Newton celebrates mural, time capsule

Photo from the Newton Area Chamber of Commerce.

By Adam Strunk

NEWTON–As Newton’s sesquicentennial year draws to a close, a group of around 30 showed up to celebrate the completion of a new mural across from the Amtrak station at 414 N. Oak Street to commemorate the event. 

The mural–called the “Ice House” or “Tie-Dye Flag” mural–portrays a Newton flag with all the colors of the rainbow. The flag will be visible to residents as well as those coming in on Amtrak trains, thanks to the City of Newton pitching in for lighting. The mural was completed by the Newton Murals and Arts Project after the city approached the group about doing a mural to celebrate Newton’s 150th Anniversary. 

The mural includes the words “Newton 1872”.

Following, the city dedicated a time capsule, as well, which remain on display at City Hall until 2072.  

The time capsule contains copies of news discussing the city’s 150-year anniversary event as well as items commemorating the event.  It also includes merchandise from sponsors of the city’s centennial celebration, such as items from NMC Health, Bethel College, Union State Bank and Intrust Bank.

Finally, it has a letter in it from Mayor Clint McBroom. 

Here’s a copy of McBroom’s letter and what future residents will read in 50 years. 

Dear Future Newtonians,

What a year 2022 has been! Taking the helm of Mayor as we are returning to some normalcy after COVID lockdowns and mask wearing has been an interesting ride. I never expected when I ran for city commission that I would be the one to be mayor the year of our sesquicentennial celebration. I have pinched myself on more than occasion to make sure this is all real. There have been so many exciting opportunities for growth this year that it is hard to capture an accurate picture through words. But Freddy’s Frozen Custard, Occidental Development, Mennonite Housing, numerous residential housing, and several other projects have brought great joy to the city this year.

Currently, there are numerous projects, some very large, in the hopper, and we are all rooting and hoping for them all to come to completion. GAF (roofing manufacturer) and Quik Trip are two of those projects.

All opportunities can come with their difficulties, as well. We have struggled this year with so many projects going on and at times felt like we were barely keeping our heads above water. So many things have to happen at just the right time that at times we felt like we were simply returning to a previous decision just to keep things moving forward. We also struggled a bit this year with finances. Inflation has been at an all-time high, and due to that, all of the commodities that we use (streets, water, sewer, etc.) have increased substantially in price. Because of that, it has created some shortfalls in our budget that we are currently working through. I hope you are not experiencing these challenges in the future.

Our community has been extremely supportive this past year in recognizing that growing can create challenges. We have gotten to celebrate all year the 150th birthday of Newton! We began with a large party at the Meridian Center. In the summer, we had a large block party downtown, complete with food trucks, bands, beer garden, and a huge ferris wheel right on Main Street! It was by far the best party of the year! Then, in October, we had a 150th golf tournament at Sand Creek Station. The team I played on won first place! Shouldn’t the mayor take first place? And now, we prepare for the time capsule dedication and sealing.

This is what I want to pass onto you all Newtonians, “there are no problems, only opportunities.” And this is what I mean: in government work you can’t make everyone happy. But you can please the masses. It requires hard work. It requires you to realize that what people are fighting for is often, in their mind, the best solution to the problem. That is OK! Listen to them. Sympathize with them. Make them feel valued. And then, make the decision that is best for the city. Rest well that night. Make a decision and be OK with it. Some will not like it. Do not listen to the people who do not want to see the city succeed.

I am not sure where I will be when this time capsule is open. I am 37 years old and will probably not live in Newton forever. But, when this letter is found, I would love for someone to locate me and let me know it was found. Currently, my number is 316-641-5946, email is, and my address is 347 Victoria Ct, Newton, KS 67114. But I am sure a simple online search will find me! For my professional career, I have been a pastor and plan to continue in that capacity.

If I was to give a thought on the greatest moment as mayor, it was at the summer downtown block party.

On a whim, I was asked to give a few words, and I decided to sing “Happy Birthday, Newton.” I had a couple hundred Newtonians singing with me with the ferris wheel in the background. I was very proud that day to be a Newtonian myself. My wishes for the best in this community are with you all!

Mayor Clint McBroom

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