Historic Erie House Demolished, Sparking Concern - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Historic Erie House Demolished, Sparking Concern

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A 157 year old historical house was mostly demolished on West 21st Street on Monday. It's sparked concern from Preservation Erie, a group dedicated towards maintaining Erie's history.

This house was built in 1857, and one of the homes in Erie that's on the list of the National Register of Historic Places. But the owners chose to demolish the house. 

It raised concern from those who seek to protect Erie's historical sites.

"We're just a little disappointed to have a house in a historic district torn down. Because every day, we have fewer and fewer historic buildings," said architect Jeff Kidder, who is also on the board of Preservation Erie. 

In terms of historical value, the home exemplified the "Italian villa" architecture style, a popular in the pre-civil war era. Kidder called the home the best example of Italian villa in Erie before it was demolished. 

The home was also featured in 1982 edition of "Erie Style" magazine, which also lauded the home for it's Italian-style, distinct, features.

The property also had a carriage stone in the front lawn - a large, square stone that was used by the fine ladies of Erie's past as a step stone when they exited their carriages. 

A map in Kidder's office showed the largely undeveloped City of Erie on a map that dates back to 1870. Yet, the house is already there.

"Our concern is that these historic districts are important, they've been determined important for historical value, for architectural value, and don't have any layer of protection other than
any other building in the city, Kidder said. 

There are currently no proper zoning laws that treat Erie's historical buildings different from any other building. 

The owner of the historic building is the director of the Village at Luther Square nursing home.

According to reports, the owner felt that too many repairs were needed for the historical house. Now, he plans on building more senior living homes on the property.

"There's nothing that will help save these buildings other than having property owners who understand what they have and have a desire to preserve them," Kidder said. 

However, Preservation Erie is working on improving ordinances that would require demolition permit reviews for historical districts.

"A lot of people like old buildings and like visiting other places that have old buildings, but sometimes they forget what's in their own front yard. And our goal is to make the community aware of what they have and figure out ways to save these buildings," Kidder said. 

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