Although named after Isaac Ellwood, one of the inventors of barbed wire, the town was designed by Henry Hartman, an industrialist from Beaver Falls. Before its creation, much of what would become Ellwood was fields and farms, although the town of Hazel Dell, what is now known as the North Side neighborhood, already existed.
Ellwood City almost died an early death during the Depression of 1894. However, R.C. Stiefel, a Welsh immigrant, arrived with a patent for the piercing of seamless tubing, and within a few years, turned Ellwood into a steel giant in the world economy.
The community grew rapidly with the development of a strong industrial base fostered in large part by the success of the seamless tube industry. The influx of “new Americans” from Italy, Germany, and other European regions added a diverse ethnicity to the Ellwood City population.
Although it was Hartman and Stiefel’s ideas that would launch Ellwood, the labor of poor immigrants, from cultures at the time considered alien to America, brought economic success. Following the Great Depression and World War II, the working class overthrew the business powers and established the right of the working man to a fair wage.
With the collapse of US Steel’s Ellwood division in the 1980’s, Ellwood City would see a gradual decline in population and job opportunities. The community was challenged to come up with inventive ways to continue Ellwood’s prosperity. In 1986, the first annual festival was started in Ewing Park, which would eventually grow to over 200 vendors and see 25,000 plus visitors.
Today, Ellwood City is fortunate to have two outstanding public school systems, a diversity of churches, and several excellent public amenities. The community is constantly adapting to the demands of the 21st century while maintaining its ethnic heritage.
Based on 2010 Census data, Ellwood City now boasts over 3,200 households spread over 2.0346 square miles and comprises a population of 7,921.