Visit the Great Overland Station to learn about the rich railroad heritage and significant history of Topeka and northeast Kansas.
Wheel Chair Accessible
The history of Topeka has national significance that resonates with people from across the nation: the birth and growth of the Santa Fe Railway; the Union Pacific’s race to create the first transcontinental railroad; the role of railroads in developing and settling the American West; the social heritage of African-Americans, Hispanics and European immigrants who worked for the railroads and built our communities; the troop trains of World Wars I and II; memories of the “glory days of steam” and the elegance of the railroad depots. The Great Overland Station shares the experiences and memories from older to younger generations as well as the values inherent in those experiences - leadership, perseverance, enterprise, vision, dedication, risk and dreams.
The elegant former Union Pacific Station, designed by renowned architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood, provides a beautiful setting with its soaring ceilings and intricate ornamentation. Ever-changing exhibits are designed to bring stories to life with hands-on activities, docents and photographs. Outside, visitors will encounter train engines, wagon trains, trails and water features amid the stirring sight of the flags of the 50 states. Trains rumbling past link past to present and enhance the learning experience.
The area surrounding the Station connects past to present with significant stories: Pappan’s Ferry, an important Oregon Trail crossing beginning in the 1840’s; the Kaw Indian habitation; the French influence; the early frontier town that Buffalo Bill and George Armstrong Custer frequented; the underground railroad; and the birthplace of Charles Curtis, 31st Vice-President of the United States and grandson of Louis Pappan and great-grandson of White Plume, the Kaw Indian chief.
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