Erie, Pennsylvania: Wikis


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The Downtown Erie skyline, facing south from Presque Isle State Park across Presque Isle Bay
Official name: City of Erie
Nickname: The Flagship City,
The Gem City, The Bay City
Country  United States
State  Pennsylvania
County Erie
Location Perry Square
 - coordinates 42°7′46.42″N 80°5′6.77″W / 42.1295611°N 80.0852139°W / 42.1295611; -80.0852139
Highest point
 - elevation 733 ft (223 m)
Area 28.0 sq mi (73 km2)
 - land 22.0 sq mi (57 km2)
 - water 6.0 sq mi (16 km2)
 - metro 802 sq mi (2,077 km2)
Population 103,817 (2008)
 - urban 194,804
 - metro 280,843
Density 4,723.1 /sq mi (1,824 /km2)
Founded April 18, 1795[1]
 - Incorporated April 14, 1851
Mayor Joseph E. Sinnott
Timezone EST (UTC-4)
 - summer (DST) EDT (UTC-5)
ZIP Codes 16501–16512, 16514–16515, 16522, 16530–16534, 16538, 16541, 16544, 16546, 16550, 16553–16554, 16563, 16565
Area code 814
Location of Erie within Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the United States

Erie (pronounced /ˈɪəri/) is an industrial city on the shore of Lake Erie in the northwestern corner of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. Named for the lake and the Native American tribe that resided along its southern shore, Erie is the state's fourth largest city (after Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Allentown), with a population of 104,000.[2] Erie's Metropolitan Area consists of approximately 280,000 residents and an Urbanized Area population of approximately 195,000. The city is the seat of government for Erie County.

Erie is in proximity to Cleveland, Ohio; Buffalo, New York; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Once teeming with heavy industry, Erie's heavy manufacturing sector now consists mainly of plastics and locomotive building. Known for its lake effect snow, Erie is in the heart of the rust belt and has begun to focus on tourism as a driving force in its economy. More than four million people each year visit Presque Isle State Park,[3] for water recreation, and a new casino named for the state park is growing in popularity.

Erie is known as the Flagship City because of the presence of Oliver Hazard Perry's flagship Niagara.[4] The city has also been called the Gem City because of the "sparkling" lake.[4] Erie won the All-America City Award in 1972.[5]



The six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, which included the Senecas, occupied the lands now known as Erie. The French built Fort Presque Isle near present day Erie in 1753, as part of their effort to garrison New France against the encroaching English. The French word "Presque-isle" means peninsula (literally "almost an island") and refers to that piece of land that juts into Lake Erie that is now called Presque Isle State Park. When the fort was abandoned by the French in 1760, it was their last post west of Niagara. The British occupied the fort at Presque Isle that same year, three years before the end of the Seven Years' War in 1763.[6]

Present day Erie would have been situated in a disputed triangle of land that was claimed by the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut (as part of its Western Reserve), and Massachusetts. It officially became part of Pennsylvania on March 3, 1792, after Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York released their claims to the federal government, which in turn sold the land to Pennsylvania for $151,640.25 (75 ¢/acre) in Continental certificates. The Iroquois released the land to Pennsylvania in January 1789 for payments of $2,000 from Pennsylvania and $1,200 from the federal government. The Seneca Nation separately settled land claims against Pennsylvania in February 1791 for the sum of $800.[7]

The Battle of Lake Erie played a role in the history of Erie.

The General Assembly of Pennsylvania commissioned the surveying of land near Presque Isle through an act passed on April 18, 1795. Andrew Ellicott, who famously completed Pierre Charles L'Enfant's survey of Washington, D.C. and helped resolve the boundary between Pennsylvania and New York, arrived to begin the survey in June 1795. Initial settlement of the area began that year.[7][8] Colonel Seth Reed and his family moved to the Erie area from Geneva, New York and became the first European settlers of Erie.

To wrest control of Lake Erie from the British during the War of 1812, President James Madison ordered the construction of a naval fleet at Erie. Noted shipbuilders Daniel Dobbins of Erie and Noah Brown of New York led construction of four schooner–rigged gunboats and two brigs. Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry arrived from Rhode Island and led the squadron to success in the historic Battle of Lake Erie.[9]

State and 9th Streets in downtown Erie during the early 1920s

Erie was an important railroad hub in the mid–nineteenth century, the city being the site where three sets of track gauges met. While the delays required to unload and load passengers and cargo were a problem for commerce and travel, they provided much needed local jobs in Erie. When a national standardized gauge was proposed, those jobs, and the importance of the rail hub itself, were put in jeopardy. The citizens of Erie, led by the mayor, set fire to bridges, ripped up track, and rioted to stop standardization in an event known as the Erie Gauge War.[10]

On August 3, 1915, the Mill Creek (the creek that Millcreek Township was named after) flooded downtown Erie when a culvert, blocked by debris, gave out.[11] A four block reservoir, caused by torrential downpours, had formed behind it. The "wall of water"[1] that resulted killed 12 people.[11] After the flood, Mayor Miles B. Kitts had the Mill Creek diverted to a tube that would run under the city to the lake.[1]

Erie's importance gradually faded through the 1900s as the age of lake trade and commercial fishing drew to a close.[12] Downtown Erie continued to grow for most of the 20th century, before taking a major population downturn in the 1970s.[12] With the advent of the automobile age, thousands of residents left Erie for suburbs such as Millcreek Township, which now has over 50,000 people.[12]

Erie has won the All-America City Award only once, in 1972, and was a finalist in 1961, 1994, 1995, and 2009.[13]

Panorama of downtown Erie in 1912


The Mill Creek in the city of Erie.

Erie is situated at 42°6′52″N 80°4′34″W / 42.11444°N 80.07611°W / 42.11444; -80.07611 (42.114507, -80.076213),[14] directly between Cleveland, Ohio, Buffalo, New York, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on the south–central shores of Lake Erie. Erie’s bedrock is Devonian shale and siltstone, overlain by glacial tills and stratified drift. Stream drainage in Erie flows northward into Lake Erie, then through Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and out to the Atlantic Ocean. South of Erie is a drainage divide, where most of the streams south of this divide in western Pennsylvania flow in a southward direction into the Allegheny or Ohio Rivers.[15]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.0 square miles (73 km2) with 22.0 square miles (57 km2) being land and the remaining (21.54%) being water. Erie is home to Presque Isle State Park (known to the locals as "The Peninsula"), a peninsula that juts into Lake Erie and has 7 miles (11 km) of public beaches, wetlands, and fishing sites.

A road map of Erie showing the major routes that travel through it.

Erie is laid out in a grid surrounding Perry Square in the downtown area.[16] The downtown buildings are separated from the waterfront by the Bayfront Parkway.[16] The tallest structure in Erie is St. Peter's Cathedral at 265 feet (81 m) and the tallest building is the Renaissance Centre at 198 feet (60 m) tall. Erie has generally small ethnic neighborhoods including Little Italy. South of 38th Street, the grid gives way to curvilinear roads of post–1970 suburban development. Millcreek Township and Peach Street are among Erie's newer areas.

Most of the cityscape includes renovated and refurbished factory buildings, mid–rise housing, single family homes, and office buildings. Erie's waterfront includes the Pepsi Amphitheater and surrounding parkland, which hosts numerous festivals. The Bayfront Convention Center and Hotel is on Sassafras Pier next to Dobbins Landing.[16] The Bicentennial Tower is centrally located in the skyline when viewed from Presque Isle State Park, with the numerous High-rise and Mid-rise buildings flanking the higher ground behind and to the east and west sides. On the east end of the waterfront, the Erie Maritime Museum and the city's main library, and third largest in Pennsylvania, host the Brig Niagara. Docks and marinas fill the freshwater shoreline in between.



Snow in April

The climate of Erie is typical of the Great Lakes. Erie is located in the snow belt that stretches from Cleveland to Syracuse and Watertown; accordingly, its winters are typically cold, with heavy lake effect snow, but also with occasional stretches of mild weather that causes accumulated snow to melt. The summers in Erie put in it the warm summer, humid continental climate zone (Dfb) on the Köppen climate classification.[17] The city experiences a full range of weather events, including snow, ice, rain, thunderstorms, and fog.

As of 2007, Erie is 13th on the list of snowiest places in the United States, averaging 88 inches (220 cm).[18] For the winter of 2008–2009, Erie received 145.8 inches (370 cm) of snow with the first accumulation of the season falling on October 29.[19][20] The total for that year's seasonal snowfall is the second highest, falling short of the record by 3.3 inches (8.4 cm) set during the winter of 2000–2001.[20] The adverse winter conditions have been known to cause whiteouts, including one that caused a 50 car pile-up on Interstate 90,[21] and USAir Flight 499 to overrun the runway at Erie International Airport.[22]

Climate data for Erie, Pennsylvania
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 72
Average high °F (°C) 33.5
Average low °F (°C) 20.3
Record low °F (°C) -18
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.52
Snowfall inches (mm) 26.3
Source: National Weather Service[23] September 21, 2009

Demographics and religion

Erie Compared
2000 Census Erie PA U.S.
Total population 103,717 12,281,054 281,421,906
Population, percent change, 1990 to 2000 -4.6% +3.14% +13.1%
Population density 4,722.9/sq mi 247/sq mi 80/sq mi
Median household income (1999) $28,387 $34,619 $41,994
Bachelor's degree or higher 17.4% 22.4.4% 24.4%
Foreign born 5.8% 5% 11%
White (non-Hispanic) 80.56% 85.4% 75.1%
Black 14.20% 10.01% 12.3%
Hispanic (any race) 3.2% 4.4% 12.5%
Asian .7% 1.8% 4.2%

As of the census[24] of 2000, there were 103,717 people, 40,938 households, and 24,480 families residing in the city. There were 44,971 housing units at an average vacancy rate of 8%. Erie has long been declining in population due to the departure of factories and dependent businesses.[25] The city has lost over 40,000 people since the early 1970s, allowing Allentown to claim the position as Pennsylvania's third-largest city behind Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Historical populations
Year Pop.  %±
1800 81
1810 394 386.4%
1820 635 61.2%
1830 1,465 130.7%
1840 3,412 132.9%
1850 5,858 71.7%
1860 9,419 60.8%
1870 19,646 108.6%
1880 27,737 41.2%
1890 40,634 46.5%
1900 52,733 29.8%
1910 66,525 26.2%
1920 93,372 40.4%
1930 115,967 24.2%
1940 116,955 0.9%
1950 130,803 11.8%
1960 138,440 5.8%
1970 142,254 2.8%
1980 119,123 −16.3%
1990 108,718 −8.7%
2000 103,717 −4.6%
2008 103,817 0.1%
United States Census Bureau[26]

Erie's population was spread evenly among all age groups, with the median being 34. About 13% of families and 19% of the population were below the poverty line. Most of the people who reside in Erie are of European descent.[27]

Since the mid 1990s, the International Institute of Erie (IIE), founded in 1919, has helped with the resettlement of refugees from Bosnia, Eritrea, Ghana, Iraq, Kosovo, Liberia, Somalia, Sudan, the former Soviet Union, and Vietnam. The inclusion of refugees in Erie's community augments religious diversity and prompts community events such as cultural festivals.[28]

In the early 20th century, Erie had a significant Russian immigrant community, many of whom worked in the shipbuilding plants along the bayfront. Unusual for a Great Lakes city, a substantial number of these Russian immigrants were Priestless (Bespopovtsy) Old Believers. In 1983, most of this community united with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and became Priested Old Ritualists.[29] Even today, the gold-domed Church of the Nativity,[30] on the bayfront near the former heart of the Russian community, is an Old Ritualist church.[31] Bishop Daniel of Erie, of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, is based in Erie and is the Vicar President of the Synod of Bishops for the Old Ritualists.[32]

Catholic influence is felt beyond the parish in Erie; here, at entrance to Mercyhurst College.

Erie has a Jewish community that is over 150 years old. Temple Anshe Hesed, a member of the Union for Reform Judaism, is served by its spiritual leader, Rabbi John L. Bush.[33] Erie is home to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie, covering 13 counties (9,936 sq mi- the largest in the state). Its diocesan seat is the Saint Peter Cathedral in Erie, which has a 265 feet (81 m) central tower flanked by two 150 feet (46 m) towers. Donald Trautman is the current Bishop of the diocese.

According to the Association of Religion Date Archives,[34] Erie County had a total population of 280,843 people in 2000, of which 103,333 claimed affiliation with the Catholic Church, 40,301 with mainline Protestant houses of worship, and 12,980 with evangelical Protestant churches.


Old Erie Forge & Steel factory in Erie at 16th and Greengarden Intersections. Across from the Railroad.

Erie is the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's primary access point to Lake Erie, the Great Lakes, and the Saint Lawrence Seaway. The city emerged as a maritime center after the American Revolution, then as a railroad hub during the great American westward expansion. Erie became an important city for iron and steel manufacturing during the Industrial Revolution and thrived well into the 20th century with big industry.

While only diesel-electric locomotive building remains from the ranks of the large manufacturers in the early 21st century, a more diverse mix of mid-sized industries has emerged. This broader economic base includes not only smaller and more agile steel and plastic plants, but also a vigorous service sector: health, insurance and tourism. As of February 2008, Erie's unemployment rate was 5.3%, a one-point increase over the 4.3% rate a year earlier.[35] The national unemployment rate was 4.8%.

Beaches impact local economy

Erie is the corporate headquarters of GE Transportation, Plastek Industries, Inc., Erie Insurance Group, and Marquette Savings Bank. Lord Corporation was founded and has major operations in Erie.[36] Over 10% of the nation's plastics are manufactured or finished in Erie-based plastics plants.[4] Erie is an emerging center for biofuels and environmental research, producing over 45 million gallons of biofuel a year.[37] Tourism plays an increasingly important role in the local economy with over 4 million people visiting Presque Isle State Park and other attractions. Canadian shoppers frequent the Millcreek Mall and Peach Street stores and attractions mostly because of Pennsylvania's tax exemption on clothing.

The city government is encouraging development through Commonwealth programs that encourage residents, universities and businesses to contribute toward the community’s economic health.[38][39]

In 2002, the Erie Downtown Improvement District (DID) contracted a Philadelphia-based company (Kise, Straw, and Kolodner) to set up a "master plan" for Erie's downtown.[40] The DID plan includes construction of mid-rise and high-rise structures that will be used primarily for mid-city housing and retail expansion. Plans include renovating historical downtown buildings including the Boston Store and Mercantile Building. Fourth River Development and Radnor Property Group were selected as the developers.

Arts and culture

The iconic Boston Store in downtown Erie

Erie is home to several professional and amateur performing-arts groups. The most significant is the Erie Philharmonic, in continuous existence since 1913 (with the exception of an interregnum during World War II). This group of professional musicians also has a full chorus and a Junior Philharmonic division that tours the area.

The Lake Erie Ballet is a professional company that performs well-known programs throughout the year.[41] The Erie Civic Music Association attracts, sponsors, and books performances by professional musicians, singers, entertainers, and ensembles from around the world.[42] The Erie Art Museum is the city's main art gallery, located in a former U.S. Customs House on lower State Street near the bayfront. Its collection has an emphasis on folk art and modern art and it hosts a popular blues and jazz concert series.

Downtown Erie's historic and ornate Warner Theatre hosts a range of performances. Renovated in the 1980s and again in 2007,[43] the Warner is the hub of Erie's Civic Center. The downtown area is the home of the Erie Playhouse, one of the leading community theaters in the country, as well as the Roadhouse Theatre for Contemporary Art, home to more avant-garde works.[44] The local Great Lakes Film Association (GLFA), which hosts the annual autumn Great Lakes Independent Film Festival, was founded in 2002.[45]

The Bicentennial Tower and the Brig Niagara.

Along West 6th Street is Millionaires Row, a collection of 19th century Victorian mansions. The oldest lighthouse on the Great Lakes stands at the foot of Lighthouse Street.[46] The lighthouse was built in 1818 and replaced in 1867.

The Bicentennial Tower, on Dobbins Landing at the foot of State Street, was built in 1995–96 to celebrate the city's bicentennial. It is 187 feet (57 m) tall and gives a panoramic view of Lake Erie and downtown. The Blasco Library and Erie Maritime Museum are its neighbors to the east. Presque Isle Downs opened for business on February 28, 2007, the fourth slots parlor in the state and the first in Western Pennsylvania.[47] There are 2,000 slot machines as of opening day, and an adjoining racetrack which opened in September 2007.[48]


The Erie Times–News main office

Erie is served by The Erie Times-News, the city's only daily newspaper.

Erie is ranked as the 146th largest television market by Nielsen Media Research.[49] The market is served by stations affiliated with major American networks including WICU 12 (NBC), WJET 24 (ABC), WFXP 66 (FOX), WSEE 35 (CBS), and WBEP (CW). WQLN 54 is a member of PBS. Erie is also served by 25 AM and FM radio stations based in the city, and dozens of other stations are received from elsewhere.


Jerry Uht Park from the first-base side, overlooking downtown Erie.

Erie plays host to a number of semi-pro and professional sports teams. The Erie SeaWolves play AA baseball in the Eastern League as an affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. The Erie Otters play hockey in the Ontario Hockey League. The Erie Storm is a member of the American Indoor Football Association. The Erie Illusion is a member of the Independent Women's Football League. The Erie BayHawks are a member of the NBA Development League. Football and hockey games are played at Louis J. Tullio Arena, while minor league baseball games are held at Jerry Uht Park.

Gannon University, Mercyhurst College, and Penn State Behrend have active collegiate sports programs. The local high schools compete in District 10 sporting events. Additionally, Cathedral Preparatory School hosts the annual McDonald's Classic. Scholastic and intramural sports are held at school and park facilities around the city. The Mercyhurst Ice Center and Veterans Stadium are only two of the many sports arenas and stadiums available in and around the city.

Minutes away, just outside of North East, is the Lake Erie Speedway, a 3/8 mile (0.6 km) NASCAR sanctioned race track. Horse racing is found at the Presque Isle Downs racino in nearby Summit Township.

Club League Venue Established Championships
Erie SeaWolves EL, Baseball Jerry Uht Park 1995 0
Erie Otters OHL, Ice hockey Louis J. Tullio Arena 1996 1
Erie Illusion IWFL, Women's football Tullio Field 2003 0
Erie Storm AIFA, Indoor football Louis J. Tullio Arena 2008 0
Erie BayHawks NBA D-League, Basketball Louis J. Tullio Arena 2008 0
Erie Admirals SC NPSL, Soccer Family First Sports Park 2009 0


Erie's location along the shores of Lake Erie provides a plethora of outdoor activities throughout the year. The region's largest attraction is Presque Isle State Park, drawing over four million visitors a year. The region grows grapes and produces the third largest amount of wine in the United States.[2] Area sports arenas include Jerry Uht Park (the home of the Erie Seawolves) and Louis J. Tullio Arena (the home of the Erie Otters and Erie RiverRats).

Erie Land Lighthouse

Erie is home to Presque Isle, a national landmark.[3] The Seaway Trail runs through downtown Erie along the lakefront. The Tom Ridge Environmental Center, at the foot of Presque Isle, features 7,000 sq ft (650 m²) of exhibit space.[50]

Historical sites also draw people to Erie. Union Station and the Warner Theatre are historical buildings still in use. The Erie Playhouse is the third oldest community theater in the U.S., but is the most active.[51]

Aerial view of Presque Isle State Park. View is to the east-northeast.

Other tourist destinations include the Bayfront Convention Center; the Bicentennial Tower that overlooks Lake Erie; Dobbins Landing, a pier in downtown Erie; the Erie Land Light; the Erie Maritime Museum, the home port of the US Brig Niagara; Millcreek Mall, the 11th largest shopping mall in the United States,[52] Perry Square, a large downtown park; Presque Isle Downs, a racetrack and casino in Summit Township; Splash Lagoon, the largest indoor waterpark on the East Coast and third largest in the United States;[51] the Erie Zoo, with its many animals and exhibits; and Waldameer Park and Water World, a local amusement park.


Erie's city government consists of a mayor and city council. The mayor's office includes an elected city treasurer and city controller. Each of seven districts elects a representative to the city council, and the membership selects a city council president and vice president from within their ranks. Each member serves a two-year term. The mayor is chief executive; the city council prepares legislation and conducts oversight. The city council meets in Mario S. Bagnoni Council Chambers at City Hall.

Erie City Hall

As of May 2007, Joseph Sinnott is mayor. Susan DiVecchio is city treasurer.[53] Casimir J. Kwitowski is city controller. As of May 2007, the Erie City Council consists of: Rubye Jenkins-Husband, Curtis Jones Jr. (President), James N. Thompson, Patrick Cappabianca, Jessica Horan-Kunco and Joseph V. Schember.[54]

In exchange for tax revenue, the city provides its residents with police and fire protection. For separate quarterly payments, the city provides garbage, recycling, water and sewer services. The city has come under criticism for cutting jobs in the public service sector, mostly in the Police and Fire Departments. The layoffs, mostly made in 2006, were meant to avoid bankruptcy and state takeover of the city's finances.[55]

Laws are enforced by the Erie Police Department. In 2005, six murders were committed in Erie, compared to just one in 2004. Despite the rise in homicides, nonviolent crime in the city dropped by 14% in 2005 compared to 2004.[56] Since 2000, Erie has been experiencing a spike in drug-related crimes, due in part to a decrease in police officers.[55] Erie is the site of many major drug busts, although its crime rate is lower than the national average.[57] Erie's homicide rate per 100,000 residents increased from 1 in 2004 to 5.8 in 2005.[57] The number of assaults in the city increased to 191 in 2005. Property crime, theft, arson, and burglaries were down in 2005 from 2004, but rape was slightly higher.[57]


Erie Public Schools enroll 12,527 students in primary and secondary grades.[58] The district has 23 public schools including elementary, middle, high, and one charter school. Other than public schools, the city is home to more than 40 private schools and academies.

LECOM's main campus

Erie also contains several colleges and universities. Created in the 1970s Penn State Erie, The Behrend College is the largest Penn State branch.[59][60] The university is noted for being one of the best value colleges in the country.[59]

Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), a large medical campus with branches in Bradenton, Florida and Greensburg, Pennsylvania, has one of the largest enrollments of medical students in the country.[61]

The Erie Maritime Museum, the Brig Niagara, and the Blasco Library.

Other notable colleges in the Erie area include Gannon University, a Catholic university, the oldest higher education institution in metro-Erie, is situated in downtown Erie. Another Catholic institution, Mercyhurst College, is in the suburbs of Erie. Another public university, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, is in nearby Edinboro, Pennsylvania.

Ranking Erie city and county officials, as well as officials of the Erie School District, began looking into the need for a community college in the Erie area in 2006.[62] As of January 2008, county officials and representatives of Penn State-Behrend, Mercyhurst, and Gannon were in serious discussions expected to lead to the creation of Northwest Pennsylvania Community College by September 2009. Besides accreditation issues, officials must resolve whether to use local four-year educational institutions or to build a separate site in Summit Township for community college classes.[63]

The public libraries in Erie are part of the Erie County library system. The Raymond M. Blasco, M. D. Memorial Library, named for its benefactor, opened in 1996.[64] It is the third largest library in Pennsylvania.[65] It is connected to the Erie Maritime Museum, both of which are part of a bayfront improvement project that includes the Bayfront Convention Center and the Bicentennial Tower on Dobbins Landing.


Erie's Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) generates an annual Erie Area Transportation Study for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). There are 15 MPOs in the state, each consisting of local elected officials, representatives of major modes of transport, PennDOT officials, and others. Federal and state transportation regulations require urban areas of 50,000 or more in population to have an MPO to oversee short-term (four years) and long-term (20+ years) transportation planning.[66]

The Bayfront Connector connects I-90 with the waterfront.

Erie is well connected to the Interstate Highway System. Six highway exits from Interstate 90 connect travelers to Erie from Boston, Massachusetts and points east, and from Cleveland, Ohio and points west. Those traveling north to Erie on Interstate 79 can merge with Interstate 90 or continue north for several local Erie exits before the road merges into the Bayfront Parkway in downtown Erie. Southbound travelers on Interstate 79 can connect with Interstate 80 for points east to New Jersey or west to Akron, Ohio or Youngstown, Ohio, or continue south on Interstate 79 to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Charleston, West Virginia. Interstate 86, also called the "Southern Tier Expressway," splits from Interstate 90 at North East, Pennsylvania and heads southeast through New York State to Binghamton.

The city has several arterial roads. Pennsylvania Route 5 (12th Street), U.S. Route 20 (26th Street and Buffalo Road), and 38th Street are major east-west routes through Erie's municipal roadway grid. The town is divided east from west at State Street, a major thoroughfare in downtown Erie. U.S. Route 19 is a major southwesterly route from downtown to a shopping area north of Interstate 90 known to locals as Upper Peach Street.

The Intermodal Transportation Center at the end of Holland Street

The Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority (EMTA) operates local and regional bus service seven days a week. A new city bus terminal opened in 2006. Connections are available to water taxi, rail services, and the airport. The Intermodal Transportation Center, which opened in 2002 at the Holland Street Pier, includes a commercial bus terminal. Greyhound Lines and Fullington Trailways (owned by Fullington Auto Bus Company) provide daily bus service, including routes with local stops between Erie and DuBois and Pittsburgh, with connections to other destinations.[66][67]

The former "Water Level Route" of the New York Central Railroad (now the CSX mainline) travels directly through Erie. This is a major mainline for the railroad and sees scores of trains a day. The mainline of the Norfolk Southern Railway at one time ran directly down the middle of 19th Street in the city. Norfolk Southern decided to remove the 19th Street tracks in 1998.[68] The 19th Street rail traffic is now routed onto the transcontinental mainline. Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited arrives at the Union Station, in downtown Erie, twice daily. Although there has been much discussion in recent years in favor of adding trains along the southern shore of Lake Erie to link Buffalo with Cleveland and beyond, there are no near-term plans to begin this service.

The last DC-9 to fly for US Air arriving at Erie International Airport

Erie International Airport (IATA: ERI; IACO: KERI), located 5 miles (8 km) southwest of the city, hosts general aviation, charter, and scheduled airline service. Airlines serving Erie include Continental Airlines, US Airways and Northwest Airlines. Tom Ridge Field was recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation as the fastest-growing airport in the state and by the US Department of Transportation as the 3rd fastest-growing airport in the United States in 2004.[66][69]

The Port of Erie is in Presque Isle Bay, a natural harbor formed by Presque Isle. The Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority provides water-taxi service in the summer months between Dobbins Landing and Liberty Park in downtown Erie, and the Waterworks ferry landing on Presque Isle.[70]

A channel on the east side of Presque Isle allows ships to transit between the bay and Lake Erie. Cruise line services land at Dobbin's Landing rather than the Cruise Terminal built in 2002. A Great American Waterways cruise makes a 15-day run from Chicago to Warren, Rhode Island, with a stop in Erie on the eastern leg of the journey.[71] The Great Lakes Cruise Company and the American Canadian Cruise Line advertise this cruise.[72]


Hamot Heart Institute

Erie is a regional leader in health care with two of its hospitals being ranked nationally.[73][74]

The Erie health care system includes:

  • Great Lakes Healthcare
  • Hamot Medical Center
  • Healthsouth
  • Millcreek Community Hospital
  • Regional Cancer Center
  • Erie Shriners Hospital for Children
  • St. Vincent Health System
  • Erie VA

St. Vincent Health System was founded in 1875 as St. Vincent's Hospital, Erie's first medical institution, by the Sisters of St. Joseph and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie. It was chartered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1895 as the St. Vincent's Hospital Association. A school of nursing was established in 1901. Formal instruction of interns began in 1914. In 1981, St. Vincent's became the largest hospital in Pennsylvania, and one of the first hospitals in the country, to use computers to make medical records available to authorized personnel for patient treatment. St. Vincent Health Center became a subsidiary of St. Vincent Health System when the corporation was reorganized in 1988.[73]

The Erie Shriners Hospital for Children has been operating in Erie since 1927.[75] It won a 2007 achievement award from the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania.[76]

One of Erie's largest employers, Hamot Medical Center, has consistently been ranked as one of the best hospitals in the country.[74] Pierre Simon Vincent Hamot (died in 1846) was a successful local businessman whose homestead was donated by his descendants for the founding of the Hamot Hospital Association in 1881. The medical center, along with the Hamot Heart Institute (pictured at right), are part of the Hamot Health Foundation.[77]

Hamot and St. Vincent organized two joint projects in the 1980s. The Tri-State Regional Trauma Center opened in 1983. The Regional Cancer Center (TRCC), founded in 1987, is one of the largest free-standing community cancer treatment centers in the United States.[78]


The Erie Water Works, which was incorporated in 1865 as the Erie Water and Gas Company, includes a reservoir, two water treatment plants, and an elaborate water works and pipe network that provides water for most of the city and suburbs. Penelec, a FirstEnergy Company provides electricity to the region, as well as the Northwestern Pennsylvania Rural Electric Cooperative. Time Warner Cable became the region's TV cable provider after taking over Adelphia and also provides digital phone and high-speed internet to the region. Local telephone and high speed internet service is provided by Verizon.

Sewage service in Erie is provided by the Erie Sewer Authority, and many outlying townships have partnerships with the Sewer Authority for service. The Authority cleans about 30–40 million gallons of wastewater every day.[79]

Sister cities

As of June 2007, Erie has four official sister cities as designated by Sister Cities International:[80]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Erie: 200 Years as a Community. Erie Times-News (1995).
  2. ^ a b "Interesting Facts about Erie County". Erie County Government. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  3. ^ a b "Presque Isle State Park". Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved May 21, 2007. 
  4. ^ a b c "About Erie—Facts". The City of Erie. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  5. ^ "1970s". Past Winners of the All-America City Award. National Civic League. 2007. Retrieved November 22, 2009. 
  6. ^ History of Erie County, Pennsylvania, Vol I (1884:Warner, Beer's and Company, Chicago), pg 503
  7. ^ a b Nelson's Biographical Dictionary and Historical Reference Book of Erie County, Pennsylvania, Vol I, pp 103–104
  8. ^ History of Erie County, Pennsylvania, Vol I (1884:Warner, Beer's and Company, Chicago), pg 505–06
  9. ^ "Niagara History–Battle of Lake Erie". Flagship Niagara League. Retrieved 2007-05-30. 
  10. ^ Shapiro, Carl. "Railroad Guages [sic]: A Standards Battle". History in Motion. Retrieved 2007-05-29. 
  11. ^ a b "Mill Creek Flood". Erie County Historical Society. Retrieved 2007-06-22. 
  12. ^ a b c "Erie Detailed History". Retrieved 2007-06-22. 
  13. ^ Frederick, Robb (June 20, 2009). "Erie falls in award contest". Erie Times-News. Retrieved November 22, 2009. 
  14. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  15. ^ "General Geology Report 32". Pennsylvania Geological Survey. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  16. ^ a b c "Map of Erie, PA". Google Maps.,+PA&ie=UTF8&ll=42.165439,-80.085526&spn=0.191873,0.4422&z=11&iwloc=addr&om=1. Retrieved 2007-07-02. 
  17. ^ Kottek, Marcus; Greiser, Jürgen et al. (June 2006). "World Map of Köppen–Geiger Climate Classification". Meteorologische Zeitschrift 15 (3): 261. doi:10.1127/0941-2948/2006/0130. 
  18. ^ Cappella, Chris (October 3, 2003). "10 snowiest 'cities' aren't all in New York". USA Today. Retrieved May 21, 2007. 
  19. ^ "October 2008". U.S. Daily Snow Data. National Climatic Data Center. Retrieved April 7, 2009. 
  20. ^ a b Harris, Rebecca (April 8, 2009). "UPDATE: New snowfall totals show Erie still short of record". Erie Times-News. Retrieved April 8, 2009. 
  21. ^ Associated Press (January 26, 2007). "50-car pileup on snowy Erie highway". USA Today. Retrieved May 29, 2007. 
  22. ^ "Accident Report". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved 2007-05-29. 
  23. ^ "Erie, PA Climate". National Weather Service. September 1, 2009. Retrieved Septermber 21, 2009. 
  24. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  25. ^ "Erie Population Profile". Retrieved 2007-06-28. 
  26. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". United States Census Bureau. July 2, 2008. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  27. ^ "Erie Social and Demographic Information". Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  28. ^ "International Institute of Erie–Home". International Institute of Erie. Retrieved 2007-06-15. 
  29. ^ Church of the Nativity: Our Parish, retrieved 6-23-2008
  30. ^ "Church of the Nativity". Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  31. ^ "Russian Orthodox Bishops". Russian Orthodox Outside Russia. Retrieved 2007-05-26. 
  32. ^ "Daniel Alexandrow on Orthodox Wiki". Retrieved 2007-05-26. 
  33. ^ "Tah Erie". Retrieved 2007-05-26. 
  34. ^ The ARDA Database has no precise figures on the membership of African American churches, so it provides an estimate of 25,000 members. The two Russian orthodox churches list no membership numbers. The Salvation Army lists over 4,000 members. Jews were under 1,000 and Quakers showed no membership.[1]Retrieved on June 1, 2007.
  35. ^ Martin, Jim (April 1, 2008). "It's a start: Jobless rate dips". Erie Times-News. Retrieved 2008-04-22. 
  36. ^ McNeel, Rick. "Lord History". Lord Corporation. Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  37. ^ Carroll, Jim (2006-07-06). "Biodiesel could fuel economy". Erie Times-News. Retrieved 2007-07-02. 
  38. ^ Palatiella, Ed (2007-05-06). "Revised LERTA plan: Shorten program, target blighted areas". Erie Times-News. pp. 1A, 8A. 
  39. ^ Sillvio, Matt (April 27, 2007). "Mayor Announces Lerta Plan". Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  40. ^ Miller, George (2007-05-15). "Erie Builds Master Plan". Erie Times-News. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  41. ^ "Lake Erie Ballet". Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  42. ^ "Erie Civic Music Association". Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  43. ^ "Warner Renovations Unveiled". WSEE-TV. March 23, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  44. ^ "The Roadhouse Theater for Contemporary Art". Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  45. ^ "Great Lakes Film Association". Great Lakes File Festival. Retrieved 2007-06-25. 
  46. ^ "Inventory of Historic Light Stations Pennsylvania Lighthouses–Erie Land Lighthouse". The National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-05-30. 
  47. ^ "Whats Ne–Presque Isle Downs". Erie Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  48. ^ "Presque Isle Downs Racing Overview". MTR Gaming. Retrieved May 21, 2007. 
  49. ^ "Erie DMA". Time Warner. Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  50. ^ "TREC Features". Tom Ridge Environmental Center. Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  51. ^ a b ERIE 2007-2008 All Seasons Visitors Guide. Erie. 2007. 
  52. ^ "List of Largest Shopping Malls in the United States". American Studies at Eastern Connecticut State University. Retrieved 2007-05-27. 
  53. ^ "The City Treasurers Office". City of Erie. Retrieved 2007-05-26. 
  54. ^ "Current Council Members". City of Erie. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  55. ^ a b Bucsko, Mike (January 22, 2006). "Erie cuts work force". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Retrieved 2007-06-29. 
  56. ^ Hahn, Tim (April 15, 2005). "Chief:Erie still safe". Erie Times-News. Retrieved 2007-06-29. 
  57. ^ a b c "Erie Crime". Retrieved 2007-06-29. 
  58. ^ "Erie City School District Profile". Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  59. ^ a b "About the College". Penn State Erie. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  60. ^ "2007 Enrollment Numbers". Penn State Erie. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  61. ^ "Welcome Largest Class of Medical Students". LECOM. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  62. ^ Flowers, Kevin, DiVecchio to Visit Community College, Erie Times-News, May 10, 2007, pg 6B; Exploratory trips have included visits to Lehigh Carbon Community College near Allentown, Pennsylvania in November 2006, and Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio in May 2007.
  63. ^ We're All Positive About This: County Hopes to Have Community College in September 2009, by Kevin Flowers, Erie Times-News, pp 1B, 2B, January 18, 2008
  64. ^ "A Brief History of the Erie County Public Library". Erie's Libraries. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  65. ^ "Raymond M. Blasco Library". City of Erie. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  66. ^ a b c "Pennsylvania's 2007 Transportation Program" (PDF). Pennsylvania DOT. August 3, 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  67. ^ "Intercity Bus Service in Pennsylvania". The Transportation Advocacy Project. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  68. ^ Hofius, Sarah; Piet, Elizabeth (2005-06-08). "Residents track changes along old railroad line". Erie Times-News. Retrieved 2007-06-26. 
  69. ^ Carroll, Jim (March 4, 2005). "Erie International 3rd in nation for increased passenger departures". Erie International Airport. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  70. ^ "Erie Bayfront Transportation System". The Port of Erie. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  71. ^ "Great American Waterways". Great Lakes Cruise Company. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  72. ^ "Great American Waterways 2007". American Canadian Caribbean Line Itinerary. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  73. ^ a b "Saint Vincent History". Saint Vincent Health System. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  74. ^ a b "Hamot Awards&Reconigtion". Hamot Medical Center. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  75. ^ "Erie Shriners Hospital". Shriners. Retrieved 2007-06-12. 
  76. ^ "2007 HAP Achievement Award Winners". HHAP. Retrieved 2007-06-12. 
  77. ^ "Detailed History of Hamot". Hamot Medical Center. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  78. ^ "The Regional Cancer Centers Home Page". Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  79. ^ "Erie Sewer Department". The City of Erie. Retrieved May 21, 2007. 
  80. ^ Miller, George (2007-03-24). "Erie adds Irish Sister City". Erie Times-News. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ERIE, a city, a port of entry, and the county-seat of Erie county, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., on Lake Erie, 148 m. by rail N. of Pittsburg and near the N.W. corner of the state. Pop. (1890) 40,634; (1900) 5 2 ,733, of whom 11,957 were foreign-born, including 5226 from Germany and 1468 from Ireland, and 26,797 were of foreign parentage (both parents foreign-born), including 13,316 of German parentage and 4203 of Irish parentage; (1906, estimate) 59993 Erie is served by the New York, Chicago & St Louis, the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern, the Erie & Pittsburg (Pennsylvania Company), the Philadelphia & Erie (Pennsylvania railway), and the Bessemer & Lake Erie railways, and by steamboat lines to many important lake ports. The city extends over an area of about 7 sq. m., which for the most part is quite level and is from 50 to 175 ft. above the lake. Erie has a fine harbour about 4 m. in length, more than 1 m. in width, and with an average depth of about 20 ft.; it is nearly enclosed by Presque Isle, a long narrow strip of land of about 3000racres from 300 ft. to 1 m. in width, and the national government has protected its entrance and deepened its channel by constructing two long breakwaters. Most of the streets of the city are 60 ft. wide - a few are zoo ft. - and nearly all intersect at right angles; they are paved with brick and asphalt, and many in the residential quarters are shaded with fine elms and maples. The city has four parks, in one of which is a soldiers' and sailors' monument of granite and bronze, and not far away, along the shore of lake and bay, are several attractive summer resorts. Among Erie's more prominent buildings are the United States government building, the city hall, the public library, and the county court house. The city's charitable institutions consist of two general hospitals, each of which has a training school for nurses; a municipal hospital, an orphan asylum, a home for the friendless, two old folks' homes, and a bureau of charities; here, also, on a bluff, within a large enclosure and overlooking both lake and city, is the state soldiers' and sailors' home, and near by is a monument erected to the memory of General Anthony Wayne, who died here on the 15th of December 1796.

Erie is the commercial centre of a large and rich grape-growing and agricultural district, has an extensive trade with the lake ports and by rail (chiefly in coal, iron ore, lumber and grain), and is an important manufacturing centre, among its products being iron, engines, boilers, brass castings, stoves, car heaters, flour, malt liquors, lumber, planing mill products, cooperage products, paper and wood pulp, cigars and other tobacco goods, gas meters, rubber goods, pipe organs, pianos and chemicals. In 1905 the city's factory products were valued at $19,911,567, the value of foundry and machine-shop products being $6,723,819, of flour and grist-mill products $1,444,450, and of malt liquors $88 2 ,493. The municipality owns and operates its water-works. On the site of Erie the French erected Fort Presque Isle in 1753, and about it founded a village of a few hundred inhabitants. George Washington, on behalf of the governor of Virginia, came in the same year to Fort Le Boeuf (on the site of the present Waterford), 20 m. distant, to protest against the French fortifying this section of country. The protest, however, was unheeded. The village was abandoned in or before 1758, owing probably to an epidemic of smallpox, and the fort was abandoned in 1759. It was occupied by the British in 1760, but on the 22nd of June 1763 this was one of the several forts captured by the Indians during the Conspiracy of Pontiac. In 1764 the British regained nominal control and retained it until 1785, when it passed into the possession of the United States. The place was laid out as a town in 1795; in 1800 it became the county-seat of the newlyerected county of Erie; it was incorporated as a borough in 1805, the charter of that year being revised in 1833; and in 1851 it was incorporated as a city. At Erie were built within less than six months most of the vessels with which Commodore Oliver H. Perry won his naval victory over the British off Put-in-Bay on the 10th of September 1813.

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Up to date as of February 01, 2010

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Erie is a city in Erie County, Pennsylvania, on the state's short stretch of Lake Erie shoreline.

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Simple English


Official name: City of Erie
Nickname: The Flagship City, The Gem City,
The Bay City
Country  United States
State  Pennsylvania
County File:Erie county Erie
Location Perry Square
 - coordinates 42°7′46.42″N 80°5′6.77″W / 42.1295611°N 80.0852139°W / 42.1295611; -80.0852139 extra parameters (dms format) in {{Coord}}
Highest point
 - elevation 733 ft (223 m)
Area 28.0 sq mi (73 km²)
 - land 22.0 sq mi (57 km²)
 - water 6.0 sq mi (16 km²)
 - metro 802 sq mi (2,077 km²)
Population 103,717 (2001)
 - urban 175,836
 - metro 280,843
Density 4,723.1 /sq mi (1,824 /km²)
Founded 1795-04-18
 - Incorporated 1851-04-14
Mayor Joseph Sinnott
Timezone EST (UTC-4)
 - summer (DST) EDT (UTC-5)
Area code 814

Erie is a city in the U.S. State of Pennsylvania. It is named after Lake Erie. 103,717 people live in Erie now.


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