James "Jim" Thompson (1863-1931)
Erie native Jim Thompson worked to improve visitor access to the park and to protect the shoreline of the peninsula. As one of his governmental duties, Thompson was a member of the Pennsylvania State Park and Harbor Commission from 1927 to 1931.
At a time when automobiles were replacing horses and streetcars, nearly two thirds of the peninsula was inaccessible to vehicles. Thompson recognized the need to connect the roads, making a complete loop around the park. Through his efforts, projects designed to accommodate increasing numbers of park visitors became a reality.
Visitors can enjoy the sandy beaches and natural beauty of Presque Isle in part due to Jim Thompson's contributions. Thompson's wife, Millie, donated a marker at Thompson Circle to commemorate her husband's dedicated service to the park. It is directly across the road on your your left.
In the Fall of 1921, the shores of Presque Isle were reinforced by large rock structures. As you walk along the beach today, you may notice various forms of shoreline protection built over the last 100 years.
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