Newton

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Summary

Located about 30 miles east of Des Moines, Newton is home to the Iowa Speedway and Maytag Dairy Farms and offers easy access to jobs, entertainment, and outdoor recreation throughout Central Iowa. The Jasper County seat, with a population of just over 15,000, Newton is proud of its iconic courthouse square with the restored Hotel Maytag Ballroom event center. A short walk from downtown is the Des Moines Area Community College - Newton Campus, and Legacy Plaza, a revitalized district with retail, eating and drinking, and gathering spaces. Visitors will also enjoy the historical museum, the Newton Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, and numerous city parks. Newton industry and business work in the clean energy, new technology, engineering, and prototyping industries, and have created thousands of jobs in recent years.

Transportation

Newton is home to an eight-mile hike and bike trail that connects several parks and the high school to each other. Nearby attractions include the Mariposa Recreation Area and campground and the 450-acre Jakob Krumm Nature preserve, which is ideal for hiking. Newton residents can do some errands on foot or via bike, but most errands do require a car. The average one-way commute for Newton residents is 20.4 minutes, below the national average of 26.4.

Activity & Entertainment

People in Newton like to have fun, whether it’s a day at the Iowa Speedway, a summer night at the historic Valle Drive-In Theater, a round of golf on the beautiful Westwood course, or a concert at the Maytag Bowl amphitheater! Over 90 displays of public art are evidence of Newton’s support for the arts, as are the well-attended performances of the local community theater. Newtonians do like their fun, but when disaster strikes, they roll up their sleeves and come together to show its true Iowa spirit, such as in 2020, when the Derecho winds brought devastation to the region, and businesses and neighbors helped one another with cleanup and repair.

History

Founded in 1846 as Newton City after John Newton, a Revolutionary War soldier, or maybe for Mr. Joseph Kaiser Newton an early migrant to the area from West Virginia, the debate rages on. Whomever it was named for, the community slowly grew over the next decades adding a library, mills, schools, and a police department and churches. During the 1850s, converts to the Mormon religion passed through Newton on their way westward. In the late 1800s, the area’s settlement was fueled by coal mining, including the Couch mine which was the largest mine in the country at that time, producing 70 tons of coal a day! By the 1920s, mining activity had mostly ceased, but the appliance industry moved in, and Newton became known as the Washing Machine Capital of the World. Maytag was a staple in Newton until 2007, when the plant closed its doors.


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