Erie County’s Historic Resources     A Service of Preservation Erie

Home   2014 Survey   Search   Districts   Styles   Classes

   Historic Survey of 2014

Survey Background

Sponsor: Preservation Erie

Preservation Erie (PE) provided oversight for the historic resource survey of 2014. PE was founded ten years ago to promote, preserve, and enhance the distinctive character of greater Erie through community-based planning, design, and historic preservation. More information on its programs and advocacy can be found on the Preservation Erie website.

Earlier surveys of historic buildings in Erie County had been conducted over the years. The earliest survey was completed during the Bicentennial activities in 1975-1976 and focused on important 19th century buildings. Throughout the 1980s, this survey was updated by various projects throughout the County. Several National Register nominations were completed based on the surveys of the 1980s. In the years since these early surveys, some other historic buildings had been identified, and some historic buildings had been demolished.
Preservation Erie became aware of the need to re-write the historic preservation section of the Erie County Comprehensive Plan. PE saw the need for an updated survey of historic buildings that would prepare information to be used as a basis for the Plan and its recommendations. PE issued a request for proposals in 2013 and selected Wise Preservation Planning LLC to complete the survey work.

Wise Preservation Planning LLC

Wise Preservation Planning (WISE) is a full-service historic preservation firm that practices in Pennsylvania and adjacent mid-Atlantic states. The firm is a leader in the historic preservation field, having completed 30 nominations for properties and historic districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a dozen comprehensive historic resource surveys, multiple historic resource impact studies, and dozens of historic property histories. More information on the firm's historic preservation practice can be found on the WISE website.

The 2014 Survey

The survey of historic buildings in Erie County identified and classified over 31,000 properties that contain historic buildings built prior to the year 1940. The project was conducted in several phases.
In the first phase (2012-2013), Mercyhurst University students photographed 500 buildings in the Cities of Erie and Corry. The students used information from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to identify these buildings. During the photography, the students completed a brief survey sheet on each property.
Wise completed the second phase in early 2014, which involved the survey of historic buildings in the Cities of Erie and Corry that were built prior to 1940. The Erie County Planning Department provided a digital map that included the estimated construction date of the buildings on each property. Using this information and the photographs on the website of the Erie County Assessment Office, Wise reviewed over 18,000 historic properties and classified them according to their architectural significance.
The third phase, undertaken in the latter half of 2014, reviewed historic buildings in Erie County outside of the two cities. Altogether, an additional 13,000 historic properties were reviewed in the townships and boroughs of Erie County.
With the survey completed, Wise and PE discussed the best way to report the results. The traditional option was to print the information, which would have meant 31,000 forms with information on these historic buildings. The cost of producing such a daunting volume of paper was a matter of concern. After considering various options, PE and Wise decided to produce this website as a means of reporting the survey.

Future of the Website

Although this website documents the properties identified during the survey of 2014, it is designed to be a dynamic resource for residents of Erie County. With the passage of time, additional information can be added, corrected, or updated. Because of the nature of the survey of 2013, certain types of information on historic properties were not collected, such as the historic name, the architect or builder, and an architectural description. The date of construction used here is taken from the county assessment information; these dates vary in their accuracy. People who have information on a given property can forward that information to Preservation Erie, which will update the information in the database and make it available to future visitors of the website.

Project Documents

Survey technical presentation: PowerPoint file (large) OR PDF file (smaller)
This presentation should not be used without the permission of Preservation Erie

Architectural styles presentation: PowerPoint file (large) OR PDF file (smaller)
This presentation should not be used without the permission of Preservation Erie

Report of the County Survey

Site Management Login

All information on this site is © Preservation Erie and should not be used without attribution.