- Topeka, Kansas
|d=LoffAoffDbSoff|s= in January to an average high of nearly |d=LoffAoffDbSoff|s= in July. The maximum temperature reaches 90 °F an average of 45 days per year and reaches 100 °F an average of 4 days per year. The minimum temperature falls below the freezing point (32 °F) an average of 117 days per year. Typically the first fall freeze occurs between the last week of September and the end of October, and the last spring freeze occurs between the first week of April and early May.
The area receives nearly |d=LoffAoffDbSoff|s= of precipitation during an average year with the largest share being received in May and June—the April through June period averages 32 days of measurable precipitation. Generally, the spring and summer months have the most rainfall, with autumn and winter being fairly dry. During a typical year the total amount of precipitation may be anywhere from 25 to 47 inches (64 to 119 cm). Much of the rainfall is delivered by
thunderstorms. These can be severe, producing frequent lightning, large hail, and sometimes tornadoes. There are on average 100 days of measurable precipitation per year. Winter snowfall is light, as is the case in most of the state, not due to lack of sufficient cold temperatures, but due to the dry, sunny weather patterns that dominate Kansas winters, that do not allow for sufficient moisture for significant snowfall. Winter snowfall averages almost |d=LoffAoffDbSoff|s=, but the median is less than |d=LoffAoffDbSoff|s=. Measurable snowfall occurs an average of 15 days per year with at least an inch of snow being received on seven of those days. Snow depth of at least an inch occurs an average of 26 days per year.
Topeka's population was estimated to be formatnum:LookupUSEstPop|2071000|EST in the year LookupUSEstPop|2071000|EYR, LookupUSEstPop|2071000|TXT.Cite web| url=http://www.census.gov/popest/estimates.php| title=Population Estimates| publisher=U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division| Annual estimates of the population to 2071000|EDT. Released 2071000|RDT. Population change is from 2071000|IDT to 2071000|EDT.]
As of the U.S. Census in 2000,GR|2 there were 122,377 people, 52,190 households, and 30,687 families residing in the city. The
population densitywas 2,185.0 people per square mile (843.6/km²). There were 56,435 housing units at an average density of 1,007.6/sq mi (389.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 78.52% White, 11.71% Black or African American, 1.31% Native American, 1.09% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 4.06% from other races, and 3.26% from two or more races. Hispanicor Latinoof any race were 10.86% of the population.
There were 52,190
households out of which 28.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.8% were married couples living together, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.2% were non-families. 35.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.94.
In the city the population is spread out with 24.3% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 15.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 92.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $35,928, and the median income for a family was $45,803. Males had a median income of $32,373 versus $25,633 for females. The
per capita incomefor the city was $19,555. About 8.5% of families and 12.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.7% of those under age 18 and 8.2% of those age 65 or over.
Being the state's
capitalcity, Topeka's largest employer is the State of Kansas—employing about 8,400 people,Cite web| title=Largest Employers| url=http://www.topekachamber.org/doing_business_topeka/community_information/largest_employers.php| publisher=Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce|] or 69% of the city's government workers. Altogether, government workers make up one out of every five employed persons in the city.GR|2
The educational, health and social services industry makes up the largest proportion of the working population (22.4%GR|2). The four school districts employ nearly 4,700 people, and
Washburn Universityemploys about 1,650. Three of the largest employers are Stormont-Vail HealthCare (with about 3,100 employees), St. Francis Health Center (1,800), and Colmery-O'Neil VA Hospital (900).
The retail trade employs more than a tenth of the working population (11.5%GR|2) with
Wal-Martand Dillonshaving the greater share. Nearly another tenth is employed in manufacturing (9.0%GR|2). Top manufacturers include Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Payless ShoeSource(headquartered in Topeka), JostensPrinting and Publishing, Hill's Pet Nutrition(also headquartered in the city), and Frito-Lay. Southwest Publishing & Mailing Corporation, a smaller employer, has its headquarters in Topeka.
Other industries are finance, insurance, real estate, and rental and leasing (7.8%); professional, scientific, management, administrative, and waste management services (7.6%); arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and food services (7.2%); construction (6.0%); transportation and warehousing, and utilities (5.8%); and wholesale trade (3.2%).GR|2 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is the largest insurance employer, with about 1,800 employees. BCBS of Kansas, Security Benefit Group of Companies,
CoreFirst Bank & Trust, and Capitol Federal Savings Bank are headquartered in Topeka. BNSF Railwayis the largest transportation employer, with about 1,100. Westar Energyemploys nearly 800 and is headquartered in the city.
About a tenth of the working population is employed in public administration (9.9%GR|2). Other corporations headquartered in Topeka include the
Sports Car Club of America.
Met-Con products also has its headquarters in Topeka.
Arts and culture
Topeka is sometimes cited as the home of
Pentecostalismas it was the site of Charles Fox Parham's Bethel Bible College, where glossolaliawas first claimed as the evidence of a spiritual experience referred to as the baptism of the Holy Spiritin 1901. It is also the home of Reverend Charles Sheldon, author of " In His Steps", and was the site where the famous question " What would Jesus do?" originated in a sermon of Sheldon's at Central Congregational Church. The First Presbyterian Church in Topeka is one of the very few churches in the U.S. to have its sanctuary completely decorated with Tiffany stained glass (another is St. Lukes United Methodist in Dubuque, Iowa). Topeka is also the location of Westboro Baptist Churchled by the preacher Fred Phelps.
Points of interest
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site
Kansas State Capitol, with murals by John Steuart Curry, including the portrait of John Brown towering over "Bleeding Kansas" and the Kansas prairie, and topped with the sculpture of an American Indian named Ad Astra (from the state motto Ad Astra per Aspera, meaning "To the Stars Through Difficulty".)
Combat Air Museumat Forbes Air Force Base
Great Overland Stationrailroad museum and All Veterans Memorial
Heartland Park Topeka, a major drag racing and road racing course just south of the city.
Kansas Museum of History
Reinisch Rose Garden and Doran Rock Garden
Topeka Civic Theatre and Academy
Topeka High School
Topeka Performing Arts Center
Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library
Topeka Zoo, famous as the birthplace of the first Golden Eaglechick hatched in captivity
Ward-Meade Park Botanical Gardens
Washburn University, the last city-chartered university in the United States.
Topeka is the home of a daily newspaper, the Topeka Capital Journal, and a bi-weekly newspaper, The Topeka Metro News. There are affiliates of the major television networks including Fox 43 (
KTMJ), NBC 27 ( KSNT), ABC 49 ( KTKA), PBS 11 ( KTWU-TV) and CBS 13 ( WIBW-TV), which is the station where Bill Kurtisstarted his television career. There are also many local radio stations and AM talk shows.
The chief executives of Topeka are
Mayor Bill Bunten(R) and City Manager Norton Bonaparte Jr.
Although Topeka experienced problems with crime in the 1990s, the city's crime rates have improved in the past decade. The city is now breaking trends when it comes to violent crime, so much so that it has gained the interest of researchers from Michigan State University. Since 2000 most cities with a population greater than 100,000 have seen an increase in violent crimes. Researchers credit good communication between law enforcement agencies, informed media outlets, and strong community involvement for Topeka's success. Topeka was one of four cities, Chicago, Tampa, and El Monte California to be studied.
Overall, crime in Topeka was down nearly 18 percent in the first half of 2008, compared with the same period of 2007. Crime was down 9.8 percent in 2007, as compared to 2006.
Cost of Living
Topeka participates in the ACCRA Cost of Living Index study which measures differences between areas in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures, for professional and managerial households in the top income quintile.
For the second quarter 2008, Topeka ranked 89.1 overall with the average for 318 urban areas participating being 100.
The study is based on more than 60 items, for which prices are collected quarterly by the Chamber of Commerce or similar organization in each participating urban area. The composite index is based on six components--housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services. Small differences should not be interpreted as showing any measurable difference, according to ACCRA.
Topeka ranked 92 in grocery items, 77 in housing, 93.3 in utilities, 96.3 in transportation, 93.6 in health care, and 94.6 in miscellaneous goods and services.
"Our cost of living is attractive when compared to communities on the east and west coasts, as well as cities in the Midwest," says Marsha Sheahan, Chamber vice president public relations. "We are pleased to see Topeka/Shawnee County getting recognition as a great place to live and work that is cost-pleasing to the family budget.Our housing costs continue to be very affordable and we're pleased this study confirms our belief that Topeka offers a quality living experience at a below average cost."
Topeka is served by four
public schooldistricts including Topeka USD 501, Auburn-Washburn USD 437, Shawnee Heights USD 450, and Seaman USD 345. Topeka is also home to several private and parochial schools including Topeka Collegiate, Cair Paravel-Latin School, and Hayden High school. There are also elementary and junior high schools supported by other Christian denominations.
Topeka has several colleges, universities and technical schools including
Washburn Universityand the Baker UniversitySchool of Nursing.
I-70, I-470, and I-335 all go through the City of Topeka. I-335 is part of the
Kansas Turnpikewhere it passes through Topeka. Other major highways include: US-24, US-40, US-75, and K-4. Major roads within the city include NW/SW Topeka Blvd. SW Wanamaker Road. N/S Kansas Ave. SW/SE 29th St. SE/SW 21st St. SE California Ave. SW Gage Blvd. and SW Fairlawn Rd. Philip Billard Municipal Airport(TOP) is located in the Oakland neighborhood of Topeka and Forbes Field (FOE)is located south of Topeka in Pauline, Kansas. Passenger air service is not currently available. Service may be added in the near future. Forbes Field also serves as an Air National Guardbase, home of the highly decorated 190th Air Refueling Wing. Kansas City International Airport is the closest commercial airport.
Passenger rail service provided by
Amtrakstops at the Topeka Station. Current service is via the Chicago-to-Los Angeles Southwest Chiefduring the early morning hours. However, the Kansas Department of Transportationrecently asked Amtrak to study additional service options, including daytime service to Oklahoma City. [ [http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=Amtrak/am2Copy/News_Release_Page&c=am2Copy&cid=1178294134255&ssid=180 Amtrak - Inside Amtrak - News & Media - News Releases - Latest News Releases ] ] Freight service is provided by the Burlington Northern Santa Ferailroad and Union PacificRailroad.
Bus service is provided by
Greyhound Lines. City bus service provided by Topeka Transit.
Notable natives and residents
Annette Bening, actress
Gregg Binkley, actor
Gwendolyn Brooks, poet
Fred Comer, racecar driver
Charles Curtis, U.S. Vice President (1929–33)
Art Crews, wrestler
Aaron Douglas, Harlem Renaissance artist
Melvin Douglas, Olympic wrestler (1996 & 2000)
Ronald Evans, astronaut
Max Falkenstein, radio broadcaster
Ann Gottesman, author
Josh Kulick, former Heavy Metal Drummer for Through The Eyes Of The Dead
Coleman Hawkins, jazz saxophonist
Wes Jackson, environmentalist, The Land Institute
* Kansas, rock band
Bill Kurtis, television anchor
Ben Lerner, poet
Harriet Lerner, clinical psychologist and author
Katrina Leskanich, singer ( Katrina and the Waves)
Trey LewisNFL Defensive Tackle 2007-Present
Andy McKee, musician
Karl Menninger, psychiatrist
William C. Menninger, psychiatrist
* Origin, metal band
John Parrella, football player
Pat Roberts, U.S. Senator from Kansas
Eric Rosen, Kansas Supreme CourtJustice
* Thomas Ryan,
U.S. Representativeand Ambassador to Mexico
Dean Smith, former University of North Carolina basketball coach
Karl Targownik, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor
Mark Turgeon, head basketball coach at Texas A&M University
Max Yoho, author
Topeka in popular culture
Bloo, a character from the children's cartoon series Foster's Home for Imaginary Friendswatches a TV news report about Topeka, Kansas and states that "It's hot in Toe-Peek-A". This is a pun of Toepicker, a somewhat humorous insult.
*The underground town in the post-apocalyptic
science fiction film" A Boy and His Dog", which appears as a parody of a small southern rural town, is named Topeka.
*Topeka is first mentioned in
The Waste Landsand features prominently in Wizard and Glass, two books from Stephen King's Dark Tower series.
Sherlock Holmesshort story The Adventure of the Three Garridebs, the first Garrideb and ultimately the villain John Garrideb claims he is from Topeka, Kansas.
*In the popular post-nuclear game
Wasteland (computer game), one of the clans of rail nomads is called the Topeka clan.
*In an episode of ,
True Q, Amanda's parents were killed by a tornado in Topeka, KS.
Our Worlds at Wara comic book crossoverpublished by DC Comics, Topeka is destroyed by the extraterrestrial supervillain Imperiex.
*In the video game
Command & Conquer (video game)during the introduction of the game a newscast shows a sample of Tiberiumand states that this sample was collected near Topeka, Kansas.
The Red Badge of Gayness" episode of South Park, originally aired on November 24, 1999, Eric Cartmanleads the South Park Confederates to attack Topeka.
*Ludo has a song called 'Topeka' on their album,
You're Awful, I Love Youabout the band's van breaking down in Topeka.
*Topeka was mentioned in the 2006 trailer for the film
* Giles, "Thirty years in Topeka: A Historical Sketch", (Topeka, 1886)
* Z. L. Potter, "Industrial Conditions in Topeka", (New York, 1915)
* D. O. Decker, "Municipal Administration in Topeka", (New York, 1915)
* [http://fallingrain.com/world/US/20/Topeka.html FallingRain Map - elevation = 273m]
* [http://www.topeka.org/ City of Topeka]
* [http://www.topekachamber.org/ Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce]
* [http://www.cjonline.com/ "The Topeka Capital-Journal"] (daily newspaper)
* [http://www.washburn.edu/cas/art/cyoho/archive/AroundTopeka/TtownStuff/ Topeka Photo Gallery]
* [http://www.usd345.com/ USD 345]
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