Archives for Preservation Month

Wayne Students Inspire Pride in Community

Wayne School’s Shapes and Stories of the City is a study of East Avenue and its surrounding neighborhoods that explores the importance of place. The study, which was led by local artist Tom Ferraro and is in partnership with Preservation Erie and language artist Lora Zill, culminates in a student exhibition during National Historic Preservation Month. As part of Gallery Night on Friday, May 31 from 7 pm to 10 pm the public is welcome to visit LifeWorks Erie (406 Peach Street) for a one-night showing of Shapes and Stories of the City.

The built environment in which Wayne students live and play contains all the elements of design – line, color, light, shapes, space, movement, texture, harmony, rhythm, balance and form. Under the guidance of Mr. Ferraro, students focused on shapes of the city and developed a basic understanding of the essential elements of architectural and urban design and then apply that appreciation and knowledge to identify and visually illustrate the innumerable shapes that permeate their neighborhoods.

Students also explored stories of the city. Neighborhoods and buildings have personalities, characters, and a physical appearance, just like people. They all interconnect. Students intuitively understand the structure and function of story, and they became the explorers, tellers, interpreters, visualizers, describers, of the stories of their neighborhoods as told through architecture, buildings and landmarks.

Twenty to twenty-five students spanning grades 5-8 at Wayne School participated in the Shapes and Stories of the City project, which was funded by a grant through The Partnership for Erie’s Public Schools. The Partnership for Erie’s Public Schools is a newly formed local education foundation supporting Erie’s public schools.

Shapes and Stories of the City is in partnership with Preservation Erie (PE, formerly the Erie Center for Design and Preservation). PE promotes the value of historic preservation and good urban design as key elements of a vision of sustainable development that can improve the quality of life in the region.

Walking Tour of West 21st Street Historic District

In celebration of National Historic Preservation Month, on Saturday, May 19, from 10 am-Noon, the Erie Center for Design and Preservation (ECDP) will conduct a walking tour of one of Erie’s great National Historic Districts.

Established in 1990, the West 21st Street National Historic District (which lies between Peach and Myrtle Streets) features more than 30 buildings of a wide range of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century architectural styles, including Romanesque, Italianate, and Colonial Revival.

Participants in the tour will have an opportunity to tour the interiors of several homes along the way. This area of Erie, part of the South Erie district known as Federal Hill in the early nineteenth century, once housed some of the city’s most prominent businessmen, including Heman Janes, co-founder of Standard Oil.

In this event, the ECDP will not only showcase one of Erie’s grandest historic districts, but also hopes to reinforce the importance of retaining the character and integrity of all urban neighborhoods in the city. A number of buildings in the West 21st Street neighborhood have either been demolished or are threatened, and those properties will be pointed out on the tour as well.

Chris Magoc, chair of the Mercyhurst University History Department and President of the ECDP, says that “the tour is intended to highlight the critical importance of good planning and citizen vigilance in preserving those features of both architecture and the urban landscape that makes all neighborhoods special.”

Participants in the tour will gather at 10 AM in the St. John’s Lutheran Church, 2216 Peach Street, where Rick Liebel, an ECDP Board member and resident of the district, will offer a brief talk on the history of the district before the tour begins. Because the tour will include home interiors, the number of participants will be limited to 15. No interior photography will be allowed, but participants are encouraged to bring cameras and to take exterior shots of the district.

Those who are interested in this free walking celebration of Erie’s historic urban landscape need to RSVP by calling 824-2075, emailing [email protected], or indicating their interest on the ECDP Facebook page.

This link offers an excellent historical overview of the district:

Updating the Inventory of Erie’s Historic properties

Steve Bukowski, a senior Public History major at Mercyhurst University, is nearing the end of a months-long project to update the city of Erie’s survey of historic properties. Steve has now photographed and recorded data on well over 400 properties, with more to come in the last few weeks of the project.

Executed in fulfillment of Bukowski’s required internship and senior project in public history, the effort also will include an extensive narrative of Erie history as it is reflected in the city’s extant built environment—essentially what Erie’s built landscape tells an observer about the city’s history.

Look for the completed inventory and the historical narrative sometime by the middle of May—in time to help the Erie Center for Design and Preservation celebrate National Historic Preservation Month.

In the meantime, here is a link to a 3-minute video on the project, courtesy of Chris Norris, the Mercyhurst University Web master:

May 20th Preservation Month at TREC

The board of the Erie Center for Design & Preservation will honor Preservation Month by reviewing buildings in Erie County that have been recently demolished, successfully preserved and those that face threats today.  The evening will include the most recent (good) news about the Villa Chapel and a short animation by the local company, MoreFrames. Hosted by the ErieCDP, this 90-minute event is free and open to the public.   The Ridge Center at 301 Peninsula Drive Erie, PA 16505-2042 will open at 6:30; parking is available adjacent to the entrance.

Read more.