Remembering West Newton’s past

NEW ULM – Sunday was West Newton Day at the historic Harkin General Store.

The event celebrates the heritage of the old settlement that once flourished between New Ulm and Fort Ridgely. The arrival of the railroad in 1873 and the plague of grasshoppers signaled the end of the river community. Harkin General store is all that remains of West Newton.

Site Manager Ruth Grewe is determined to keep story of West Newton alive.

Grewe explained West Newton Day celebration is way of inviting people to share their ancestors’ history. While the crew working at the Harkin Store knows a lot about the community, much remains unknown. The goal of the annual celebration is to attract the descendants of West Newton back to share their stories.

“We want to know the family histories of the old settlers,” said Grewe.

The photographs displayed on the store’s front porch are on loan from a private collection. They date back to the early 1900s and show a much different world.

Grewe hopes that even more photographs and artifacts from West Newton’s past still exist. People with family connections to West Newton are encouraged to share their stories. Staff will copy information and photos.

Harkin Store is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Sunday, Aug. 10, the Harkin Store will hold an Old Games Day from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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