Our series are designed to allow you watch to a program individually--no need to watch all of the programs in succession!
July 7, 2021
During the early 1900s, Erie, Pennsylvania earned a national reputation for being the Freshwater Fishing Capital of the World. Tons of Lake Erie fish were delivered to downtown (and neighboring) docks each day from early spring until late winter. Thanks to the local invention of flash freezing, some of this total was sent via railroad trains to big-city markets. Local and visiting fish tugs made their way into the lake each morning to harvest whitefish and cisco, a herring species that was almost fished to extinction. There was an international fish war between United States fishermen and Canada with actual shots fired. Yellow perch and walleye, two of today's most prized species, were classified as "rough fish" and largely ignored.
Before becoming a state park, Presque Isle played a significant role in the industry, housing a huge outdoor hatchery, several fish processing companies, and an ice-harvesting operation. This installment of the "Accident Paradise" programming series will outline those glory days and present the reasons for their demise.
April 27, 2020
During the summer of 1908 a University of Pittsburgh botany professor was collecting plant samples at Cedar Point, Ohio when a colleague suggested that he shift his study efforts to Presque Isle in Erie, Pennsylvania. Dr. Otto E. Jennings traveled to Presque Isle the following summer and began a 50-year tenure on the peninsula. During his time there, Jennings discovered, documented and dated the impact of Presque Isle's unique style of succession on the peninsula. He also shifted his professional focus from plant-gathering to sand spit geology.
Jennings brought colleagues, including his wife Grace, who was also a biologist, to Presque Isle. He built a research station in park's interior and initiated a system of overall biological studies of Presque Isle as he worked to preserve the park and its plant-life. His work, which catalogued and dated Presque Isle's early formation as well as its plant, aquatic, insect, and animal life, stands as a monument to the scientific study of and continued protection of the peninsula. It also explains the "force" that has been at work, systematically growing Presque Isle from west to east.
March 18, 2020
These days we drive onto Presque Isle and take the roadways for granted. During the early years of the state park, however, decisions regarding where and how to connect the peninsula with the mainland had enormous and lasting consequences. Beginning with the earlier recommendations of celebrated urban planner, John Nolan, Presque Isle embarked upon a series of politically motivated engineering decisions that will influence our park forever.
In addition to Nolan, the most important early players in the creation of the state park and its roadways included Isadore Sobel (the unsung hero), Waldameer Park, Erie Waterworks, Sherman Fairchild (inventor of aerial photography), the Erie Yacht Club and a strange downtown political committee that controlled all park decisions.
February 23, 2020
Presque Isle has been experiencing extraordinarily high water levels for the last few years. The high water levels and storm surges have been assaulting the peninsula's bathing beaches, washing away replenished sand. Even more disconcerting, water has been threatening Presque Isle's interior, as well, dropping trees and eroding infrastructure, including trails and roadways.
On several occasions during 2019 and 2020 there were "blowout events" during which water crossed Presque Isle, extending from the lake to the bay and closing roads. These recent examples serve as reminders of the loss of the way in the 1940s. These recent treats help to remind us of the fragility of the entire peninsula, which is dependent upon a thin layer of sand and soil to anchor the root structures of the trees and brush that is essential to its existence.
February 9, 2020
Join us on a deep dive into one of the most fascinating topics from the pages of Accidental Paradise. Our city and even the lake, itself, was named after an early Native American tribe, the Eriez. Somehow, however, the entire people simply disappeared a few years after European arrival (1492).
A series of chance meetings plunged Dr. David Frew into a long and complicated relationship with Indian history, and in particular with Iroquoian culture, religion and politics. His near obsession has led him to audit gradual classes in anthropology, travel to Mayan ruins in Mexico and Central America and meet with chiefs from the Six Nations Reservation in Brantford, Ontario.
December 10, 2020
With the imminent release of the much-anticipated book, "Accidental Paradise: 13,000-Year History of Presque Isle," authors David Frew and Jerry Skrypzak join book editor Pat Cuneo and Jefferson Vice President Ben Speggen to discuss the book, its highlights, and how it came to be.
To watch this video on YouTube, click HERE!
Dr. David Frew gives us an exclusive look into his "On the Waterfront" series. David Frew, Ph.D., is a prolific writer, author, and speaker who grew up on Erie's lower west side as a proud "Bay Rat," joining neighborhood kids playing and marauding along the west bayfront. He has written for years about his beloved Presque Isle and his adventures on the Great Lakes. In a new series of articles for the Jefferson, the retired professor takes note of life in and around the water, which he reviews in conversation with Jefferson Vice President Ben Speggen.
To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!
April 27, 2020
Previously scheduled as a Satellite Program in Fairview with the Erie County Public Library on April 13, Dr. Frew leads a journey into the history of and the modern science of happiness, including psychology, economics, medicine, and religion.
Returning to his organizational psychology roots, David Frew, Ph.D., explores the science and art of experiencing happiness. Dr. Frew was an early leader in the fields of job satisfaction and self-esteem.
His early research suggested that both of these work-related metrics were directly connected to personal happiness and he has further developed his understanding of the components of happiness.
To watch the video on YouTube, click HERE!