Newton is a city in and the county seat of Harvey County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 19,132. Newton is located north of Wichita and is included in the Wichita metropolitan statistical area (MSA). The city of North Newton is immediately north of the city, existing as a separate political entity.
For millennia, the land now known as Kansas was inhabited by Native Americans. In 1803, most of modern Kansas was secured by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. In 1854, the Kansas Territory was organized, then in 1861 Kansas became the 34th U.S. state. In 1872, Harvey County was founded.
The city was founded in 1871 and named after Newton, Massachusetts, home of some of the Santa Fe stockholders.
In August 1871, there was a Gunfight at Hide Park, in which a total of eight men were killed. The incident began with an argument between two local lawmen, Billy Bailey and Mike McCluskie. Because of this incident, Newton became known as "bloody and lawless—the wickedest city in the west.".
In 1872 the western terminal for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway and the railhead for the Chisholm Trail were established here. Shortly after incorporation of the city in 1872, the Newton city council passed an ordinance prohibiting the running at large of buffalo and other wild animals.
Newton served as the Middle Division dispatching headquarters for the "Santa Fe" until the mid-1980s, when all dispatching for the Chicago to Los Angeles system was centralized in the Chicago area. In 1995 the Santa Fe merged with the Burlington Northern Railroad, and is now known as the BNSF Railway. The BNSF continues to be a large industrial taxpayer although its impact as an employer has decreased in the past decade. Most locals still refer to this railroad as the "Santa Fe".