North Park Row, Erie, PA
Built on the site of the demolished Park Opera House on North Park Row in 1939, Erie’s Greyhound Bus Terminal was designed by W. A. Arrasmith of Louisville, Kentucky, a nationally known transportation architect responsible for dozens of Greyhound facilities in nearby states. Greyhound believed having similar looks to their stations, would better establish their name in people’s memories. Many of their stations from the 1930s and 1940s were designed by this architectural firm, including the Washington, D. C. station of 1939. In Erie, Arrasmith used a curved corner, and ribbon windows to evoke images of speed and sleekness. The windows above the entry canopy have an arched end. The concrete and aluminum canopy once sheltering the bus bays remains on the west elevation.
The Erie Greyhound Bus Terminal operated from this site from 1939 to 1986.
The building is Erie’s only pure example of the Art Moderne style and is a unique representation of Arrasmith’s work, as the Erie terminal is one of the smallest, if not the smallest, bus stations he designed. The glazed exterior surface, the sleek curvi-linear floor plan, the liberal use of glass brick and aluminum, make this Moderne building take on a streamlined, machine-like appearance expressive of America’s newfound fascination with high-speed highway transportation.
The interior of the terminal once included a twenty-three-seat lunch counter that was separated from the foyer by a curved wall. The waiting room featured self-service luggage lockers, ticket windows, and a baggage room. The waiting room included wooden benches that could seat up to sixty people, and there were two doorways that led to the bus concourses. A second level in the terminal contained restrooms and lounges that overlooked the restaurant, as well as a driver’s room and an office situated above the kitchen. Today, this second level serves as storage for the current tenant, which is a bar and nightclub.
Because the building was used as the Greyhound Bus Terminal for the City of Erie and surrounding communities for nearly 50 years, it is an incredibly recognized structure.
Since the bus station closed in 1986, the building has seen several uses, including as a childcare center and bar/nightclub. When it was purchased by the Erie Downtown Development Corporation in 2018, the building tenant was Resolution Nightclub (http://resolutionnightclub.com/) and Coconut Joe’s Outdoor Bar (http://cjoes.com/).
Demolition of the Greyhound Bus Terminal is proposed by the Erie Downtown Development Corporation as part of the rehabilitation of the west Perry Square facing buildings (North Park Row) located in the National Register listed West Park Place Historic District. A rendering of the proposed arcade building which will infill the site of the bus terminal and an overview of the proposed project can be found at https://talkerie.com/2019/12/12/erie-downtown-development-corporation-and-flagship-opportunity-zone-development-company-represent-city-of-erie-as-leading-opportunity-zone-organizations-in-new-national-list/