TO FREEDOM THROUGH DIFFICULTY
Profoundly important actions within the native stone walls of Constitution Hall helped prevent the impending national expansion of slavery. Here in 1855, within a year of Topeka's founding, citizens of the Kansas Territory wrote the Topeka Constitution banning slavery in the future state of Kansas. Its impact on events leading to the Civil War cannot be overestimated.
Here on July 4, 1856, pro slavery forces engaged federal troops for dispersal of the Topeka or Free State Legislature. Constitution Hall stored goods to sustain and protect Free State settlement, and here in the cellar were Underground Railroad operations assisting those escaping slavery on the Jim Lane Trail.
The Free State Capitol held Topeka's first town council meetings, church services, social gatherings, a school, and stores and offices. By 1864, this was the first Kansas statehouse until completion of the East Wing of the current statehouse in 1869.
The building facade as restored in 2021
Friends of the Free State Capitol is restoring Constitution Hall, 427-429 S. Kansas Avenue, in Topeka, Kansas.
Partner in Freedoms Frontier National Heritage Area and partner site of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.