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Early Industrial Development in Erie, Pennsylvania

The Watson-Curtze Manson, Erie, PA

During our recent visit to Erie, Pennsylvania, we stopped at the Watson-Curtze Mansion on West Sixth Street (click here). This Manson was the home of Harrison F. Watson from 1891 and then Frederick Feliz Curtze in 1923 until his death in 1941.

The Watson-Curtze Manson, Erie,PA

I am more interested in what these men did for a living than I am in the homes that they lived in. Harrison F. Watson was president of the H.F. Watson Paper Company which manufactured building, roofing, lining materials, as well as steam pipe and boiler packaging materials. Frederick Felix Curtze was president of the Erie Trust Company, Heisler Locomotive Works, Union Iron Works, and the Keystone Fish Company. All of these business endeavors allowed the two men and their families to enjoy a lifestyle that has since passed with the Industrial Revolution.

The Watson-Curtze Manson, Erie, PA

The Manson is indeed lovely. It has 24 rooms, 17 closets, 5 bathrooms, and 12 fireplaces. The building materials are lovely with heavily decorated woodwork which appears throughout the house and hardwood oak floors in all of the rooms. Heat for the house was originally provided by a coal furnace and probably a boiler with steam or hot water heat. Oh, and ladies, don’t fret because of all of the work that it would take to clean 5 bathrooms, or run such a lovely home; they had a staff of 6 domestic servants!

James R. Bupp

2 thoughts on “Early Industrial Development in Erie, Pennsylvania”

  1. Its a shame that the old watson factory sits there vacant with no signs of ever coming back to life. the Union iron works was just torn ive never thought that it was going to be since ive seen a lot of activity in the place. Its really a shame that the city of erie lets these builds be destroyed since their a part of history that made erie. I work at Urick foundry which is right across the rail road tracks from Old Erie Maleable and seeing a foot ball field being placed over where my dad used to work is just terrible idk i just love all these old facilities it truely shows how erie used to be a massive manufacturing city but now its dying.I think buildings that are 100 years or old should be put into some historical record because i cant find hardly and information about these places let alone a picture.

    1. Thank you for you comment. My only contact with Erie is that we drive by Erie on Interstate 90. We visited the city one day last year with a group of seniors. I was unaware of all of the early industrial activity that occurred there including shipping on Lake Erie. Erie is truly a beautiful city. Perhaps one day we will rightfully reclaim out leadership in manufacturing. I believe that we have the knowledge to do “green” manufacturing but our governments’ rules have permitted companies to take the money and run elsewhere to build their plants. It doesn’t have to be this way.

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