Topeka (təpēˈkə) [key], city (1990 pop. 119,883), state capital and seat of Shawnee co., NE Kans., on the Kansas River; inc. 1857. In a rich agricultural region, it is an important shipping point for cattle and wheat and a wholesaling, marketing, and processing center for farm products. There are insurance businesses, grain mills, meatpacking houses, large railroad repair shops, and plants that make tires and rubber products. A ferry was established there in 1842 on the Oregon Trail. The city was laid out in 1854 by Free State settlers from Lawrence and New England and was founded as the center for C. K. Holliday's projected railroad (the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe). A short-lived Free State constitution was framed in the city in 1855. Topeka was selected state capital when Kansas was admitted to the Union in 1861. The capitol is designed after the one in Washington, D.C. A city of broad, tree-shaded streets, Topeka has the museum and library of the state historical society, the Mulvane Art Museum, the state library, a notable Episcopal cathedral, a zoo, and a park system that includes the Reinisch Rose Garden. It is the seat of Washburn Univ. During the 20th cent. Topeka was an important city for psychiatric research and therapy; the world famous Menninger Clinic, a treatment center for mental illness, was there from 1919 to 2003.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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