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North East Borough

North East Borough Hall is located at 31 West Main Street, North East PA 16428; phone: 814-725-8611.

North East Borough, Erie County Pennsylvania, 16428

Beginnings [1]

Originally known as "Burgettstown," "Gibsonville" or "Lower Greenfield," the Borough of "North East" was incorporated in 1834 taking the same name of the Township in which it was located. The town was primarily a service center for the surrounding farms and grew slowly until the 1850's when the railroad was introduced just several blocks to the south of town. Within the next twenty years, the town's population quadrupled and agrarian-oriented industries multiplied.

In 1870, the Lake Shore Seminary was established in North East along Division and North Lake Streets. The seminary was sponsored by the Methodist Church and a four story stone and brick building was erected in that year. Three years later, the enrollment had reached 150 students. However, the seminary was not successful and, in 1881, the Redemptionist Fathers of Annapolis, Maryland purchased the property from the People's Savings Institution who had acquired it in a sheriff's sale. The seminary was dedicated as St. Mary's College in August of 1881 and was used as a preparatory college for those intending to enter the Catholic Priesthood.

By 1880, the town of North East was well established at the intersection of Lake and Main Streets. Businesses here were oriented to meeting the local needs of the agrarian-based economy. The commercial buildings, which had been constructed between 1830 and 1880, were two and three story frame buildings and were concentrated along the east and west sides of South Lake Street between Main and Mechanics Street, the north and south sides of East Main Street between Lake and Vine Streets, and along the south side of West Main Street between Lake and Park Streets. Gibson Park, donated to the town by a man named Gibson in the early 1800's, occupied the site across from the commercial buildings on West Main Street.

The North East Historic District has local architectural and commercial significance. North East served as a commercial service center for borough residents and area farmers from the mid-nineteenth century through 1939, and many of the buildings that housed businesses remain well preserved in the historic district. North East Historic District also contains the largest and most intact collection of mid-nineteenth to early twentieth century high style architecture in northeastern Erie County.

  1. Sands, Patricia A. and Sisson, William, North East Historic District, nomination document, 1989, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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