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Ideal Park - Neshannock Falls PA

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Stephen Harris (b1861), who owned a furniture store in New Castle, purchased about 25 acres of land in Neshannock Falls in 1917 with the intention to open a summer recreation area. The property was the former home of the Neshannock Falls Hotel, a rather modern facility that was lost to a fire back in March 1903. (New Castle News – Thur Jul 5, 1917)

Harris had the burned out ruins of the hotel removed and began hosting small picnics for the general public. In the fall of 1918 he began plans to build a large open-air pavilion, enlarge the picnic grove, erect rental cottages, and improve the bathing beach. (New Castle News – Tues Aug 20, 1918)

The grounds soon become known as Ideal Park, apparently renamed as Ideal Yellowstone Park by 1929, and was in business until at least the late 1940’s. Visitors flocked to the site for summer picnics, family reunions, swimming outings, camping trips, and nightly square dancing. The area was accessible by PRR train from the East Side of New Castle and in the 1920s a bus picked up passengers from “the Diamond” on Sundays. (May 1923)

This advertisement announced the opening of the 1926 season. Another advertisement for the park in May 1929 reads in part, “This park has beautiful scenery, a fine grove with plenty of tables and accommodations for thousands of people with shelter in case of a storm. Plenty of amusements free to everybody. Playground for the children. Ocean Wave, Merry-Go-Round, Slides, 25 Large Swings, on the ground. Refreshments of all kinds, bathing and fishing. Summer cottages for rent furnished for $1.00 per day. Open dates for picnics and reunions. The feature of the summer will be the big dancing pavilion, one of the finest and largest in the
county.” (May 1926)

This aerial view shows what I believe was the location of Ideal Park in the village of Neshannock Falls. (May 1939)


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