Girard Campus

Girard Campus

Our Girard campus includes two historic homes and more than 130 acres of farmland and public walking trails. The Yellow House, at 436 Walnut Street, was built in 1858 by Rush Battles, a Girard lawyer and banker who founded the Webster-Battles Bank, which later became the Battles Bank.

In 1861, Battles and his wife, Charlotte McConnell Webster, built the neighboring White House, 306 Walnut St. They had three children. Their daughter Charlotte Elizabeth In 1861, Rush married Charlotte Webster and they built and moved to their new home, the White House, 306 Walnut St., while his sisters and mother remained in the Yellow House.

In 1864, Charlotte Elizabeth Battles, also known as Beth and Libbie, was born in the White House and she lived there the rest of her life. She was the only surviving child of Rush and Charlotte's three  children.

In 1904, Rush Battles died, and Charlotte Elizabeth Battles inherited the family estate and assumed the presidency of the R.S. Battles Bank, the first woman to ever hold that title and position. In 1914, she was the first woman appointed to the Board of Trustees of Edinboro State Normal School (Edinboro University) and served in that capacity until she retired in 1925.

Georgianna “Nan” Reed moved into the White House to care for Charlotte's mother, who died in 1920. She remained as a companion to Charlotte. 

Nan Reed died in 1982, and at her request, the Battles Trust was administered by the Erie County Historical Society. The Erie County Historical Society maintained the Battles Estate as a Rural Life Museum, recreating 19th and 20th century agricultural life.

The second floor of the Yellow House was converted into an apartment, thanks to volunteers Jack and Kathy Watts. The apartment continues to be available on Airbnb from March to November.

In 2022, Hagen History Center staff and volunteers restored the Yellow House. It includes many of the Battles' family's possessions and is available as an event venue, and the History Center has scheduled its own events including a pop-up restaurant, culinary classes, book clubs, farm-to-table dinners and more. 

Charlotte Elizabeth Battles, and her family, along with the White House, Yellow House and Battles Bank, were featured in an Emmy-award-nominated WQLN Chronicles episode called  "The Legacy of Charlotte Elizabeth Battles."

Yellow House Drone
Battles Estate Yellow House
White House Drone
Battles Estate White House