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Fallston's Story

Milestones Vol 25. No. 1

Written by Rozan L. Antonetti Contributions by Erma Smakosz and Ted Smakosz

Along the banks of the Beaver River, lies the quiet and small, but solid and enduring community of Fallston. Steeped in rich history, this tiny borough has persisted since 1796 and was incorporated in 1859. The early history is recorded in Bausman's History of Beaver County and other excellent references. In Harris' Pittsburgh Business Directory, the 1837 population is recorded as approximately 1,000. In 1975, the number was only 320 and as of the 1990 census, 290 resided in the Borough. However, growth has occurred in the building of several new homes in the Country Club Estates II development.

Although the numbers are small, the flavor of the community is evidenced in the character of its people. In a spirit of service, the Volunteer Fire Department was first organized in 1899 using a hand-drawn cart donated by the Townsend Company. This cart was replaced in 1901 by a second which was still in use until 1921, when the first motorized vehicle was purchased. The Company still has the 1901 cart along with the 1938 International truck which, still today, appears in parades throughout the County. There are currently 16 active and 4 retired members of the Department.

Since 1975, Fallston has been governed by mayors: Joseph Zilk, Robert Turner, James E. Watson and Livio Pagani and a Council of five members conduct routine business. The former public school building until 1966, housed the Fire Department and serves as a site for meetings and an occasional social event.

Police protection was provided by the Borough by its own officer until 1972, when an agreement was reached with neighboring Bridgewater Borough for that service.

The tiny town of Fallston has provided and continues to provide, many opportunities for local folks to enjoy recreation, entertainment, relaxation and camaraderie. In the 1920's, residents frequented the Firemen's Park with its huge swimming pool and the Fallston Beach Park. Today, these are no more.

The Beaver Valley Yacht Club is a haven for boaters to enjoy the beautiful Beaver River in the company of other boating enthusiasts. Situated on the river, the Club provides dockage and activities for its members.

A neighborhood gathering place since 1934, the Back Door Tavern, formerly owned by the Krkuc family and currently owned by the Engel family was featured in Pittsburgh Magazine in 1996 as a Best Neighborhood Bar. Another tavern, Zooky's, caters to sports enthusiasts with opportunities to view many and varied sporting events. The Grand Valley Inn, since 1997, provides fine dining in a relaxing and cordial atmosphere.

The early days of Fallston saw many businesses thriving. Some of these included saw mills, an oil mill, Townsend Wire Manufacturing, a woolen mill, a bucket factory, a flour mill, a paper mill, a brickyard and others. Today steel is a major industry in the Borough. Littell Steel Company, located in Fallston and Bridgewater, is a major designer, fabricator and erector of structural steel. Founded in 1946 on the site of the Fallston Brick Company, in 1975, the firm received the Architectural Award of Excellence from the American Institute of Steel Construction.

Located also in Fallston is Col-Fin Specialty Steel Corporation founded in 1976. Other businesses of note include Waterway Supply, A. K. Nahas Appliance Warehouse, Brady's Run Farm Market, Allied Construction, Graham Transportation, Tom DeRose Cleaning, Lonnett Landscaping, Blakes Mini Storage, Read Machinery, KWIK FILL fuel and Friend GMC Trucks Inc.

Professional dental services are currently provided by Dr. Kevin Showaker and Dr. John W. Contes. Fallston is currently the home of a published author. Mr. Bill Watson is the author of 9 Creativity-Required Businesses You Can Start From Home.

The Fallston Bridge, built in 1884, links Fallston to New Brighton. In 1932, there was concern that trucks might be causing damage to the bridge which was subsequently purchased by Beaver County in 1940 with a bond of $54,000 for 30 years totaling an $118,800 cost in all. After closures and repairs in 1978, 1981 and 1989, a 3 ton weight limit was imposed. Today the fate of the bridge is in question again as a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation study has determined that the bridge should be replaced or relocated within 8 years. The estimated 6,500 daily motorists who use the bridge will be affected by whatever the county's solution might be.

The good people of Fallston have encountered and dealt with adversity from time to time. A fire did extensive damage to the school in 1966. The widespread flooding in 1996 caused the evacuation of local families, removal of cars from what was then the Linda Jones Car lot, and much destruction to local businesses.

Through it all, Fallston remains, a pleasant little community by the falls.