The Capitols of Kansas

Historical marker on the grounds of the state capitol
Shawnee County


The signing of the Kansas~Nebraska act on May 30, 1854, created Kansas territory from what had been Indian country and opened it to settlement. Andrew H. Reeder of Pennsylvania, the first governor, arrived in October and established a temporary office at Fort Leavenworth.

Next year the first legislature assembled at Pawnee, on the Fort Riley reservation. After five days it adjourned to Shawnee Methodist Mission, near Kansas City. Succeeding territorial legislatures met at Le- compton and Lawrence.

Topeka was named the temporary state capital in the constitution drawn up at Wyandotte (present Kansas City) in 1859. Under this document Kansas was admitted as a state on January 29, 1861. In the following general election Topeka was voted the permanent capital. First state legislatures met in Topeka churches and halls until the east wing of the state house could be occupied in 1869.

The 20-acre capitol square was given to the state by the Topeka town association. Construction of the state house, begun in 1866, was not continuous. Work proceeded only as appropriations were available. The building was completed in 1903 at a cost of $3,200,000. Older capitols at Pawnee and Shawnee Mission have been preserved by the state and are open to the public.

Kansas Historical Society

Marker text sent by Mike LeMasters, Wichita, KS

More  Historical Markers


September 3, 1997 / Bob Walter / Wichita, Kansas / history@kslib.info

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