Topeka and Lecompton. We added two more stops to our growing list of Kansas adventures. We often hear, usually from people who were born in our state, that there is nothing to do here. Last week, we discovered a well-known landmark with a hidden secret that can only be experienced in Kansas. Out of all the 50 state capitol buildings, this is the only one where visitors can climb to the top of the dome!
Our first stop was of course, lunch. The Wheel Barrel in Topeka is definitely going on our list of places to visit again. Especially after tasting their gluten-free bread!!! We enjoyed the gorgeous weather on the patio, which had a great kids area for Gabe to stretch his legs after two hours in the car.
Did I mention gluten-free bread!?
Our capital tour guide was so friendly and informative. I still can’t believe I’ve lived in Kansas my whole life and never visited Topeka! We spent almost an hour visiting different rooms and hearing stories of how the building was restored by using old photographs!
The incredible detail in the ceilings and stencil work on the walls had been covered in many layers of paint, brought back to it’s original condition thanks to old photographs. Definitely another reason for us to print pictures and not rely on computers to save memories for us!
The dome tour began on the 5th floor where we ascended 296 steps to the top of the cupola, the outside observation deck. The photos only tell part of the story. I’ve always been afraid of heights, but the feeling of circling the outside of the capital dome, standing almost 300 feet above the city was worth facing my fear. This is one experience you don’t want to miss! The stairway stretching between the inner and outer domes is approximately 75 feet. An incredible view! (only cell phone photos from here, my Nikon was tucked safely in my bag for the dome tour. Another reminder that the best camera is the one you always have with you!)
After leaving the capitol, it was on to Lecompton, the Kansas Territorial Capitol.
Standing on the original floor of the oldest wooden building in Kansas, Constitution Hall, built in 1856. The flooring was constructed from cottonwood trees.