About TopekaTopeka was founded in 1854 when nine anti-slavery settlers met on the banks of the Kansas River, near the spot where Oregon Trail travelers made their first major river crossing on their journey to the West. The city was incorporated in 1857, and Cyrus K. Holliday, the founder of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, was among the city's leaders.
When the railway began to extend its tracks westward 1854-69, Topeka defeated Tecumseh for county seat, became the state capital in 1861, survived the mayhem of the “Bleeding Kansas” era, suffered drought and withstood the fringes of the Civil War. In fact, Topeka flourished.
Almost 100 years after Topeka saw clashes between abolitionists and pro-slavery factions, it was the setting for the landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling Brown vs. The Topeka Board of Education, the case that opened the door for school desegregation across the country.
Topeka hosts several annual events featuring entertainment and fun for visitors including Fiesta Mexicana Week, the Inter-tribal Pow Wow and the Huff-n-Puff Hot Air Balloon Rally. For the racing enthusiast, Heartland Park Topeka, 4 miles south on US 75, offers drag racing, road course racing, and dirt track and cycling events from March through October, and also is host to national motor sports events May through October; phone (785) 862-4781 or (800) 437-2237.
Lake Shawnee, 3137 E. 29th St., and Perry State Park, 16 miles northeast at 5441 Westlake Rd. in Qzawkie, offer water sports and other outdoor recreation.
Visitor Centers Visit Topeka Inc. 618 S. Kansas Ave. Topeka, KS 66603. Phone:(785)234-1030 or (800)235-1030
ShoppingWest Ridge Mall, 1 mile south of I-70 on Wanamaker Road between 17th and 21st streets, features Burlington Coat Factory, Dillard's and JCPenney.
Things to Do Brown V. Board of Education National Historic Site
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