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TO FREEDOM THROUGH DIFFICULTY

Nationally important events in Constitution Hall in Topeka, the Free State Capitol when Kansas was a federal Territory, halted a looming national expansion of slavery. It had been anticipated that Kansas would enter the Union a slave state. Instead, in 1855, the Topeka Constitutional Convention met here and wrote the Topeka Constitution, which would have banned slavery in Kansas.

 

Free State settlers struggled to bring Kansas into the Union. The Free State, Topeka Constitution was the first of four proposed Kansas constitutions. Preventing progress toward its passage in Congress, pro slavery forces led in compelling the Army to disperse the Free State Topeka Legislature on July 4, 1856.

 

In Constitution Hall, Free State settlers conducted Underground Railroad operations on the Jim Lane Trail to freedom in the North.

Constitution Hall was Topeka's first stone building. It held Topeka's first churches and community events, a school, stores, and served in protection of the new town. From 1864-1869, Constitution Hall was a part of the first Kansas statehouse.

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Initial steps toward public visitation of the historic site are in progress for its opening in early 2025. At right, the new Welcome Center is under construction in 2024.

In 2024, Friends of the Free State Capitol is completing the restoration of Constitution Hall, 427-429 S. Kansas Avenue, in Topeka, Kansas.

Partner in Freedoms Frontier National Heritage Area and the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.

A National Register of Historic Places historic site.

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