When Erie Insurance expanded its Home Office campus in 1983, the company engaged in a conscious effort to help revitalize the city's downtown area. Four pillars now stand in front of the main entrance to the building as a reminder of this commitment.
The Corinthian style, cast iron columns were originally part of the P.A. Becker Building, which was located at Sixth and French streets from 1872 to 1981. Philip A. Becker built the original structure for his wholesale and retail grocery business. In addition to being a businessman, Becker was a city councilman and became Erie’s 19th mayor in 1883.
The building site on Perry Square was a thriving business section in the late 1800s, but had deteriorated almost completely by the 1970s. The last known use of the P.A. Becker Building was as a local bar, the Crazy Horse Saloon.
The cast iron columns in front of the Home Office (above) were originally part of the P.A. Becker Building (top, left), which was located at Sixth and French streets from 1872 to 1981.
After the restoration, the columns were put in place to coincide with the grand opening and dedication of the F.W. Hirt Perry Square Building on April 20, 1983.
Other elements of the Becker building were preserved and are located in the courtyard, and in the garden area between the John M. Petersen Center and the F.W. Hirt Perry Square Building within the Home Office complex.
Erie Insurance has been based in downtown Erie, Pa., since its establishment in 1925. The current Home Office campus was started in 1956 with the construction of the Independence Hall-inspired H. O. Hirt building. Erie Insurance has continued its commitment to its home town over the years as it has grown, currently maintaining 519,000 square feet of office space in 5 buildings.