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Visiting 2-8 East Main Street, North East, Pennsylvania: A Triangular Lot in Italianate Styling in an Historic District

Updated on August 6, 2019
State flag of Pennsylvania
State flag of Pennsylvania | Source
North East, Pennsylvania
North East, Pennsylvania | Source

A purposeful aura

The building situated at 2-8 Main Street East, in Erie County's North East has provides some interesting features to one of Pennsylvania's Historic Districts, established at North East. This District was added to the National Register of Historic Places of the United States in 1990 (1).

The building is located at the intersection of Main and Lake Streets (the northeast corner), opposite Gibson Park.

Much of the Downtown area of North East was built after an extensive fire in 1884 (2). The ornate cornice of this building executed in brick at 2-8 Main Street East (3) is comparable to that of various other buildings in North East, but with certain differences also. A unique feature of this building is that it is North East's only three storey commercial building, approximately dating from this period; the second and third storeys exhibit a series of uniform window lintels.

In addition, the triangular shape of the lot on which this structure is built gives the shape of the cornice a striking 'boomerang' shape, when seen at certain angles (see photo, above).

I have also supplied a westward view of Main Street, with 2-8 Main Street East seen at the extreme right of the photo (see below).

(On a somewhat humorous, fictitious note — and to forget for a moment the age and context of the building — this photo almost effuses a "Peenemüde" moment, as if a giant launching pad were just about to launch a sky-bound rocket — as pioneered at that northern German locality more than 50 years after the building originated!)

In any case, the shape of the building does certainly seem to give it a purposeful aura.

August 6, 2019


(1) This entry in the National Register includes 114 buildings in North East's central business district.

(2) See also:

(3) The ornate, craft work visible on this and various other buildings dating from the late 19th century in the central business district perhaps bear testimony to a certain comparative prosperity which characterized the town and its citizenry at that period. Indeed, the relative historic prosperity of the region perhaps invites the question whether the name 'The Keystone State' often applied to Pennsylvania does not merely have geographical and masonic but also — because of its latent energy and dynamism — metaphorical connotations? I leave the question open.

Some sourcing: Wikipedia

Looking West down the Main street of North East, PA. This area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Looking West down the Main street of North East, PA. This area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. | Source

Also worth seeing

In North East itself, other structures and features include: Gibson Park and war memorial, the Presbyterian Church on Main Street, the Greek Revival former First National Bank building in Lake Street, Lake Shore Railway Museum, the McCord Memorial Library, Short's Hotel; and many others; while on the map the Keystone State is located substantially inland from both the Atlantic Seaboard and the Great Lakes, yet part of the Erie Lake Shore belongs to Pennsylvania, and beaches with bracing winds are located a relatively short distance from Downtown North East.

Presque Isle State Park and the Perry Monument (distance: c. 25 miles / 41 kilometres) are located on large, striking peninsular extending into Lake Erie. The Monument recalls Commodore Oliver H. Perry's naval leadership during the War of 1812.


How to get there: American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express fly to Erie International Airport (distance from North East: 21.9 miles / 37 kilometres) from Philadephia, Detroit and Chicago-O'Hare respectively; car rental is available at Erie International Airport. North East is situated close to the I-90. You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

Map of Erie County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries
Map of Erie County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries | Source

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