This village is located on the north side of Big Neshannock Creek, in the bend of the stream, and is named from the rapid in the creek near
Holstein's grist-mill. Here the channel of the stream is narrowed to a considerable extent, and for some forty or fifty feet the descent is such as to create a swift rush of the waters, and, as they dash among the fragments of rock which lie in the bed of the stream, they make noise enough for the respectable waterfall. The place is a great resort for picnic parties during the summer, and the rocks bear witness to the frequency of the visits in the many names cut in them; the earliest of them reach back as far as 1826 or 1827. In a cavern or hollow beneath the rocks was accidentally found, many years ago, a stone image, some eighteen or twenty inches in length, carved to represent a chief, with all his paraphernalia, even to the imitation of his head necklace. Whether the relic of a prehistoric race, the creation of later Indians, or the hoax of a practical joker, was never ascertained.
The first schoolhouse at Neshannock Falls was built about 1835, a frame building, which was replaced by a brick structure, about 1871-72.
Thomas, John and James Wilson built a flouring mill on the Big Neshannock, about sixty rods above the present mill, in the neighborhood of 1826-7. Before the grist mill was built the
Wilsons had erected a saw-mill, since torn away. The original dam was removed and a new one built on the same site about 1850. A new mill was built in 1841 by the same parties who built the first one, and the old one was remodeled and for a time used for a woolen factory. It was finally torn down. The new mill did a large custom and merchant business, shipping most of the flour manufactured to New Castle and Pittsburg.
Thomas, John and James Wilson were sons of Adam Wilson,
who settled, in 1806 or 1807, near New, Wilmington.
John Wilson built a paper mill about 1852, and, after running it for two years, disposed of it to
J. C. Shaw, who operated it until February, 1866, when it was destroyed by fire.
Samuel Holstein built a grist-mill and a saw-mill (the saw-mill first) some time between 1835 and 1840. A woolen mill was built somewhere about the same time. The old grist-mill was finally removed and a new one built, about 1856-7, by Hugh and Thomas McConnell, for Mr. Holstein, they having the use of the mill for a term of years.
A saw-mill was built at the head of the Holstein mill-race as early as 1810-12, by
Hugh Watson, and was the first one in the neighborhood. It was running for several years subsequent to 1815, but the mill and dam were both finally removed.
An iron furnace was built at Neshannock Falls about 1850-52, and belonged to W. G. & C. A. Powers, who also had the first store at this place. The furnace was operated some ten or twelve years, the ore being taken from the immediate neighbor hood, and much of it from the farm of
James Banks. Charcoal was exclusively used for fuel. The ore was of a good quality, said to yield sixty per cent of iron.
The country along Neshannock Creek is extensively underlaid with iron ore, and the land is necessarily cut up so much in mining it, owing to its approaching so near the surface, that it is no longer taken out. The same trouble is met with in getting out the coal; the vein is thin, also, although the coal is of an excellent quality.
Neshannock Falls post-office was established about 1864-66 with
Samuel Holstein as the first postmaster. He held the office some six or seven years, when he was succeeded by
J. C. Shaw. The village and postoffice bear the same name.
John C. Blevins is the proprietor of a general store, which was established twenty-six years ago. He has been post master for twelve years. At this place is a large grist mill, operated by
John Y. Walker. Neshannock Falls Creamery is also a flourishing concern.
Twentieth Century History of New Castle and Lawrence County, 1908, pages 366-367