erie based on 1888’s thinking.   I welcome you to join me on this journey. 


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