The Historic Tibbals House – 1842

Thomas B. Hagen
Erie Insurance Group
Erie, PA

The city of Erie, Pennsylvania has long had troubles with preserving historic buildings and sites. One of those buildings, the Tibbals House, was in danger of following the same fate of previous historic spaces of being destroyed. That is, until a local business, the Erie Insurance Group, stepped in. Erie Insurance has made big strides in advancing historic preservation in its downtown neighborhood by preserving a number of nineteenth-century structures, starting with the Tibbals House.

The Historic Tibbals House-1842 chronicles a family’s history, a city’s rise to prominence and a company’s historic perseveration and community revitalization efforts. The book traces the lineage and contributions of Charles M. Tibbals and his family to the economic and social life of Erie. Exploring the relationship between the Tibbals family and the growth of the city’s manufacturing industry, the author provides the background of the historical events, economic developments, and key individuals that helped to transform Erie into an important industrial center during the mid and late 19th century.

Returning to modern day, the book also tells the story of the rescue and restoration of the historic Greek revival house that the Tibbals family called home for more than 60 years. In the process of restoring the home, the Tibbals House became a major component in the development of the surrounding neighborhood. The Erie insurance Group began work on the house after decades of neglect, making great efforts in period-correct restoration. The house was used as a centerpiece for the company’s larger efforts to revitalize the area surrounding its downtown office.

Through extensive scholarship, archived images, and original photography, Historic Tibbals House presents a history that was nearly lost to time. The author relies on a diverse and rich array of local source material to chronicle the history of the home and the Tibbals family. Additionally, the involvement of a privately owned company in the historic preservation of a city gives hope that future preservation efforts will be more abundant and successful in Erie.