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The SITE OF THE FIRST WATER WELL, 5th and Main Sts., dug by Capt. David Payne in 1872, is marked by a bronze plate. Captain Payne was a typical frontiersman, soldier, and Indian scout. He commanded a company of the 19th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry in the Indian Wars of 1867. After contributing to the development of Harvey County, where for many years he lived as a homesteader, he entered the movement to settle Oklahoma (then Indian Territory) with whites. In Kansas history he is known as the "Daddy of the Cherokee Strip."

The FROG AND SWITCH SHOP, between the main line Santa Fe tracks W. of ist St., (also known as the Santa Fe Rail Mill), supplies track fastenings for the entire Santa Fe system. It was established in 1897 and until 1927, when new facilities were installed, its operations were confined to sawing off battered rail ends. With the advent of oxyacetylene welding this work was gradually dropped.

The CARNEGIE LIBRARY, 203 Main St., is a two-story building of classic design, with two Ionic columns of cut stone supporting the portico. Construction is of brick and limestone. The building was completed in 1903 and contains approximately 15,000 volumes.

The HARVEY COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY MUSEUM, 7131/2 Main St., contains a collection of historical articles including the goose quill pen with which Gov. John P. St. John signed the Prohibition Amendment to the Kansas Constitution in 1880. The original draft of the amendment, written by J. W. Ady, Newton attorney and member of the State legislature, is also preserved.

ATHLETIC PARK, west end of ist St., a 20-acre tract on Sand Creek, contains a deer park, an outdoor stage, an artificial lake, a stadium for night football and baseball, and a municipal swimming pool with submarine lighting.

BETHEL COLLEGE, 0.5 m. N. of the city limits on State 15, is the oldest and largest Mennonite educational institution in America. It was chartered on May 23, 1887, following an agreement between the Kansas conference of the Mennonite Church and the municipal government of Newton, whereby the latter offered financial aid to establish a college at Newton.

The cornerstone of the Administration Building was laid atop a small hill north of the city in October 1888, but building operations were stopped after a few months when Newton, owing to a depression, was unable to supply funds for continuance of the work. Construction was resumed in 1893, when the Administration Building was completed at a cost of $35,000. The college was opened in September 1893, with 60 students enrolled.

Bethel was maintained as a preparatory school and junior college until 1908 when the curriculum was enlarged to that of a four year standard college. The first Bachelor of Arts degrees awarded by a Mennonite college west of the Mississippi were received at Bethel in 1912 by a graduating class of six men, two of whom are now (1938) members of the faculty. The present curricula include courses in music, commerce, elocution, fine arts, and liberal arts. The German department is outstanding.

The landscaped campus is shaded by elm and maple trees. Grouped around the Administration Building are the Alumni, Music, Dining, and Science Halls. These structures are of brick and native stone. In front of Science Hall are two deeply notched cylindrical THRESHING STONES brought from Russia by pioneer Mennonites. The stones were drawn by oxen over wheat strewn thick on the ground, thus removing the grain from the stalk. The threshing stone is the symbol of Bethel College.

Since 1937 the college has been a sponsor of the Kansas Institute of International Relations, held here in June at the end of the school year. Other sponsoring and contributing organizations are the American Friends Service Committee, the Congregational Christian Council, the Kansas Yearly Meeting of Friends, the Board of Christian Education of the United Brethren Church, and the Peace Committee of the General Conference of Mennonites.

The annual Mennonite Music Festival is held at Bethel College in the latter part of May. Mennonites come to this event from all parts of Kansas. Handel's Messiah is sung in English and German by more than 500 voices.

Websites about Newton Kansas:

  1. Kansas Facts: Harvey County Facts
  2. City of Newton, Kansas | Facebook 
  3. City of North Newton, Kansas  | Facebook 
  4. The Kansan (Town Newspaper) 
  5. Newton Kansas on Wikipedia 
  6. Newton Chamber of Commerce 
  7. Newton Public Library 
  8. Kansas Community Networks: Newton 
  9. Bethel College | Facebook