New Castle, Pennsylvania
Kennedy Square in downtown New Castle
|Nickname: Fireworks Capital of America|
|Area||8.6 sq mi (22 km2)|
|- land||8.5 sq mi (22 km2)|
|- water||0.1 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Density||2,738 / sq mi (1,057 / km2)|
|- Incorporated (borough)||1802|
|- Incorporated (city)||1869|
|Mayor||Anthony G. Mastrangelo (D)|
|- summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-5)|
|Area code||724, 878|
New Castle is a city in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, United States, 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Pittsburgh and near the Pennsylvania-Ohio border just 18 miles (29 km) east of Youngstown, Ohio; in 1910, the total population was 36,280; in 1920, 44,938; and in 1940, 47,638. The population has fallen to 23,128 according to the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Lawrence County. New Castle is the principal city of the New Castle micropolitan area and a part of the Pittsburgh–New Castle Combined Statistical Area, which is the 18th largest in the United States. It is the commercial center of a fertile agricultural region.
In 1798, John Carlysle Stewart, a civil engineer, traveled to western Pennsylvania to resurvey the "donation lands" resurveyed lands, which had been reserved for veterans of the Revolutionary War. He discovered that the original survey had neglected to stake out approximately 50 acres (200,000 m2) at the confluence of the Shenango River and the Neshannock Creek, at that time a part of Allegheny County. Claiming the land for himself, he laid out what was to become the town of New Castle. Stewart laid out the town of New Castle in April 1798. It comprised approximately 50 acres (200,000 m2), in what was then part of Allegheny County. New Castle became a borough in 1825, having a population of about 300. The city later became a part of Mercer County. On April 5, 1849, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania signed an act creating Lawrence County named in honor of U.S. Navy Captain James Lawrence. New Castle became a city in 1869 and was headed by its first Mayor, Thomas B. Morgan. At that time, the population had increased to about 6,000.
In 1849, a group of Old Order Amish families from Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, settled just north of New Castle in New Wilmington. Later migrations from Holmes County, Ohio would make this Amish community one of the largest in Pennsylvania. Approximately 2,000 Amish live and work presently in the townships north of New Castle.
Business in New Castle began to flourish in the early 19th century with the construction of the canal system, which made its way through the city. Numerous manufacturing plants became located in New Castle because of the availability of transportation facilities and ready access to raw material markets. The canal system was later supplemented and then replaced by railroads which offered greater speed and capacity for freight, as well as year round service.
In the 1870s, the city became a major hub of the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad. New Castle's population swelled from 11,600 in 1890 to 28,339 in 1900, and to 38,280 in 1910, as immigrants flocked to the city to work in the mills and nearby limestone quarries, particularly from Italy. Italian laborers of the era were frequent victims of the Black Hand society, which employed blackmail and extortion to rob the workers of their pay. In 1907 the headquarters of the Black Hand for the entire region was discovered in the village of Hillsville a few miles west of New Castle. By this time New Castle was one of the fastest growing cities in the country, and with the construction of the largest tin plate mill in America, the city became the tin plate capital of the world. The tin plate industry marked a new increase the city's prosperity.
|Portrait of an American City: 200 Years of New Castle History, Lawrence County Historical Society (2:56)|
In 1908 New Castle was linked to Pittsburgh by the Pittsburgh, Harmony, Butler and New Castle Railway, an interurban trolley line. Steel and paper mills, foundries, a bronze bushing factory, and car-construction plants contributed to the economy. In addition, the Shenango China produced commercial china and created fine china for the White House, including dinnerware for Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Lyndon B. Johnson. Other ceramic factories produced bathroom fixtures and industrial refractory materials.
In the 1920s, New Castle enjoyed its greatest prosperity. The landscape of the city was transformed with the building of many beautiful structures, some of which still stand, such as The Cathedral, St. Mary's Church, and the Castleton Hotel. The city also established its identity. New Castle is known both as the "hot dog capital of the world" and the "fireworks capital of America." Its chili dogs are the product of Greek immigrants who came to New Castle in the early 20th century and established restaurants along with their homes. The notoriety for fireworks is credited to two local fireworks companies of international stature, S.Vitale Pyrotechnic Industries, Inc. (Pyrotecnico) and Zambelli Internationale.
In the 1930s the city, along with most cities of America, suffered during the Great Depression. During this trying time, the federal government established the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). These programs offered jobs to many displaced workers. Many of the stone walls built by the WPA and the CCC still stand as a reminder of the historic demise of the economy.
Industry temporarily surged during wartime. In 1950, the population peaked at 48,834, but became part of the rust belt, with population dwindling to 28,334 by 1990. New Castle is the County Seat of Lawrence County which has a population of approximately 100,000.
In 1998, the City of New Castle was a host city for the History Channel Great Race. Over 15,000 spectators gathered downtown for the festivities. The city also celebrated its 200th birthday in 1998 with a downtown fireworks festival that attracted over 30,000 people.
The first fireworks manufacturer in New Castle was Leopold Fazzoni, who owned and operated the Fazzoni Brothers Fireworks Company. Mr. Fazzoni came to New Castle from Italy in 1886 and worked in the tin mills to earn enough money to start his own business. Mr. Fazzoni was issued the first certificate for fireworks manufacturing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Of the people who worked with the Fazzoni family, many founded their own businesses, such as: Paul Rozzi, Jacob Conti, Constantino Vitale, and Joseph Zambelli.
Despite recent economic challenges, the city continues to serve as the headquarters of Pyrotecnico Fireworks, the winner of the 2008 Gold Jupiter, awarded at the world’s most prestigious fireworks venue: LaRonde in Montreal, Canada. Started by Constantino Vitale in Italy in 1889, Constantino immigrated to New Castle continuing his business there in the 1920s. Five generations of the Vitale family have transformed the company.In the 1990s the company's name was changed to Pyrotecnico and has grown to be a world leader in the industry. Also located in New Castle is Zambelli Fireworks, which was founded in New Castle. Zambelli Fireworks is one of the world's leading fireworks and pyrotechnics companies. These fireworks companies have been featured in venues such as presidential celebrations and Super Bowls. Pyrotecnico and Zambelli Fireworks have changed the face of the fireworks industry. This has gained the city the nickname, "Fireworks Capital of America." New Castle has recently opened Zambelli Plaza near the Cascade Center in 2007 in honor of the Zambelli family's accomplishments.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.6 square miles (22 km2), of which, 8.5 square miles (22 km2) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) of it (0.47%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 26,309 people, 10,727 households, and 6,725 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,082.0 people per square mile (1,189.5/km²). There were 11,709 housing units at an average density of 1,371.6 per square mile (529.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 76.77% White, 20.79% African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.17% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.30% from other races, and 1.85% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.76% of the population. 33.4% were of Italian, 15.0% German, 8.1% Irish and 5.9% Polish ancestry according to Census 2000.
There were 10,727 households out of which 27.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.2% were married couples living together, 16.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.3% were non-families. 33.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.01.
In the city the population was spread out with 23.8% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 20.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 85.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $25,598, and the median income for a family was $32,539. Males had a median income of $30,112 versus $20,754 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,730. About 17.1% of families and 20.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.8% of those under age 18 and 11.2% of those age 65 or over.
Downtown New Castle is currently undergoing a redevelopment centered around the Cascade Center. The downtown streets and sidewalks were rebuilt in the early 21st century to resemble the style at the start of the 19th century. The revitalization of downtown also saw two major routes into the city, Pennsylvania Route 65 and U.S. Route 224, which have both had their terminus extended into downtown since the start of 2007.
InfoCision, a telemarketing services company, restored the former New Castle Dry Goods Co. building, where it moved its offices into from the Cascade Galleria. The building had been vacant since the late 1980s when the Troutman's department store closed and became registered on the National Register of Historic Places. The building is now known as the Pier I Complex Building.
The downtown area has also become the home of several bank offices, hosting the regional headquarters of Huntington, FirstMerit, and First Commonwealth (all descended from banks formerly based in the city but later acquired) as well as branches for PNC Bank and First National Bank. Mellon Bank also had offices across the street from the current Zambelli Plaza before selling off its New Castle-area branches to First National Bank, which closed the office building since it already had the aforementioned branch in downtown. Mellon's former parking lot was restored and is now the parking lot for the Cascade Center and other downtown businesses.
The city itself is served by the New Castle Area School District, with several areas also served by their respective school districts. New Castle Area also serves nearby West Pittsburg. The Lawrence County Career and Technical Center is also located in the city. There are three primary centers at New Castle: John F. Kennedy, West Side and Thaddeus Stevens. There is a kindergarten (Lockly) and a pre-kindergarten (Croton). The middle school is George Washington Intermediate.
New Castle and all of Lawrence County is served by the New Castle Christian Academy (NCCA) On Albert Street in between Sumner Avenue and Clen-Moore Boulevard In the North Hill Historic District. NCCA serves students from Pre-K to 8th grade. It is also served by St. Vitus Catholic School (SVS) On South Jefferson Street and on Home Street. SVS serves students from Pre-K3 to 8th grade.
New Castle proper is primarily served by four post-secondary education facilities: the New Castle Beauty School for cosmetology students in downtown, the New Castle School of Trades for technical trades in Pulaski Township, the Jameson School of Nursing (owned & operated by Jameson Health System) within the city, and the Lawrence County branch of Butler County Community College, which opened in 2008 in Union Township and serves as a primary community college to Lawrence County.
Among more traditional four-year universities within short driving distance includes Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Grove City College in Grove City, Slippery Rock University in Slippery Rock, Westminster College in New Wilmington, and Youngstown State University in Youngstown just outside of downtown. Penn State also has two branches within driving distance: the Beaver campus in Monaca and the Shenango campus in Sharon.
Among local routes, Interstate 376, Pennsylvania Route 18, and U.S. Route 422 are the major routes running through the city, while two more major routes — Pennsylvania Route 65 and U.S. Route 224 — both terminate in the city. Pennsylvania Route 108 and Pennsylvania Route 168 also run through the city. U.S. 422 Business, a former alignment of U.S. 422, runs through the city, ending on each side of the city when the main 422 leaves the New Castle Bypass. I-376 and U.S. 422 are briefly concurrent with each other on the New Castle Bypass, though south of New Castle until Chippewa Township near Beaver Falls, I-376 is tolled by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. The area is located a short drive from Interstate 79, Interstate 80, and Interstate 76/Pennsylvania Turnpike.
The closest airport is the New Castle Municipal Airport which is a purely municipal airport with no commercial service. Most residents of New Castle use Pittsburgh International Airport which is about 42 miles (68 km) from downtown. Also, Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, Akron-Canton Airport, and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport are all within driving distance of the city center.
The local community is served by the New Castle News, a newspaper published in the afternoon Monday-Friday. On the weekends, the paper publishes the New Castle News Weekend, published on Saturday mornings. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and The Vindicator also have large distributions in the area.
The area is served by both the Pittsburgh and Youngstown television stations, with regular news coverage in the area from both. Despite being considerably closer to Youngstown, New Castle is part of the Pittsburgh DMA by Nielsen Media Research. It is, however, part of the Youngstown radio market according to Arbitron ratings, even though most Pittsburgh-area radio stations can easily be heard within the area.
New Castle was home to the first ABC television affiliate in Western Pennsylvania when WKST-TV signed on in 1953, as WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh did not sign on until 1958 and WJET-TV did not sign on in Erie until 1966. The station moved its license to Youngstown in 1964, moved to channel 33, and changed its call sign to WYTV. WYTV remains an ABC affiliate today, while the channel 45 allocation is now used by PBS member station WNEO in Alliance, Ohio. Currently, the only TV station in New Castle is WPCP-CD 27, a low-powered satellite station of Pittsburgh low-powered independent station WBGN-CD. WPXI did recently apply to the FCC for a repeater station on channel 33 in the city.
New Castle is home to two AM stations: talk station WKST 1200 and sports talk station WJST AM 1280, the latter being a Fox Sports Radio affiliate. For FM, WKPL FM 92.1, an oldies station, was licensed in New Castle before its license was moved to Ellwood City in 2004, though it still includes New Castle as one of its local communities as part of its FCC-mandated station identification. The AM stations are owned by Altoona-based Forever Broadcasting, LLC while WKPL is owned by Froggy parent Keymarket Communications of Pittsburgh.
The city was the site of an important development in the history of Warner Bros. studios, given that the first Warner Bros. theater, the Cascade, opened there in 1907. (The Warners, most of whom were Polish Jewish immigrants, resided in Youngstown.) The theater was restored and reopened in 2006. The building was nearly condemned ten years earlier after a wall fell on the sidewalk near East Washington Street (one of the city's main thoroughfares) before its historical significance was discovered, saving the building. Municipal officials have planned recent revitalization efforts around the former theater, which is now known as Cascade Center. The facility currently features two restaurants and a local stage theater, and plans are in progress to turn the complex into New Castle's version of Station Square in Pittsburgh. This revitalization plan, however, will focus on motion pictures rather than railroads.
The Cascade Center itself is named after Cascade Park, located on the outskirts of the city's East Side in Shenango Township along Pennsylvania Route 65. A former trolley park, it was restored and converted into a regular outdoor park in the 1980s with a few historical buildings as well as the park's entrance sign restored, avoiding the fate of nearby Idora Park in Youngstown. The park hosts the annual Back to the 50s Weekend classic car show, and previously hosted the similarly themed Thunder in the Cascades motorcycle show until concerns about nudity and alcohol use at the event as opposed to the more family-friendly Back to the 50's Weekend had the event moved to the Lawrence County Fairgrounds in nearby Hickory Township in the early 21st century.
The New Castle Playhouse, a community theatre, is located along Long Avenue and puts on several shows a year, and is one of the only such theatres between Youngstown and theatre-rich Pittsburgh.
The Old Princeton School, located nearby, has been the venue for rock concerts.
In the 2011 movie, Super 8, New Castle, Pennsylvania is referenced as the "fireworks capital of the world."
New Castle has a large Arab-American population whose culture is visible throughout the community. Large numbers of Lebanese and Syrian immigrants were attracted by the city's prosperity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Their culture is especially visible in the local cuisine, which makes popular use of items such as stuffed grape leaves, lamb on the rod, kibbe, and garlic sauce. Although many other Rust Belt cities contain large Arab-American populations, New Castle is unique for its large population of Alawite Muslims from Syria. The Muslim community of the city has a mosque on the East Side of town.
- Joseph Baldwin, educator
- Charlie Bennett, Major League Baseball catcher for four teams
- Charles Joseph Carter, magician
- George Chip, middleweight boxing champion of the world from 1913 to 1914
- Ralph J. Cicerone, scientist
- Bruce Clark, professional football player with the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs and Penn State All-American
- Jack Cole, cartoonist and creator of the superhero Plastic Man
- Matt DeSalvo (born September 11, 1980), Major League Baseball starting pitcher with the Florida Marlins and formerly the New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves
- Darrell Dess (born July 11, 1935), former football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New York Giants, and the Washington Redskins
- Thomas Fee (August 6, 1931 – August 7, 2013), member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Castle
- Israel Gaither, National Commander of The Salvation Army in the United States, the first black person to serve in that capacity
- Louis E. Graham, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania.
- Edmond Hamilton (October 21, 1904 – February 1, 1971), prolific science fiction author writing chiefly in the genre described as space opera
- Jack Hanley (June 17, 1973), folklorist, historian and television producer, and star of the paranormal television show "Colorado X: Case Files of the Paranormal" 
- Donnie Iris, born in New Castle (February 28, 1943), but grew up in nearby Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, rock singer and guitarist, best known for his work with the Jaggerz, Wild Cherry and Donnie Iris and the Cruisers.
- Oscar Lawrence Jackson, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania.
- John Kiriakou (born August 9, 1964), former CIA operative who in 2007 was the first to admit that the agency used waterboarding as a form of interrogation
- Mark Mangino (August 26, 1956), former head coach of the University of Kansas football team
- Scott McCurley, NFL assistant coach with the Green Bay Packers
- Bill McPeak, football player and National Football League coach.
- Andrew R. Morgan, US astronaut, selected in 2013
- Mike Marshall, musician
- Lance Nimmo, NFL player with Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots
- Thomas Wharton Phillips, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania.
- Ira D. Sankey (August 28, 1840 – August 13, 1908), gospel singer and composer
- Raymond P. Shafer, Governor of Pennsylvania
- John W. Slayton, prominent socialist and labor union leader
- Chuck Tanner (July 4, 1929 – February 11, 2011), former left fielder and manager in Major League Baseball
- Jack Zduriencik, Seattle Mariners general manager, former Pittsburgh Pirates scout
- Justin Miller, husband of Jennifer Nettles, lead vocalist of the American Country music duo group Sugarland.
- Dennis Joseph Slamon (born August 8, 1948), oncologist and chief of the division of Hematology-Oncology at UCLA. He is best known for his work identifying the HER2/neu oncogene that is amplified in 25-33% of breast cancer patients and the resulting treatment Herceptin.
- Frank Augustine, President of Augustine's Italian Village Inc. (Augustine's Pizza), a frozen pizza corporation centered on New Castle's east side. Serves most of Western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio.
- Chris Sainato, Democrat, State Representative for the 9th District aka Lawrence County
- Robert Sterling (November 13, 1917 – May 30, 2006), film and television actor. Starred in many films including the 1951 MGM hit Show Boat.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "Lawrence County Historical Society - History of New Castle". http://www.lawrencechs.com/new_castle.html.
- Watkins, John, The Big Stunts of Great Detectives: The Scrapbook, Vol. 4, No. 6, New York: Frank A. Munsey (December 1907), p. 1098.
- Santangelo, Denice M. (December 30, 2003). "George R. Zambelli Known as Mr. Fireworks". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved October 5, 2012.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Number of Inhabitants: Pennsylvania". 18th Census of the United States. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
- "Pennsylvania: Population and Housing Unit Counts". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
- TV Query Results - Video Division (FCC) USA. Fcc.gov. Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
- Toth, Anthony (1986). "The Syrian Community in New Castle and Its Unique Alawi Component, 1900-1940". Western Pennsylvania History 69 (3): 221–240. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
- Reichler, Joseph L., ed. (1979) . The Baseball Encyclopedia (4th edition ed.). New York: Macmillan Publishing. ISBN 0-02-578970-8.
- "Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles Got Married last Weekend!". WUSN/US99.5. America's Country Station.
- Poniewasz Jr., Ron. New Castle News http://www.ncnewsonline.com/sports/x15273702/Augustine-to-throw-out-first-pitch-tonight-at-Pirates-game. Retrieved 2012-03-08. Missing or empty
- Thomas, Bob (2006-06-01). "Obituary: Robert Sterling / New Castle native was cast member in TV's 'Topper'". Post-gazette.com. Retrieved 2010-02-15.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to New Castle, Pennsylvania.|
- City website
- Valley Town (1940), a documentary on unemployment during the Great Depression, filmed in New Castle