[an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Little Known Facts About Topeka

Topeka is the home of the first million-dollar high school. Topeka High School opened in 1931 when Principal Willard Van Slyck proclaimed: "A million-dollar student body for a million-dollar high school." Construction costs reached $1.75 million.

Topeka is the home of the Santa Fe Railroad, founded by Cyrus K. Holliday as the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. In 1995, the Santa Fe merged with the Burlington Northern, becoming the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation.

Topeka is the home of Margaret Hill McCarter, the first woman to speak at a national political convention (Republican Convention, 1920-Harding). An English teacher, Ms. McCarter was the author of books about life on the plains.

Topeka is the home of Charles Sheldon author of In His Steps, theoretically the best-selling book in the world. Dr. Sheldon promoted free kindergarten for all and was editor of the Topeka Capital for a week, editing the newspaper in Christian style.

Topeka is the home of the smiling character Alfred E. Newman, long recognized as the logo character for Mad Magazine. The character was the logo for a Topeka dentist who professed his services "didn't hurt a bit!"

Topeka is the home of Brown V. Board of Education National Historic Site. The site was designated to commemorate the landmark Supreme Court decision of May 17, 1954, which ended segregation in public schools. Topeka's Monroe School, the all-black school cited in Brown V. Board of Education, will be converted to a national park detailing the court case and the integral role of the Brown decision in the Civil Rights Movement. The park is scheduled to open in May 2003.

Topeka is the home of Menninger, world renowned for its treatment, prevention efforts, education and research in the field of mental health. Dr. Karl A. Menninger, founder, wrote the book Crime of Punishment. The center building at Menninger, the Tower Building. is fashioned after Independence Hall.

Reinisch Rose Garden, located in Gage Park, contains more than 350 varieties of roses, totaling more than 7,000 bushes. There is a parent-progeny display garden exhibiting genetically related rose groups. The garden is one of only 23 official All-American Rose Selection (AARS) Test Gardens in the country.

The Great Smith automobile was built in Topeka from 1906-1912.

Lutie Lytle, the second black woman admitted to the practice of law (1897) called Topeka home. She was admitted to the bar in Kansas and in Tennessee.

Charles Curtis, the only Native American to ever serve as vice president of the United States, was born in Topeka. He served under President Herbert Hoover, 1929-1933.

Topeka was the home of Alf Landon, the 1936 republican nominee for president defeated by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Topeka was the home of Dr. Crumbine, an early promoter of good health. As part of his good health campaign, he is credited for outlawing the "common drinking cup" at schools and on trains. He invented the paper cup and the fly swatter and promoted the now famous bricks "Don't spit on the sidewalk."

Lake Shawnee, in southeast Topeka, is the location of the first and only fully staked 400-meter dash rowing course in the world. Lake Shawnee is host to the annual Great Plains Rowing Championships and was host to the 1993 and 1994 American Rowing National Championships. The permanent cables and buoys at Lake Shawnee are those used in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Topeka is the home of the sparrow. Legend has it that Topeka founder Frye Giles, in an effort to control the insects he considered a nuisance, sent away for birds to eat the insects. He nursed the birds to health after their travels to Topeka, created an environment for them to live in, and ultimately called Topeka "the home of the sparrow."

Topeka is the boyhood home of Rex Stout, author of the Nero Wolfe novels. Nero Wolfe's investigator Archie Goodwin is named after a Topeka policeman from the 1920s who found young Rex Stout's stolen crank-up record player.

Gypsy Rose Lee gave her first performance in Topeka. Rose's sister, Baby June, documents in her autobiography the story of Baby June departing with the stage manager. Their mother dressed Rose in June's costume and pushed Rose onto the stage. Rose was an instant hit and began her career "on the road" in Kansas City the very next day.

Washburn University, the only municipally-owned university in the country, is in Topeka. More than 6,000 students are enrolled in Washburn's ninety-degree programs.

Topeka is the home for the world headquarters of Payless ShoeSource, the largest family footwear chain in North America. Payless currently operates more than 4,700 stores in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, and sells over 200 million pairs of shoes annually.

Topeka is home to the Hallmark Cards plant, a producer of greeting cards, boxed Christmas cards, stationery and envelopes sold in retail stores. The plant also produces all the writing papers and notes for Hallmark and Ambassador.

Topeka is home to Tiffany stained-glass windows. Located in the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Topeka, the windows, made of Favrile glass, were designed and executed at the Tiffany Studios in New York City under the supervision of its art director Louis C. Tiffany. They were installed in the church in 1911.

Home to the Women's Suffrage Movement in Kansas, the home of John and Mary Ritchie near downtown Topeka, was the site of the first meeting of the Women's Suffrage Movement in Kansas.

Topeka was home for many years to Carrie Nation, the temperance crusader, and her hatchet. Mrs. Nation supported herself with income from her newspaper, The Smasher's Mail, which was published in Topeka.

The Kansas Governor's Mansion, Cedar Crest, is the smallest governor's mansion in the United States; however, it sits on the largest piece of property. John P. MacLennan, publisher of the Topeka State Journal, gave the property and house to the state of Kansas. It was updated and remodeled in 2000.

Corporate headquarters for Hill's Pet Nutrition are in Topeka. Hill's produces Science Diet and Prescription Diet pet food sold internationally through veterinary offices and pet stores.

Topeka's Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plant is the world's largest producer of earthmover tires and the corporation's sole North American manufacturer of earthmover tires for mining and construction operations. The Topeka plant is also a major manufacturer of radial truck tires used worldwide.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]