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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.

VisitErie Lettie G Howard 016 July 28 2023 WEB

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.

Trec Center Fall 18 WEB

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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Corry Area Historical Society Museum

814-664-4749
945 Mead Avenue
Corry, PA 16407

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Erie Art Museum

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

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Erie Cemetery

814-459-2463
2116 Chestnut Street
Erie, PA 16502

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Erie County Historical Society & Museums

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

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Erie Maritime Museum/U.S. Brig Niagara

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

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Erie Yesterday

356 West 6th Street
Erie, PA 16507

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

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George Washington Monument

32 High Street
Waterford, PA 16441

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Goodell Gardens & Homestead

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

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Grape Discovery Center

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

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Hagen History Center Museum

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

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Lake Shore Railway Historical Society

814-725-1911
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

814-449-9012
150 East Front Street - Erie Maritime Museum
Erie, PA 16507

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National Comedy Center

716-484-2222
203 W. Second Street
Jamestown, NY 14701

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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

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

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The North Pier Light

814-833-7424
E Fisher Drive
Erie, PA 16507

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The Sturgeon House

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

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Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC)

814-833-7424
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

mazza spotlight

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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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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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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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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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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erie events spotlight

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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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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Two45 Waterfront Grille Now Open!

Savor an exquisite waterfront dining experience at Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel, where culinary excellence meets panoramic views. This signature restaurant invites you to indulge in a delectable journey with a menu showcasing locally sourced ingredients and global inspirations while overlooking the serene waters of Lake Erie.

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Poverty Knob Farmhouse Ales

Stop by Port Farms to check out the newest addition, Poverty Knob Farmhouse Ales. We offer hand-crafted beers and delicious sharable food year-round. The brewery is family and dog friendly with both indoor and outdoor spaces. We offer games, music and entertainment for all ages!

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the cove from the cove site

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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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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Farmhouse Retreat

Your “Home Away from Home” short term rental sleeps 8 and is in a great location close to Erie Sports Center, Splash Lagoon, shopping and restaurants, as well as Steelhead Fishing. This restored 1881 Farmhouse is located on 10 private acres. Reminisce about bygone days when life was slower and simpler. With a long driveway and large yard, kick back by the firepit, watch wildlife or enjoy a beautiful Erie sunset from the back patio.

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The Cork Partner Spotlight 400 x 300 1

The Cork 1794

Open for Lunch and Dinner. Get ready for an experience like no other. An atmosphere where uncommon style, comfort and service seamlessly meld. Where food and beverages are expertly crafted to be beautiful, satisfying and truly special. A place that makes every day feel like a reason to celebrate.

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Award-Winning Compassionate Care

Voted Erie’s Choice Best Hospital for eight years in a row

Just for fun!

Experience family summer fun on more than 100 great rides, slides and attractions at Waldameer!

Ante-up, Erie.

Find true action with slots, table games, sports book, and horse racing.

One stop convenience.

Fill your tank, pick up fresh food from local brands, and a six-pack to go in 40 regional locations.

Soak in the fun!

Experience 84 degrees all year at one of the top water parks in the country.

One stop convenience.

Fill your tank, pick up fresh food from local brands, and a six-pack to go in 40 regional locations.

Soak in the fun!

Experience 84 degrees all year at one of the top water parks in the country.

Award-Winning Compassionate Care

Voted Erie’s Choice Best Hospital for eight years in a row

Just for fun!

Experience family summer fun on more than 100 great rides, slides and attractions at Waldameer!

Ante-up, Erie.

Find true action with slots, table games, sports book, and horse racing.