Topeka, Kansas

Topeka, Kansas

|d=LoffAoffDbSoff|s= in January to an average high of nearly |d=LoffAoffDbSoff|s= in July. The maximum temperature reaches 90 °F an average of 45 days per year and reaches 100 °F an average of 4 days per year. The minimum temperature falls below the freezing point (32 °F) an average of 117 days per year. Typically the first fall freeze occurs between the last week of September and the end of October, and the last spring freeze occurs between the first week of April and early May.

The area receives nearly |d=LoffAoffDbSoff|s= of precipitation during an average year with the largest share being received in May and June—the April through June period averages 32 days of measurable precipitation. Generally, the spring and summer months have the most rainfall, with autumn and winter being fairly dry. During a typical year the total amount of precipitation may be anywhere from 25 to 47 inches (64 to 119 cm). Much of the rainfall is delivered by thunderstorms. These can be severe, producing frequent lightning, large hail, and sometimes tornadoes. There are on average 100 days of measurable precipitation per year. Winter snowfall is light, as is the case in most of the state, not due to lack of sufficient cold temperatures, but due to the dry, sunny weather patterns that dominate Kansas winters, that do not allow for sufficient moisture for significant snowfall. Winter snowfall averages almost |d=LoffAoffDbSoff|s=, but the median is less than |d=LoffAoffDbSoff|s=. Measurable snowfall occurs an average of 15 days per year with at least an inch of snow being received on seven of those days. Snow depth of at least an inch occurs an average of 26 days per year.


1860= 759
1870= 5790
1880= 15452
1890= 31007
1900= 33608
1910= 43684
1920= 50022
1930= 64120
1940= 67833
1950= 78791
1960= 119484
1970= 125011
1980= 115266
1990= 119883
2000= 122377

Topeka's population was estimated to be formatnum:LookupUSEstPop|2071000|EST in the year LookupUSEstPop|2071000|EYR, LookupUSEstPop|2071000|TXT.Cite web| url=| title=Population Estimates| publisher=U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division| Annual estimates of the population to 2071000|EDT. Released 2071000|RDT. Population change is from 2071000|IDT to 2071000|EDT.]

As of the U.S. Census in 2000,GR|2 there were 122,377 people, 52,190 households, and 30,687 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,185.0 people per square mile (843.6/km²). There were 56,435 housing units at an average density of 1,007.6/sq mi (389.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 78.52% White, 11.71% Black or African American, 1.31% Native American, 1.09% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 4.06% from other races, and 3.26% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.86% of the population.

There were 52,190 households out of which 28.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.8% were married couples living together, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.2% were non-families. 35.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.94.

In the city the population is spread out with 24.3% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 15.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 92.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,928, and the median income for a family was $45,803. Males had a median income of $32,373 versus $25,633 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,555. About 8.5% of families and 12.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.7% of those under age 18 and 8.2% of those age 65 or over.


Being the state's capital city, Topeka's largest employer is the State of Kansas—employing about 8,400 people,Cite web| title=Largest Employers| url=| publisher=Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce|] or 69% of the city's government workers. Altogether, government workers make up one out of every five employed persons in the city.GR|2

The educational, health and social services industry makes up the largest proportion of the working population (22.4%GR|2). The four school districts employ nearly 4,700 people, and Washburn University employs about 1,650. Three of the largest employers are Stormont-Vail HealthCare (with about 3,100 employees), St. Francis Health Center (1,800), and Colmery-O'Neil VA Hospital (900).

The retail trade employs more than a tenth of the working population (11.5%GR|2) with Wal-Mart and Dillons having the greater share. Nearly another tenth is employed in manufacturing (9.0%GR|2). Top manufacturers include Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Payless ShoeSource (headquartered in Topeka), Jostens Printing and Publishing, Hill's Pet Nutrition (also headquartered in the city), and Frito-Lay. Southwest Publishing & Mailing Corporation, a smaller employer, has its headquarters in Topeka.

Other industries are finance, insurance, real estate, and rental and leasing (7.8%); professional, scientific, management, administrative, and waste management services (7.6%); arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and food services (7.2%); construction (6.0%); transportation and warehousing, and utilities (5.8%); and wholesale trade (3.2%).GR|2 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is the largest insurance employer, with about 1,800 employees. BCBS of Kansas, Security Benefit Group of Companies, CoreFirst Bank & Trust, and Capitol Federal Savings Bank are headquartered in Topeka. BNSF Railway is the largest transportation employer, with about 1,100. Westar Energy employs nearly 800 and is headquartered in the city.

About a tenth of the working population is employed in public administration (9.9%GR|2). Other corporations headquartered in Topeka include the Sports Car Club of America.

Met-Con products also has its headquarters in Topeka.

Arts and culture


Topeka is sometimes cited as the home of Pentecostalism as it was the site of Charles Fox Parham's Bethel Bible College, where glossolalia was first claimed as the evidence of a spiritual experience referred to as the baptism of the Holy Spirit in 1901. It is also the home of Reverend Charles Sheldon, author of "In His Steps", and was the site where the famous question "What would Jesus do?" originated in a sermon of Sheldon's at Central Congregational Church. The First Presbyterian Church in Topeka is one of the very few churches in the U.S. to have its sanctuary completely decorated with Tiffany stained glass (another is St. Lukes United Methodist in Dubuque, Iowa). Topeka is also the location of Westboro Baptist Church led by the preacher Fred Phelps.

Points of interest

* Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site
* Kansas State Capitol, with murals by John Steuart Curry, including the portrait of John Brown towering over "Bleeding Kansas" and the Kansas prairie, and topped with the sculpture of an American Indian named Ad Astra (from the state motto Ad Astra per Aspera, meaning "To the Stars Through Difficulty".)
* Combat Air Museum at Forbes Air Force Base
* Great Overland Station railroad museum and All Veterans Memorial
* Heartland Park Topeka, a major drag racing and road racing course just south of the city.
* Kansas Museum of History
* Reinisch Rose Garden and Doran Rock Garden
* Topeka Civic Theatre and Academy
* Topeka High School
* Topeka Performing Arts Center
* Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library
* Topeka Zoo, famous as the birthplace of the first Golden Eagle chick hatched in captivity
* Ward-Meade Park Botanical Gardens
* Washburn University, the last city-chartered university in the United States.


Topeka is the home of a daily newspaper, the Topeka Capital Journal, and a bi-weekly newspaper, The Topeka Metro News. There are affiliates of the major television networks including Fox 43 (KTMJ), NBC 27 (KSNT), ABC 49 (KTKA), PBS 11 (KTWU-TV) and CBS 13 (WIBW-TV), which is the station where Bill Kurtis started his television career. There are also many local radio stations and AM talk shows.


The chief executives of Topeka are Mayor Bill Bunten (R) and City Manager Norton Bonaparte Jr.


Although Topeka experienced problems with crime in the 1990s, the city's crime rates have improved in the past decade. The city is now breaking trends when it comes to violent crime, so much so that it has gained the interest of researchers from Michigan State University. Since 2000 most cities with a population greater than 100,000 have seen an increase in violent crimes. Researchers credit good communication between law enforcement agencies, informed media outlets, and strong community involvement for Topeka's success. Topeka was one of four cities, Chicago, Tampa, and El Monte California to be studied.

Overall, crime in Topeka was down nearly 18 percent in the first half of 2008, compared with the same period of 2007. Crime was down 9.8 percent in 2007, as compared to 2006.

Cost of Living

Topeka participates in the ACCRA Cost of Living Index study which measures differences between areas in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures, for professional and managerial households in the top income quintile.

For the second quarter 2008, Topeka ranked 89.1 overall with the average for 318 urban areas participating being 100.

The study is based on more than 60 items, for which prices are collected quarterly by the Chamber of Commerce or similar organization in each participating urban area. The composite index is based on six components--housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services. Small differences should not be interpreted as showing any measurable difference, according to ACCRA.

Topeka ranked 92 in grocery items, 77 in housing, 93.3 in utilities, 96.3 in transportation, 93.6 in health care, and 94.6 in miscellaneous goods and services.

"Our cost of living is attractive when compared to communities on the east and west coasts, as well as cities in the Midwest," says Marsha Sheahan, Chamber vice president public relations. "We are pleased to see Topeka/Shawnee County getting recognition as a great place to live and work that is cost-pleasing to the family budget.Our housing costs continue to be very affordable and we're pleased this study confirms our belief that Topeka offers a quality living experience at a below average cost."


Topeka is served by four public school districts including Topeka USD 501, Auburn-Washburn USD 437, Shawnee Heights USD 450, and Seaman USD 345. Topeka is also home to several private and parochial schools including Topeka Collegiate, Cair Paravel-Latin School, and Hayden High school. There are also elementary and junior high schools supported by other Christian denominations.

Topeka has several colleges, universities and technical schools including Washburn University and the Baker University School of Nursing.


I-70, I-470, and I-335 all go through the City of Topeka. I-335 is part of the Kansas Turnpike where it passes through Topeka. Other major highways include: US-24, US-40, US-75, and K-4. Major roads within the city include NW/SW Topeka Blvd. SW Wanamaker Road. N/S Kansas Ave. SW/SE 29th St. SE/SW 21st St. SE California Ave. SW Gage Blvd. and SW Fairlawn Rd.

Philip Billard Municipal Airport (TOP) is located in the Oakland neighborhood of Topeka and Forbes Field (FOE)is located south of Topeka in Pauline, Kansas. Passenger air service is not currently available. Service may be added in the near future. Forbes Field also serves as an Air National Guard base, home of the highly decorated 190th Air Refueling Wing. Kansas City International Airport is the closest commercial airport.

Passenger rail service provided by Amtrak stops at the Topeka Station. Current service is via the Chicago-to-Los Angeles Southwest Chief during the early morning hours. However, the Kansas Department of Transportation recently asked Amtrak to study additional service options, including daytime service to Oklahoma City. [ [ Amtrak - Inside Amtrak - News & Media - News Releases - Latest News Releases ] ] Freight service is provided by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad and Union Pacific Railroad.

Bus service is provided by Greyhound Lines. City bus service provided by Topeka Transit.

Notable natives and residents

* Annette Bening, actress
* Gregg Binkley, actor
* Gwendolyn Brooks, poet
* Fred Comer, racecar driver
* Charles Curtis, U.S. Vice President (1929–33)
* Art Crews, wrestler
* Aaron Douglas, Harlem Renaissance artist
* Melvin Douglas, Olympic wrestler (1996 & 2000)
* Ronald Evans, astronaut
* Max Falkenstein, radio broadcaster
* Ann Gottesman, author
* Josh Kulick, former Heavy Metal Drummer for Through The Eyes Of The Dead
* Coleman Hawkins, jazz saxophonist
* Wes Jackson, environmentalist, The Land Institute
* Kansas, rock band
* Bill Kurtis, television anchor
* Ben Lerner, poet
* Harriet Lerner, clinical psychologist and author
* Katrina Leskanich, singer (Katrina and the Waves)
* Trey Lewis NFL Defensive Tackle 2007-Present
* Andy McKee, musician
* Karl Menninger, psychiatrist
* William C. Menninger, psychiatrist
* Origin, metal band
* John Parrella, football player
* Pat Roberts, U.S. Senator from Kansas
* Eric Rosen, Kansas Supreme Court Justice
* Thomas Ryan, U.S. Representative and Ambassador to Mexico
* Dean Smith, former University of North Carolina basketball coach
* Karl Targownik, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor
* Mark Turgeon, head basketball coach at Texas A&M University
* Max Yoho, author

Topeka in popular culture

*Bloo, a character from the children's cartoon series Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends watches a TV news report about Topeka, Kansas and states that "It's hot in Toe-Peek-A". This is a pun of Toepicker, a somewhat humorous insult.
*The underground town in the post-apocalyptic science fiction film "A Boy and His Dog", which appears as a parody of a small southern rural town, is named Topeka.
*Topeka is first mentioned in The Waste Lands and features prominently in Wizard and Glass, two books from Stephen King's Dark Tower series.
*In the Sherlock Holmes short story The Adventure of the Three Garridebs, the first Garrideb and ultimately the villain John Garrideb claims he is from Topeka, Kansas.
*In the popular post-nuclear game Wasteland (computer game), one of the clans of rail nomads is called the Topeka clan.
*In an episode of , True Q, Amanda's parents were killed by a tornado in Topeka, KS.
*In Our Worlds at War a comic book crossover published by DC Comics, Topeka is destroyed by the extraterrestrial supervillain Imperiex.
*In the video game Command & Conquer (video game) during the introduction of the game a newscast shows a sample of Tiberium and states that this sample was collected near Topeka, Kansas.
*In "The Red Badge of Gayness" episode of South Park, originally aired on November 24, 1999, Eric Cartman leads the South Park Confederates to attack Topeka.
*Ludo has a song called 'Topeka' on their album, You're Awful, I Love You about the band's van breaking down in Topeka.
*Topeka was mentioned in the 2006 trailer for the film Benchwarmers.



* Giles, "Thirty years in Topeka: A Historical Sketch", (Topeka, 1886)
* Z. L. Potter, "Industrial Conditions in Topeka", (New York, 1915)
* D. O. Decker, "Municipal Administration in Topeka", (New York, 1915)
* [ FallingRain Map - elevation = 273m]

External links

Official sites
* [ City of Topeka]
* [ Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce]
* [ "The Topeka Capital-Journal"] (daily newspaper)
* [ Topeka Photo Gallery]
* [ USD 345]

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