Topeka, Kansas' capital city, is located in Shawnee County and attracts thousands of visitors to its recreational nature parks each year. In fact, more than a million visitors visit Kansas each year, and the tourism industry repeatedly calls Kansas a top destination in the country.
In 2010, the Topeka Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes the counties of Shawnee, Jackson, Jefferson, Osage, and Wabaunsee, had an estimated population of 233,870. The name means "place where we dug potatoes."
The Kansas Expocentre is located in Topeka and also has a facility called the R.R. Domer Livestock Area, which holds more than 1,000 cattle, sheep, goats, and other farm animals. Founded in Lawrence in 1865, the University of Kansas is an institution that includes a Topeka branch campus.
The city also is home to the Washburn University of Science and Technology and the Shawnee County Museum of Natural History.
A visit to the Kansas Museum of History offers visitors a wealth of information about the Sunflower State. Numerous museums are open to visitors, and tours of the Shawnee County Museum of Natural History, Kansas State Museum, Topeka State Capital, and Washburn University are offered as well.
The Kansas Museum of History honors the soldiers and airmen who served in the United States military and preserves the legacy of the state's heritage. The museum honors and rewards our brave volunteers who have served in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Army Air Corps, and Navy Reserve. The museum also hosts exhibitions, lectures, guided tours, and other educational activities for children and adults to protect and preserve the state's heritage.
The Kansas Museum of History houses an area dedicated to the history of the state of Kansas from its inception to the present day. It is home to some of the most important historical sites and buildings in the state, and the exhibits associated with it are popular with visitors of all ages and walks of life.
Although Topeka was named "bleeding Kansas" in the 19th century, it has struggled with segregation issues ever since. Seen as a prelude to the Civil War, the term "bleeding Kansas" was coined by Kansas State Senator John C. "Buck" Johnson Jr.
Topeka was first mentioned as a place name in 1826 as a settlement along what is now the Kansas River. In 1861, Kansas became the 34th state to join the Union, and both Topeka and Lawrence were aspirants. The Kansas Constitution, passed in Wyandotte after the territory was incorporated into the Union, provided for elections to create a capital. Robinson, the candidate for governor, was seen by the people of Lawrence as a proponent of their city's choice, but the Kansas state legislature, led by Gov. John C. Johnson Jr., chose Topeka as its capital.
The Rock Island Rail Lines, which began in 1845 in La Salle, Illinois, continued until 1891, and the ferry service was established to allow travelers to cross the Kansas River at what is now Topeka. The railroad line, commonly known as Santa Fe, was built from Topeka and had to be dug to secure a railroad that would populate the western part of the state.