The first settlers to arrive in the “town on the hill” were merchants and farmers. When the Erie Extension Canal opened in 1844, Girard was a growing community and in 1846 was incorporated as the Borough of Girard. The town received fame when showman Dan Rice started wintering his circus here in 1855.
Trail Head: First Presbyterian Church, 260 Main Street East, Girard
Trail Hours: Open year round from dawn to dusk
Amenities: Public benches are located along the trail and public restrooms are available at the Country Fair gas station.
Parking: Parking is available at the First Presbyterian Church, as well as at the Girard Borough Municipal Building and streetside.
Is Trail Handicap Accessible?: Yes
Trail Length: 3.5 miles
Contact: Girard Borough (T: 814.774.9683)
1. First Presbyterian Church (1835)
2. St. John's Cemetery (1883)
3. Girard Cemetery (1835) is located on the east side of the street, while St. John’s Cemetery (1883) is located on the west side of the street
4. Building was once the C.G. Wood Company (1930)
5. EMSCO was first known as Ely Manufacturing Co.
6. Girard Manufacturing Company, also known as Marx Toys (1930)
7. Girard Wrench Company, established by the Battles and Webster families
8. Borough of Girard Electric Plant (1937-1973)
9. Famous circus man Dan Rice's estate is now a park owned by the Borough of Girard
10. The Battles Bank Building (1893) established by the Battles and Webster families
11. Dan Rice’s Civil War Monument (1865)
12. Borough of Girard Office
13. Once the location of Dan Rice’s home and American Legion Post 474, Post 474 built a new building in 2012
14. Dan Rice’s daughter’s house, built by Rice's son-in-law
15. A view of the Elk Creek Valley
16. The path of the Erie Extension Canal (1842-1871)
17. Warehouse for the Erie Extension Canal
18. The Girard Dinor began as a horse-drawn dining car (1913), be sure to stop in
19. The Universalist Church (est. 1849), Underground Railroad stop overseen by Reverend Charles Shipman
20. Charlotte Elizabeth Battles Memorial Museum (1861), Erie County Historical
21. R.S. Battles Farmhouse (1855), Erie County Historical Society*
22. A.F. Dobler Hose and Fire Company (est. 1900)
23. Girard United Methodist Church (1855)
24. The Culbertson House (1893)
25. St. John’s Church (est. 1853)
26. The Hutchinson House (1820's)
27. Webster House (1833)
28. Location of the Battles Memorial School (1912), destroyed by fire 1984
*From the R.S. Battles Farmhouse, you can extend your outdoor adventure by taking the one-mile natural surface trail that begins at the parking lot of the site. The trail, which is a loop, takes visitors along a bluff that overlooks railroad tracks that were laid next to the path of the historic Erie Extension Canal. When the canal ceased operations in 1871, much of its route was claimed and repurposed for rail travel.