History & Things To Admire About My Town Of Erie, Pennsylvania
There is a lot to admire about my home town of Erie, Pennsylvania that isn’t prevalent in today’s popular culture. Many people begin with the quality of life. They say that Erie is big enough to offer the amenities of much larger cities, combined with the manageable size and friendliness of a small town. Walking through Erie’s’ 6th Street, one can experience an urban renaissance that blends the past with the present. The well-maintained homes highlight the turn of the century architecture that reminds us how far it was we came. Although, the crown jewel of the city is perhaps its rapidly developing waterfront that’s home most recognizable architectural accomplishment that is the Bayfront Convention Center.
Located on Lake Erie, Erie has a rich maritime history that dates back to the War of 1812. Its proximity to Lake Erie grounds the community with vast amounts of economic and cultural prosperity. However, Erie Pennsylvania has been given a negative connotation in popular culture through its debut on Netflix’s “Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist”. The image the documentary portrays is not grounded in reality but through the lens of criminal activity. The documentary overlooks Erie’s cultural history and focuses on the crime ridden slums of the inner city. Although lost in history, the war of 1812 has significant presence within my home town of Erie, Pennsylvania. This is seen as the defining event that binds the residents together.
Within the Central Business District of the city of Erie, there is a quote painted on a side of a building that states, “Don’t Give Up the Ship”. This quote is a reminder of Erie’s contribution to the founding of the United States. The War of 1812 was a notable battle that had significant impacts on our young countries future and was seen as the “Second War of Independence”. At the beginning of the War of 1812, the British Naval fleet was the dominant power that controlled the Great Lakes and the prefrail land around it. It was with the relentless efforts of commanding officer, Oliver Hazard Perry, and his fleet that the United States was able to defeat the British Naval Army.
Oliver Hazard Perry wrote the words “Don’t Give Up the Ship” on his flag to remind his crew what it was they were fighting for. This sign holds significant weight in the city’s history. Various monuments along the bay have been erected as constant reminders of what had happened. However, the sign can be seen as a metaphor for Erie’s, and our nation’s, resilience for independence. The words on the flag became grounded in the local community’s popular culture. This paradigm is woven within the modern fabric of the city’s existence.
The fundamental building blocks of the City of Erie can be seen along 6th Street. The City of Erie was laid out in a grid plan by Andrew Allicott in 1795, who was also responsible for laying out Washington D.C. The numbered streets run parallel to the Lake Erie while the intersecting streets are named after various trees such as Sassafras, Myrtle Chestnut, ect. During the 19th century, the West 6TH Street District functioned as Erie’s “Millionaires Row”, containing a variety of grandiose residential buildings, some designed by the area’s leading architects. This was due to the growth of the manufacturing economy in the latter half of the nineteenth century. This area archives the tastes and customs of the nineteenth century elites as well as the evolving face of architecture. The large majority of the buildings along 6th Street have a Victorian or Post-Victorian flavor in disposition. Brick and wood are by far the two most prevalent materials used within these building.
The architectural styles include Greek Revival, Federal, Prairie, and California Bungalow, Tudor Revival, Victorian Electric, and Italianate just to name a few. The 6th Street District was an imperative evolutionary step the trajectory of Erie’s cultural identity. But where does my house fit into all this? Compared to its orientation to Erie Pennsylvania, my hometown of Fairview is located ten minutes east of the city. Fairview is seen as a more socioeconomically developed area compared to its peripheral counties. The majority of the homes are large two-to-three story suburban homes complete with several archer yards. My house, specifically, was built in 2007 and mirrors a suburban design. Its located about a quarter of a mile off a main road and extends into the woods. This creates a private atmosphere that secludes my family from busy suburban life.
More recently, the crowning jewel that is the Bayfront Convention Center was erected in 2007 and mirrors the language of the surrounding environment. As stated by Barton Malow, the director of design, the city “needed an iconic convention center to rejuvenate it.” Its proximity to the bay allowed the designers to take advantage of a maritime theme. The facility resembles a massive ship with four distinctive structural masts extending vertically. The roof also is sloped mirroring a haul of a large ship. Various cultural events are held within the confines of the complex that satisfy the need of the community. Along with the Bayfront Convention Center, two hotels were constructed to satisfy the growing tourism culture.
The city of Erie’s proximality to Lake Erie makes it a popular tourist destination. Located between Cleveland and Buffalo, Erie provides a coastal escape. Presque Isle State Park is a peninsula that attracts a plethora of people. Various recreational activities include swimming, boating, fishing and hiking are encouraged. The Beaches and the annual motorcycle event “Roar on The Shore” are perhaps the two most lucrative activities for the community. The city of Erie generates millions of dollars from these two activities alone. The “Roar on the Shore Motorcycle Rally” itself draws in nearly 170,000 people in a span of two weeks. This creates revenue for local hotels and restaurants contributing to the economic prosperity of the area. However beneficial this event is to the community; the locals don’t like having large amounts of motorcycles in one area. This presents a predigest views towards certain group of people and their lifestyle.
The City of Erie, Pennsylvania is a relatively small city that is rarely known for anything other than its affiliation with the lake. However, a recent documentary has shined a spotlight associating the city with criminal activity. Netflix’ original series “Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist” has depicted the City of Erie with a negative connotation ignoring the vast cultural history of the area. Because of the documentaries release in 2018, technological advancements such as drones have made it possible to take areal views showcasing vast landscapes. However, they only portray the low socioeconomic areas where the crimes occurred rendering the City unappealing. The film is centered around finding out who was responsible for the gruesome public execution of Brian Wells, a pizza delivery man who burglarized a local PNC Bank with a bomb strapped around his neck. This unusual bank heist quickly gained media attention and was known by national media as the “Pizza Bomber Case”. Being associated with the case tarnishes the concrete reputation The City of Erie has built for itself.
Cite this Essay
To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below