Like nearly every Western Kansas village Norton had its Town Company. The charter was dated September 8, 1873. The charter was to run twenty years; capital stock, $2,000; shares $100 each. Of this corporation Richard Williams was President; George N. Kingsbury, Vice-President; J. H. Simmons, Secretary; W. E. Case, Treasurer; Alva Smith, John O'Brien and John De Mott acting with the President and Secretary as a Board of Directors. B. W. Rawlins, David C. Coleman, B. F. Williams, H. F. Brown, Phillip Bruner, David Close, John Diffenbach, E. Fisher, E. M. Newell, S. B. Newell, N. H. Billings and J. Stevenson were the original stockholders.
The first mails to Norton were brought by B. W. Rawlins from Republican City, and the post-office, kept by N. H. Billings, was about one and a half mile (sic) from its present location. The service was paid for by the people, the Government generously furnishing mail-sacks.
In the fall of 1872, a rival town was started one mile further up the creek, called Norton Center. Mills, stores, shops, etc., were established, and for a time the village had a boom and seemed like a formidable rival of Norton, but within two or three years it collapsed, the best buildings were removed to Norton, and the scheme of building a large town at Norton Center collapsed. Nothing remains there but cellar holes and a few relics of the old mill.
The first building erected in Norton, after the organization of the Town Company, was a residence for W. E. Case. In the spring of 1874, Van Trump & Hallowell bought a stock of goods from Belleville, and opened in a house on the square build by David Close. From the small beginnings of 1872 Norton has grown to be a bustling, thrifty trade center, with an intelligent, law-abiding population of five hundred persons. At present there are five general merchandise stores, two hotels, two milliner stores, two restaurants, five lawyers, two physicians, one harness shop, one furniture store, two livery stables, two blacksmiths, two newspapers, tow billiard halls, two meat markets, one feed store, two hardware and farm implements, one lumber-yard, one barber shop, four church organizations, three church edifices, one bank, two drug stores, two shoe shops, two elevators.
Creamery. -- The Norton Creamery, located one mile from town, was established la the spring 1882 at a cost of nearly $2,000. There was at first a company, but it is now owned by three persons, Jesse Wright, J. B. Newell and John Graves. They manufacture 250 pounds of butter per day during the spring and summer months. The product of the creamery is mostly shipped to Denver. It is a good investment, and gives general satisfaction.
The first officers of Norton were: J. M. Price, Treasurer; W. H. Hopwood, Clerk; W. Louk, Trustee; Henry Oliver and S. Read, Justices, M. Wood and A. Wrager, Constables.
The Norton County Bee was established by Harmon & Baker, in Norton, January 1, 1877. In November, of the same year, the office was removed to Leota, where it remained a few months, was then returned to Norton, and after issuing a few numbers there the publication was discontinued.
The Free Press was started at Norton, October 7, 1878, and the Locomotive at Leota October 15, 1878; the first by Dr. A. A. Baker, and the last named by Nat. L. Baker. Both publications were short-lived.
The Norton County Advance was established at Norton, June, 1878. Pettigrew & Collins, publishers and proprietors. Their successors were Beckett, Beckett & Gowdy, and at present the paper is managed by J. H. Simmons and Hugh McCredie. The Advance has attained an excellent circulation, and is conducted with ability. The Advance is Republican in politics.
The Norton People, a seven column folio, Republican in politics, was established by its present editor and proprietor, Hugh T. Carlisle, July 15, 1880. The paper, has made its way, and enjoys a good circulation and fair advertising patronage; present publishers, Carlisle & McCredie; two papers have been consolidated under the name of the People.
Norton Lodge, No. 157, I. 0. 0. F., was organized April 12, 1879. Charter members: R. Rowley, David Reagan, John Wallace, Julian DeJean, A. G. Chambers, A. F. Harmer, W. E. Case, David Keagan. Present officers: W. E. Case, N. G.; J. H. Simmons, V. G.; A. Hepler, Treasurer; J. R. C. Stettler, Secretary. Norton Lodge has a membership of thirty, and holds its meetings in Odd Follows Hall every Saturday evening.
Norton Lodge, No. 199, A., F. & A. M.; organized in August, 1880. First W. M., Albert Graves. Present officers: Albert Graves, W. M.; W. R. Cannon, S. W.; John Randolph, J. W.; J. King, Treasurer; Samuel Means, Secretary; Frank Lockard, Senior Deacon; J. W. Vining, Junior Deacon; Samuel Will, Tiler. Regular meetings on the first Wednesday of each month, in Masonic Hall. There are thirty-five members attached to the lodge.
Norton Cornet Band was organized May, 1882, with the following members: E. M. Turner, Leader; Calvin Newell, Sol. Marsh, B. V. Wheeler; Charles Darling, A. Curry, Phillip Blue, Ed. F. Jones, Hall Harmason, A. N. Clawson, L. H. Thompson, Secretary.
Public School. -- Norton may not only be proud of her elegant school building, but of her efficient teachers. The schools of the town were started nearly ten years since by J. H. Simmons, an excellent educator and a gentleman of culture and refinement. The school building, built of magnesian limestone, is a large two-story edifice, located in a commanding, position in the south part of town. The cost of the structure was $3,500 and the building was finished in the winter of 1881. The teachers are at present employed, E. Borin, principal, and Annie Means, assistant.
Norton is located at 39°50'0N, 99°53'27W (39.833338, -99.890899). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.0 km² (1.9 mi²), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,012 people, 1,331 households, and 814 families residing in the city. The population density was 605.7/km² (1,566.5/mi²). There were 1,517 housing units at an average density of 305.1/km² (789.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.91% White, 0.03% African American, 0.40% Native American, 0.33% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.63% from other races, and 0.66% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.03% of the population.
There were 1,331 households out of which 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.5% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.8% were non-families. 36.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.86.
In the city the population was spread out with 24.5% under the age of 18, 5.3% from 18 to 24, 23.5% from 25 to 44, 22.1% from 45 to 64, and 24.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 91.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $30,339, and the median income for a family was $36,179. Males had a median income of $25,943 versus $20,559 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,438. About 5.5% of families and 9.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.4% of those under age 18 and 6.5% of those age 65 or over.