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History & Heritage

History of Erie

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. 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.

HIstory and Heritage Niagara

Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara

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.

Take a video tour to learn more about the exhibits inside the Erie Maritime Museum.

Watch video

History and Heritage Hagen

Hagen History Center Campus

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.

History and Heritage Lighthouse

Erie Lighthouses

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

Presque Isle Lighthouse
April to September - Open Daily 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. 
October - Open Thursday through Monday, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Closed November to mid-April

Erie Land Lighthouse
Open Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Grounds open dawn to dusk
Closed September to April

North Pier Light
Grounds accessible during park house
Tower is not open to the public

Ridge Center provided by TREC

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. 

Learn more about TREC from a park naturalist by watching the following video tour. 

Watch video 

Dive in to Erie history

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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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Erie Art Museum

20 East 5th Street
Erie, PA 16507

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Erie County Historical Society & Museums

356 West 6th Street
Erie , PA 16507

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Erie Maritime Museum/U.S. Brig Niagara

150 East Front Street
Erie, PA 16507

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erie yesterday

Erie Yesterday

356 West 6th Street
Erie, PA 16507

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ECM Building

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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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 Campusphoto3

Hagen History Center Museum

356 West 6th Street
Erie, PA 16501

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Lake Shore Railway Museum

31 Wall Street
North East, PA 16428

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Land Lighthouse

1200 Lighthouse Street
Erie, PA 16507

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National Comedy Center v2

National Comedy Center

203 W. Second Street
Jamestown, NY 14701

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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

Presque Isle State Park
Erie, PA 16505

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The Sturgeon House

4302 Avonia Road
Fairview, PA 16415

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Ridge Center 3

Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC)

301 Peninsula Drive
Erie, PA 16505

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Partner Spotlight


UPMC Hamot - See What Makes Us Different

UPMC Hamot is a 423-bed hospital in Erie, PA, offering a full complement of inpatient and outpatient services, and serves as a regional referral hub and Level II Trauma Center.

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millcreek mall

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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When you have an opportunity to fly, give Erie a try - support your hometown airport!

Direct Daily Flights to Charlotte and Chicago.
Erie International Airport is serviced by American Airlines and United Airlines with daily flights to Charlotte and Chicago with connections across the country and around the world. Book your flight today at or

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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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dobbins landing

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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bayfront grille

Outdoor Dining at the Bayfront Grille

The Bayfront Grille Restaurant at the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel is excited to announce that our Bayside Patio is open for Lunch and Dinner. Please check Open Table for reservations or contact the restaurant directly at 814-454-2005.

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PortFarms SpotlightAd NovDec 2

Christmas at Port Farms

Enjoy Santa’s Workshop every weekend for visits with Santa, live music, crafts, cookie decorating, and holiday food & drinks! They also offer cut-your-own trees, pre-cut trees, freshly made wreaths, holiday décor, and other great gifts throughout the week. The Port Farms Christmas season is November 25th - December 23rd and there is no admission fee. Plan an enchanting Christmas experience at Port Farms today! Visit for more info!

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Mazza Vineyards and the South Shore Wine Company

Local wine is great for holiday entertaining, plus it makes a great gift! Stop by to try (and pick up) award-winning wines at Mazza Vineyards and the historic South Shore Wine Company, both located in North East, PA.

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the cork

The Cork 1794

The Cork 1794 is the perfect spot for a date night or special occasion! Indoor and outside seating available with amazing food.

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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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