Topeka, located in Shawnee County, serves as the capital of Kansas. The metropolitan area is rich in history and highly favored by nature. It lies on rich sandy loam river bottomland where Indians lived for many years using the excellent fords on the Kansas (Kaw) River. Among the first permanent settlers were three French-Canadian (Pappan) brothers. They married three Kanza (Kansas) Indian sisters and established a ferry over the river in 1842. A grandson from one of the marriages was Charles Curtis, the only Vice-President of the United States to be of Indian descent. (Charles Curtis served with President Herbert C. Hoover from 1929 to 1933.) In the 1800s, Topeka served as a gateway west for pioneers traveling on the Oregon Trail or by railroad.
Topeka is home to the highly acclaimed Kansas Museum of History where you'll step back in time and learn all about the land that is Kansas. Relive the history of Kansas through exhibits, videos, and programs.
Old Prairie Town at Ward-Meade Historic Site overlooks the Oregon Trail's ferry site across the Kansas River. The site includes the original Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad depot from Pauline as well as a turn of the century town, botanical gardens, and dinners served by hosts in period dress.
Topeka has been an active participant in the modern-day Civil Rights Movement. The Monroe School is theBrown v. Board of Education National Historic site where visitors gain an understanding and appreciation for the role of this decision in the Civil Rights Movement.
Gage Park houses the Topeka Zoo, Reinisch Rose Gardens with over 6,500 plants, offering 400 varieties, and a 1908 Carousel that houses a 1909 Wurlitzer organ. Tour the Combat Air Museum, the Capitol Building, and the Governor's home - Cedar Crest. First Presbyterian Church, built over 112 years ago, is the site of a unique presentation of Tiffany windows. Louis C. Tiffany came to Topeka in 1911 and produced these windows. First Presbyterian Church is the only church west of the Mississippi River to have all Tiffany windows. Visit Heartland Park, a state-of-the-art motor sports complex. The Topeka area has an abundance of campgrounds and lakes, as well as hiking and biking trails.
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