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History & Heritage

brig niagara lateafternoon
The U.S. Brig Niagara

Erie County was formed in the 1800’s after Pennsylvania purchased the Erie Triangle from the U.S. Government in 1792 for approximately $151,000. Taken from part of Allegheny County, the new county was then named for Lake Erie and the Eriez Native American Indian tribe, which was destroyed by a combination of pestilence and the Seneca nation under Chief Cornplanter in the mid-seventeenth century. The first European settlers in the area were the French, who built Fort Presque Isle on the city’s site in 1753.

The French abandoned the fort to the English, who lost it in 1763 at the start of Pontiac’s Rebellion. When General “Mad” Anthony Wayne induced the native tribes to make peace in 1794, the area was opened to settlement. The city was laid out in 1795 and became a port in 1801. In 1813, in what is often referred to as Erie’s proudest historical moment, Commodore Oliver Perry defeated the British in the Battle of Lake Erie.

Historical High Points

  • Erie Maritime Museum/U.S. Brig Niagara Historical artifacts, exhibits and interactive hands-on displays illustrating the War of 1812 and Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s victory over the British during the Battle of Lake Erie. 
  • Hagen History Center Museum on historic Millionaire’s Row (West 6th Street).  The History Center is home to the Watson-Curtze Mansion, the Carriage House and the King-Mertens Archive Building. Take a virtual tour of the Hagen History Center. NEW! Learn about the history of Griswold Cast Iron (watch video). Visit the mansion’s kitchen display on the first floor to see a small portion of their extensive collection.
  • Battles Estate, (open by appointment only) is comprised of The Yellow House and The White House historic farmhouses in Girard PA. Take a virtual tour of the Charlotte Battles Garden!
  • NEW! Erie African-American Heritage Trail - A Trail of Shared Heritage. A Shared Heritage invites you to discover key people, places, and events associated with the history of African Americans in Erie County, Pennsylvania. 
  • George Washington in a British uniform, Waterford, PA. 
  • Goodell Gardens & Homestead - a non-profit botanical garden and arboretum located in Edinboro, Pennsylvania. The purpose of Goodell Gardens & Homestead is to create an education-oriented botanical garden and arboretum on the 78-acre Goodell family farm by emulating the Goodell family passion for gardening and horticulture.
  • Fort LeBoeuf Historical Society/Judson House includes a model of the original fort, numerous exhibits on American Indians and the French and British fur trade. 
  • Covered Bridges Harrington Bridge, Brotherton’s Crossing (mid 1800’s)

Plus! Erie Art MuseumexpERIEnce Children’s Museum, Firefighters Historical Museum, Grape Discovery Center, Land Lighthouse and various historical societies, memorials/tributes and historical markers.

Historical Society campus
Erie County Historical Society Campus

Walking & Driving Tours

Walking tours can also be found on the free 'Hello Erie' app! 

  • Gems of The City, a walking tour of historic (lower) Downtown Erie (Dickson House, Hamot House, Captain John Richard’s House, St. Patrick’s Church and more). 
  • West Bayfront Walking Tour which includes the Bicentennial Tower, Dobbins Landing, West Canal Basin and more.  
  • Erie Food Tours - Foodies! Eat your way through downtown Erie on the Erie Food Tour which includes stops and tastings and a bite of history at some of Erie’s most popular restaurants. 
  • NEW! Erie African -American Heritage TrailA new African American Heritage Trail will give people more understanding about Erie's black history: A Trail of Shared Heritage. A Shared Heritage invites you to discover key people, places, and events associated with the history of African Americans in Erie County, Pennsylvania, and learn how they contribute to the economic, political, and cultural broader story of our region. Brochure and driving tour available: sharedheritage.org

Erie Mural Arts Tour-New Murals Added!

Take a self-guided tour of Erie's Mural Arts! Explore over 80 murals located throughout Erie County. Explore by yourself or with family and friends.  Make it an adventure in the pursuit of great art! Be inspired by the creativity of our local muralists and residents.  Most of the murals are located outside, however, there are a few located inside buildings (specifics can be found in the mural descriptions).  The majority of murals are not artificially lit, therefore we recommend viewing them during daylight hours.

 Download the Erie County Mural List

Download the Mural Arts Tour Map

Tower w Mural v2
One of Erie's newest murals located on the upper deck of the Bicentennial Tower at the foot of State Street.
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Battles Museum of Rural Life (open by appointment only)

814-454-1813
436 Walnut Street
Girard, PA 16417

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Brig. Gen. Strong Vincent Statue

In front of Blasco Library/160 East Front Street
Erie, PA 16507

ErieArtMuseum

Erie Art Museum

814-459-5477
20 East 5th Street
Erie, PA 16507

Fall At the Manse2

Erie County Historical Society & Museums

814-454-1813
356 West 6th Street
Erie , PA 16507

flagship niagara

Erie Maritime Museum/U.S. Brig Niagara

814-452-2744
150 East Front Street
Erie, PA 16507

erie yesterday

Erie Yesterday

356 West 6th Street
Erie, PA 16507

Childrens Museum

expERIEnce Children's Museum

814-453-3743
420 French Street
Erie, PA 16507

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Firefighters Historical Museum

814-456-5969
428 Chestnut Street
Erie, PA 16507

IMG 5432 1

Goodell Gardens & Homestead

814-734-6699
221 Waterford Street
Edinboro, PA 16412

banner Explore

Grape Discovery Center

716-326-2003
8305 West Main Road
Westfield, NY 14787

Fall At the Manse

Hagen History Center Museum

814-454-1813
356 West 6th Street
Erie, PA 16501

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Lake Shore Railway Museum

814-725-1911
31 Wall Street
North East, PA 16428

220px Erie Land Light August 2013 2

Land Lighthouse

1200 Lighthouse Street
Erie, PA 16507

National Comedy Center v2

National Comedy Club

716-484-222
203 W. Second Street
Jamestown, NY 14701

Perry Statue

Oliver Hazard Perry Statue/Monument

6th Street
Erie, PA 16501

Visiterie

Presque Isle Lighthouse

814-833-3604
Presque Isle State Park, east of Beach 6
Erie, PA 16505

PI north pier light

The North Pier Light

814-833-7424
Presque Isle State Park
Erie, PA 16505

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The Sturgeon House

814-474-5855
4302 Avonia Road
Fairview, PA 16415

Partner Spotlight

millcreek mall

Millcreek Mall

A destination for shopping, dining and entertainment.
Experience it all!

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spotlight the cork

The Cork 1794

The Cork 1794 is the perfect spot for a date night or special occasion!

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the erie port

Port of Erie!

Located on the southeast shore of Lake Erie, the Port of Erie has been promoting industrial, commercial, and recreational opportunities on the waters of Lake Erie since 1959.

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u pick 6 spotlight

U Pick 6 Craft Beer Pubs & Restaurants

Erie’s own local craft beer pubs are a must-visit! With 4 great locations, just pick one that’s convenient for you! A casual, family friendly dining experience with something for everyone! To view our menu, check out what’s on tap, or get to directions to our pubs, learn more now!”

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spotlight bayfront grille

Igloo Dining at the Bayfront Grille!

You can now call in to reserve Igloo Dining at the Bayfront Grille!❄ Igloo Dining will begin November 15th and we will be offering time slots during lunch and dinner. The Igloos are perfect for any special day including Anniversaries, Birthdays, Honeymoons, and so much more. You can't get this opportunity anywhere else in Erie, PA and we are ecstatic for you to experience it!

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Creation Station

Creation Station

The Creation Station is an unique arts and crafts studio where kids can create and have fun!
Book your birthday party, register for a ladies night out or stop in during open Craft days and choose a project from the project board.

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Spotlight Mazza Vinyards

Mazza Vineyards and the South Shore Wine Company

Enjoy a scenic ride to North East and stop into family owned Mazza Vineyards and the historic South Shore Wine Company to sip and savor the local flavor.

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spotlight Erei Airport

New Direct Daily Flights to Washington, DC

Erie International Airport now offers two direct daily flights to and from Washington Dulles International Airport with connecting flights to the east coast, west coast and international destinations. Book your flight today!

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spotlgiht the cove

The Cove Bay-Side Restaurant & Tavern

Join us today! The Cove Bay-Side Restaurant & Tavern is sure to give you an unforgettable and care-free dining experience. Enjoy a nautical atmosphere with a beautiful view of Presque Isle Bay.

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erie reginal chambers

Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership

The Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership is leading Erie's economic evolution. We're the heart of the business community to champion a vibrant and sustainable economy. Your business is our business. Become a member and increase your brand awareness, advocate for important business issues, and gain access to people, education, and information integral to elevating your team's success.

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