Archives for Erie County Historical Society

Preservation Erie and the Erie County Historical Society Collaborate to Present ECGRA Mission Main Street Workshop

Event will Feature Experts from the Pennsylvania Historical and
Museum Commission and Preservation Pennsylvania

Preservation Erie and the Erie County Historical Society are collaborating to present an Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority Mission Main Street workshop. The event will take place June 20, 2014, from 9 a.m. to3 p.m. at the Jefferson Educational Society, 3207 State Street, Erie, Pa. Event updates and RSVP details are available under the Events tab on Preservation Erie’s website,

Trainings will address topics such as: the economic and cultural value of historic preservation; ordinances, tax credits, grants, and other tools for supporting preservation programs; fostering historic preservation in your neighborhood; Erie’s demolition delay ordinance and historic overlay district ordinance; and the importance of performing a historic resource inventory.

ECGRA Executive Director Perry Wood said, “There was a time when main streets were the hub of every American community. Although those corridors no longer serve that purpose, they hold rich history and vast opportunities for community development. ECGRA is committed to helping our municipalities protect their unique assets while evolving to meet contemporary needs.”

Regional municipal and neighborhood leaders, architects and planners, and economic development and tourism specialists are encouraged to attend the community preservation training. Key speakers will include Bureau for Historic Preservation Community Preservation Coordinator Bill Callahan and Archeological Reviewer Kira Heinrich, and Preservation Pennsylvania Field Representative Erin Hammerstadt.

The Bureau for Historic Preservation is part of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), the Commonwealth’s official history agency. The bureau administers the state’s historic preservation program and is responsible for identifying and protecting the architectural and archaeological resources of Pennsylvania by working with individuals, communities, local governments, state and federal agencies to educate Pennsylvanians about our heritage and its value. The event is part of the Cultural Resource Essentials Focus workshop series that PHMC is offering regionally.

Preservation Pennsylvania is the Commonwealth’s only statewide, private nonprofit, membership organization dedicated to the protection of historically and architecturally significant properties. The organization assists in protecting and utilizing historic resources Pennsylvania communities want to preserve for the future.

A grantmaker, ECGRA’s mission is to galvanize the nonprofit sector toward economic and community development and to elevate Erie County, Pa. Since February 2008, ECGRA has invested more than $28 million in Erie County thanks to the innovative leadership of members of the ECGRA Board of Directors and staff, and Erie County Council. ECGRA’s Mission Main Street Grants are open annually for up to $15,000 per eligible municipalities and nonprofit organizations seeking to complete revitalization projects along historic commercial corridors, e.g., overhauled streetscapes, revamped landscapes and restored façades. Full Mission Main Street Grants guidelines are available at

Self-guided walking tour of historic South Shore Drive

The Erie County Historical Society invites you to join them May 15 for a self-guided tour through 10 beautiful homes in  the historic Frontier  Neighborhood, including South Shore Drive. Homes will  be open from 6-9pm and, for most part, are private residences, so there will be  limitations on visitation.

Tickets are $10 per person. Reservations must be made for this event. Call 454-1813×24

Chat with us online!

Join members of the Preservation Erie and Erie County Historical Society on Dec. 18 for a live online discussion about historic preservation. The chat starts at noon at

Preservation Erie and Erie County Historical Society Announce Joint Effort

The Erie County Historical Society and Preservation Erie would like to commend Gannon University for their recent investment in one of Erie’s landmark mansions, the George Black House. Gannon’s investment in the home shows the school’s continued commitment towards its historic downtown location, as well as historic preservation.

The investment is in sharp contrast to the recent demolition of 329 West 6th Street. Both the ECHS and Preservation Erie believe that there could have been a better approach to the adaptive re-use of the property that would have balanced individual property rights with the best interests of the community.

The Erie County Historical Society and Preservation Erie believe that Erie’s continued loss of properties such as 329 West 6th adversely affect Erie’s neighborhoods, and the overall health of our community. Countless cities and municipalities across the country have integrated historic preservation principles into their economic development strategies with positive results. In fact, recent studies in Pennsylvania show quantitative increases in property values for home located within historic districts. One example, from a Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission study, shows house prices in Pittsburgh’s Mexican War Street Historic District appreciated at an annual rate of 4 percentage points higher than the average in surrounding Pittsburgh neighborhoods, and in the year immediately following the District’s expansion in 2008, house prices increased by 15 percent.

Over the next year, the ECHS and Preservation Erie will be working on a joint strategy to further educate the public about the values of historic preservation, as well as further develop the necessary plan to turn dialogue into action.

More about the About the George Black House:
Built in 1908, this former TKE fraternity house is constructed in the Colonial Revival style. It is made out of stucco and has the keystone symbol above the windows.  This structure once housed George I. Black and his wife Laura.  Black was the President of the Walker Foundry Company. Gannon University purchased the property from the TKE fraternity in 2013.