Old Brinton Park becomes Cascade Park

Scenic Big Run Falls at Cascade Park.
     In 1891, an American Civil War veteran and local businessman named Colonel Levi C. Brinton acquired sixty-five acres of land to the east of New Castle, Pennsylvania.  A short time later, Col. Brinton also purchased an additional 5.9 acres, making his family the owner of 70.9 acres of land which included the Big Run Waterfall and the surrounding streams.  Brinton named his land "Brinton Park," and he cleared a significant portion of the property and introduced amusements that included a dance platform where under the light of torches a fiddler would play, and the enormously popular steam-powered merry-go-round that was covered by a canvas top.  The popularity of Brinton Park grew quite rapidly, but not fast enough for Colonel Brinton.  He decided to construct a street car line from the downtown area to his new park.  However, Brinton did not recieve the necessary permission from the New Castle Street Railway Company, which owned the city franchise for streetcar transportation.  Following an exhaustive court battle, Col. Brinton was forced to remove the section of tracks which he had already put in place at considerable personal expense.  
     In 1897, Col. Brinton sold the property to Arthur Kennedy of Allegheny City and Richard and Elizabeth Quay of Sewickley.  Mr. Richard Quay was the president of the New Castle Traction Company, New Castle Electric Company, New Castle Land Company, and the Lawrence Gas Company.  Mr. Kennedy was the vice president of the same firms.  Quay and Kennedy, sold their 70.9 acres of land to the New Castle Traction Company (their own company) for $46,000.  Around the turn of the Twentieth Century, throughout the entire nation, the trolley business was a lucrative five or six day per week undertaking, with people traveling to and from work or to downtown for shopping excursions.  However, Sundays and the weekday evenings were generally much slower. To combat such a glaring lack of patronage, the streetcar companies began to develop amusement parks at the end of the trolley lines.  In a time well before the advent of radio or television, and without the relief afforded by air conditioning, the idea of a weekend excursion to the shady streamside following a week of long, hot work at the local factory or mill seemed irresistible.  Also, amusement rides and  live music acts provided further entertainment possibilities.

     The New Castle Traction Company built its trolley line from the park site to the southern end of New Castle; the area of town growing most rapidly due to the recent influx of immigrant families from Eastern and Southern Europe.  The actual laying of the tracks for the trolley line proved to be quite and undertaking, and several workers were killed by landslides caused by the difficult excavations.  The Traction Company spared no expense during the remodeling process at Brinton Park and even hired the well-known landscape architect from Boston, Massachusetts named Frank Blaisdell.  Mr. Blaisdell worked under the direct supervision of Mr. John C. Baker, the former chairman of the Garden Committee of the Massachusetts Horticulture Society.  Their plans included a new dam for the creation of a roughly fifteen acre lake that could be used for boating and swimming during the summer months, and for ice skating in the winter.

     On the eve of its grand opening, the new and improved park had yet to be renamed, so the local newspaper (Lawrence Courant-Guardian) sponsored a contest to name the park located on the east end of New Castle.  A ten year old girl named Miss Edwina Norris won the contest held by the newspaper and a grandprize of $10.  She chose the name "Cascade" because of the numerous lovely waterfalls at the park.  The young Miss Norris and her family were the guests of the park on opening day, 29 May 1897.