The writing style of the 1800s is a bit more “flowery” that we tend to use today. Some of the words used then paint a picture and feel for the community that are still applicable today. On the first page of the 1888 book, words describing Erie are: “Gem City of the Lakes”, Beautifully Located, Its Great Wealth and Prosperity, Fine Natural Advantages, Pure Drinking Water, Efficient Departments of the Municipal Government, Magnitude of its Many Manufacturing Institutions, Many Millions Invested, Thousands of People Daily Employed and Health and Wealth”. Do we still refer to our city by any of those words today? Why not?
The author in 1888 wrote “It is a well-known fact, and recognized upon all sides, that no city has ever been honored with more intelligent, stirring, unselfish citizens than has Erie.” Many of us complain that the city has too many non-profits that do not feed into the tax base. Another way to look at it may be that we care so much about the welfare of our citizens that we have established so many non-profits. We all share in the generosity of Mr. Tom Hagen who is renovating what once were beautiful buildings on West 6th Street and near the Erie Insurance campus. As a benefactor of the Erie County Historical Society, he is ensuring that Erie’s history will not become a thing strictly of the past but something we all may take pride in for the future.
No one can deny that our current local political leaders are working hard for the health and safety of all in Erie County during this national state of emergency. County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper and Mayor Joe Schember have been very proactive in their communications about COVID 19 and as this writing, Erie County still has very few cases that we are aware of.
Erie still has over the national average in manufacturing jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report for January 2020, Erie’s percentage of manufacturing jobs is approximately 19% of all jobs in the County. Nationally, that number is 8.5% of all jobs. It is well known that factory jobs pay much better than most in the service industries. Manufacturing has been our economic backbone since 1888 and it appears is still going strong.
We have many things in Erie to be proud of then and now. I’ve only just begun.