History of Newton Falls


HISTORY
Early Settlement
From the Newton Falls Public Library - Newton Township was created in 1806 as township no. 3, range 5 after the Connecticut Western Reserve was surveyed. At that time, Trumbull County consisted of three million acres and extended north to Lake Erie, east to the Pennsylvania line, south to include present-day Mahoning County, and west as far as Sandusky. Connecticut ended its conflicting claim with the new federal government on the western territory by settling for title to the Western Reserve lands. Through the Connecticut Land Company, investors obtained ownership to huge parcels of property which were sold over the years to settlers.
By 1846, Trumbull County was reduced to its present square size through maneuvers usually gauged to enhance some locality's political clout. Newton Township was purchased from the Connecticut Land Company by Elijah White, Jonathan Brace, and Justin Ely for $12,903. By 1817, Cornelius DuBois of New York acquired a portion of the settlement when a debtor defaulted on money he was owed. The DuBois family had title to property in the area until at least 1903. Judson Canfield owned most of the land which is now Newton Falls.The township was settled as early as 1802 at Duck Creek, in 1804 near the Milton Township line, and in 1806 -1807 at the Newton Falls site. There were five or six Indian camps in the area and trails were used frequently to travel to the salt springs near Weathersfield. It is believed that early property owners spent time in Newtown, Connecticut before departing for these frontier lands and that the name "Newton Falls" may be a corruption of that eastern locality's name plus this community's falls on the Mahoning River.
Between 1803 and 1810, deed descriptions refer to the area by its township number and occasionally as the "Falls." By 1810, the township was called Newton which was prior to young Eben Newton's brief stint as a teacher in the vicinity and long before he became a prominent Canfield, Ohio attorney, state legislator, and judge.
Economy
From the Newton Falls Public Library - Many of the early settlers were New England farmers and dairymen who were attracted to the region by the good water supply provided by two branches of the Mahoning River. The falls provided a power source for grist, flax, woolen, carding, and saw mills. Beginning in 1840, the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal led from New Castle, PA through Newton Falls on its route west to Akron, Ohio. The canal briefly influenced the economy because it provided residents access to outside markets for cheese, butter, woolen blankets, kegs, and timber until the railroads assumed that role. In the mid-1800's, Newton Falls was a trading center for the farmers but with the passing of the canal dependency in 1867, the economy experienced a decline.
The area developed slowly and remained primarily rural until the advent of World War II.The village's industrial history and population growth began when the United States entered World War I in 1917 and area businessmen attracted the steel industry to Newton Falls. In 1919, the Newton Steel Company was created and it started a movement to use this location's proximity to rivers and the railroads in a commercial way. The steel company site experienced mergers, changes of ownership, and variations in product production over the years. North American Rockwell manufactured automobile bumpers in the plant until 1976 and it now houses Bliss Technologies.
The construction of the Ravenna Ordnance Arsenal in Portage County on twenty-four thousand acres at the northwestern edge of Newton Falls in the early 1940's had a major impact on the village. People moved into this area and many who worked at the arsenal lived in a government housing project (East River Gardens) or in a trailer park on Charleston Road. The community's 1856 double covered bridge over the west branch of the Mahoning River was replaced in 1942 because it could not handle the traffic for the military workers. The arsenal declined as an economic force over the next three decades until it virtually ceased operation by the end of the 1980's.In 1965, a General Motors automobile complex was constructed six miles away in Lordstown, Ohio.
Many residents work at that site or in supply companies for the industry. Small service industries, light manufacturing, agriculture, and retail shops provide most of the local employment.
Population
From the Newton Falls Public Library - The population of Newton Falls increased from 500 people in 1900 to 3,355 by 1930 because of the availability of jobs. The depression brought the closing of some companies and the village struggled to recover with other industry. 
 In the 1960 census, the community had 5,038 residents which gave it city status, but this declined in the 1980 to 4,960 and again in 2009 to 4687. The population decrease can be attributed again to the loss of jobs in companies producing steel-related products. Farming and dairying remain a part of the township's economy but incoming residents are finding the rural environment attractive for new home construction. Today, the village and the township have a combined population of about 9,600.
Government
From the Newton Falls Public Library - The village of Newton Falls became incorporated in 1872 and it is the only such district in Newton Township. The first mayor and six councilmen were elected in 1888 and the community operated under this type of government until 1968 when the charter form of city government was adopted. The village operates with a city manager, mayor, and five councilmen. The mayor and councilmen are elected by village residents while the city manager is appointed by the Council. The township is governed by three trustees elected by township residents. The Newton Falls Municipal Court was established in 1964 and it serves eight townships in Trumbull County.
 

Education
From the Newton Falls Public Library - The first school building in Newton Falls was a log cabin erected in 1812 on Church Street. Several school structures and an academy existed within the community until the 1860's when all grades were housed in a union facility on Center Street. The high school held its first commencement in 1878.
The township had five district school buildings which students attended until the eighth grade and then students went into the village for high school. The community created a public library in 1930 which was also used by the schools. The schools became the Newton Falls Exempted Village School District in 1931 and it is supervised by an elected five-member Board of Education.
After a 1985 tornado devastated the junior high school and damaged the old 1920 high school on Center Street, the community constructed a new junior/senior high complex for grades seven through twelve in 1987. Middle School was completed in 1971 and accommodated grades three through six. This building was closed in 2006 and a new one constructed on the campus of the junior/senior high complex. The Arlington Elementary was constructed in 1929. It was demolished in 2008 following the remodeling of the former Middle School. The Elementary School students, in kindergarten through second grades, moved into the former Middle School in 2007. Students in eleventh and twelfth grades can also attend the Trumbull County Joint Vocational School in Warren, OH.