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Girard Borough

Erie County, Pennsylvania

Girard Borough Hall is located at 34 Main Street West, Girard, PA 16417.
Phone: 814‑774‑9683.

Beginnings [1]

Girard began in the settlements there of Messrs. Wells, Clark, Laughlin and Wolverton at a very early day. It was largely included in the farm of John Taylor who had the only building there in a small log dwelling which was superseded when Joseph Taylor bought the place from Daniel Sayre, who had formerly bought it of John Taylor. Mr. Joseph Taylor erected the first frame house in the present borough. The settlement known as Girard was formerly west of the creek, and is now called West Girard. The present attractive borough did not commence its settlement until the Erie Extension Canal was built, when a few people commenced to build by the canal, a tavern was erected there, and soon a town site was laid out. It was incorporated in 1846, and in 1850 it was credited with 400 people. It is the home town of the veteran, pioneer, showman and clown, Dan Rice, who made this place his home, and also the place where his shows wintered for many years. Here a number of the pioneer shows were organized, and from here they started out on the road, amongst them were Thayer & Noyes', Rice & Forepaugh's, Anderson & Co.'s, Abe Henderson's, and G. R. Spalding & Co.'s circuses. It was many years widely known as a show town. The first school house in the township was in the former Girard village, was opened in 1809, and taught by John J. Swan, a boy of 16 years. In 1850 the Girard Academy was organized on the stock company plan, and was a very popular school for many years, being turned over in 1862 to the local school board. It has a soldier's monument in the square built by Dan Rice, the first one erected in the state of Pennsylvania, and perhaps in the whole country. It was dedicated Nov. 1, 1865. In 1893 the Wilcox Library was built, the gift of Robert Wilcox to the public. It is self supporting. Girard is 18 miles from Erie on the Ridge Road. It has a Methodist congregation, organized in 1815, its first church building erected in 1828, and a later one in 1868. The Presbyterian society was organized May 16, 1835, and worships in a handsome edifice built by remodeling the older one, in 1893. St. John's Catholic congregation was organized about 1853. The Universalists organized prior to 1852, and built in 1852. St. Johannis Evangelical Lutheran congregation organized in 1866, and bought the former M. E. building in 1869. The town has the Cosmopolite, established in 1867, and still being published; its first newspaper having been the Free Press, started about 1845, succeeded by the Express, which was transformed Nov. 7, 1854, into the Republican, with the slogan, "Independent on all subjects, rabid on none".

  1. John Elmer Reed, History of Erie County Pennsylvania, Volume One, Historical Publishing Company, Topeka, 1925.

Nearby Towns: Cranesville Boro • Fairview Twp • Lake City Boro • Platea Boro •