Almost from the establishment of Fort Presque Isle in 1753, the neighborhood around lower Parade Street has been a kind of "Ellis Island" of Erie County. And curiously, it continues to fulfill that role to this day. With the use of pictures and anecdotes, we explore the role of this neighborhood's ethnic churches, businesses, and social organizations in Erie's history. These are interspersed with contemporary photos showing the same evolution with different cultural focuses. This is not serious history but rather an informal reminder that other than Native Americans, we all come from strangers in a strange land.
– Ed Whitbred, B.S.
Ed Whitbred, B.S., is an Erie “Lifer” who grew up in the neighborhood he will discuss. He attended Jones School, East High, and graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and taught for two years at McDowell High School in Millcreek. He then spent 35 years at Procter and Gamble where he wore a number of hats but was always paid by the sales department. For 18 years he has been one of the hosts and producers for “The Amazing Grays,” a senior-oriented television show produced by Community Access Media. As a lay worship leader in the Lutheran Church, he has been preaching and conducting services about once a month for more than a decade, and he is the program chairman for the Y Speakers Series.