Saturday, May 8, 2010

Erie, Pa Research Trip – Part 2

After a wonderful morning, as described in my Part 1 post of May 6, 2010, Jim & I discussed the next stop on our agenda while having a quick lunch at MacDonalds. (We always try to stop at Macs once while traveling - just love their fish sandwiches!!)  The Erie County Historical Society opens at 11am on Tuesday and, even though they’re in the midst of exhibit construction, the library and archives are intact and accessible.

We were greeted warmly as we entered the research area. Once I explained our mission - my goals for this location were primarily to learn what I could about the Streuber tannery, Jacob Walther and family and gather general information about Erie in the 1870s - Anita directed us to the various areas within our interest. With a collection of this size, it’s especially helpful to understand the layout. We would focus on the several county histories, city directories, naturalization indices and maps in the collection.
We found some interesting items. For instance, Charles is listed in only one city directory in Erie (Atkinson’s Erie City Directory for 1874-5). At that time they lived at 1526 State (pg250). This is the description of State from that Directory:
STATE, the main business street of the city, and the starting point of all streets running East and West…commences at the Public Dock, but is not numbered until it reaches Front Street, when it commences with No. 100 and runs south to Twenty-sixth street; 100 feet in width… (pg25)
In that same Directory Streuber & Son’s Tannery is described. (I’m quite sure this is where Charles and Fred worked and learned the tanning trade.)
Streuber & Son’s Tannery – State street, between Eighteenth and Nineteenth. Capital $23,000, Number of employees 10. Material used annually, 2,600 heavy hides, 4,000 calf skins, 400 cords of hemlock bark. Value of annual products; sole leather, $18,200; calf skins, $12,000; other varieties of leather, $10,400. (pg129)
The County histories provided even more descriptions of the tannery and also biographical sketch about Jacob F. Walther (witness at C & S wedding). Maps & atlases gave us visuals of our couple’s living and working locations.
I’d say it was a well-spent few hours! I’ll finish up our research day in my next post.

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