The Five Historic Buildings
The five historic buildings represent spirit of Nicodemus - church, self government, education, home, and business. They illustrate the individual and collective strength of character and desire for freedom of these early pioneers, who established Nicodemus - one of the oldest and most famous Black towns on the western plains.
The five historic buildings were declared a unit of the National Park System on November 12, 1996. Nicodemus National Historic Site was signed into law by former President William J. Clinton.
1) The Township Hall - Self Government
Built in 1939, with support from the depression-era Works Progress Administration program using locally quarried limestone, the Township Hall served more than the needs of local government.
2) The St. Francis Hotel/Switzer Residence - Business and Family life
Not only a hotel, but also home to original owners Zachary T. and Jenny Fletcher. The Switzer family moved in during the 20th century. The hotel serviced as the first town post office, the first school house and as a stagecoach station.
3) The Old First Baptist Church
Starting in a dugout in 1877, the congregation continues to hold services, today. As the congregation grew, the dugout was replace by a prairie sod church, a small limestone and in 1907 the present historic building. Later years, a brick building to the north was constructed.
4) The African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church
The Church was first established in 1878 on another site, acquired the present building from the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in 1897.
5) School District Number 1
The first school was quickly established in the dugout of Zachary and Jenny Fletcher. A formal school house was constructed becoming the first school built in Graham County Kansas. It was later destroyed by fire and replaced by the present building.
Did You Know?
Nicodemus characterize the pioneer spirit of African Americans who left the only region that they were familiar with in search of personal freedom, personal achievement and ownership.