TOPEKA, the capital city of Kansas, U.S.A., and the county seat of Shawnee county; on the Kansas (Kaw) river, in the eastern part of the State, 7o m. W. of Kansas City. It is on Federal high ways 40 and 75; has a municipal airport; and is served by the Mis souri Pacific, the Rock Island, the Santa Fe and the Union Pacific railway systems. Pop. (1920) 50,022 (83.4% native white, 8.o% foreign-born white and 8.5% Negro) ; in 1930, by the Fed eral census (within the city limits) besides the number in adjacent suburbs. The city lies on both sides of the river, at an elevation from 88o to i,000 ft. above sea-level. It is laid out on the rectangu lar plan, with btoad, well-paved, beautifully shaded streets, sub stantial business blocks, many playgrounds for children, and 300 ac. of public parks. The State Fair grounds, on the edge of the city, cover 78 ac. and include a fine half-mile race-track and nu merous permanent exhibition buildings. The State capitol (built 1866-1903, at a cost of $3,200,589) stands in the center of parked grounds covering four squares. Topeka is the seat of a Protestant, Episcopal cathedral, a State hospital for the insane, a State re form school, the collections of the State historical society, several hospitals (including one for employees of the Santa Fe lines) and private schools, the Kansas Vocational school for negroes (1895), and Washburn college (established in 1865 as Lincoln college, and renamed in 1865 in recognition of a gift of $25,000) which has an enrolment of over 1,200. The city is an important manufactur ing center, with an output in 1927 valued at $33,626,620. The Santa Fe has its principal construction shops here, employing 3,500 men, and its offices have a staff of 1,500 officials and clerks.
The flour-mills make 1,500,000 bbl. of flour and 400,000 bbl. of corn-meal annually. Printing and publishing (2o houses) is one of the leading industries. The assessed valuation of property for 1928 was $93,683,060.
Topeka is an Omaha Indian word signifying the so-called Indian potato. The first white settler came in 1852, and in 1854 the site was chosen by a group of anti-slavery colonists from Lawrence. It was the scene of many riots during the conflict between the abolitionists and the advocates of slavery in the Territory (see KANSAS). The "Topeka Constitution" was framed by a convention here in 1855. In 1856 the Free Soil legislature, meeting here, was dispersed by U.S. troops under orders from President Pierce. Un der the Wyandotte Constitution (1859) Topeka was made the temporary seat of government, and in 1861 (when Kansas was ad mitted to the Union) it became the permanent State capital. The city was chartered by the pro-slavery Territorial legislature in 1857. It became a city of the first class in 1881. It was from Topeka that the Santa Fe company began building a railway west ward in 1869, and the establishment here in 1878 of its locomotive and car construction shops was an important factor in the city's de velopment. The population increased rapidly from 759 in 186o to 5,790 in 1870, 15,452 in 188o and 31,007 in 1890. In 188o, just after the great negro migration to Kansas, 31% of the total population of the city was coloured, but in 1928 the proportion was not more than 7%.