Sitting west of Kansas City, Interstate 70 runs through the city of Topeka, Kansas. This city is the capital of the state of Kansas. it’s also Shawnee County’s seat. It sits on the banks of the Kansas River. If you look for it on a map, start in the northeast corner of Kansas, which almost exactly in the middle of the continental United States. If you’re looking on a road map, you’ll find I70 running east from Denver, Colorado, although you might find I335 running up into Topeka as well.
Topeka recorded a city population of 127,473 residents in the 2010 Census. That’s more than half of the people that live in the area, as the city is part of the larger Topeka Metropolitan Statistical Area. That covers Wabaunsee, Osage, Jefferson, and Jackson counties on top of just Shawnee county. The collective population of that area is nearly a quarter million individuals.
The name of “Topeka” is derived from a Kansa-Osage phrase. It was loosely translated into English as a good spot for digging potatoes. The first use of Topeka as a placename was recorded in 1826 as a local Native American name for the Kansas River. The founders of the city chose the name in 1855 since it seemed like a distinct name, but also reflected local origins.
The city was famous in the 20th century for the Brown V. Board of Education of Topeka case that went before the United States Supreme Court, where racial segregation in public schooling was decided to be unconstitutional.
While Kansas as a state is often synonymous with flat terrain, lots of farming, and tornadoes, the cities of the state do offer employment, culture, activities, and entertainment. Three navy ships have carried the Topeka name, and former nuclear missile silos in Kansas are converted into luxury disaster homes.