Capital of Kansas

      Topeka was founded in 1854 at the site of Papan's Ferry where a branch of the Oregon Trail crossed the Kansas river as early as 1842. Anti-slavery leaders framed the Topeka Constitution, 1855, in the first attempt to organize a state government. The next year their legislature was dispersed by U.S. dragoons under orders from President Franklin Pierce. (So Pierce was omitted when Topeka named its streets after the Presidents.) In the late 1850's negroes bound north on the "underground railroad" were hidden here by John Brown. Topeka became the capital in 1861 when Kansas was admitted to the Union and the slavery conflict flamed into Rebellion.
 
      After the war, in 1868, the Santa Fe railroad, promoted by C. K. Holliday, a city founder, first started building from Topeka. This was the birthplace, in 1860, of Vice President Charles Curtis; part Kaw Indian, the only "native American" to reach so high an office.
Erected by Kansas State Historical Society & State Highway Commission
 
Marker text sent by Robert Walter, Pittsburg, KS

Shawnee County  
Gwendolyn Brooks Park
South Topeka Blvd and SW 37th St.
Topeka
Shawnee County
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January 30, 2001 / Bob Walter / Wichita, Kansas / history@kslib.info

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