Old Images of Topeka, Kansas

Soldiers' and sailors' reunion at the State House, Topaka, Kansas, Sept 15 1881

Glimpse history through old images of Topeka, Kansas, in the USA.

Old Photos of Topeka

This first video showcases some of the old photos shared and enjoyed in the Topeka History Geeks Facebook group.

It starts with an image of the emerging settlement’s wooden stores and a muddy road where horses and covered wagons waited. By the 1870s, elegant brick buildings are springing up on Kansas Avenue, but it’s still clearly settler country. When horse drawn streetcars and then motor cars first appear, the dense high rise buildings are already established.

Topeka History Geeks – Steve Brennan on YouTube

Topeka in the 1930s

This silent 8mm home movie from the 1930s nicely captures both an ordinary home and garden where friends gather for a sunny afternoon, and shots of downtown, Gage Park pool, and the Great Overland Station in North Topeka.

Topeka, Kansas in the 1930’s. – Beachhouse Videos on YouTube

The 1966 Tornado

In 1966, Topeka was hit by a tornado that left a trail of devastation half a mile wide and 15 miles long.

Topeka Tornado 1966

  • 17 people died
  • 3,500 people made homeless
  • 500 homes destroyed
  • 50 businesses destroyed
  • $100 million damage caused
  • schools became emergency shelters for the homeless
  • every single building at Washburn University was damaged or destroyed

The emergency sirens raised the alarm 15 minutes before the tornado hit, which probably saved many lives.

Tornado Leaves Topeka Kansas in Ruins 1966 Newsreel PublicDomainFootage.com – PublicDomainFootage on YouTube

Topeka’s Postal Workers 1980

This is a short educational film from 1980, which gives an insight into the way the Downtown Topeka Kansas Post Office Building worked at the time. They also visit the airmail facility.

A lot of postal workers appear in the short film.

Postal Workers: Topeka, Kansas Post Office Building, 1980 – 16mm Educational Films on YouTube

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