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Homesteading in Harvey County


In 1870, the Santa Fe Railroad wanted a southern terminal to be the starting point of shipping cattle from the Chisholm Trail up to Chicago. The area they picked had no inhabitants and was right on the Chisholm Trail.

By July 1871, the railroad had finished its line and a town site had been laid out. Some stockholders in the Santa Fe Railroad were from Newton, Massachusetts, which was the namesake for the new town in Kansas. The town had attracted some of the lowlifes of the frontier, and Newton became known as "Bloody Newton". By 1872, the railhead had moved on to Wichita taking the lowlife population with it.

Mennonite settlers came to the area thanks to Bernhard Warkentin's endorsement of it. They started their own farms and planted the Turkey Red hard wheat which they had brought with them from Russia.

The railroad continued to play a huge role in the development of Newton when it made the town a hub. Fred Harvey built plants and staff facilities to accommodate the railroad passengers. The first depot was built in 1882, and it was razed to build a larger depot in 1900. That depot was razed to make way for a beautiful depot, which was built in 1929 and had the style of Shakespeare's house at Stratford-on-Avon.


Smurr, Linda C. ed. Harvey County History. Texas: Curtis Media Corporation, 1990.


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Extended Hours starting Sunday, March 23 until the end of the semester:
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   600 Park Street
   Hays, KS 67601
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   502 South Campus Drive
   Hays, KS 67601-4099