Topeka, KS Yellow Pages

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Topeka, KS Yellow Pages

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Topeka, KS

Topeka, the capital city of Kansas, is a retail, medical, and business hub with a four-season climate and lower-than-average cost of living. Its approximate 122,000 residents enjoy good community services, active churches, and numerous libraries.

Topeka is situated on rich, sandy ground along the Kansas River. During the 1800s, the Oregon Trail crossed the river at Topeka, and ferry boat services prospered. Later, railroads played a major role in Topeka's development.

At times, droughts, tornados, and floods have stopped or slowed growth in the city. One of its worst floods was in the spring of 1903, when 29 people drowned, and hundreds more were trapped in their homes as water in the Kansas River rose. The flood led to the construction of dikes, preventing a repeat of a similar disaster.

ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES

Up until World War II, Topeka's economy was largely dependent on agriculture, meat packing, and the railroad. When the war started, the government and the military began playing an important role. Forbes Air Force Base was established, and Goodyear Tire and Rubber plant opened during the war. When Forbes Air Force Base closed in 1974, 10,000 people lost their jobs. But the city recovered and now has a diverse economy that is led by the government, retail, and health-care sectors. Additionally, railroads are still an important industry. One of the largest railroad shops in the world, operated by Burlington Northern Santa Fe, is located in Topeka.

Some of Topeka's major employers include:

  • State of Kansas
  • Stormont-Vail HealthCare
  • Topeka Unified School District #501
  • Washburn University
  • Saint Francis Health Center
  • Payless Shoes
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas
  • Goodyear Tire and Rubber
  • City of Topeka
  • U.S. government
  • Wal-Mart Superstores
  • Burlington Northern Santa Fe
  • Shawnee County
  • Jostens Printing and Publishing

NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS

Topeka's offers a variety of neighborhoods and housing choices, from historical neighborhoods to new suburbs and downtown housing. More than half the homes in Topeka are owner-occupied, and 65 percent are single-family homes. The median home price is $150,000 -- lower than much of Kansas.

Older neighborhoods like Oakland, Highland Park, and Potwin offer a beautiful, architecturally significant homes built in the late 19th and early 20th century. Shadywood, Clarion, and Macfarland Farms are among the newer neighborhoods. Westboro, Westwood, Tennessee Town, and College Hill are established urban neighborhoods near the city center.

BEST BETS

Topeka's major attractions include:

  • Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site: This national park is located at Topeka's Monroe School, which was the center of the Supreme Court case resulting in desegregation of American schools. Exhibits explain the court case and its impact.
  • Combat Air Museum: This museum restores and displays historic, restored military aircraft from all eras. Visitors can view fighters, missiles, and surveillance aircraft.
  • Old Prairie Town at Ward Meade Historic Site: This living-history museum gives visitors an idea of what life was like in Topeka's past. Its five acres include a restored 1870 Victorian mansion, train depot, log cabin, one-room schoolhouse, general store, and church.
  • Reinisch Rose Garden: This garden in Gage Park contains 7,000 rosebushes. Visitors can see more than 350 varieties of roses in the unique and beautiful garden.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Among Topeka's major museums are:

  • Mulvane Art Museum: Mulvane is the oldest accredited art museum west of the Mississippi River. Its 5,000-square-foot exhibition space was recently renovated, and its permanent collection includes works by national, international, and regional artists.
  • Topeka Performing Arts Center: TPAC, as it is known, is home to the Georgia Neese Gray Performance Hall, a 2,500-seat theater that plays host to concerts, comedians, and Broadway shows. The center is also available for receptions and meetings.

EDUCATION

Washburn University: This broad-based liberal arts school is the only municipally owned university in the country. More than 7,000 students are enrolled, taking classes in nearly 200 programs. Washburn is known for small class sizes, modern teaching techniques, and the unique opportunities that arise from its tight relationship with the city.

University of Kansas: Twenty miles from Topeka, in Lawrence, is the campus of the University of Kansas. Two thousand faculty members teach 30,000 students in 140 fields of study, including business, liberal arts, medicine, and law. Seventy percent of students at the University of Kansas are from Kansas.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Mad Magazine character Alfred E. Newman originated in Topeka. The famous face began as a logo for a dentist who proclaimed his services "didn't hurt a bit!"
  • The only Native American to serve as vice president of the United States, Charles Curtis, was born in Topeka. He served with President Herbert Hoover from 1929 to 1933.
  • The Kansas Governor's Mansion is the smallest occupied official residence for a governor in the United States.