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Hill's Beach/El Rio Beach - New Castle PA

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William ‘Bill’ Hill Sr. leased some property and opened a small beach in 1917 at the site of a popular swimming hole on the Neshannock River. The area became known as Neshannock Beach or Hill’s Beach or Paper Mill Beach and was located at the site of the paper mill dam. Hill built it up by erecting a concession stand, bath houses, a picnic grove, a playground, and a dance hall. In 1928 a corporation was formed to run the beach and it was renamed as the Neshannock Amusement Park. (c1923) Full Size


Ownership of the park changed hands several times in the coming years and it was renamed as Castle Beach in 1931 and then El Rio Beach in about 1939. The city bought the 18-acre park property in 1967 and continued to operate it as a picnic area. The old dance hall was lost to a suspicious fire in April 1973 and the park generally fell into disuse by the end of the decade. (c1935)


(Jun 1956)


(Jul 1964)


(Jul 1971)


Ermino “Mack” Casacchia (1896-1979), a veteran of World War I and a local businessman, purchased Hill’s Beach in the summer of 1939. He was also operating a night club, which had vaudeville acts, gambling, and dancing, on Neshannock Avenue near the downtown area. Casacchia renamed the popular swimming area as El Rio Beach. Casacchia, who built up the 18-acre facility, operated it for many years until he sold it to the city in July 1967. (1953) (Photo courtesy of Art Casacchia) Full Size


Mack Casacchia and an unknown patron at El Rio Beach. (c1955) (Photo courtesy of Art Casacchia)


The small carousel at El Rio Beach. (c1955) (Photo courtesy of Art Cassachia)


The dance hall at the city-owned El Rio Beach, once the site of lively events, was gutted by a raging fire on the early morning of Saturday, April 7, 1973. Fire investigators ruled that it was a case of senseless arson. Damage was estimated in excess of $45,000, which included valuable recreational equipment being stored inside the building. (Apr 1973)


(Apr 2012)


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(Apr 2012) Full Size


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Comment

  1. I have some pictures of ElRio back in the day . I could email them to you to to add to your current collection. The owner, Erinmo “MacK” Casacchia, was my uncle,

    Art Cascchia · 05/26/2014 10:25 PM · #

  2. I USED TO CUT GRASS FOR MACK IN 1964 1965 BEFORE HE RETIRED. MACK AND I HAD A GOOD TIME TOGETHER.HE WAS A GOOD PERSON.I WOULD CUT ALL THE GRASS AT EL RIO BEACH FOR A CANDY AND POP I WAS 12YRS OLD

    EUGENE HOOVER · 08/30/2015 07:20 PM · #

  3. yes i would enjoy seeing some pictures from back in the day i am trying organize a nonprofit org to re open elrio beach and restore it back to an amusement park

    mark a melillo · 11/04/2015 07:03 PM · #

  4. We were never allowed to go there because it was too close to “The Horseshoe(I think it was),” so, instead, we went the Horseshoe to swim. Our poor parents! How did we survive?

    Jim Keil · 05/11/2016 02:22 PM · #