TIMELINE: 1849-1899


Lawrence County is formed from Beaver and Mercer County March 20.

Senator David Sankey
Senator David Sankey
The Father of Lawrence County

You can read a brief biographical sketch of Senator David Sankey, the “Father of Lawrence County” on the Pennsylvania State Senate website.


First Court of Common Pleas held in First Methodist Church on South Jefferson Street, New Castle.

1850 (July)

Lawrence Guards
The Lawrence Guards at McGuffin's Corner
Photo by John Mitchell

Many communities formed militias. The Lawrence Guards was the first military drill unit formed in New Castle. It was organized in July 1850 by Major W.W. Taylor. This picture was taken by John Mitchell at McGuffin’s Corner. Judge L.L. McGuffin is standing in the doorway.


Lawrence County Court House completed at a cost of $32,000.

Westminster College founded in New Wilmington.

First McConnell’s Mill built.


wilroy furnace
Wilroy furnace, Slippery Rock Township

Wil-Roy furnace built in Slippery Rock Township.


Bank of New Castle established.


Population of County 20,000.

The Eagle, a new boat on the New Castle Packet line, prepares to leave one of its scheduled stops (September 8, 1860). Packets, primarily used for passenger service, left the New Castle packet landing at 12 noon and 7:30 p.m., arriving at New Brighton at 7 p.m. and 4 p.m., timed to make connections with trains going east and west.

the eagle canal boat
The "Eagle" canal boat on the New Castle Packet line (1860)
the jack boyle canal boat
The "Jack Boyle" ran in the pig iron trade between Brier HIll and PIttsburgh

1861 – 1865


Over 4,000 men from Lawrence County served – Nearly 500 lost their lives 1864


Villa Maria began by the Sisters of the Humility of Mary on William Merrin farm


President Abraham Lincoln assassinated


First limestone quarries opened for by Green, Marquis and Johnson.


Shenango Hall (later the Opera House then the Capital Theater) opens on South Mercer Street, New Castle.


Wampum Cement and Lime (Shinn Brothers) began operation.


Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone.


Water system established in New Castle.


Ira D. Sankey
Ira D. Sankey

Gospel hymn composer, Ira D. Sankey donates first YMCA to New Castle.


The Park Opera House on the Diamond (New Castle) opens


Limestone quarry workers

Hillsville limestone quarry workers

Bessemer Limestone and Cement started


First electric plant in New Castle.

First street car service in New Castle.


Elliott Brothers Steel Company established. One of first strip steel mills.


Downtown Ellwood City
(Photo courtesy of the Ellwood City Ledger)

Ellwood City is created. Ellwood City became a booming industrial town within a short period of time.


McKinley Tariff act passed


Greer Tin Mill opens

Fazzoni Fireworks begins operations


First seamless steel tubes in America pierced at Ellwood Weldless Tube


Nancy’s Island opened in Pulaski


Frank Jongrass hanged at Lawrence County Court house for murdering his fiancée.


Floral steps at Cascade Park, New Castle PA

Cascade Park opens in New Castle.

Cascade Park was once the entertainment center of Western Pennsylvania. Once a popular picnic spot known as Big Run Falls. It was developed into a trolley park in 1897 by the New Castle Traction Company. Designed by leading landscape architect, Frank Blaisdell, the buildings and amusements enhanced the natural beauty of the setting.

face of cascade park dvd

Cascade Park: A Narrated History

To learn more about the history of Cascade Park, see our video and read our books.


Spanish-American War

Company B 16th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, marched down Court House Hill as they departed for war.


new castle treasurer john blevins
John Blevins, New Castle treasurer

New Castle treasurer, John Blevins, found murdered in his office at city hall.

END of 1849-1899 TIMELINE
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