History buffs are in for a treat when they visit Topeka, Kansas. There are a myriad of museums and historic landmarks to visit, but these three historic attractions are sure to put a twinkle in any history lover’s eye.
Great Overland Station
No one can resist the lure of the locomotive. The Great Overland Station, built between 1925 and 1927, is a former railway station. Featuring Free Classical Revival architecture with a terra cotta exterior, the museum ceased passenger service in 1971 and was left to sit after 1989.
Fortunately the Railroad Heritage group took the old station under its wing and lovingly restored it. The station reopened as a railroad museum and now features many locomotive exhibits and offers group tours.
Brown V. Board of Education National Historic Site
Anyone familiar with United States civil rights history knows about the landmark Supreme Court case that ended the segregation of races in public schools. The Brown V. Board of Education National Historic site is located in Topeka’s former Monroe Elementary School building, one of the four Topeka schools to be desegregated after the 1954 court decision.
After the school closed down in 1975, it passed through several owners before being bought in 1991 by the Trust for Public Land. Today the site is operated by the National Park Service, and narrated tours are conducted by National Park Rangers, featuring the museum’s galleries and temporary exhibits.
Old Prairie Town
Old Prairie Town is a park and an open air museum located within the Ward-Meade Historic site. It features several 19th century buildings which were moved to the site, a 2.5-acre botanical garden, an old general store, and a drug store.
Be sure to allow plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere and educational opportunities that these three Topeka historical sites present.