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 the 355th 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 (W.P.A.) program using quarried limestone, the Township Hall served more than the needs of local government.The building was used a for commmunity events such as dances, theatre, live music, and the occasional roller skating party.
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 served as the first town post office, the first school house and as a stagecoach station.The western wall of the building shows limestone bricks that were brought over several years from Stockton Kansas.
3) The Historic First Baptist Church
Starting in a dugout in 1877, the congregation continues to hold services, today. As the congregation grew, the dugout was replaced by a prairie sod church, a small limestone and in 1907, the present historic building. In the 1973 a brick building to the north was constructed which holds sunday service to this day.
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 1910. The AME church was fully restored and rededicated in 2021 and is open to the public during the day.
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.
Last updated: August 8, 2021