Erie is Pennsylvania's fourth largest city and only lake port. It has one of the best natural harbors on the Great Lakes.
Located 93 miles (148 km) southwest of Buffalo, it was first settled by the French who built Fort Presque Isle in 1753. In 1795, the town was laid out in a series of squares. Perry Square, the most important, remains a focal point in the downtown area.
Erie's industries include shipping, tourism, and manufacturing of metals, plastics, and machinery. Most of the ships of Commodore Oliver Hazzard Perry's fleet, which conquered the British on Lake Erie during the War of 1812, were built in Erie.
The tall Perry Monument on Presque Isle across the harbor is one of Erie's more notable landmarks. The surrounding Presque Isle State Park is said to draw more visitors annually than Yellowstone.