Spencer House Bed & Breakfast

 

 

History of Spencer House and the "treasure" we've found

 

The history of the Spencer family in Erie begins with Judah Colt. Judah Colt was a land proprietor and owned some 400 acres off Walnut Creek just to the southwest of Erie. This tract of land made it possible for him to control a fair amount of the local trade on Lake Erie and made him a very prominent businessman in the village.

In the 1830s, his nephew and namesake Judah Colt Spencer, came from Connecticut to live and work for his uncle. Some years later, Judah Colt died and young Judah Colt Spencer decided to continue his uncle's work and stay in the village.

In the 1850s, Judah Colt Spencer and a couple of businessmen founded the First National Bank of Pennsylvania. He then served as its president for more than two decades. Following in the family footsteps, his only son William Spencer became the next bank president.

This house was built as a wedding present in 1876 for William and a local Erie girl, but just before the wedding, the bride changed her mind and jilted him.  William went to Philadelphia where he met Mary, a girl with modern ideas and dare we say, a college girl.  They fell in love and married, but Mary Dupuis refused to move into the mansion right away, knowing it wasn't her house.  After a bit, they did move in where they lived their lives together and raised their family. 

Upon William's death, the house passed on to his son, Judah Colt Spencer, or J.C. Spencer as he was known around Erie. He too, like his predecessors, served as the bank's president for many years. J.C. was the last of the Spencers to live in the house and passed away in 1980 at the ripe old age of 96.There are a few locals who fondly remember J.C. for his oversized candy bars and butler costume on Halloween, his constant Doberman companion, and for his flying out of the driveway without looking to see if there was any traffic.

In 1992 after much restoration, the house was opened as a bed and breakfast and was received by the town to much acclaim. Over 135 years after its construction, this Second Empire Victorian home is still an architectural showpiece welcoming even more guests to a glimpse of the past.  We are asked about the rumored "treasure" that is in this house.  We've talked to several Spencer relatives and finally know the secret.  When the cornerstones were being placed, there was a lock of our unknown bride's hair placed.  Maybe that's what took Mary so long to move in.  We value that treasure, but we also think the real gift is this wonderful mansion built with love for the Spencer family, our family, and our guests who visit.