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Constitution Hall--Topeka

The name "Constitution Hall" was given to the two-story building, with a basement at this site. Construction began April 1855. It soon became the official headquarters for the "Topeka Movement", "code name" for the then illegal activities acting against the Pro Slavery laws. John H. Kagi who died at Harpers Ferry with John Brown, was a reporter for the Tribune located here. Joseph Miller, the treasurer for the Topeka Underground Railroad lived and had a tin shop and stored supplies in the basement. Rev. Lewis Bodwell, preacher for the Congregational Church and a major conductor of freedom seekers used the facility. Armstrong, organizer for the Underground Railroad in Shawnee County also used the facility. The building being the only substantial one in the embryo city became the hub for the political, military, religious, economic, educational, social, commercial, and safety center for citizens and fugitives during the period in Kansas history known as "Bleeding Kansas". The Free State Capitol building of Kansas (1864-1870) encapsulated old Constitution Hall and expanded it by extensions on each end. It contained all of the offices for the newly organized state government and was used until after the Civil War when funds were appropriated to construct the present more prestigious building.

Visitor Information: Currently not open to public.

Location: 427-429 S. Kansas Avenue, Box 2551, Topeka, 66601

National Park Unit: No

Ownership: Friends of the Free State Capitol

Location Type: Site

UGRR Operatives: John Brown,Joseph Miller,Rev. Lewis Bodwell