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National and State Registers of Historic Places

Lecompton Constitution Hall

Picture of property 319 Elmore
Lecompton (Douglas County)
Listed in National Register May 14, 1971

National Historic Landmark, 5/30/1974

Architect: unknown
Category: meeting hall

During 1857 this building was one of the busiest and most important in Kansas Territory. Thousands of settlers and speculators filed claims in the United States land office on the first floor. Upstairs the district court periodically met to try to enforce the territorial laws. The Lecompton Constitutional Convention met that fall in the second-floor assembly room to draft a constitution to gain statehood for Kansas. Newspaper correspondents from across the country gathered to report on the meetings. Many Americans feared a national civil war if the convention could not satisfy both proslavery and antislavery forces. They created a document that protected slavery no matter how the people of Kansas Territory voted. Eventually the Lecompton Constitution was defeated at the national level. It never went into effect. The building is owned by the State of Kansas and managed by the Kansas Historical Society.

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