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flag  History of Topeka, Kansas, USA

Journey back in time to Topeka, Kansas, USA

Visit Topeka, Kansas, USA. Discover its history. Learn about the people who lived there through stories, old newspaper articles, pictures, postcards and ancestry.

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Topeka, Kansas, USA - Ladies Going to California The California Limited - Santa Fe Route W. J. Black, Topeka, Kan.  The Ladies Home Journal February 1898

Topeka, Shawnee, Kansas, USA

Cedar Crest is the name of the governor's mansion in Topeka, the state capital.

50states.com

There is MUCH more to discover about Topeka, Kansas, USA. Read on!

Topeka Nostalgia: Vintage Photos, Ads, and Postcards

Ladies Going to California
The California Limited - Santa Fe Route
W. J. Black, Topeka, Kan.

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Topeka, Kansas, USA

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Ladies Going to California
The California Limited - Santa Fe Route
W. J. Black, Topeka, Kan.

The Ladies' Home Journal
February 1898
Kansas Ave., looking South from Fifth Street
Topeka, Kansas, USA

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Kansas Ave., looking South from Fifth Street
Court House
Topeka, Kansas, USA

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Court House
The Home of the Topeka Daily Capital, Arthur Capper, Publisher
Topeka, Kansas, USA

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The Home of the Topeka Daily Capital, Arthur Capper, Publisher

Discover Topeka: History, News, Travel, and Stories

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1860 - July 9 - Temperature hits 115°F in Ft Scott & 112°F in Topeka Kansas

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1888 - A large number of unopened registered packages were stolen from the post-office at Topeka, Kan., on the 31st ult. All the clerks were decoyed from the building by a fire alarm.

St Joseph Herald
Saint Joseph, Michigan
November 3, 1888
1889 - BIG BLAZE AT TOPEKA. Property Worth About $275,000 Destroyed - Small Firms at Other Points.
TOPEKA, Kan., Feb. 22. - Special Telegram - This city was this morning, visited by the most destructive fire in its history. The George W. Crane Publishing House, the largest printing establishment west of St. Louis, was totally destroyed, the aggregate loss exceeding a quarter of a million. the fire was discovered by the engineer at 5:30 o'clock, and before the fire department arrived the building was enveloped in flames. A bitterly cold gale was blowing at the time, the thermometer being six degrees below zero, and it was impossible to save anything. The fire is supposed to have been caused by spontaneous combustion, as it quite certain there was not a spark of fire in the building. The building was one of the finest in the city, having been completed one year ago at a cost of $40,000. It was owned by Wilson Keith.

Over 150 employes are thrown out of employment. This is the third time that Mr. Crane has been burned out.
The Daily Inter Ocean
Chicago, Illinois
February 23, 1889
1891 - March 10 - Almon Strowger, an undertaker in Topeka, Kansas, patents the strowger switch, a device which led to the automation of telephone circuit switching.

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1891 - Training the Young - The Science of Running
TRAINING THE YOUNG
Mortimer Remington on the Science of Running

Only a small percentage of the boys of the present day make any effort to develop their athletic ability.

There are some boys who never attempted to run who, if they would try, could best some of the best runners on the track. Even if a boy does not prove to be as successful as that, he will have just as much fun out of it and more, for when a man finds himself on top, with every ambition satisfied, he loses his interest and is apt to retire and rest on his laurels.

I am going to recount some of my first experiences in athletics and hope to prevent others from making some of the mistakes which I did through sheer ignorance of how much and what kind of exercise I should take.

In the first place, being very ambitious, I tried to do too much. I did not understand that I could not endure the same amount of hard exercise as a boy could who had been engaged in athletics for several years. I ran my first race, which ... Read MORE...

1895 - Topeka
Topeka, a city, the capital of Kansas, and of Shawnee co., is situated on both banks of the Kansas River, 45 miles W.S.W. of Leavenworth, 29 miles W. by N. of Lawrence, and 67 miles W. of Kansas City, Mo. Lat. 39°3' N.; lon. 95° 40'W. It is on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fé Railroad where it crosses the Kansas Pacific Railroad, and is also the W. terminus of the Kansas Midland Railroad. It is well built, and has wide straight streets which cross one another at right angles. It contains a handsome state house, 45 churches, 3 national banks, several other banks, a court-house, a high school, Washburn College (Congregational), the college of the Sisters of Bethany (Episcopal), and a Catholic seminary. Four daily and 4 weekly news papers are published here. Topeka has 5 flouring-mills, a rolling-mill, 2 iron-foundries, a pottery, 2 brick-kilns, a carriage-factory, a woollen-mill, a cracker-factory, &c. The greater portion of the city is on the S. bank of the river, which is here crossed... Read MORE...

1897 - June 24 - Hail injures 26 in Topeka Kansas

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June 24, 1897
1903 - Flood - Losses Exaggerated.
Topeka, June 2. - While it is known that 34 people lost their lives by the flood, reports of other bodies found are still coming in. The flood is now receding. Looting is still going on in north Topeka, but the militia are on hand to head off the robbers.
Sandusky Evening Star
Sandusky, Ohio
June 2, 1903
1905 - City of Topeka
The Beginning of the City of Topeka
The fathers of the city of Topeka were Cyrus K. Holliday, Fry W. Giles, Daniel H. Home, Enoch Chase, Jacob B. Chase, George Davis, Milton C. Dickey, Charles Robinson and Loring J. Cleveland. Holliday was from Pennsylvania, Giles and Dickey from New Hampshire, Cleveland from Iowa, and the others from Massachusetts. All were attracted by the opening of a new country to settlement, and the opportunities thus presented for young men to engage in business. In the case of some of them, at least, there was the natural American love of adventure, and a patriotic desire to assist in making Kansas a free State. Most of them came through the instrumentality of the New England Emigrant Aid Company, of which Charles Robinson was the agent, with headquarters at Lawrence, Kansas. Mr. Robinson arrived in Kansas early in July, 1854; Mr. Holliday in October, 1854; Enoch and Jacob B. Chase, George Davis, Fry W. Giles, Milton C. Dickey and Loring G. Cleveland in... Read MORE...

1909 - RESCUE MANY IN HOTEL FIRE. State Senator STEWART Drops Guests from Windows - I. E. LAMBERT Perishes.
Topeka, Kan., Jan. 14 - The body of ISAAC E. LAMBERT, an Emporia attorney and politician, was found to-night in the ruins of the Copeland Hotel, with the head missing. When last seen, LAMBERT stood at an upper window, soon after the fire started at 4 A. M., begging the firemen to save him. Finally he disappeared into the interior.
The Copeland Hotel was an old structure, and proved to be an easy prey to the flames.

Several daring rescues were made during the progress of the fire by J. W. STEWART, State Senator from Sedgwick County, aided by W. Y. MORGAN, editor of The Hutchinson News. Senator STEWART had a room on the fourth floor of the hotel. When he was awakened he ran into the hall and found it full of smoke. He had hardly opened the door when T. B. MURDOCK, editor of The Eldorado Republican, appeared. A few seconds later MR. and MRS. W. Y. MORGAN, whose room was opposite to STEWART'S, appeared.

All started toward the fire escapes, but they were cut off by the flames in the ... Read MORE...

1909 - September 6-7 - Topeka, KS, was drenched with 8.08 inches of rain in 24 hours to establish a record for that location.

The Weather Channel
1911 - BURNING BALLOON DROPS TWO.
Topeka, Kan., July 4. - Two men, one an involuntary passenger, had a narrow escape from death when they fell from a burning balloon here Tuesday. As Bert Curry, a Kansas City balloonist, was rising in his hot-air balloon, at a Fourth of July celebration this evening, Walter Taylor, a spectator, became entangled in one of the ropes of the balloon and was jerked aloft. As the balloon rose it was seen that the gas bag was on fire, and the crowd was horror-struck as the flames rapidly ate into the fabric. The balloon continued to rise until it had reached a height of 100 feet, when it collapsed and fell dropping the two men into a big tree, through which they fell onto a popcorn stand below. Both were badly shaken and scratched, but otherwise unhurt. The balloon was a total wreck.
The Daily Oklahoman
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
July 5, 1911
1917 - June 5 - Residents near Topeka KS reported disk-shaped hailstones six to ten inches in diameter, and two to three inches thick. The hailstorm was accompanied by a tornado.

The Weather Channel
June 5, 1917
1925 - TWO KILLED, SIX HURT IN EXPLOSION.
Topeka, Kan., Dec. 26. - (UP) - When a five-room bungalow was hurled into the air and scattered into bits by a gas explosion here Christmas day, two persons were killed and six injured.

MR. and MRS. WILLIAM SHAFFER, who had gone with a friend, CHARLES FLORA, to inspect the latter's new bungalow, were killed. FLORA was seriously injured. Others in the party were less seriously hurt.
Cause of the blast in unknown. Witnesses said the house shot into the air and exploded like a bomb.
San Mateo Times
San Mateo, California
December 26, 1925
1931 - January 5 - 1st woman to purchase a baseball team Lucille Thomas purchases Topeka franchise in the Western League

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1953 - November 15 - WIBW TV channel 13 in Topeka, KS (CBS/ABC) begins broadcasting

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1954 - May 17 - Supreme Court unanimously rules on Brown v Topeka Board of Education reversed 1896 "separate but equal" Plessy Vs Ferguson decision

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1966 - June 8 - Topeka, Kansas is devastated by a tornado that registers as an "F5" on the Fujita Scale: the first to exceed US$100 million in damages. Sixteen people are killed, hundreds more injured, and thousands of homes damaged or destroyed.

historyorb.com
June 8, 1966
2023 - Topeka, Kansas has a variety of interesting places to visit and things to do. Here's a list to help you explore the city:
Kansas State Capitol:

Start your tour with the impressive Kansas State Capitol. The building itself is a piece of art, and you can take guided tours to learn about its history and architecture.

Topeka Zoo:

If you enjoy wildlife, the Topeka Zoo is a great place to visit. It features a variety of animals and exhibits, providing an enjoyable experience for visitors of all ages.

Gage Park:

Gage Park is a beautiful, sprawling park with walking trails, gardens, and a mini-train. It's a fantastic place for a leisurely stroll, a picnic, or some outdoor activities.

Combat Air Museum:

For aviation enthusiasts, the Combat Air Museum is a must-visit. It showcases military aircraft and artifacts, providing a glimpse into the history of aviation.

Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site:

This site is crucial in American history, commemorating the landmark Supreme Court case that ended racial segregation in public schools. The museum offers insightful... Read MORE...

Discover MY Roots: Topeka Ancestry

Ancestors Who Were Born or Died in Topeka, Kansas, USA

We currently have information about ancestors who were born or died in Topeka.

View Them Now (sorted by year of birth)



male ancestorDavid Nicholas PENNINGTON (19 June 1848, Schyler Co, Illinois, USA - 13 October 1913, Topeka, Kansas, USA)
male ancestorDavid Sampson FLEMING (1 August 1857, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA - 18 August 1939, Topeka, Kansas, USA)
female ancestorCharity Calvin HOCKETT (2 October 1862, Salem, Henry, Iowa, USA - 11 September 1948, Topeka, Kansas, USA)
photo of Emma L "Anna" WILLIAMSEmma L "Anna" WILLIAMS (4 September 1866, Bonaparte, Iowa, USA - 5 January 1952, Topeka, Kansas, USA)
female ancestorLucy MILLER (29 January 1867, , Kansas, USA - 5 May 1961, Topeka, Kansas, USA)
female ancestorAmelia Huntington WARE (31 January 1888, Topeka, Kansas, USA - 23 March 1957, Kansas City, Kansas, USA)
female ancestorEmaline Laura LITTLEFIELD (9 December 1890, Topeka, Kansas, USA - 31 May 1972, Concord, New Hampshire, USA)
female ancestorAnnette Louise RIGALI (19 April 1891, Québec, Québec, Canada (Quebec City) - 16 January 1934, Topeka, Kansas, USA)
photo of Lorraine SMITH - MAXWELLLorraine SMITH - MAXWELL (09 November 1916, Topeka, Kansas, USA - 18 December 2006, Sacramento, California, USA)

Ancestors Who Were Married in Topeka, Kansas, USA

We currently have information about ancestors who were married in Topeka.

View Them Now

male ancestorVictor David FLEMING (24 March 1915 - 05 October 2007) and photo of Lorraine SMITH - MAXWELL Lorraine SMITH - MAXWELL (09 November 1916 - 18 December 2006) married 22 February 1935

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Updated: 10/15/2023 9:19:13 PM