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Bonnell Building

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In 1839, new arrivals and brothers Joseph and James Bonnell purchased the parcels of land between the Fleming Block and the Cashier’s House from Thomas G. Colt for the sum of $5,200. The Bonnell brothers immediately engaged local masons James and William Hoskinson to construct a three-story commercial building along the State Street frontage. Upon completion, the building was leased to the firm of Kellog and Clark, dealers in groceries, dry goods, hardware, and sundries.

Like Fleming, the Bonnell brothers suffered financially, and they were forced into bankruptcy and disappeared from the Erie area in 1842. Later that same year the Sheriff deeded the northern two-thirds of the building, adjacent to the Cashier’s House, to Carson Graham, and he held the remaining portion of the structure until it was purchased in 1843 by John and James Van Nostrand. Many other owners followed.

After housing Heyl Drug Store for several years, in 1992, the northern part of Bonnell Building was renovated to house the headquarters for the Erie County Historical Society. Today, both sections of the building are owned by the Erie Art Museum.

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