Erie, PA Courthouse Fire, May 1823

The first court house [was completed] in 1808. The latter was a small brick building that stood in the West Park, at Erie, a little north of the soldiers’ and sailors’ monument. The county was too poor to afford the total expense, and the State generously granted $2,000 toward the erection of the building. On Sunday morning, March 23, 1823, between the hours of 12 and 3 o’clock, this court house was destroyed by fire, with all the books, papers and records, inflicting a loss to the county which cannot be measured in dollars and cents, and the effects of which were felt for fully a generation after the event. The fire was caused by taking ashes out of a stove on Saturday, throwing them into a nail keg and neglecting to move them out of doors. When the flames were discovered, they had advanced too far to permit the saving of any of the contents of the building. The ensuing May term of court was held in the Erie Academy, and that edifice was rented for county purposes and occupied by the various county officials for two years.

HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY History of Erie County, containing a history of the county; its townships, towns, villages, schools, churches, industries, etc..., Chicago, Warner, Beers & Co., 1884