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Overview

Introduction to Topeka, Kansas

Topeka is the capital of the State of Kansas and is in north east Kansas at the intersection of I-70 and U.S. Highway 75. Its name is actually a Kansas Native-American tribe name and means "a good place to dig potatoes." However, the potatoes referred to are the prairie potato, a perennial herb in the pea family, native to prairies and plains in central North America, whose starchy root was an important food for Native Americans. Topeka became the capital in 1861 and its central location was a perfect spot for the hub of the railroads as they expanded westward. Burlington Northern and Santa Fe have been one of Topeka's major industries for more than a hundred years; in 1866 Union Pacific began operating here and the Rock Island Railroad followed in 1887. In 1995, the Santa Fe merged with the Burlington Northern, becoming the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation. Since that time, the company has since changed its name to BNSF Railway Co.

One of Topeka's claims to fame dates back to 1951 when Linda Brown was responsible for eliminating the standard of "separate but equal." She was the named plaintiff in Brown v. Board of Education and as a result of the lawsuit, required racial integration in American public schools. Monroe Elementary is the segregated school that figured in the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision and is now an historic monument. The Brown decision had a tremendous impact on the civil-rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, and hastened integration throughout the country, especially among the southern states. Interestingly, Topeka has always struggled with the issue of racial segregation, giving it the name "Bleeding Kansas" back in the 1800s. Ironically, since it was founded in the 1890s, Topeka High School has always been integrated and only the elementary schools in Topeka were segregated until the suit was filed.

The history of Topeka and Kansas is an interesting one and was influenced greatly by the railroads. In the 1840s, the Oregon Trail was the route that wagon trains used to travel from Missouri, on a 2,000 mile journey west. Then in the 1840s, a ferry service was created to allow travelers to cross the Kansas River at the site that is now Topeka. A new military road leading to Fort Riley supplemented the old Oregon Trail in the early 1850s and new cabins began springing up in Topeka. At that time, the "Topeka Town Association" was founded by nine men. One of them, Cyrus K. Holliday, became mayor of Topeka and went on to found the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. As a result, Topeka became an important hub where meat, lumber and flour would arrive at the docks by steamboats. Potatoes, corn and wheat would be returned and by 1870 Topeka enjoyed a boom period as the railroad established its machine shops and offices here. In the 1890s, Topeka was able to weather the depression of that time and its population doubled. Today, Topeka's economy is comprised of over 50% of Government and service workers. The Fortune 500 companies that are located in Topeka include The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, Goodyear Tire and Rubber, Hallmark Cards and Frito-Lay.

Topeka Points of Interest

In the 1980s, a new airport and convention center was built and the form of city government was changed. In 1989 Topeka became a motorsports mecca with the opening of Heartland Park Topeka. In addition, The Topeka Performing Arts Center opened in 1991 which hosts the International Jazz Festival featuring more than two dozen of the world's greatest jazz musicians. The Kansas Expocentre is the state Civic Center which hosts some great artists including Kenny Rogers, Chicago and REO Speedwagon. If theatre is your love, you are in luck visiting Topeka. Nearly every night there are performances at the Topeka Performing Arts Center, the Topeka Civic Theatre, the Helen Hocker Performing Arts Center in Gage Park, Terrance McKerr's Theater Pub, or Washburn University. Topeka is a huge center for great music, whether it be rock, jazz, or blues. For classical music buffs, The Topeka Symphony Orchestra provides great entertainment with its 80 member professional orchestra.

Topeka has over 20 art galleries devoted to furthering artistic expression and appreciation. The Mulvane Art Museum at Washburn University and the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library are just two that host regular events and exhibits and also maintain some great permanent collections of art. And for Comic Book fans of the 1960s, Topeka was the home of Alfred E Newman, from Mad Magazine. A Topeka dentist used his face for his logo, declaring that his services "didn't hurt a bit!" and a star was born!

Demographics

People

Total Population127,472
Male Share of the Population47.8%
Female Share of the Population52.2%
Senior Citizens15.7%
Employed Population 16+58,344
Age of the Population37

Families

% of people married43.9%
Average household size2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher27%
Median Earnings25+$32,295
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification$18,537
Median Earnings With High School Degree$26,073

Wealth

Median Family Income$58,180
% Above Poverty Level81.7%
% Below Poverty Level18.3%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time17 minutes
% Working from Home2.5%
% Walking and Biking to Work2.3%
% Using Public Transportation1.4%

Housing

People Living Alone37%
Median Gross Rent$724
Median House Value$99,400

Ancestry

Other(often includes Hispanic and African American)33%
German24.2%
Irish11.3%
English10.9%
French Except Basque2.8%
Swedish2.5%
Italian2.4%
Scottish1.9%
Dutch1.5%
Polish1.2%
Norwegian1.1%
Welsh0.8%
Czech0.8%
Russian0.6%
African0.6%
Danishn0.4%
Swiss0.4%
Canadian0.3%
Austrian0.3%
Hungarian0.2%
Arab0.2%
West Indian0.1%
Ukrainian0.1%
Slovak0.1%
Greek0.1%
Iraqi0.1%
Egyptian0.1%
Lebanese0.1%
Belgian0.1%
Lithuanian0.1%
Romanian0.1%
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Topeka Almanac

CategoryValue
County Shawnee County
Standard Zip Codes66603, 66604, 66605, 66606, 66607, 66608, 66609, 66610, 66611, 66612, 66614, 66615, 66616, 66617, 66618, 66619, 66621, 66683
P.O. Box Zip Codes66601, 66647, 66667, 66675
Company Zip Codes66620, 66622, 66624, 66625, 66626, 66628, 66629, 66636, 66699
Phone Area Codes785
Time ZoneAmerica/Chicago
Approximate Latitude39.03
Approximate Longitude-95.69

Topeka Climate

Nearest Weather Stations

Notes:

  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

StationTOPEKA BILLARD MNCPL AP
Distance2.7 miles
Jan Temp17 to 37 F
Apr Temp43 to 66 F
Jul Temp68 to 89 F
Oct Temp44 to 69 F
Annual Precip35.6 inches
StationPERRY LAKE
Distance14.8 miles
Jan Temp16 to 37 F
Apr Temp43 to 65 F
Jul Temp68 to 89 F
Oct Temp44 to 69 F
Annual Precip37.3 inches
StationLAWRENCE
Distance22.8 miles
Jan Temp21 to 39 F
Apr Temp46 to 68 F
Jul Temp70 to 91 F
Oct Temp48 to 70 F
Annual Precip39.7 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

LocationPopulationMedian Family Income
Auburn1,310$69,531
Hoyt635$70,417
Lecompton567$52,396
Meriden930$68,750
Perry846$66,552

Topeka Public Libraries

Topeka And Shawnee County Public Library
1515 SW 10TH AVE
Topeka, Kansas
(785) 580-4400

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Topeka Hospitals

Colmery-o'neil Va Medical Center
(Government - Federal)
2200 Sw Gage Blvd
The Kansas Rehabilitation Hospital
(Proprietary)
1504 Sw 8th Avenue
(785) 235-6600
St Francis Health Center Inc
(Non-profit)
1700 Sw 7th Street
(785) 295-8000
Stormont-vail Healthcare
(Non-profit)
1500 Sw 10th St
(785) 354-6000

Topeka Public Schools

Whitson Elem
1725 Sw Arnold Ave
ZIP: 66604
(785) 438-4570
Primary
Total Enrollment 505
Randolph Elem
1400 Sw Randolph Ave
ZIP: 66604
(785) 438-4480
Primary
Total Enrollment 388
Robinson Middle School
1125 Sw 14th St
ZIP: 66604
(785) 295-3770
Middle
Total Enrollment 447
Mccarter Elem
5512 Sw 16th St
ZIP: 66604
(785) 438-4660
Primary
Total Enrollment 421
Lowman Hill Elem
1101 Sw Garfield Ave
ZIP: 66604
(785) 235-7060
Primary
Total Enrollment 320
Hope Street Charter Academy
1900 Sw Hope Street
ZIP: 66604
(785) 438-4280
High
Total Enrollment 131
Topeka West High
2001 Sw Fairlawn Rd
ZIP: 66604
(785) 438-4000
High
Total Enrollment 1034
Ross Elementary
1400 Se 34th St
ZIP: 66605
(785) 274-6280
Primary
Total Enrollment 615
Shawnee Heights Elem
2410 Se Burton Dr
ZIP: 66605
(785) 357-5400
Primary
Total Enrollment 463
Eisenhower Middle School
3305 Se Minnesota Ave
ZIP: 66605
(785) 274-6160
Middle
Total Enrollment 567
Highland Park Central
2717 Se Illinois Ave
ZIP: 66605
(785) 235-7000
Primary
Total Enrollment 356
Highland Park High
2424 Se California Ave
ZIP: 66605
(785) 274-6000
High
Total Enrollment 875
Capital City
500 Sw Tuffy Kellog Dr
ZIP: 66606
(785) 295-3600
Other
Total Enrollment 108
Landon Middle School
731 Sw Fairlawn Rd
ZIP: 66606
(785) 438-4220
Middle
Total Enrollment 421
Meadows Elementary
201 Sw Clay St
ZIP: 66606
(785) 235-7150
Primary
Total Enrollment 588
Topeka Correctional Facility
8th & Rice Road
ZIP: 66607
(785) 559-5000
Other
Scott Dual Language Magnet
401 Se Market St
ZIP: 66607
(785) 235-7480
Primary
Total Enrollment 532
Logan Elementary
1124 Nw Lyman Rd
ZIP: 66608
(785) 575-8700
Primary
Total Enrollment 603
Quincy Elem
1500 Ne Quincy St
ZIP: 66608
(785) 235-7420
Primary
Total Enrollment 244
Jay Shideler Elementary
4948 Sw Wanamaker
ZIP: 66610
(785) 339-4600
Primary
Total Enrollment 488
Jardine Middle School
2600 Sw 33rd St
ZIP: 66611
(785) 274-6330
Middle
Total Enrollment 514
Avondale West Elem
3229 Sw Westview Ave
ZIP: 66611
(785) 274-6400
Primary
Total Enrollment 256
Stout Elem
2303 Sw College Ave
ZIP: 66611
(785) 438-4710
Primary
Total Enrollment 234
Shaner Elem
1600 Sw 34th St
ZIP: 66611
(785) 438-4620
Primary
Total Enrollment 187
Topeka High
800 Sw 10th St
ZIP: 66612
(785) 295-3150
High
Total Enrollment 1877
Williams Science And Fine Arts Magnet School
1301 Se Monroe St
ZIP: 66612
(785) 235-7330
Primary
Total Enrollment 589
Mceachron Elem
4433 Sw 29th Terr
ZIP: 66614
(785) 438-4430
Primary
Total Enrollment 437
Maude Bishop Elem
3601 Sw 31st St
ZIP: 66614
(785) 438-4390
Primary
Total Enrollment 359
Farley Elementary
6701 Sw 33rd Street
ZIP: 66614
(785) 408-8300
Primary
Total Enrollment 605
Mcclure Elem
2529 Sw Chelsea Dr
ZIP: 66614
(785) 438-4340
Primary
Total Enrollment 352
Indian Hills Elementary
7445 Sw 29th
ZIP: 66614
(785) 339-4500
Primary
Total Enrollment 523
Marjorie French Middle School
5257 Sw 33rd St
ZIP: 66614
(785) 438-4150
Middle
Total Enrollment 478
Wanamaker Elem
6630 Sw 10th
ZIP: 66615
(785) 339-4800
Primary
Total Enrollment 532
Chase Middle School
2250 Ne State St
ZIP: 66616
(785) 295-3840
Middle
Total Enrollment 490
State Street Elem
500 Ne Sumner St
ZIP: 66616
(785) 235-7280
Primary
Total Enrollment 501
North Fairview
1941 Ne 39th
ZIP: 66617
(785) 286-8500
Primary
Total Enrollment 317
Rochester Elem
3421 Rochester Rd
ZIP: 66617
(785) 286-8530
Primary
Total Enrollment 240
Pleasant Hill Elem
5830 N W Topeka Ave
ZIP: 66617
(785) 286-8510
Primary
Total Enrollment 304
Seaman High
4850 Rochester Rd
ZIP: 66617
(785) 286-8300
High
Total Enrollment 1220
Seaman Middle School
5620 Nw Topeka
ZIP: 66617
(785) 286-8400
Middle
Total Enrollment 613
Elmont Elem
6432 Nw Elmont Rd
ZIP: 66618
(785) 286-8450
Primary
Total Enrollment 345
Lawrence Gardner High School
1430 Nw 25th Street
ZIP: 66618
(785) 354-9798
Other
Total Enrollment 115
West Indianola Elem
4201 Nw Brickyard Rd
ZIP: 66618
(785) 286-8550
Primary
Total Enrollment 330
Washburn Rural Middle School
5620 Sw 61st
ZIP: 66619
(785) 339-4300
Middle
Total Enrollment 967
Pauline Central Primary
6625 Sw Westview
ZIP: 66619
(785) 339-4700
Primary
Total Enrollment 482
Washburn Rural High
5900 Sw 61st
ZIP: 66619
(785) 339-4100
High
Total Enrollment 1857

Topeka Private Schools

Most Pure Heart Of Mary School
1750 Sw Stone Ave
ZIP: 66604
Elementary
Total Enrollment 458
St Matthew Catholic School
1000 Se 28th St
ZIP: 66605
Elementary
Total Enrollment 155
Mater Dei Catholic School
934 Sw Clay St
ZIP: 66606
Elementary
Total Enrollment 243
Hayden High School
401 Sw Gage Blvd
ZIP: 66606
Secondary
Total Enrollment 501
Cair Paravel Latin School
635 Sw Clay St
ZIP: 66606
Combined Elementary And Secondary
Total Enrollment 305
Topeka Lutheran School
701 Sw Roosevelt St
ZIP: 66606
Elementary
Total Enrollment 121
Heritage Christian School
2000 Nw Clay St
ZIP: 66608
Combined Elementary And Secondary
Total Enrollment 147
Kennedy Academy
206 Se Lakewood Ct
ZIP: 66609
Elementary
Total Enrollment 12
Topeka Collegiate School
2200 Sw Eveningside Dr
ZIP: 66614
Elementary
Total Enrollment 187
Topeka Adventist School
2431 Sw Wanamaker Rd
ZIP: 66614
Elementary
Total Enrollment 10
Christ The King School
5973 Sw 25th St Bldg B
ZIP: 66614
Elementary
Total Enrollment 361
Holy Family Catholic School
1725 Ne Seward Ave
ZIP: 66616
Elementary
Total Enrollment 189
Sources :
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