Happiness & Long Life for All its Residents #106

Becky Weiser

Wednesday Jan 18th, 2023

Just when I thought I knew about every notable person from Erie, I was wrong. In reading John Nolen’s 1913 recommendations to Erie, I found the following sentence: “Horace Greeley, Dan Rice and Denman Thompson, names familiar to American people, figure prominently in the history of Erie County.” Denman who??


Joe Root in Erie - Part 2

Andrew Applebee - Gannon University Intern

Wednesday Jan 11th, 2023

Joe Root lived alone on the Peninsula but despite this he held quite the social circle. His trips across the bay were made possible by friendly fishermen who would give him passage free of charge. After landing at the foot of State Street, Joe would take quarter in Sullivan’s Saloon before trudging into town.


Then and Now-The Eagles of the USS Michigan/Wolverine

Jeff Sherry, Museum Educator

Friday Jan 6th, 2023

Over the past several weeks, a series of blogs about the service of the United States Paddle Wheel Frigate Michigan/Wolverine have appeared here on this website. Michigan/Wolverine was truly a fascinating ship. The first iron-hulled ship in the United States Navy. Commissioned as the USS Michigan in 1845, she spent her entire career on the Great Lakes. Her home port was Erie, Pennsylvania. Over her lengthy career, so many officers and enlisted sailors stationed aboard the ship married Erie women, she city earned the nickname “Mother-in-law of the Navy.” The ship was one of the longest continuously serving ships in U.S. Naval history. This short blog will examine one of the remaining artifacts of this ship.


Joe Root “King of the Peninsula” - Part 1

Andrew Applebee - Gannon University Intern

Wednesday Jan 4th, 2023

The legend of Joe Root is one both of fact and fiction. Despite his humble appearance he was a king in his own right. In the place of a bejeweled cloak were tattered trousers and in the place of a crown was a ragged hat. His kingdom was the Peninsula, and his treasure was the nature on her shores. Joe feasted on raw fish and berries in his castle of a wooden crate. Images such as this conjure a larger-than-life folk figure that we romanticize today. Fueled by the obscurity of who Joe root was and where he came from further fire the lore. Surprisingly enough there is truth in the mystery that was Presque Isle’s hermit.


Erie Homes for Children and Adults has 110-Year History of Compassion and Service

Heather Musacchio

Friday Dec 30th, 2022

On September 26, 1912, 13 women gathered at the home of Mrs. Otto Hitchcock to discuss the pressing need to find a home for an infant found abandoned at Union Station. The women formed a board of directors, and over the next two weeks, they rented a house at 947 West 7th Street and hired a nurse and house mother to staff the facility.

Erie Infants Home and Hospital was born. The women’s objective was to “provide a temporary home or hospital for needy infants from birth to two years of age.” At the time, there was no other organization of its kind in the area. 

Happiness & Long Life for All its Residents #105

Becky Weiser

Wednesday Dec 28th, 2022

It is time to compare some facts about Erie in 1913 to 2022.  A lot has changed but not everything! I still believe the quality of life here ranks high on any list and I have recently read that Erie is rated as one of the best places to live in Pennsylvania. 


Erie’s Iron Ship – Part 4 – USS Michigan becomes Wolverine

Jeff Sherry, Museum Educator

Friday Dec 23rd, 2022

The third longest continuously serving ship in the United States Navy after Constitution and Independence, some sixty-one years as Michigan and seven as Wolverine, USS Michigan would see many changes as the nineteenth century gave way to the twentieth.


Happiness & Long Life for All its Residents #104

Becky Weiser

Wednesday Dec 21st, 2022

I love looking back in history and seeing how things could have been. In John Nolen’s “Plans and Reports for the Extension and Improvement of the City” written in 1913, he talks about his optimism for Erie’s future in regard to real estate. Nolen calls Erie a city “of homes” because rents at the time were unusually high compared to wages.


Erie Native Kenneth Ahrens – Christmas 1944: A Malmedy Massacre Survivor Testifies

Jeff Sherry, Museum Educator

Friday Dec 16th, 2022

On December 17, 1944, perhaps the most infamous war crime committed against American soldiers in World War II took place near the small Belgian town of Malmedy. An American artillery observation unit ran head on into a German SS Panzer unit. A brief firefight followed, and over one-hundred Americans surrendered. With their arms held high, the Germans machine-gunned the POWs and killed 84. Sergeant Kenneth Ahrens of Erie, Pennsylvania survived by playing dead for two to three hours as the enemy moved among the dead, wounded and dying and shot anyone showing signs of life. Ahrens and a handful of others managed to escape near dark and spread the word that the Germans were killing prisoners. It was the second day of the Battle of the Bulge. The Germans were not wasting time or manpower on prisoners of war, they had a schedule to keep. It was to be Hitler’s last major offensive against Allies in Western Europe. Time was of the essence.


Erie’s Iron Ship - Part 3 - The USS Michigan in the Civil War

Jeff Sherry, Museum Educator

Friday Dec 9th, 2022

The USS Paddle Frigate Michigan, the first iron-hulled ship in the U.S. Navy. Built in parts in Pittsburgh and assembled in Erie, she was launched in 1843 and commissioned in 1845. Her role was to be America’s only armed warship on the Great Lakes. Negotiations with Britain after the War of 1812 stipulated that each country was to have just one armed ship on the lakes. While her armament changed many times at the whim of events and politics, Michigan remained a fixture in Erie and the western lakes for her entire career. Her home port was Erie, and so many sailors married Erie girls, the city took on the nickname “mother-in-law of the Navy.”