Jan. 9, 2013 - Gas lamps from the 19th century, leaded stained glass windows and ornately carved banisters are all in a day’s work for Erie Insurance Construction Management Administrator Mike Glass.
Mike and his team of sub-contractors have spent the last several months renovating a pair of historic homes in downtown Erie, Pa. Architect Jeff Kidder of Kidder Wachter Architects produced the renovation plans. The purchase and renovation are part of ERIE’s ongoing effort to revitalize the East Bayfront neighborhood near Erie Insurance’s Home Office.
The historic homes are located at 502 and 510 Parade Street. The former owner of International Brewery, C.M. Conrad, built the homes for his two daughters, Kathrin and Eda, in the early 1900s. The daughters married two brothers, Fredrick and Arthur Brevillier. The homes were sold in 1920 when the federal government enacted the Prohibition Era with the 18th amendment to the Constitution, banning transportation and sale of alcohol.
“By revitalizing these properties, we’re supporting the community and helping to bring businesses back to the neighborhood,” said Cheryl Mitchell, vice president of Workplace Services at Erie Insurance. “It’s also a way to preserve and reclaim the rich architectural heritage we share here in downtown Erie.”
The renovation project also aligns with ERIE’s support as a corporate partner with BEST — the Bayfront Eastside Taskforce. BEST is dedicated to the revitalization of the historic downtown neighborhood from which the city of ERIE began more than 200 years ago.
Mike Glass; and ERIE Employees Karen Kraus Phillips, vice president, Corporate Marketing Services; and Judy Johnson, internal auditor, Internal Audit, serve on the BEST board of directors.
The renovations also brought new life to salvaged materials from other local properties purchased by ERIE.
“As part of ERIE’s commitment to sustainability, we always walk through each property to see what can be recovered for future use,” said Glass. Doors, windows, light fixtures, door handles, gas fixtures, fireplace mantels and wood trim are restored and repurposed. Mike was able to track down and purchase stained glass windows belonging to the homes from previous owners and the original blue prints of 502 Parade by architect Joseph Frank.The revitalized Conrad-Brevillier homes have been converted to commercial office space.