Lecompton Capitol Goundbreaking Reenacted

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A ceremony Sunday marked the 150th anniversary of the start of construction on the Lecompton Territorial Capitol building.

A group of local citizens helped re-enact the groundbreaking of the building that still stands in what is now Douglas County, and is used as a museum. A re-enactor playing the part of then-Governor Wilson Shannon delivered a speech that included portions of the 1855 address.

Two years after the Capitol was built, a convention produced the Lecompton Constitution, which would have made Kansas a slave state. But following fierce debate, the constitution was rejected.

Topeka became the state capital when Kansas won statehood in 1861.

Lecompton historian Paul Bahnmaier says the old Capitol is as important in the nation's Civil War history as Harper's Ferry and Gettysburg.