An Early History of New Castle, Pennsylvania

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This article is sponsored by the abuse attorneys in New Castle. We encourage residents and visitors to learn about the history of the city of New Castle and more.

Summary of New Castle

New Castle is a city in and the county seat of Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. It is the principal city of the New Castle, PA Micropolitan Statistical Area and the anchor for the northwestern portion of the Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton, PA-WV-OH Combined Statistical Area. The history of the city dates back to 1798 when civil engineer John Carlysle Stewart discovered that the original survey of the donated land in western PA, which was reserved for Revolutionary War veterans, missed 50 acres at the confluence of the Neshannock Creek and Shenango River. He claimed the land for himself and laid out the town of New Castle in April of 1798.

The Borough of New Castle was incorporated in 1825. When the governor of PA created Lawrence County on April 5, 1849, the borough became part of the county – it was previously part of Mercer County. In 2869, New Castle was incorporated as a city. When the Beaver and Erie Canal system was constructed through the city, it brought many manufacturing plants to the area because of easy access to raw materials and the availability of transportation. As railroads started taking over the canal system, the city grew even more. In the 1870s, it was a major hub of the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad.

By 1907, New Castle was among one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. Known as the "Tin Plate Capital of the World," it was home to the largest tin plate mill in America. In the 1920s, New Castle experienced its greatest prosperity. The city became known as the "Fireworks Capital of America" and the "Hot Dog Capital of the World." Leading fireworks and pyrotechnics companies like Phyrotecnico Fireworks and Zambelli Fireworks were founded in New Castle.

However, the city suffered during the Great Depression and became part of the Rust Belt in the late 1900s. As of 2010, it has a population of 91,108 people and a total area of 8.5 square miles. The city is a commercial center of a fertile agricultural region. Historic sites in New Castle that have been added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) are:

  • The Scottish Rite Cathedral
  • Lawrance County Courthouse
  • North Hill Historic District

Read on about a Visit To Warren, Pennsylvania.

Scottish Rite Cathedral

The Scottish Rite Cathedral was built in 1925 by John S. Wallace – the first Commander-in-Chief of the New Castle area and a Masonic official – to accommodate all Masonic groups. Designed by architect R. G. Schmidt, the cathedral is located on East Lincoln Avenue. During the Great Depression, it was taken by the county after the Masons were unable to pay their taxes. However, in 1940, it was reacquired with the establishment of the nonprofit Cathedral Foundation. Operated by the Cathedral Foundation, Scottish Rite Cathedral is used for banquets, wedding receptions and performances by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Lawrence County Courthouse

Lawrence County Courthouse is a two-story, six-bay, historic courthouse building in New Castle. Constructed in 1850 through 1855, it is of the Greek Revival architectural style. Many additions to the building have been built over the years. On December 15, 1978, it was listed on the NRHP.

North Hill Historic District

The North Hill Historic District is a 91-block district in New Castle. The residential neighborhood consists of many historic homes and mansions dating back to the 1800s. It was added to the NRHP in 1999.

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