Merski, Harkins laud Erie blogger honored by historical society

Erin Phillips received ‘Community Initiative Award’ for history blog

ERIE, Jan. 27 – State Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins are hailing local resident Erin Phillips, who was awarded a Community Initiative Award for 2020 from the State Historic Preservation Office for her “Old Erie on Foot” Instagram account and blog.

The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said Phillips’ work, which encourages others to discover and explore Erie’s historic places, is bringing attention to the area’s rich past and encouraging others to learn and participate.

“Some communities are lucky enough to have natural storytellers who have a knack for sharing their love of history in a relatable, engaging way that excites others,” Merski said. “Erin Phillips is one of those natural storytellers. The stories and photos in her blog and Instagram account, “Old Erie on Foot,” have inspired thousands to learn more about the people, places and events that shaped us.”

Harkins said: “We are so proud of Erin Phillips for her work in bringing attention to Erie’s rich history. Local history comes alive when it is shared by those who have roots in the community. By encouraging readers to explore historical buildings, homes and other sites, Ms. Phillips is laying a path through the fascinating events that happened here and inspiring others to follow in her footsteps.”

According to the historic preservation office – a bureau of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission –  Phillips started her Old Erie on Foot Instagram account in July 2018 with a hashtag and call to action for fellow history and Erie enthusiasts to discover and explore the area’s historic places. She believes that “every old building has a story that needs to be told.”

The Community Initiative Award recognizes people, agencies and organizations whose work embody the theme of the state’s historical preservation plan, which is designed to help Pennsylvanians better understand historic preservation and its benefits, appreciate their shared histories as told through historic places, and balance history and economic development to manage change within their communities.

Phillips was one of three Pennsylvanians to receive the award. More information about the award and recipients is available here.