In the 1880's there was some dissension in the United Brethren Church concerning secret organizations causing the congregation to split. One group built another church on adjoining land which they named the Radical United Brethren Church. It burned about 1902 and this limestone church replaced it. Today, the building is used as the Community Building and for many special occasions.
This national landmark was built in 1855 to house the territorial legislature. The Lecompton Constitution was written and voted on here. This document upheld the rights of slave owners, and was hotly debated in territorial Kansas, and on the floor of the US Congress, as well as in the office of the President. The groundwork was being laid for the clash between the northern and southern states.
In the U.S. before the Civil War, the Democratic Party, as the Whig Party before, began splitting into two regional wings – North and South – depending upon the area proclivities towards the question of slavery. The Kansas-Nebraska Act would act to cleave the Democratic Party in two when Illinois senator Stephen Douglas decided to challenge President James Buchanan’s action towards Southern appeasement following Buchanan’s acceptance of the Lecompton Constitution in light of evidence of the Territorial elections being of dubious origin. The split of the Democratic Party opened the door for the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and would leave the power out of national power for the most power until the era of FDR. This little building set above the Kansas River was the original headquarter building for the local Democratic Party in Lecompton as they tried to shape a future Kansas in the image they sought.
When the Territorial capital was moved to Lecompton, the US Congress appropriated $50,000 for the building of a new capitol. Work was completed only to the bottom of the first floor windows when the U.S. House of Representatives defeated the Lecompton Constitution and work on the building stopped when it was obvious in early 1858 that the capital of Kansas was to be moved. Eventually, after the Civil War, the building was completed for Lane University in 1882 which had been operating out of another building in Lecompton since 1865. Lane University was affiliated with the United Brethren denomination. It was at this school that the parents of Dwight D. Eisenhower met as students. The school was closed in 1902 when the college was merged with Campbell College in nearby Holton, Kansas. Three floors of artifacts educate you more on the university’s life and more about Lecompton both pre-Civil War and afterwards.
Built in 1856, Constitution Hall served as the home to the Territorial government in the spring of 1857. Both the legislature and the Constitutional Convention meeting in the fall of the same year met on the upper floor with the first floor being rented as a federal land office where claims would be filed. Being a pro-slavery legislature many of the laws passed were ignored by the growing majority of Free Staters making order difficult to achieve in the Territory.
After the failure of the Lecompton Constitution, Free Staters rallied to gain control of the legislature and the capital was moved 12 miles east to Lawrence in 1858. The building has served a variety of purposes in the intervening years before becoming a State historic site in 1986. $3 admission with the site closed on Monday and Tuesday. Lots of displays inside relating to the period in which Lecompton was on center stage.
Ms. Shirley Funk was legislature and territorial state of Kansas that then covered an area to the Rockies and was huge. They have mural type displays showing the events in sequence of the territory and the people involved. It was a nice visit and the original wood floors remain for a lot of the structure. The building is form about 1854.
This was to be the first of a number of buildings for a university started by John Lane, a Senator from Missouri, but now located here. He had a weird past and that caught up with him and effected the town progress. He was pro slave, but free slave got control in 1861, when Kansas became an official state. The three story museum is "chock full" of items, mostly from the late 1800's to 1930's. Some of the Lecompton high school memorabilia is neat to look at. The tour guide is fabulous and very knowledgeable and proud. Donation only and this is not public supported. HOurs generally 105 Tues-Sunday, all volunteers
In 1853, the William Simmons family came from Indiana to "squat" in this location before the Kansas territory was open for settlement. They made a living fishing on the Kaw River, as well as operating a ferry boat made of hollowed sycamore logs. From 1854 to 1861, this structure became the first headquarters for the Democratic Party in Kansas. The log cabin is long gone, but the attached stone building still sits above the Kaw River awaiting visitors.
Used by Lane University for chapel services, programs, etc., the chapel continues to be used by the Lecompton community for town meetings, concerts, and Christmas Vespers. The auditorium is located on the upper level of the building.
This typical local museum contains a wide variety of period artifacts. I found the military items most interesting because of the Lecompton role in history as one of the places the Civil War had its roots.
When construction began in 1855 on this plain-looking limestone building, it was believed it to be the future capital of the pro-slavery state of Kansas. The building project was abandoned two years later when it became apparent that Lecompton would not become the site of the capital and Kansas would not become pro-slavery.
In 1882, the edifice was completed and became Lane University, operated by the United Brethren Church in Christ. Lane University closed in 1902. It best known alumni were D.J. Eisenhower and Ida Stover, who became the parents of Dwight Eisenhower, 34th president of the USA.
At Lane University one thing you should pay extra attention to are the quilts. This one is my favorite and has been protected under glass. It shows the history of Lecompton in intricate detail. Quilting is more than a craft, it can be an art form. The one here in this photo is hand stitched by a mother and daughter who spent 4,000 hours creating it.
If you are in the mighty metropolis of Lecompton then you must go to Lane University or the Territorial Capital Museum as it is also known.
Many historical artifacts from Lecompton's history and items from the history of Lane University as well.
Constitution Hall was built in 1855 to serve as the building for the territorial legislature and as a land office. Can learn about territorial Kansas when you visit the museum. (Western states in this country were considered 'territories' until approved for state hood.)
It was meant to only be a temporary building while a new capitol was built. That new structure was never finished and this temporary building still stands today and serves as a museum. Some walls have been partially removed so you can see how it was constructed.