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   C.M. Tibbals


Historic Name

C.M. Tibbals


146 E 5 St


City of Erie

Tax Parcel


Historic District

Federal Row


Class 1 (Definitions of Classes)

State Key Number


Historic Function

Domestic - single dwelling









Barn Type on property


Last Entry Update



The Tibbals House was built in 1842 by William Fleming, a shoe and boot maker, as well as a real estate investor and merchant who sold dry goods, groceries, crockery, and hardware. He and Alexander W. Brewster bought the property together in 1836. Fleming lived in the home for four years, until in 1846, he lost the house and property because of a judgment against him. In February 1846, Charles Marvin Tibbals, Sr. won the bid for the home that would house six decades of the Tibbals family. Tibbals was born in 1811 in Pompey, New York. He moved with his wife Delia to Erie in 1836 when he purchased a stock of dry goods from Charles Manning Reed before establishing his business in Reed’s Mansion House hotel (he later relocated his business to the Ellsworth House).

During his first 22 years in Erie, Tibbals engaged in numerous business ventures under the names of C.M. & L.N. Tibbals, Tibbals & Dewey, Tibbals & Van Buren, and Tibbals & Hayes. After leaving the mercantile business, Tibbals was involved in various public service positions. Tibbals Sr. died in 1881, and the ownership of the house was passed to his son Charles Tibbals Jr., and daughters Eliza Whitehead and Martha Ann Tibbals. Tibbals Jr., his wife Fanny, and his sister Martha Ann continued to live in the home for 22 years. Ultimately, the Tibbals family owned and occupied the house completely for 57 years and owned two-thirds of it for another five. In 1903 after the death of Tibbals Jr., the house was partially sold at a Sheriff’s sale to pay for Tibbals Jr.’s mortgage debt. Five years later, Martha Ann, Eliza, and George Berriman sold the entire property to Mary E. Carey.

Between 1904 and 1912, the family of Peter H. Adams rented the Tibbals House. It then became a single room occupancy residence for men from 1913 to 1948 under the ownership of the Regan family. In 1917, a large brick addition was added to the back of the house to accommodate for more men. By 1948, the house consisted of 26 rooms, 10 of them for sleeping. Between 1948 and 1959, it was owned by Harry and Blanche Hillberry. It was then owned by John and Shirley Porecca until 1983. In this year, the Tibbals House was bought and restored by The Erie Insurance Group (“The ERIE”) through the Erie Redevelopment Authority. Between 1983 and 1984, The Tibbals House and the additional buildings within Federal Row were restored. In 2010, the Tibbals House was renovated and redecorated to serve as The ERIE’s guest house and conference center. The ERIE is led by Thomas B. Hagen, chairman of Erie Insurance and member of the Board of Advisors for Preservation Pennsylvania. For the last four decades, Hagen has been the leading component of historic preservation throughout Erie.

Description: The Tibbals House is of three bay, two and one-half story red brick in the Greek Revival architectural style. However, the house appears to be in transition from the Federal Period due to the roof gables being on the sides of the buildings. There is a small one-story brick west wing attached to the house. The exterior wall surfaces consist of local bluestone, while some of the lintels and sills on the rear were replaced with limestone in 1984. There is an odd-shaped roof peak at the north end where a porch was enclosed to join the roofs of the east and west wings. A front entrance portico attaches to a porch in front of the west wing. The exterior is painted red with an off- white trim paint. The Tibbals House has flat wall surfaces, simple flat lintels, and neo-classical cornice.

In 2010, Tom Hagen and The ERIE led a stunning historically meticulous restoration of the Tibbals House. At this time, central air conditioning and state of the art technology was added, as well as a lavatory under the main staircase. Rooms within the Tibbals House have been given names based on the history of the house, the Tibbals Family, and The ERIE’s connection. The main front entry hallway on the first floor is called the Blaine-Fleming Foyer. The large double room to the right of the Foyer is named the Tibbals Parlor. The original west wing to the left of the Foyer represents the Founders Room. The guest suite on the first floor is the Catherine Suite, the second-floor suite is the Martha Ann, and the largest of the suites on the same floor is the Eliza Suite.

Sources: The Historic Tibbals House-1842 Erie, Pennsylvania by Thomas B. Hagen




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