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Topeka: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Government and services comprise more than 50 percent of the metropolitan Topeka economy; total state, county, and city government employment accounts for almost one quarter of the work force, and more than 30 percent of area employees are on the service industry payroll. Nearly 15 percent of workers are employed in wholesale or retail trade. The construction and manufacturing industries made modest gains statewide amidst increasing demand for housing and aircraft production.

Fortune 500 companies that have established manufacturing or distribution facilities in Topeka include: Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, Frito-Lay, Inc., Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Hill's Pet Nutrition, Payless Shoe Source, and Hallmark Cards, Inc.

Other principal industries located in Topeka include flour mills, printing and publishing companies, iron foundries, and food processing plants.

Items and goods produced: flour, dairy products, meats and poultry, pet foods, tires, tents, awnings, serum, steel fixtures, culverts, tanks, boxes and baskets, medicines, and steel jetties.

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

The state of Kansas and the city of Topeka offer a range of incentives for business expansion, including a state-maintained "first-stop clearinghouse," tax credits and exemptions, utility rate discounts, fee waivers, and loan assistance. Organizations such as Topeka-Shawnee County Development Corporation and Kansas Venture Capital, Inc. promote development in the metropolitan area. Expansion Management magazine recently ranked Kansas State's employment training programs among the top ten in the U.S. for ease of access and value to clients.

Local programs

Shawnee County recently implemented a quarter-cent sales tax that will support local economic development activities. The anticipated $20 million revenue over the next four years will be earmarked for job creation and investment incentives. The city or county may grant up to 10 years of property tax exemptions to companies that promote employment growth or private investment in the area. GO Topeka offers loans to small businesses and startups owned by women or minorities, as well as job training and counseling. Topeka's One-Stop Business Development Office provides advice, funding and training in affiliation with the Washburn University Small Business Development Center, SCORE, GO Connection Microloan Program, and Wakarusa Certified Development Inc. Downtown Topeka Inc. provides grants to businesses in the downtown area.

State programs

Kansas State offers corporate income tax credits based on job creation and capital investment and sales tax exemptions on equipment purchases or facility construction. The High Performance Incentive Program provides tax exemption, job training credits and matching funds for consulting fees to companies paying above-average wages or investing in workforce training or capital. Tax credits are also available to companies that conduct research, contribute to the community, provide day-care facilities to employees, or invest in accessibility for persons with disabilities.

Job training programs

The Kansas Industrial Training program offers pre-employment training or on-the-job training for new and expanding businesses. The Kansas Industrial Retraining Program is for restructuring companies where existing employees may be displaced due to obsolete skills. The Investments in Major Projects and Comprehensive Training Program (IMPACT) is for companies hiring a large number of employees at higher-than-average wages. Job training programs are available through agencies such as KAW Area Technical School and Topeka Technical College.

Development Projects

The Kansas State Capitol is undergoing a nine-year restoration at a projected cost of $138 million. Components of this massive effort include restoring the historical integrity of the limestone exterior and the marble and wood interior; transforming the virtually unused basement into office space, a cafeteria and a visitor's center; updating mechanical and electrical systems; and conserving murals and decorative painting. Work is likely to continue until 2009.

Target's $80 million distribution centre was recently completed, bringing more than 600 new jobs to the area. A $22 million manufacturing plant expansion is underway at Reser's Fine Foods. Goodyear Tire & Rubber is completing a $100 million plant upgrade. Washburn University will spend $10 million on a Student Recreation and Wellness Center and new student apartments. An $11 million project to restore Monroe School as the Brown v. Topeka Board of Education National Historic Site was completed in May 2004. Ramada Inn Downtown has been purchased by an investor group and will undergo a $2.5 million renovation. Forbes Field and Philip Billard airports are both in the midst of multi-million-dollar upgrades. Stormont-Vail Health-Care's new $35 million surgery center opened in 2004, replacing surgical facilities from the 1950s.

Economic Development Information: Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce, 120 SE Sixth Street, Suite 110, Topeka, KS 66603-3515; telephone (785)234-2644; fax (785)234-8656

Commercial Shipping

Topeka is a shipping and distribution hub that links the corn-and wheat-growing region of northeastern Kansas and the cattle-producing states of the Southwest with markets throughout the country via an efficient transportation network. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, Union Pacific, and St. Louis-Southwestern provide commercial rail service to the Topeka area; piggyback service is available within a 60-mile radius. More than 300 motor carriers serve the Topeka region. Two air carriers operate parcel and freight facilities at Forbes Field.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

According to the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce, the entrepreneurial spirit of Topeka residents dates back to 1842 when a group of enterprising settlers founded a ferry service across the Kansas River. Today, Topeka area residents are more educated than the national average; 88 percent have a high school diploma and more than 25 percent have a college degree or higher. Statewide, more than half of Kansas employees have taken advantage of on-the-job training opportunities.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Topeka metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 111,400

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 6,100

manufacturing: 8,000

trade, transportation and utilities: 20,900

information: 2,900

financial activities: 6,900

professional and business services: 8,400

educational and health services: 16,600

leisure and hospitality: 9,000

other services: 5,100

government: 27,600

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $16.57 (Kansas State)

Unemployment rate: 7.0% (February 2005)

Largest employers Number of employees
State of Kansas 8,612
Stormont-Vail HealthCare 3,100
Unified School District #501 2,270
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas 1,855
St. Francis Hospital & Medical Center 1,837
Payless Shoe Source 1,735
Goodyear Tire & Rubber 1,700
Washburn University 1,455
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway 1,100
Jostens Printing and Publishing 1,060

Cost of Living

According to the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce, Topeka offers a "quality living experience at a below average cost."

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors in the Topeka area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $200,589

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 92.1 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: Ranges from 3.5% to 6.45%

State sales tax rate: 5.3%

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: city, 1.0%; county, 0.50%; Washburn University, 0.65%

Property tax rate: 141.24 mills per $1,000 of assessed value (2004)

Economic Information: Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce, 120 SE Sixth Street, Suite 110, Topeka, KS 66603-3515; telephone (785)234-2644; fax (785)234-8656. State of Kansas, Department of Human Resources, Labor Market Information Services, 401 SW Topeka Blvd., Topeka, KS 66603; telephone (785)296-5058; fax (785)296-5286

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Topeka: Recreation


Historic Ward-Meade Park overlooks the Kansas River valley from its position on a bluff. At the center of the park is the ancestral home of the Anthony Ward family, a Victorian mansion built in 1870. Also on the grounds are the Ward frontier log cabin, a country schoolhouse, botanical gardens, and a restored 1900s Kansas village called Old Prairie Town.

Gage Park includes the 160 acre Topeka Zoo, featuring a gorilla encounter habitat, providing for close observation of great apes through a glass partition; a Lion's Pride exhibit; Black Bear Woods; and a Tropical Rain Forest. Also at Gage Park are the Reinisch Rose Garden and Carousel in the Park.

Topeka's copper-domed state Capitol building is well known for its frescoes and woodworking, but it is the Kansas Murals that give the Capitol its artistic focal point; these murals by John Steuart Curry capture dramatic events in the state's history that proved so controversial at the time they were executed that the project was not finished. The Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site opened in 2004 at the former Monroe School, marking the 1954 Supreme Court decision that ended segregation in public schools. Topeka High School displays the mast spar from Old Ironsides on its lawn.

Great Overland Station is a museum and education center commemorating Topeka's railroad heritage. Future redevelopment of the adjacent Kansas Riverfront Park and Historic North Topeka Business District will turn the area into a rich cultural destination for locals and tourists. Potwin Place is an exclusive section of Topeka with Italianate, Victorian, and nineteenth-century farmhouse-style homes. Cedar Crest Governor's Residence, built by Topeka State Journal publisher Frank P. MacLennan in 1928, has been the home of Kansas Governors since 1962. First Presbyterian Church is one of a handful of churches in the nation decorated with Tiffany windows.

Arts and Culture

Musical entertainment in Topeka is provided by the Topeka Symphony Orchestra, the Topeka Community Concert Association, the Topeka Opera Society, the Fine Arts Society, and the Topeka Jazz Workshop. Performances take place at the Kansas Expocentre, the Topeka Performing Arts Center, and elsewhere.

The Topeka Performing Arts Center hosts touring Broadway musicals, dance companies, major symphonies, and other entertainment. The Topeka Civic Theater is one of the nation's oldest and most highly regarded dinner theaters. Other Topeka theater companies include Helen Hocker Theatre in Gage Park and the Washburn University Theatre.

More than 20 art galleries as well as public buildings, businesses, and corporations in Topeka display an array of art. Among the more outstanding pieces are John Steuart Curry's John Brown in the State Capitol and Peter Felton's Amelia Earhart in the rotunda of the State Capitol. The Mulvane Art Museum on the campus of Washburn University exhibits works by Duerer, Goya, Picasso, and Dali in its permanent collection. The Kansas Museum of History chronicles the history of Kansas from the earliest native cultures to the present, using interactive exhibits, programs and videos. The Combat Air Museum at Forbes Field displays airplanes, missiles, military vehicles and aircraft memorabilia dating back to 1917.

Arts and Culture Information: Topeka Performing Arts Center Box Office, telephone (785)297-9000; Kansas Expocentre Box Office, telephone (785)297-1000; Arts Council of Topeka, telephone (785)234-0378

Festivals and Holidays

Kansas Day Celebration in late January commemorates Kansas's admission into the Union. The featured attraction in March is the St. Patrick's Day Parade and Street Fair. Washburn University hosts the Sunflower Music Festival and the Mountain Plains Art Fair in June. The Spirit of Kansas Celebration, Mexican Fiesta, and Shawnee County Fair make for an active July. The Huff 'N' Puff Balloon Rally is a popular September event, as well as Cider Days and the Kansas River Valley Art Festival. Apple Festival, held at Historic Ward-Meade Park in October, celebrates Kansas's folk life. Festival of Trees and Miracle on Kansas Avenue take place during December.

Sports for the Spectator

The Central Hockey League's Topeka Tarantulas play at the Kansas Expocentre. Washburn University fields teams in intercollegiate competition in a number of sports. The Great Plains Rowing Championship takes place in April on Lake Shawnee. The Kansas State High School Rodeo Championships are held at the Kansas Expocentre Livestock Arena in early June. Drag racing action takes place at Heartland Park in Topeka, while sprint car racing happens at Thunder Hill Speedway.

Sports for the Participant

The Topeka Parks and Recreation Department maintains parks with 7 community centers, 69 public tennis courts, 5 public swimming pools, 26 baseball or softball diamonds and a number of playgrounds, picnic facilities and soccer fields. Nine public golf courses are located in the area. East of Topeka is Lake Shawnee, providing opportunities for swimming, fishing, camping, and sailing. Gage Park, in addition to being the home of the Topeka Zoo, features recreational facilities including swimming, volleyball, and tennis. A number of hiking, jogging and nature trails can be found in Topeka. The Topeka Tinman Triathlon takes place at Lake Shawnee in June. Indoor ice skating is offered at the Kansas Expocentre.

Shopping and Dining

The 1.1 million-square-foot West Ridge Mall is Topeka's main shopping venue. More than 30 other shopping areas range from enclosed malls to neighborhood shopping centers.

Steakhouses serving Kansas beef are the main attraction in Topeka. Other dining choices include French, Mexican, Oriental, and Cajun Creole. Topeka's most popular family restaurants specialize in traditional American fare such as Kansas steaks, Southern fried chicken, country fried steaks, barbecued ribs, and homemade pies and pastries. Fine dining is also available.

Visitor Information: Topeka Convention and Visitors Bureau, 1275 SW Topeka Blvd., Topeka, KS 66612-1852; telephone (785)234-1030; toll-free (800)235-1030; fax (785)234-8282

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Topeka: History

Westward Expansion Targets Kaw River Valley

Two historic nineteenth-century movements combined to create the city of Topekaone was the antislavery issue and the other was the westward expansion made possible by the railroad, which connected the East with the vast unsettled territory in the West. Before the Kansas frontier was opened by the federal government to settlement, the first people of European descent to live on the site of present-day Topeka were the French-Canadian Pappan brothers. They each married a woman from the Kaw tribe in 1842 and opened a ferry service across the Kaw River. The ferry was temporarily replaced in 1857 when bridge builders ignored warnings from the local Native Americans, who insisted that structures built too close to the Kaw would not be secure against flood waters. The bridge was destroyed in a flood the following year.

Colonel Cyrus K. Holliday, a native of Pennsylvania, came to the Kansas Territory in 1854 with funding from Eastern investors to build a railroad. Holliday and a few pioneers had walked 45 miles from Kansas City to Lawrence, where Holliday approached Dr. Charles Robinson, agent of the New England Emigrant Aid Company, an antislavery organization, about his plan. Then Holliday and Robinson traveled 21 miles to Tecumseh, but businessmen there wanted too much money for their land. Holliday located a spot 5 miles from Tecumseh along the river and purchased land from Enoch Chase, who had previously bought it from the Kaws.

Holliday formed a company, naming himself as president and the Lawrence contingent and Chase as stockholders. Holliday wanted to name the town Webster after Daniel Webster, but the others preferred a name whose meaning was local; they chose Topeka, a Native American word meaning "smokey hill," according to one version, or "a good place to dig potatoes," according to another. The City of Topeka was incorporated February 14, 1857 with Holliday as mayor. Dr. Robinson attracted antislavery New Englanders to settle in Topeka, thus counteracting the influence of a proslavery group in Tecumseh. A Free State constitutional convention was held in Topeka but federal troops arrested the new legislators when they tried to meet on July 4, 1855.

Kansas Statehood Brings Capital to Topeka

The Kansas constitution was framed at Wyandotte (later named Kansas City), and Kansas was admitted to the Union in 1861. The constitution specified that the state capital would be selected by election. Dr. Robinson ran for governor, favoring Topeka over Lawrence as the site for the capital; he also supported the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway system, which began laying its westward track in 1869. Holliday served as the company's first president, with general offices and machine shops located in Topeka. Topeka's population increased from 700 people in 1862 to 5,000 people in 1870; it then made another dramatic population jump in the late 1880s.

Foundation in Topeka Gains International Fame

During the 20th century Topeka was known internationally as the home of Menninger, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the study of mental illness and founded by Dr. Karl Menninger and his father, Dr. Charles F. Menninger. In 1920 the Menningers opened a group psychiatric practice that they named the Menninger Clinic; they were joined in 1925 by William, Charles's younger son. The Menningers opened the Topeka Institute of Psychoanalysis in 1938 after the brothers had studied formally in Chicago. The family is credited with introducing psychiatry to America. Karl Menninger's The Human Mind was the first book on psychiatry to become a bestseller. The Menningers opened the nonprofit Menninger Foundation, the world's largest psychiatric training center, in 1941. The Menninger Clinic moved to Houston, Texas in 2003.

Today, Topeka is recognized for its strong economic development efforts and high quality of life. In 2003 Business Facilities magazine wrote, "While the national economy lags, relocations and expansions are happening all over Kansas, with Topeka leading the way."Expansion Management magazine gave the city its highest rating in the Annual Quality of Life Quotient survey.

Historical Information: Kansas State Historical Society, 6425 SW Sixth Ave, Topeka, KS 66615; telephone (785)272-8681; fax (785)272-8682

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Topeka: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Public elementary and secondary schools within the Topeka corporation limits are administered by Topeka Public Schools (TPS) United School District #501. The school superintendent is appointed by a nonpartisan, seven-member board of education.

Six elementary schools in the district met the Kansas Standards of Excellence in 2004, a challenging target that no TPS school had attained since 1996. Superintendent W.L. Sawyer credited the hard work of teachers and administrators as well as an increased focus on professional development. Six additional schools posted gains exceeding 15 percent on state reading or math assessments.

The district features two state-of-the-art elementary magnet schoolsone emphasizing computer technology and the other with a science and fine arts theme. The district has an extensive special education program, a business partnership program, a school volunteer program, full-day kindergarten in several schools, preschool programs, out-of-district enrollment options, alternative education, and a Kids Voting program.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Topeka public schools as of the 20032004 school year.

Total enrollment: 14,058

Number of facilities elementary schools: 21

middle schools: 6

senior high schools: 4

other: 4

Student/teacher ratio: 13.1:1 (20022003)

Teacher salaries

minimum: $26,655

maximum: $45,554

Funding per pupil: $4,946

Educational alternatives are offered by 15 private and parochial private schools in Topeka. Special schools include the Capper Foundation and TARC (the Topeka Association for Retarded Children).

Public Schools Information: Topeka Public Schools, USD 501, 624 W 24th Street, Topeka, KS 66611; telephone (785)575-6100

Colleges and Universities

Washburn University, a public institution enrolling nearly 7,000, offers more than 100 programs in its College of Arts and Sciences and its faculties of Law, Business, Nursing, and Applied and Continuing Education. Washburn's law school counts nationally recognized lawyers, judges and politicians among its alumni. The University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas State University in Manhattan and Emporia State University are within 50 miles of Topeka.

Friends University and Baker University offer adult education at campuses in Topeka.

Among the eight occupational/technical schools located in the Topeka area are Kaw Area Technical School and Topeka Technical College.

Libraries and Research Centers

Topeka is home to several major libraries. The Topeka & Shawnee County was reopened in 2002 after a 100,000 square foot expansion designed by renowned architect Michael Graves. The library holds approximately 538,000 items including books, periodicals, microfilms, compact discs, slides, audiotapes and videotapes. Its Alice C. Sabatini Gallery houses the oldest public art collection in the city. The library also offers an outreach program with two Bookmobiles and an Adventure Mobile for children.

The Kansas State Library maintains an extensive collection of books, documents and videos with a focus on government and public affairs. The library also operates a free talking book program for patrons with visual impairments, physical impairments or reading disabilities in Emporia. The Kansas State Historical Society Library contains a state archival collection as well as archaeological and genealogical materials, manuscripts, maps, photographs and federal documents. Washburn University's Mabee Library and Law Library, the Kansas Supreme Court Law Library, the Topeka Genealogical Society Library, and libraries associated with corporations, hospitals, and state agencies are also located in Topeka.

Public Library Information: Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, 1515 SW Tenth Avenue, Topeka, KS 66604; telephone (785)580-4400

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Topeka: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents

1980: 154,916

1990: 160,976

2000: 169,871

Percent change, 19902000: 5.5%

U.S. rank in 1990: Not reported

U.S. rank in 2000: 319th

City Residents

1980: 118,690

1990: 119,883

2000: 122,377

2003 estimate: 122,008

Percent change, 19902000: 1.3%

U.S. rank in 1990: 149th

U.S. rank in 2000: 197th

Density: 2,185 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 96,093

Black or African American: 14,332

American Indian and Alaska Native: 1,603

Asian: 1,340

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 50

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 10,847

Other: 4,969

Percent of residents born in state: 67.9% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 8,615

Population 5 to 9 years old: 8,224

Population 10 to 14 years old: 7,873

Population 15 to 19 years old: 8,363

Population 20 to 24 years old: 8,710

Population 25 to 34 years old: 17,169

Population 35 to 44 years old: 18,153

Population 45 to 54 years old: 16,553

Population 55 to 59 years old: 5,582

Population 60 to 64 years old: 4,717

Population 65 to 74 years old: 9,031

Population 75 to 84 years old: 6,821

Population 85 years and older: 2,566

Median age: 36.3

Births (2003)

Total number: 2,068

Deaths (2003)

Total number: 1,513 (of which, 18 were infants under the age of 1 year)

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $19,555

Median household income: $35,928

Total households: 52,143

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 5,297

$10,000 to $14,999: 3,929

$15,000 to $24,999: 8,125

$25,000 to $34,999: 8,001

$35,000 to $49,999: 9,675

$50,000 to $74,999: 9,875

$75,000 to $99,999: 3,864

$100,000 to $149,999: 2,413

$150,000 to $199,999: 479

$200,000 or more: 485

Percent of families below poverty level: 8.5% (42.5% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 11,294

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Topeka: Introduction
Topeka: Geography and Climate
Topeka: History
Topeka: Population Profile
Topeka: Municipal Government
Topeka: Economy
Topeka: Education and Research
Topeka: Health Care
Topeka: Recreation
Topeka: Convention Facilities
Topeka: Transportation
Topeka: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1854 (incorporated, 1857)

Head Official: Mayor William W. Bunten (since 2005)

City Population

1980: 118,690

1990: 119,883

2000: 122,377

2003 estimate: 122,008

Percent change, 19902000: 1.3%

U.S. rank in 1980: 136th

U.S. rank in 1990: 149th

U.S. rank in 2000: 197th

Metropolitan Area Population (Shawnee County)

1980: 154,916

1990: 160,976

2000: 169,871

Percent change, 19902000: 5.5%

U.S. rank in 1990: Not reported

U.S. rank in 2000: 319th

Area: 56 square miles (2000)

Elevation: Ranges from 876 feet to 971 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 65.1° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 33 inches of rain, 21 inches of snow

Major Economic Sectors: Services, government, trade, manufacturing

Unemployment Rate: 7.0% (February 2005)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 11,294

Major Colleges and Universities: Washburn University

Daily Newspaper: The Topeka Capital-Journal

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Topeka: Health Care

The Topeka medical community has expanded with renovation and new construction at the city's major facilities, which include two general and five specialized hospitals. St. Francis Hospital offers 378 patient beds and a premier cancer care centre including the only PET image scanner in the Topeka area. It also specializes in heart disease and rehabilitation. Stormont-Vail Regional Health Center is a 586-bed acute care facility providing a range of inpatient and outpatient services. It operates the only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the county and recently completed a new $35 million surgical center. The hospital is part of the Stormont-Vail HealthCare integrated system, which serves 14 counties in northeast Kansas. Both general hospitals maintain emergency departments.

The Colmery-O'Neil Medical Center provides a range of services for veterans, including medical, surgical, psychiatric and nursing home care. The Kansas Neurological Institute is recognized for its programs for persons with developmental disabilities. The Kansas Rehabilitation Hospital provides inpatient and outpatient care in all areas of physical rehabilitation. The Select Specialty Hospital is an acute care facility for patients requiring care for extended periods of time; the average stay is 25 days. Tallgrass Surgical Center provides cost-effective outpatient care.

The nonprofit Capper Foundation provides education and assistive technology for physically handicapped children. It also offers preschool and childcare services.

There are 37 retirement and adult care homes in the Topeka area.

Health Care Information: Ask-A-Nurse referral line, telephone (785)295-8333. Health Connections, telephone (785)354-5225. St. Francis Hospital, telephone (785)295-8000. Stormont-Vail Health Center, telephone (785)354-6000

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Topeka: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

Topeka's major daily newspaper is The Topeka Capital-Journal. The city is also a center for magazine publishing. Among the widely circulated periodicals based in Topeka are Capper's, a biweekly human interest magazine established in 1879; and Grit, a weekly family-oriented tabloid. Mother Earth News, a leading environmental magazine, moved from New York City to Topeka in 2001. Other publications pertain to agriculture, commerce and industry, history, food, and rural living.

Television and Radio

Topeka television viewers select programming from two stations based in the cityone commercial network affiliate and one public station. Six AM and FM radio stations schedule a variety of formats such as educational, talk, adult contemporary, and news and sports.

Media Information: Topeka Capital-Journal, 616 SE Jefferson Street, Topeka, KS 66607; telephone (785)295-1111

Topeka Online

City of Topeka home page. Available

Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce. Available

The Topeka Capital-Journal online. Available

Topeka Public Schools. Available

Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library. Available

Selected Bibliography

Cox, Thomas C. Blacks in Topeka, Kansas: 1865-1915, a Social History. Louisiana State University Press, 1982.

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Topeka: Geography and Climate

Topeka lies on both banks of the Kansas River about 60 miles upriver from the point where the Kansas joins the Missouri River. Two tributaries of the Kansas River, Soldier and Shunganunga Creeks, flow through the city. The valley near Topeka, bordered by rolling prairie uplands of 200 to 300 feet, ranges from 2 to 4 miles in width. Seventy percent of the annual precipitation falls from April through September. Heavy rains pose the threat of flooding, but the construction of dams has reduced the problem. Summers are usually hot, with low humidity and southerly winds; periods of high humidity and oppressively warm temperatures are of short duration. Winter cold spells are seldom prolonged; winter precipitation is often in the form of snow, sleet, or glaze. Severe or disruptive storms occur infrequently.

Area: 56 square miles (2000)

Elevation: Ranges from 876 feet to 971 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January, 26.0° F; July, 78.0° F; average, 65.1° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 33 inches of rain, 21 inches of snow

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