Erie, city (1990 pop. 108,718), seat of Erie co., NW Pa., on Lake Erie; inc. as a city 1851. Pennsylvania's only port on the Great Lakes, Erie is a busy shipping point for coal, iron ore, grain, petroleum, machinery, and lumber. Its manufactures include hospital equipment; locomotives; paper, food, plastic, and wood products; and industrial heaters. Fort Presque Isle was built in 1753 by the French, occupied and rebuilt in 1760 by the English, and destroyed during Pontiac's Rebellion in 1763. A peace conference between the British and Native Americans was held in 1764, but the town was not laid out until 1795. Oliver Hazard Perry 's fleet was launched at Crystal Point before his victory over the British during the battle of Lake Erie in 1813. Gannon Univ., Mercyhurst College, Villa Maria College, and a branch of Pennsylvania State Univ. are in the city. Many historic buildings remain in Erie; nearby are Presque Isle State Park and a gambling casino and racetrack.
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