Locals Celebrate 149th Birthday of Kansan Leader

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TOPEKA, KAN. -- About 50 people raised their forks and toasted birthday cake to Charles Curtis today.

At the Charles Curtis House Museum, owner Nova Cottrell offered tours and a short lecture about the politician and Bleeding Kansas as part of the annual birthday party for Curtis.

The Topeka native served as vice president during the Hoover administration. As the only Native American to hold the title, Curtis remains an important figure in history. He was born on January 25, 1860.

Distant relative Dorothy Priddy attended the event. The 93-year-old donated several of Curtis' possessions to the museum. Priddy says the historical figure has plenty to teach people today, especially about the value of education.

Curtis attended only one year of high school. The self-educated man passed the bar exam at the age of 21, when his political career began.

To visit the Charles Curtis House Museum, go to www.charlescurtismuseum.com. Tours are available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and admission is five dollars. For group or private showings, call 785-597-5380 or 785-357-1371.