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Topeka, Kansas

Topeka, Kansas

On December 5, 1854, nine men made the wintry trek from the tent city of Lawrence to a small log cabin on the banks of the Kansas River. Huddled in the cold before a smoky fire, this group of men founded a town which was to play a major role in the "Bleeding Kansas" territory and later become the new state's capital.

"Bleeding Kansas" in the 1850s has been called a prelude to the Civil War which would follow in the next decade. Topekans such as John Ritchie battled for the abolition of slavery as Kansas approached statehood. His home became a meeting place for the free-state faction and a station on the underground.

In 1862, there was not a mile of railroad on operation in the entire state of Kansas. By 1872, just ten years later, Kansas boasted more miles of track than any of the other 26 states, and Topeka was a major hub. The Union Pacific Railroad rolled into Topeka from Kansas City on January 1, 1866. In 1868, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railway was born. Among the notable people who passed through the station were Ulysses S. Grant, Gen. Philip Sheridan, Russian Grand Duke Alexis, and Kansas' favorite son, Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Carrie Nation called Topeka home for a time. She supported herself from sales of her newspaper, "The Smashers Mail " which she printed in Topeka.

The Episcopal Church established the College of the Sisters of Bethany in 1860, and Washburn University originally started in 1865 as a Congregational College.

When Karl Menninger received his medical degree, he came home to join his father and the Menninger Clinic was born. It is known as the world leader in mental health treatment and research.

From its beginning, Topeka has played a major role in government, transportation and health care. This strong tradition is still alive today. Topeka is a city with a colorful past which points to an even more exciting future.

Attractions and Upcoming Events

Cedar Crest

The French-Norman style house which was built by Frank P. MacLennan in 1928, is home to the governor of Kansas. It is the focal point of a 200-acre estate overlooking the Kansas river. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the estate features several ponds and hiking trails.

Topeka, KS Famous Homes

Kansas National Guard Museum

The Kansas National Guard Museum is dedicated to preserving the heritage of the Kansas National Guard and honoring the memories of the soldiers and airmen who, for over 145 years, have served Kansas and the United States whenever the call was made.

Topeka, KS Museums

Washburn University

Established in 1865, Washburn University is one of Topeka's greatest assets and is the only municipal university in the nation. The 160

Topeka, KS Colleges

Jayhawk State Theatre of Kansas

On August 11, 1925, E.H. Crosby of the Crosby Brothers Company made the first announcement of his plans to provide the capital city of Kansas with a modern theatre. The Jayhawk Theatre opened its doors on August, 1926. Placed on the national register of historic places in 1974

Topeka, KS Historic Theatres

Historic Ward-Meade Park Living Museum

History comes to life at Historic Ward-Meade Park as period dressed guides, including a "school marm," reenact prairie life circa 1900

Topeka, KS Museums

Things to do near Topeka, KS

Shawnee North Community Park Nature Trail

Located on the eastern edge of a 125 acre park. 2.2 mile trail crosses Indian Creek, winding through native grasses, trees, a...

Doodlebug Walking Trail

This is an old railroad bed that was made into a walking trail. It was the track that the Doodlebug Train would take passeng...

Alvamar Orchards Executive Golf Course

The Orchards is a par three, nine hole executive course open to the public....