In April 1795, Pennsylvania passed an "Act to Establish a Town at Presque Isle," and the town was to be named Erie. Both Andrew Ellicott and General William Irvine were contracted to survey the state and lay out the town. Ellicott's original plans lay out a town 24 blocks wide (from east to west) and 12 blocks deep (from north to south) that features 3 parks spaced evenly along 6th Street. Two of these 3 original parks exist today - Perry Square and Gridley Park.
The Thomas Alva Edison Memorial Fountain was dedicated October 22, 1929 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the invention of the light bulb. It was funded by the General Electric Company at a cost of $16,000. The statue of Oliver Hazard Perry was dedicated August 23, 1985 in recognition of Perry’s 200th birthday. He is best known for commanding the naval fleet that was built in Erie harbor and employed to defeat British forces near Put-in-Bay, OH on September 10, 1813.
Shortly after the Civil War, the community decided to build a monument honoring Erie’s fallen soldiers and sailors. When it was suggested that tax dollars be used to fund the project, residents protested. Several civic-minded citizens came together and raised $10,000 in donations to move the project forward. Erie’s Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Monument was erected in 1872.