The Charles Manning Reed Mansion rests at the intersection of Peach and
Sixth Street, near the east entrance to Erie’s West 6th Street National
Historic District. The first generation of Reeds settled in the area in
1795 when Colonel Seth Reed opened a trading post, saw mill, and inn at
Fort Presque Isle. His son, Rufus Seth Reed, was a prominent member of
the Erie community, owning extensive property and partaking in multiple
business ventures. Rufus’ son, Charles M. Reed, born in 1803, was an
enterprising industrialist in the Erie area that continued his family’s
legacy. Throughout his lifetime, Charles Reed was most notably a
Brigadier General with the Pennsylvania Militia, president of the Erie
and Pittsburgh Railroad, vice-president of the First National Bank of
Erie, as well as the owner of the Reed shipyard and steamship line and
the Reed Hotel. By 1846, Reed had accumulated enough wealth to begin
building this Gothic Revival mansion for his bride.
Charles Reed went to great lengths to create an elaborate and suitable
home for his family. He hired renowned Buffalo architect Edward B.
White to design the structure, Erie brothers James and William
Hoskinson to build it, and the head carpenter of his shipyard, E.F.
Barger, to design the interior woodwork. Ground was broken in May 1846,
but construction was delayed for nearly two years due to Reed’s
perfectionism and the time constraints of his workers. It was
officially completed in 1849, and Reed lived in the mansion until his
death in 1871. His widow continued to reside there until her death in
1901. The Erie Club subsequently purchased the property in 1904 and
retains its ownership well over a century later. In 1982 the building
—along with the rest of the district—was listed on the National
Register of Historic Places.