Historic Structures

George Colt Mansion, Erie Pennsylvania

Date added: June 12, 2017 Categories: Pennsylvania House Mansion Second Empire

The George Colt Mansion was the home of a prominent Erie banker from its completion in 1872 until his death in 1908. The owner was a member of a pioneering Erie family which settled in the region in 1795.

One of the very first settlers in Erie County was Judah Colt, land agent for the Pennsylvania Population Company after 1797. In this capacity he was largely responsible for the early development of the area. Among those associated with him in his agency was a nephew, Thomas Colt, who later became burgess and the first mayor of the city of Erie in 1851.

George Pearson Colt, the son of Thomas, was born in Erie in 1834. At an early age he became a clerk in a local banking house, and later moved to Chicago where he continued his career in banking. In 1867 he returned to Erie and established a private banking firm in partnership with his father-in-law P. H. Ball. The firm of Ball & Colt was capitalized at $50,000 It was closed upon Colt's death in 1908. At that time it was the only remaining private financial institution in the City.

Among the property which George Colt inherited from his father were several lots just outside the city limits on Erie's east side. It was on one of these lots that he began construction of his large country home in 1870. The size and workmanship of the house are confirmed in the fact that Colt's taxable base increased from $4,550 to $25,000 when the house was completed in 1872.

Unlike his father, Colt did not aspire to political office but preferred to devote all his energies to his banking business. Nonetheless he was a long-term member of the Board of Education, serving as its treasurer from 1878 until his death.

His professional career was aptly summarized in an editorial which appeared in the Erie Dispatch on June 6, 1908. It said (the) "city has lost a faithful and able citizen. As a banker he was careful, honest, and successful, and that fraternity has lost one of its most efficient advisers and staunchest supporters."