John N. Euwer (1812-1878), of Irish descent and born in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, entered the mercantile business at a young age. By 1834 he made his way to the New Castle area with his brother Daniel Euwer, as they established a general store to take advantage of traffic along the new Beaver & Erie Canal. Together they established the Euwer’s dry goods business in downtown New Castle.
Daniel soon left the business and another brother named Samuel took his place in the firm. Samuel soon died and John took over sole ownership. The store went through a series of name changes over the years. It became J. N. Euwer & Sons when two of John’s sons joined the firm in 1867, was renamed J. N. Euwer’s Sons when patriarch John passed away in 1878, and later yet became the odd-sounding J. N. Euwer’s Sons’ Sons. By 1842 the Euwer’s store was located at what became #210 East Washington Street, where it would remain a presence for many decades. This store, which in time primarily became a women’s clothing store, was lost to a fire in 1873 but soon rebuilt with five stories at the same location.
In 1881 several sons of founder John N. Euwer bought out the A. W. Brownlee & Company in Youngstown, Ohio, and opened another Euwer’s Store. They moved locations several times before settling into the new Stambaugh Building when it opened in early 1908.
Meanwhile, back in New Castle, the company started construction in 1898 on a new building known as the Euwer Block. The triangular-shaped building was located at the foot of the north end of the Mill Street Bridge. Its address was commonly given as “at the bridge” and it was accessible via a stretch of Water Street/Neshannock Avenue which is now gone. This four-story building became home to Euwer’s dry goods and furniture business and was the largest department store in New Castle. I believe the neighboring Euwer’s storeroom building, known as the Old Armory, housed elements of the Troop F Cavalry unit for many years and was used as a community hall.
Euwer’s profitable business slowly waned in the coming years. In 1921 the store on East Washington Street was closed and sold to local businessman George Winter to become the home of the newly renamed The Winter Company. The furniture store in the Euwer Block remained in business but mounting debts caught up to it. The store, under the ownership of founder John N. Euwer’s grandson Harry G. Euwer (1878-1933), was finally closed after an auction sale held on Wednesday, August 1, 1928. This ended ninety-four years of the Euwer family business in New Castle. I believe the Youngstown store was closed by this time as well.
The old Euwer’s building “at the bridge” was slated for replacement in 1930 with a new building but apparently this did not happen. Various businesses leased or temporarily occupied the building in the coming decade or two. I believe it was torn down sometime in the 1960’s and was a vacant lot for some time. Today the waterfront site is part of the commercial complex known as the Riverplex.
The Euwer’s furniture store and secondary storeroom building are located “at the bridge” – next to the Mill Street Bridge. A section of Water Street or Neshannock Avenue that ran along the water can also be seen. Euwer’s also operated a nearby “arcade,” essentially a bowling alley and billiards hall. (1909) Full Size
A Euwer’s advertisement in the New Castle News appearing after a fire in the East Washington Street store in January 1899. It was a small fire but the store sustained lots of smoke damage. (1899)
The triangular-shaped Euwer Block was built “at the bridge” in 1898. Euwer’s sold furniture and other home furnishings here until it closed in 1928. (c1915) Full Size
Inside the Euwer’s store on East Washington Street. This store carried an extensive collection of women’s clothing. (c1908) Full Size
Euwer’s advertisement. (c1920)
A Euwer’s advertisement appearing in the New Castle News just a few days before the furniture store “at the bridge” closed its doors for good on August 1, 1928.