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.
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 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