This community, first named Newton Center, was platted in 1846 as the seat of the newly formed Jasper County. Some twelve years later a handsome two-story brick Greek Revival courthouse was built. On two sides this building had porticoes with Ionic columns, and there was an octagonal open-domed lantern on the roof. This 1858 building was eventually replaced by the present Beaux-Arts courthouse (1909–1911). During the nineteenth century, Newton's economy was based on the city's position as a distribution point on the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad (the railroad arriving in 1867), a producer of farm equipment, and a center for the milling of lumber.
In the twentieth century the city has been dominated by one company, Maytag, the manufacturer of automatic washing machines and kitchen appliances. F. L. Maytag endowed the community with many buildings, and the Maytag Dairy Farm was operated as an ideal Iowa farm. (To reach the Maytag Dairy Farm go north on East Eighth Street, past Nineteenth Street.) If one has an interest in the historical development of household technology, then the Maytag exhibit at the Jasper County Historical Museum (1700 South Fifteenth Avenue West) should be visited.
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