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Visting the McCord Memorial Library, at North East, Pennsylvania: Neoclassical and Prairie Style Elements From 1916

Updated on January 24, 2018
State Flag of Pennsylvania
State Flag of Pennsylvania | Source
McCord Memorial Library, North East, Pennsylvania
McCord Memorial Library, North East, Pennsylvania | Source

Elegant and precise stylistic lines

The local library at the town of North East, in Pennsylvania's Erie County, was founded in 1899. In 1916, after a series of location moves, the library found a permanent home in Main Street in a building endowed by former local resident Mr. John McCord, of Chicago, Illinois (1).

This striking, low brick and stone structure combines stylistic elements which include Neoclassical and Prairie. The portico's pediment and pillars are widely recognized expression's of Neoclassical style (2), while the relatively low structure, and emphasis on both vertical lines and also the somewhat narrow, vertical lines at windows likely recall latent Prairie-style motifs, popularized by architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright in the early 20th century.

In 1975 the building was expanded to enhance facilities for an increasing range of users. Prior to 1969, the Library was funded by area school boards; since that date, a combination of local taxation and private donors has served to support the institution.

The Library contains over 40,000 stock items and serves over 86,000 regular users.

Incorporated in 1834 under the name North East — which is indicative of the town's location within Erie County, Pennsylvania — North East was previously known variously as Burgettstown, Gibsonville and Lower Greenfield (3), and was first settled in 1784.

The McCord Memorial Library is located at 32, West Main Street, North East, Pennsylvania. Striking for its elegant and precise stylistic lines, the structure is among 114 buildings in the North East Historic District.

January 19, 2018


(1) See also:

(2) Another building in North East which exhibits strongly Neoclassical features is the former First National Bank building in Lake Street.

(3) See also:

McCord Memorial Library, North East, Pennsylvania
McCord Memorial Library, North East, Pennsylvania | Source

Also worth seeing

In North East itself, other structures and features include: Gibson Park and war memorial, the Presbyterian Church on Main Street, Lake Shore Railway Museum, the former First National Bank Building in Lake Street, 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. Please 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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