Newport Historical Sites
Reverend Benjamin T. Kavanaugh built the Kavanaugh Log Cabin in 1840 when the Kaposia mission was moved from its original site along the Mississippi River to a site downstream and across the river. The Kavanaughs lived at the residence for a short time. The area was first known as Kaposia because of the presence of the mission, but soon after became known as Red Rock. The area at the time was a known landing site for other early pioneers. Thus, it was visited by Methodist circuit riders traveling to the first settled areas along the river. In 1865 the Methodists commenced plans to build a church.
The Red Rock is a huge boulder that was found by the Sioux among the limestone on the bank of the Mississippi River near here. It was a mystery as to how the boulder arrived and therefore was considered sacred and became a shrine where the Native Americans came to offer sacrifices as a part of their worship to the Great Spirt. They painted the rock with red stripes and the stripes always faced the east.
It was at Red Rock that white people heard the ministry of the Methodist Church. This rock is an important historical object taking us back to the ancient life and history of the Native Americans.
Railroad Switching Tower
Two mainline railroad tracks were laid through Newport, beginning with the construction by the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad in 1869. A second set of tracks were built by the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad. They became channels through which many famous transcontinental passenger trains passed from coast to coast across the northern United States.
In 1906, the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad built a dispatcher's tower in Newport because of the greatly increased number of trains passing through. Following World War II, the makeup of trains changed, as well as communications, which spelled the end for the need of a dispatcher tower. After years of idleness, the Milwaukee Railroad planned to raze the tower, triggering opposition by residents. The tower was saved and now stands adjacent to the west side of the railroad tracks, moved from the east side of the tracks on December 11, 1984.
The Newport Public Library came into existence in 1889 and was established for the benefit of the citizens of Newport. Library service was broadened to include the surrounding area. The first library was an old schoolhouse , which was converted into a library with the help of volunteer. The library was the social gathering place for generations.