Newton County Historical Museum
For 48 years the building at 121 North Washington St. in Neosho served as the Newton County’s third jail and the sheriff’s home. In 1937, the jail was moved to the top floor of the new courthouse on the city square.
The old sheriff’s home was remodeled in 1937 into office rooms for the Social Security Office of the Federal Government. The old jail was used for storage. Twenty years later in 1956, the office moved to new quarters and this left the old building vacant. It was at this time that the old jail was torn off the back of the sheriff’s home to make way for parking spaces.
In 1958, the Newton County Court made an agreement with the Historical Society that the sheriff’s home could house their Newton County Historic Museum. The museum opened on Memorial Day 1958.
The museum utilizes both floors of the old jail building and contains several unique collections of farming implements, household utensils and tools from our pioneer period.
The collection includes tools for construction of log cabins as well as the churns, flax wheels and other utensils used by pioneer wives. In addition there are tools used by blacksmiths, coopers, tailors, wagon makers and other craftsmen and tradesmen.
For years the Historical Society gathered historical artifacts, compiled historical material and promoted the erection of historical markers to designate important events of the past.
Newton County School No. 111
On May 27, 1990, the Newton County Commission approved the establishment of the historical park on the 150 feet by 150 feet lot located at the corner of North Washington and McCord streets. The park was to include the museum.
The park project began with the purchase of the old rural Cedar Creek School. On Oct. 16, 1990 the building was moved to the park site. The building had been erected in the Cedar Creek community before 1896. It was originally a two-story building constructed by the Anti-Horse Thief Association. The organization held their meetings on the second floor and gave the first floor to the community to use as a school.
School desks, wall maps, teacher’s desk and chair, books, slates and other school items from rural Newton County schools were donated. Records and school pictures of the 110 Newton County schools are kept in a file cabinet in the schoolhouse.
In 1991, the next historic building was moved into the park. It was a pioneer pre-Civil War log cabin. It was built in the 1850’s by the great-grandfather of a local business man, Clarence Bowler. His grandfather and father had both been born in the cabin.
The cabin walls are papered with newspapers as the walls were in days gone by. Pictures of the Bowler family hang on the walls. The cabin is furnished with period furniture.
All in all, the Newton County Historical Park shows a slice of life once common in Newton County. It puts the local historical culture on display.
The park is located at 121 N. Washington – just a block off the square.
Hours: 12:30 – 4:30 – Everyday.