A visit to Lecompton, “Civil War Birthplace – Where Slavery Began To Die”, will take you to the roots of America’s Civil War. Lecompton, Territorial Capitol of Kansas from 1855 to 1861, is located just an hour west of Kansas City on I-70 between Lawrence and Topeka, KS. The Lecompton area encompasses many sites that are part of the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area.
Begin with a tour of Constitution Hall: a National Landmark, Kansas Historic Site, and finalist as one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas. This 2-story white frame building was built in 1856 and was the site of the writing of the famous Lecompton Constitution which would have admitted Kansas as a Southern state. The rejection of this document split the Democratic Party and led to the election of President Lincoln. The name “Lecompton” was used 51 times during the Lincoln-Douglas Debates. The 30 minute visit will include displays of Territorial Kansas and its impact on the history of the United States and the Civil War.
Then visit the Territorial Capital Museum, a National Register Site. Construction of the building was begun with an appropriation of $50,000 from the federal government to be the capitol of Kansas and later completed as Lane University. The parents of President Eisenhower met and were married here while students in 1884-85. The museum contains 3 floors of Civil War and Victorian artifacts. About an hour.
Visitors may also visit Territorial Democratic Headquarters, located overlooking the Kansas River. Bald Eagles often may be seen at this location. 30 minutes.
We have a walking (or driving) tour that will show you all of the historic sites in Lecompton!
We offer fun and educational:
- School Field Trip programs
- Motor Coach Tour programs
- Programs for clubs, company retreats, and groups.
School Field Trips:
Why is it important that students come to see historic sites first hand? Watch this video made by students after visiting Lecompton:
Cost per student is $5. One adult enters free for every 10 students. Additional adults pay the student rate.
Length of tour: approximately 2.0 – 4.0 hours. Includes the “Bleeding Kansas” performance (see below), and visits to Constitution Hall State Historic Site, the Territorial Capital Museum, Democratic Headquarters and lunch break.
Number of students in a group: For the best experience, we recommend 80 students but no more than 150 students for the performance and guided tours.
Registration and scheduling: Contact Constitution Hall 785-887-6520, or the Territorial Capital Museum 785-887-6148.
Transportation cost help: Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area has a program to help pay for transportation costs for students to go historic sites, including Lecompton! For more information: Freedom’s Frontier Bus on Us grant for schools.
Scroll down for information about the interactive Lecompton Reenactors’ Bleeding Kansas play!
Motor Coach Tours and Large Groups:
Cost per adult is $10.
Length of tour: approximately 2.0 – 4.0 hours. Includes the “Bleeding Kansas” performance (see below), and visits to Constitution Hall State Historic Site, the Territorial Capital Museum, Democratic Headquarters and lunch break. Times can be varied to meet your schedule.
Number in a group: For the best experience, we recommend 80 adults but no more than 150 for the performance and guided tours.
Registration and scheduling: Contact Constitution Hall 785-887-6520, or the Territorial Capital Museum 785-887-6148. The option to have a tour guide meet the bus in Lawrence or Topeka and ride with the group to Lecompton is available.
There are several options for eating choices: Kroeger’s Country Meats, Aunt Netters Cafe, and The United Methodist Church. At the LUMC (785-213-5760) , women will serve a delicious meal consisting of various choices of meats, salad, vegetables and desserts. If desired, following the meal, a 15 minute recital on the 1884 Chickering Grand Piano, previously used in Lane University, is available.
Call 785-887-6520 or 785-887-6148 for more information on tour packages and programs. You will be glad you visited Lecompton and so will we!
You will travel back in time to meet some of the territorial characters of the Kansas territorial period in a simulated political town hall meeting in Historic Lecompton.
The one-hour performance portion of the tour is set in an 1850s Kansas territorial political town hall meeting. Actors from the Lecompton Reenactors troupe will portray some of the famous Kansans from that turbulent time period known as “Bleeding Kansas” Join free state Governor Charles Robinson and his wife Sara Robinson, radical free state leader Jim Lane, abolitionist John Brown, women’s rights advocates Clarina Nichols and Louise Brown, Sheriff Samuel Jones, Senator David Atchison, Governor Andrew Reeder, proslavery editor John Stringfellow, border ruffian Felix Castor, Pottawatomie Creek Massacre widows Mahala Doyle and Louisa Jane Wilkinson, Wakarusa War widow Matilda Barber, among others as they passionately express their feelings on the issue of slavery in Kansas, both pro and con. The program also includes a visit to Constitution Hall State Historic Site, the Territorial Capital/Lane Museum and Democratic Headquarters.
This tour addresses grade specific standards for middle school students (but applicable for all elementary and high school grade levels) and provides material to help teachers fulfill those standards. Pre-visit materials can be accessed at Territorial Characters.
Teachers: for Information on the Standards addressed see School Standards.