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Erie Maritime Museum (Erie Lighting Company Plant), U.S. Brig Niagara, and Raymond M. Blasco, MD, Memorial Library
The exciting collection of buildings at the foot of State Street at Bayview Commons contains a county library building and the former power company building, Penelec's Front Street Station of 1919, retrofitted for the Maritime Museum. The complex, designed by Weber Murphy Fox, celebrates Erie's maritime past as both a naval station in the War of 1812 and as a center for fishing and shipping throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. At anchor stands a replica of the brig Niagara, one of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's ships from 1813. It was re-created from the plans of master shipwright Melbourne Smith and built in 1988 by the members of the Pennsylvania Conservation Corps, a contemporary version of the Civilian Conservation Corps. The ship is a sailing ambassador for the state of Pennsylvania and provides an excellent attraction for the city of Erie. The buildings all share a brownish-red brick base and white trim, tied together by segmental arches above the windows of the former power station and echoed in a larger form as the sweeping roofs over the library. The museum contains a large exhibition space and an auditorium where once enormous turbines hummed.
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