Davis B. Kurtz (1826-1906), born in Chester County PA, came to New Castle soon after the formation of Lawrence County in March 1849. He opened his own law firm and became a well-known attorney, banker, and businessman. He married the former Julia Wilder in 1853 and together they raised five children – all of whom became very successful in various fields of study. They purchased this Victorian-style home, located at the corner of Croton Avenue and Pittsburg Street (later East Washington Street) in about 1879. It was built in the 1840’s for Robert Cochran, who operated a wharf and warehouse along the nearby canal. Davis Kurtz, two days after a fall on the ice outside his office, passed away at the age of seventy-nine in March 1906. His widow Julia continued to reside in the home until her own death (at age ninety-six) in 1930. (c1915) Full Size
Davis B. Kurtz became one of the most high profile corporate attorneys in the entire state. He shied away from public office, but was very active in local business ventures and civic affairs. In 1855 he helped William Patterson establish the first official bank in New Castle. He was extremely proud when in 1886 his son Louis T. Kurtz (1873-1903), a graduate of Columbia University, became a partner in the law firm. (c1904)
New Castle News Wednesday Mar 28, 1906.
A view of Kurtz Mansion, built in the 1840’s, from East Washington Street. (c1930)
Sometime after the death of Julia Kurtz in 1930 her son Edward L. Kurtz (1869-1962), a professor at Columbia University, moved into the home. In the above photo the Kurtz mansion is slightly obscured behind the McCandless building and other business along the Neshannock Creek. Those buildings were all demolished in 1912 to make room for the New Castle Dry Goods Company (later Troutman’s). Edward lived in the Kurtz mansion until he passed away at the age of ninety-two in September 1962. He willed the home to his two nieces, who sold the property to the New Castle Redevelopment Authority in early 1963. Despite efforts to save the landmark property it was razed in July 1963. It was immediately converted into a city parking lot that opened the coming September. (c1902)