From the Editors
Summertime and the livin's Erie
By now, you've probably seen the T-shirts telling you that "it's okay to love Erie." As in "go ahead, don't be ashamed." But there are sheepish confessions of love, and there are passionate demonstrations of it. Did you know how adamantly people used to bicker and even fight over the rights to this corner of Northwest Pennsylvania? The part we might now proudly call our corner?
Leading up to the Revolutionary War in the late 18th century, the territory that is now Erie County changed hands at least thrice — from among the nations of the Iroquois Confederacy to New France to New England. After the Revolutionary War, four states wanted a piece of this, in particular the roughly 300-square-mile "tab" (if you picture modern-day Pennsylvania as a manila folder, which is pretty invigorating) nuzzling Lake Erie to the northwest. This "Erie Triangle" had a lot going for it, including access to the Great Lakes, an unrivaled natural harbor (Presque Isle), a (mostly) agreeable climate, fertile soil, and an abundance of flora and fauna. In the mathematical sense, it did not qualify as a "golden triangle" (that is, having perfect 2:2:1 proportionality in length and angles); but in the economic sense, it gleamed.
New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts all called dibs (the natives also wanted it back pretty badly), but the federal government ultimately awarded the Erie Triangle to Pennsylvania, as our state would have been otherwise mostly landlocked.
Over 200 years later, the settlements framed within the Erie Triangle — including the City of Erie — show some signs of aging. However, that aging is underpinned by a youthful vitality inherent in Erie's ongoing swell of activities (highlighted in our Spotlight and Calendar sections), impressively affordable array of amenities (check out our recently released 2019-2020 Best of Erie Visitors Guide), and the promise of its young people (which we will celebrate in our forthcoming 40 Under 40 issue).
With the onset of summer, the days grow longer and warmer and the sun shines brighter, casting everything in a better light. It's easier to dote on a subject during the golden hour; most would agree that Erie is positively glowing this time of year. But it's okay to remind yourself that there is bounty here year-round, whether it's in the humanity of our arts and culture scene (Cara Suppa previews an incredible 2019-20 Mercyhurst Institute for Arts and Culture lineup) or those areas of nature left relatively untouched by humans, such as the Erie Bluffs (Ben Speggen outlines the efforts of the Lake Erie Region Conservancy).
It's okay to love Erie, yes. But beyond giving yourself permission, get out, get involved, and get in our corner. You may just discover the same kind of passion people felt years ago.