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Kansas State Capitol –
300 SW 10th Avenue
Topeka, KS 66612
The five floor beautiful Topeka Capitol
Building is known as the People's House, with its inspirational Italian Renaissance
Revival style, including Corinthian columns, an impressive dome and an east and
west wing which are attached to the main building which houses the Chambers, Hall
of Representatives, Governor's Office, committee rooms and other offices.
rotunda is 5 floors and the interior glass dome. The outside copper dome is a
few feet higher than the dome on our nation's capitol. There are 256 stairs in
the staircase which leads to the observation deck at the top of the rotunda, where
the hardy soul who makes the trip can see through the windows a glorious display.
(No, Tom and I didn't make it up!) For those of us who can't quite huff up the
stairs, go to Washburn University's Kansas State Capitol web page.
second floor of the Capitol building one finds the inspiring murals by Kansas
native son, John Stuart Curry, who is best known for his portrait of John Brown.
city of Topeka, the capitol city of Kansas was in need of a capitol building to
house the bodies of government: Senate. The Chambers and Hall of Representatives,
plus the offices of the elected officials and heir staff, not a small undertaking,
especially when something grand was the goal. On Feb. 14th 1866, the governor
signed into law a bill which funded such an endeavor into law.
Kansas Governor and Legislature wanted the finest capitol building for their state.
After the horrors and hardships suffered during the Civil War years, it was thought
that what was needed was a building to inspire the best of themselves and the
people who not only lived in Kansas City, but also in the whole state of Kansas.
They felt the Kansas State House should "rival the National Capitol as well
as any of the best capitols of the eastern states."
It is no surprise
then that the Topeka Capitol Building is one of the historic treasures of the
state of Kansas, the creation of a local Kansas architect, John G. Haskell, who
was given a chance by the governor to submit his plans before the Kansas state
Besides being grand and stately to inspire civic pride, the
love of democracy and freedom, and hope for the future, the legislature wanted
some other features such as being fire resistant, having natural lighting for
rooms, have the latest in 19th century heating & ventilation and that the
building wings be attached the same way that the building wings are attached to
the National Capitol in Washington D.C.
A variety of obstacle dogged this
building project, including problems with the limestone and the contractor, though
they persevered and built their grand Topeka Capitol Building. The west wing was
built first, followed by the center section, with the rotunda and capitol dome
finishing off phase 1 and 2 of the construction. When more room was needed, the
east wing was designed by Kenneth McDonald of Louisville, KY, and completed in
March, 1903, though in 1917, the quality of wing's details and finishes were brought
up to the standards found in the rest of the Capitol building when the deteriorating
stones were replaced.
Though the Topeka State Capitol never suffered from
lack of upkeep, it did loose some of its historical integrity. Specifically, the
"historical integrity of the interior fell victim to the great need for more
office space, for higher levels of lighting, and for air-conditioned comfort."
most of the changes made can be undone, returning the building to its former beauty.
Restoration has begun, making a difference in the aura in the Senate Chambers
and Hall of Representatives because the original finishes have been restored
Out of the nine men who
lost their lives while constructing the building, one has issues with the living
concerning wages. One worker who was fastening plates on the dome of the building,
reached too far for a bolt and died from his fall in 1890. As it was nearly the
end of the month, he was owed his wages, which were never paid to him, because
he had no surviving family. In 1948, Robert Fisher, a reporter for the Topeka
Daily Capital, did his homework and found out from the state treasurer's office
that this worker was never paid for work done.
distraught woman killed herself by jumping off the staircase which goes all the
way to the top of the Capitol dome.
entity of the unpaid worker seems to be still at his job, working at night, thinking
he will get his wages if he just finishes the job.
neighbor who lives across from the Capitol Building, on Harrison Street, has heard
a hammering sound coming from the dome.
female entity who killed herself.
In the basement
area, the sound of unexplainable footsteps and crying can be heard, near the area
where her body landed.
indeed, according to the reported observations of the witnesses.
Unexplainable.net - Kansas State Capitol web page * Washburn University - Kansas State Capitol web page * Haunted Kansas page on Shadowlands.net