Watson-Curtze Mansion is closed to the public for the month of February for minor renovations - discounted museum admission $8

Blog

B981

Happiness & Long Life for All its Residents #98

Becky Weiser

Wednesday Oct 5th, 2022

Sometimes we learn from the past, often we do not.  Nolen’s book on improving our city devotes many pages to the waterfront.  In 1913, when Nolen compiled his study, the area was a total, chaotic mess.  On page 49 of his book, he writes “The great hope of Erie for the future is its waterfront.  At present, however, the waterfront and harbor of Erie contribute very little indeed to the business development of the city or to the pleasure of its citizens.”  Haven’t we all heard those similar words spoken in the not so recent past?  The GAF site along the bayfront has been discussed for years.

AF1

Red Lips and Rosie the Riveter: Women on the Home Front

Anna Foll

Friday Sep 30th, 2022

With a large group of men off to war during WWII, women were joining the workforce to aid in the war effort. The typical role of the American woman up to this point was to be married, have children and be a homemaker while her husband was at work. Though not all women followed this path, it was the expectation.

B97.1

Happiness & Long Life for All Its Residents #97

Becky Weiser

Wednesday Sep 28th, 2022

It is not often that I learn something about a topic I really enjoy in Erie history, but it happened!  I have been reading John Nolen’s “Plans and Reports for the Extension and Improvement of the City” and the section “railroads” caught my eye.  If you have been a regular reader of this blog, you may realize that I like trains.  I learned that in 1913, five railroads went through the city:  Lake Shore & Michigan Southern; Philadelphia & Erie; Pittsburgh, Bessemer & Lake Erie; New York, Chicago & St. Louis and the Erie & Pittsburgh.  The tracks were located in four places in town: 14th Street, 15th Street, 19th Street, and the west half of 12th Street then going down along the waterfront towards the docks.

DF1

Cruise Ship in Erie, PA

Dea Fye - HHC Docent

Friday Sep 23rd, 2022

Would you be surprised to know, Erie had a cruise ship tethered to the Public Dock, known today as Dobbins Landing? First, a little background on the ship itself.

B96.1

Happiness & Long Life for All its Residents #96

Becky Weiser

Wednesday Sep 21st, 2022

John Nolen was hired in 1913 to improve the city of Erie for a prosperous future and begins his recommendations by telling us what we did right.  His first topic were the streets. 

JS1.1

Theodore M. Nagle-Reminiscences of The Civil War, 1923

By Jeff Sherry, Museum Educator

Friday Sep 16th, 2022

Theodore Maximilian Nagle, namesake of the Nagle Engine and Boiler Works of Erie, Pennsylvania, was born in Germany in 1840. In 1923, he penned a short book entitled Reminiscences of The Civil War. The book is a detailed account of Nagle’s regiment, the 21st New York Volunteers in the Civil War. In 1914, Nagle also penned a small booklet or pamphlet detailing the regiment’s role in the disastrous Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia in December, 1862.

B95.1

Happiness & Long Life for All its Residents #95

Becky Weiser

Wednesday Sep 14th, 2022

As I continue this series on all things that make for living a long and happy life in Erie County, I have stumbled across a book that I have been wanting to read for many years.  Although the title may scare away a casual reader of local history, I am sure that readers of this blog will find the contents fascinating.  It is called “Plans and Reports for the Extension and Improvement of the City” written in 1913 by City Planner John Nolen (1869-1937).  I mentioned Mr. Nolan in Blog #94 on GE and Lawrence Park.  I have read that he was the first American to identify himself as a “city planner” and studied landscape architecture under Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. (who designed New York City’s Central Park among other places).  Nolan consulted on plans for more than 25 cities in the country and Erie was one of them. 

JSN2

Erie County’s Early Native Americans

Jeff Sherry, Museum Educator

Friday Sep 9th, 2022

Little is known about the Native American tribe that gave its name to Erie, Lake Erie and a county in three states. They were gone when the first settlers of European descent arrived in the region. What happened to the Erie or Eriez tribe?

B94.1

Happiness & Long Life for All its Residents #94

Becky Weiser

Wednesday Sep 7th, 2022

The first thing I do when I walk into my office each morning is turn on the lights.  I don’t care if a little sunlight is coming through my small window or not, I mindlessly turn them on and go about my day.  Today though, I thought about Thomas Edison and his connection to Erie when I turned on my lights and then did a little research.

Carl v2.5

Carl Benz - An Erie Immigrant’s Two Escapes Pt.2

Jan Whitman Walters

Wednesday Aug 31st, 2022

In 1915, Carl Benz was a German-American who, although having formally declared his citizenship intentions, was still years from becoming a U.S. citizen. He was gainfully employed as a butcher at Haibach Brothers Meat Packers at 918 Parade Street in Erie. Then suddenly, the U.S. declaration of war against Germany had flipped the climate in the U.S. against immigrant Germans (and even resident German-Americans). The mood changed from welcoming to skepticism, then outright persecution.