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History & Heritage

History of Erie

Erie County was formed 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. 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. At the Battle’s climax, Perry raised his battle flag emblazoned with the words “Don’t Give Up the Ship” and ordered “close action”, severing the British line and leading to the enemy’s surrender.

Erie Lighthouses

Erie’s three lighthouses are picture-perfect spots for exploring Erie’s maritime history at your own pace. 

Presque Isle Lighthouse

Completed in 1873, the lighthouse previously housed lighthouse keepers and their families as well as state park managers before it opened to the public in 2015. The lighthouse is still a working aid to navigation. Public and group tours are available. 

Memorial Day to Labor Day: Open Daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
April and October - Open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Closed November through March

North Pier Light

The North Pier Light is sometimes referred to as a lighthouse but technically it is a "light structure”. The black and white, 35-foot-tall tower topped by a light was established at its present location in the 1940s and continues to serve as an active aid to navigation.

The North Pier Light is accessible to the public year-round during regular Presque Isle State Park hours of 5 a.m. to sunset. (Pictured, photo by 814 Photo)

Erie Land Lighthouse

The present lighthouse was built in 1867, and was the first commissioned lighthouse along the Great Lakes. The former keeper's house is separate, and serves as a private residence. The light at the top of the tower functions but is not an active aid to navigation. Public and group tours are available.

April - May: Open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
June - September: Open Fridays through Mondays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed October through March
Grounds are open from dawn to dusk year-round.

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Erie Maritime Museum and Tall Ships

The Erie Maritime Museum tells the story of the maritime history and heritage of the Greater Erie region, the War of 1812 narrative, civilian activity and innovation, military service, and Pennsylvania’s contributions to the maritime industry and stewardship of the Great Lakes. Its centerpiece exhibit is the U.S. Brig Niagara, a floating maritime museum and active sailing vessel docked behind the museum. The schooner Lettie G Howard also sails out of Erie, providing additional maritime programs and experiences for visitors. 

Take a video tour with Andy's Awesome Adventures

History and Heritage Hagen

Frank Lloyd Wright's San Francisco Office

Formerly known as the Erie County Historical Society, the Hagen History Center Campus showcases the history of Erie County over the past 200 years in addition to special exhibits, including Frank Lloyd Wright’s original San Francisco Office. The museum features exhibit buildings, archival and curatorial collections, educational classrooms and the Battles Estates located in nearby Girard, PA.

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The Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC)

TREC is an educational center dedicated to teaching visitors about the unique 3,200 acres of Presque Isle, the history of how the peninsula took shape and the many different forms of life that inhabit the peninsula. Called the “gateway to Presque Isle”, TREC is a free facility that features two floors of interactive exhibits, Presque Isle Gallery and Gifts, an orientation movie and a glass-enclosed observation tower with panoramic views of Lake Erie. TREC also serves as a center for research -- contributing to conservation efforts and promoting environmental awareness, helping to preserve the unparalleled beauty of Presque Isle. TREC is open year-round. 

Dive in to Erie history

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9-11 Memorial

160 East Front Street
Erie, PA 16507

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Brig. Gen. Strong Vincent Statue

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

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Civil War Memorial

45 Main Street
Girard , PA 16417

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Erie Art Museum

20 East 5th Street
Erie, PA 16507

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Erie Cemetery Association (Cemetery Walks & Tours)

2116 Chestnut Street
Erie, PA 16502

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Erie County Historical Society & Museums

356 West 6th Street
Erie , PA 16507

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Erie County Vietnam Veterans Memorial

2614 Glenwood Park Ave
Erie, PA 16508

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Erie Maritime Museum/U.S. Brig Niagara

150 East Front Street
Erie, PA 16507

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Erie Yesterday

356 West 6th Street
Erie, PA 16507

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expERIEnce Children's Museum

420 French Street
Erie, PA 16507

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Firefighters Historical Museum

428 Chestnut Street
Erie, PA 16507

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George Washington Monument

32 High Street
Waterford, PA 16441

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Goodell Gardens & Homestead

221 Waterford Street
Edinboro, PA 16412

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Grape Discovery Center

8305 West Main Road
Westfield, NY 14787

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Hagen History Center Museum

356 West 6th Street
Erie, PA 16501

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Lake Shore Railway

Lake Shore Railway Historical Society

31 Wall Street
North East, PA 16428

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Land Lighthouse

1200 Lighthouse Street
Erie, PA 16507

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Lettie G. Howard

150 East Front Street - Erie Maritime Museum
Erie, PA 16507

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National Comedy Center

203 W. Second Street
Jamestown, NY 14701

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Operation Desert Storm Memorial

1 High Street
Waterford, PA 16441

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Perry Monument

On the bay side of Presque Isle that overlooks Misery Bay
Erie, PA 16507

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Presque Isle Lighthouse

Presque Isle State Park, east of Beach 6
Erie, PA 16505

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The North Pier Light

E Fisher Drive
Erie, PA 16507

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The Sturgeon House

4302 Avonia Road
Fairview, PA 16415

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Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC)

301 Peninsula Drive
Erie, PA 16505

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Union City World War I Memorial

At the intersection of 1st Ave & W High Street
Union City, PA 16438

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Partner Spotlight

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Mazza Vineyards and the South Shore Wine Company

The Mazza family welcomes you to explore 3 unique locations in Lake Erie Wine Country. Sip and savor award-winning wines at Mazza Vineyards and the historic South Shore Wine Company, both located in North East, PA, and be sure to visit their combination winery, distillery and brewery, Mazza Chautauqua Cellars/Five & 20 Spirits and Brewing, in nearby Westfield, NY.

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The Cove Bay-Side Restaurant & Tavern

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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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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Outdoor Dining at the Bayfront Grille

The Bayfront Grille Restaurant at the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel is a relaxed hotel eatery offering American fare all day in a scenic setting with a patio & bay views. Experience a fresh take on casual dining, from breakfast to dinner, with creative menu selections and regional cuisine in our waterfront restaurant. Please check Open Table for reservations or contact the restaurant directly at 814-454-2005.

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Winter at Port Farms

Whether you’re searching for the perfect Christmas tree or a place to experience a magical horse-drawn sleigh ride, plan a trip to Port Farms! Join us at Santa’s Workshop every weekend for visits with Santa, live music, crafts, cookie decorating, and holiday food & drinks! We also offer cut-your-own trees, pre-cut trees, freshly made wreaths, holiday décor, and other great gifts throughout the week. Activities are a la carte. Plan an enchanting Christmas experience at Port Farms today! Plus, check out our new brewery, Poverty Knob Farmhouse Ales!

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Erie Events

Erie Events manages a four facility entertainment complex that includes the Warner Theatre, Erie Insurance Arena, Bayfront Convention Center and UPMC Park. These four venues host a variety of events that include world-class entertainment, family friendly shows and sporting events.

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AHN Saint Vincent- Award-Winning Medical Care

AHN Saint Vincent has been here from the beginning, providing award-winning inpatient and outpatient medical care. Need express care? We’ve conveniently placed AHN facilities on the west and east side of Erie, just walk-in! AHN Saint Vincent is not only recognized locally (Erie’s Choice- Best Hospital) but nation-wide, so you can expect high-quality care, greater safety, and better results.

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Country Fair

We proudly opened our doors in Erie in 1965. A lot has changed between now and then, but our mission remains the same – offer fresh food, from our favorite local brands, at a convenient location. In one stop, you can fill up your gas tank and grab breakfast, lunch, groceries and a bottle of wine or a 6-pack to go. We look forward to serving you and your family during your trip to Erie!

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Dobbins Landing

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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Millcreek Mall

The Millcreek Mall features more than 160 stores, restaurants, and fun for the whole family on Upper Peach Street, Erie’s most popular shopping district! Shopping in Erie means no sales tax on clothing or shoes. Choose from a variety of hotels located on the Mall property and just minutes away at the intersection of Peach Street and Interstate 90.

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UPMC Hamot - See What Makes Us Different

UPMC Hamot is a 458-bed hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania, offering a full complement of inpatient and outpatient services. The hospital serves as a regional referral hub and is the only accredited trauma center in the region.

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814 Photo

Showcasing the incredible year round beauty of the City of Erie and its surrounding areas, commonly referred to as its area code "the 814". Explore some of Erie County's most breathtaking landscape photography.

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ASCEND Erie - Climbing | Fitness | Yoga

NOW OPEN! ASCEND fosters a community-centered climbing, fitness, and yoga experience by serving individuals and groups of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. Located in Downtown Erie, ASCEND welcomes Erie visitors to stop in and give climbing a try!

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Fall Events at Peek'n Peak

Join us at Peek'n Peak Resort for a Fall adventure you won't want to miss! From the 35th Annual Fall Fest on October 14-15 and 21-22 to the epic German Beer Fest known as the Wurst Party Ever on November 4 and the hilarious Medieval Feast Dinner Theater on November 10-12 & 17-19, there's something for everyone! Check out our full event schedule and secure your tickets now at

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