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A paper mill, powered by water turbines, was constructed by Job and William Harvey along the Neshannock Creek in 1868. It was built on the site of the original Pearson Mill, a sawmill built by Henry Pearson (1798-1872) in the early 1830s. The paper mill burned down in 1883 and was rebuilt as the Standard Paper Company. The plant was along the line of the Stoneboro Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) and located near the modern-day Paper Mill Bridge. A dam, located just upstream at what later became El Rio Beach, supplied water via a raceway to help power the mill. In 1887 the Dilworth Paper Company of Pittsburgh, led by prominent businessman Lawrence Dilworth (1853-1911), acquired the plant and commenced with various improvements. The plant specialized in making paper sacks for the sugar industry. When company patriarch Lawrence Dilworth passed away in June 1911 and company was subjected to a legal battle among his heirs. The plant in New Castle was soon closed down but in August 1914 a group of New Castle businessmen, led by James Cunningham, acquired the idle plant and the water rights. The reorganized New Castle Paper Mill, with about fifty employees, manufactured various paper products but began specializing in the making of decorative wallpaper. The plant was powered by modern boilers but also utilized the old water turbines when necessary. (c1908) Full Size
The paper mill was closed down in mid-1924 due to a lack of business. A new group of businessmen, led by President J. K. Furst, took over in November 1925 and reopened the plant as the New Castle Paper Products Corporation. They improved and upgraded the mill but struggled to keep it in business. In April 1927 the company was closed and went into receivership. The man most associated with the paper mill was Lewis E. Hough, who basically served as the superintendent from 1887 until 1927. The equipment and surplus paper was later auctioned off. It took some time but the plant, and its thirty-one acres of property, was eventually sold off to different owners by 1929. The mill buildings were subsequently razed. The nearby site of the Paper Mill dam, a popular swimming hole located upstream, became known as El Rio Beach in 1939. The city purchased most of the property in 1967 and still owns it today. (c1901) Full Size