This eye-catching Victorian-style structure is located at W. 26th and Sigsbee streets in the center of Erie, PA. It still stands as a sentry of sorts near the entrance to the city’s oldest reservoir, which was constructed way back in 1873.
Speaking of Sigsbee Reservoir, check out this very cool actual photograph of that location, courtesy Old Time Erie, in a post which explains that the poles aren’t connected to the house even though they look like they are.
If you look closely, you’ll see that they are on the north side of the fence. Also, the Ridge Road is not visible from this particular angle as the image was captured from the edge of the Erie Cemetery. And there’s smoke coming from the chimney, so the caretaker and family were probably at home.
Just a half block away are two curved wooden doors which apparently lead to a system beneath the reservoir. Although they are behind heavy fencing and lock and key in 2021, decades ago they weren’t as hidden. Their mere existence and spooky appearance prompted many people who saw them to speculate as to what or who might dwell behind those doors.
In actuality, they led to maintenance areas and pumping systems and gear, and were even opened up occasionally to allow air to circulate before the chain link fence was installed.
If you look closely, the rounded wooden doors can be seen behind the two posted signs, in the center of the cement block wall.
Considering the proximity of the reservoir to a nearby ice cream stand, young people were known to buy a treat then sit on the grassy hill while enjoying their ice cream before the chain link fence was installed (The fence update was prompted by the death of a local person who drowned there).
Through the first half of the 20th century, goats grazed on the surrounding hills to keep the lawn “mowed,” which is quite a feat for a human with a heavy mower.