The earliest inhabitants in the area of Newport were the Dakota and Ojibwe Indians. The first pioneer to settle in the area was John Holton, a farmer from Pennsylvania, who arrived in 1837 with Rev. Alfred Brunson to start a Methodist mission for the Indians. They opened the mission near a Dakota Indian Village named Kaposia, which was in the area of what is now South St. Paul.
Holton later bought a claim across the Mississippi River where he began to build a house for his family. In 1839, Rev. Brunson was replaced by Rev. Benjamin T. Kavanaugh, who moved the mission across the river to Holton’s claim because of the continued unrest between the Dakota and Ojibwe. Kavanaugh built a two story log church and school on Holtons claim and called the settlement Kaposia. In 1841, John A. Ford and Daniel Hopkins built a trading post next to the mission, and in 1844 when the mission closed they changed the name of the settlement to Red Rock.
In 1852, a new settlement called Newport was formed a mile south of Red Rock. The settlement of Newport began to grow when E.M. Shelton and his brothers built a steam-powered sawmill in the town in 1857. The settle was turned into a Township in 1858 with the Mississippi River as the west and south boundaries, Red Rock Township to the north, and Cottage Grove to the east. In 1889, the town of Newport was incorporated as a city. In 1920, several businesses opened in the city causing it to grow. These businesses were Farmers Terminal Meat Packing Company, Farmers Terminal State Bank, and Fritz Candy Shop.
In recent decades, the City of Newport has experienced continued growth, and the population has expanded from 300 in 1900 to its current 3,461 residents. Newport is home to over 1,350 households and 870 families. The city is made up of mostly residential neighbourhoods making it a family-friendly community. Newport offers a relaxing small town feel with all the amenities of a big city nearby.