Dr. William Johns, a prominent physician and political official, built
this structure in 1836. Pierre Simon Vincent Hamot, a merchant banker
and pioneer in Erie’s early development, bought the home for his
daughter and her husband in 1840. In 1854, John Hill, a carpenter by
trade who became a leading architect and building contractor, purchased
the home—giving the building its historic name. Several of the grand
commercial buildings on Erie’s North Park Row were designed and
constructed by Mr. Hill. After he purchased this home in 1888, Hill
began extensive renovations, adding Italianate details to the Greek
Revival style home.
The home was then purchased by George Selden in 1888. Selden, a giant
in Erie’s booming iron industry, had made his fortune in the Erie City
Iron Works. He bought the home for his nieces, who made the home a
social center of the West 6th street area. During their ownership, the
house was extended to the north to accommodate a larger domestic staff.
Due to its location on Erie’s “Millionaire’s Row,” Selden’s nieces went
to great lengths to attract the city’s most affluent members into their
home. The Selden family remained in the home until 1921, and has been
purchased by a succession of owners over the last century. The John
Hill House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in
1979, and has been well-maintained. In 2016, the home has been
renovated to accommodate offices for local professionals. The home
stands as a reminder of Erie’s industrial boom and the prominent
families who subsequently prospered.