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Harvey County Kansas




Harvey County administrative offices are located at 800 North Main Street, Newton, KS 67114; phone: 316-284-6800.

Harvey County [1] is located in south central Kansas, along the Little Arkansas River. The county encompasses 540 square miles, is 18 miles wide in its north-south dimension and 30 miles long in its east-west dimension. The county is located seventy five miles north of the Oklahoma border and about one hundred and ten miles south of the Nebraska state line. The county is located approximately 30 miles south-southeast of the geographic center of the continental United States. Harvey County contains seven cities.

Harvey County was settled as early as 1869, but the plan to form a new county was not adopted until the fall of 1871. The new county was to consist of fifteen congressional townships, ten to be taken from Sedgwick County, three from McPherson County and two from Marion County, with Newton as the county seat. According to this plan, the territory embraced in the limits of Burrton, Halstead, Darlington, Lake, Lakin, Macon, Newton, Pleasant, Richland, Sedgwick, Alta, Walton, Highland, Emma and Garden townships, was organized by an act of Legislature, February 29, 1872. The county was named for James M. Harvey, Captain of Company G, Tenth Regiment of Kansas Infantry, and Governor of the State from 1869 to 1873. In January, 1874, he was elected United States Senator to fill the unexpired term ending in 1877.

On the completion of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, July 17, 1871, Newton became the shipping point for Texas cattle herds which were previously driven to Abilene for transport. The "cow-boy reign" lasted from June, 1871, to January 1, 1873, after which the railroad was completed to Dodge City and a branch to Wichita. The cattle trade moved to those locations and the city of Newton was able to recover from "the desperadoes and roughs who so long infested it."

In addition to the county's dynamic railroad history, it experienced Mennonite migration into south central Kansas in the 1870s and 1880s. It was the Mennonite settlers who introduced Turkey Red Hard winter wheat to the state.

Newton is a sizable culture center for the Mexican population due to the fact that Newton was at one time a major point on the Santa Fe also intersected by the Missouri Pacific. Thousands of Mexican laborers arrived to work on the railroad and many became permanent residents.

  1. Harvey County, Kansas, Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan, 2009, www.harveycounty.com, accessed October, 2015.
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