Arthur Capper - Topeka, Ks.
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
N 39° 02.979 W 095° 40.458
15S E 268572 N 4325690
This bronze statue and marker of Arthur Capper is located in front of 719 S Kansas Avenue in Topeka, Ks. They are located in a small pocket park.
Waymark Code: WMW6J3
Location: Kansas, United States
Date Posted: 07/16/2017
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
Views: 4

This bronze statue and marker of Arthur Capper is located in front of 719 S Kansas Avenue. The statue rests upon a concrete block - the marker is bronze marker on a conrete plinth.


  was a prominent Topeka politician,
  publisher, broadcaster and
  philanthropist. He served the State
  of Kansas as a U. S. Senator and as
  Governor. His compassion for
  children with physical disabilities
  led to his establishment of the
  Capper Fund which paid
  hospitalization and surgery costs
  for children. His living legacy is
  Easter Seats Capper Foundation
  which provides individualized
  services to people with disabilities
  and their families.

- Marker Text

When a community-wide poll was taken a couple of years ago to assist the Downtown Topeka Foundation in selecting which historical figures to honor with statues as part of redevelopment on S. Kansas Avenue, one name rose to the top of the list.

That name was Arthur Capper, a man who served the state as a governor, U.S. senator, newspaper publisher, radio station owner and — perhaps most importantly of all — humanitarian.

On what would have been Capper’s 151st birthday on Thursday, a bronze statue in his honor was dedicated in a pocket park in front of 719 S. Kansas Ave.

It was the latest statue honoring Topeka’s great leaders to be dedicated in recent weeks along a revitalized S. Kansas Avenue.

A crowd of about 100 people gathered for the occasion Thursday, getting a close look at the statue that shows Capper sitting down on a limestone block, a folded newspaper in his hand.

Among Capper’s most enduring legacies, one stands out to this day: The Easter Seals Capper Foundation, which continues to serve people with disabilities and their families.

He started the foundation out of his compassion for children suffering from polio and other maladies resulting in physical disabilities. The Capper Fund paid for hospitalization and surgery costs for children.

The foundation has expanded through the years, but its mission has remained constant.

“Arthur Capper believed in people and an environment where they could develop their full capacity,” said Jim Leiker, president and chief executive officer of the Easter Seals Capper Foundation, in remarks at Thursday’s ceremony. “He believed this about all people, not just some. He meant it, and he lived it.”

Leiker said it was no small coincidence the statue of Capper was seated, as he frequently would sit down to be at “eye level” with both children and people in wheelchairs.

Despite his successes on many levels, Leiker said, Capper remained in many ways a common man, known to walk along Kansas Avenue and stop and listen to the rank-and-file citizens of his day — people he didn’t see as ordinary, but rather as exceptional.

If Capper were alive in 2016, Leiker said, he would be about “helping people to be the best” they could be each and every day.

Also speaking at Thursday’s ceremony was Zach Ahrens, president and publisher of The Topeka Capital-Journal, who began his remarks by noting Capper was “a publisher, politician and philanthropist.”

Ahrens alluded to Capper’s humble beginnings in the small Kansas town of Garnett, where he got his first taste of the newspaper business at age 14, when he went to work as a “printer’s devil” — a person serving at or below the level of apprentice.

After graduating from high school, Capper moved to Topeka to make his living as a typesetter at the Topeka Daily Capital.

Ahrens said Capper “worked his way up” to the positions of reporter and editor for the Daily Capital, where he covered the Kansas Legislature and U.S. Congress before becoming congressional correspondent for the New York Tribune.

Capper returned to Kansas with aspirations of becoming a newspaper owner. He purchased the Topeka Mail in 1893 and the Topeka Breeze in 1895.

Meanwhile, he had been married in December 1892 to Florence Crawford, whose father — Gen. Samuel Crawford — had been the third governor of Kansas, from 1865 to 1868.

Capper bought controlling interest in 1901 in the Topeka Daily Capital. He went on to purchase several other publications, including Capper’s Weekly and Capper’s Farmer, while building one of the most profitable media enterprises in Kansas, Ahrens said.

“Henry Blake, who ran the paper when Capper was in the Senate, said these things about publisher Capper: ‘He lived a simple life. He loved the plainer things. He sincerely loved people,’?” Ahrens said. “?‘He liked to talk with all kinds of folks — and always found something good in every person.

“?‘He disliked a grumbler — he was strong for people who boosted for better things. He had an abiding faith in the goodness of his fellow men.

“?‘He knew the power of words and was a master in his use of them.’?”

Ahrens said this past Monday, he took his oldest son on a walking tour of Historic Topeka Cemetery.

“When we came to Arthur Capper’s grave,” Ahrens said, “my 11-year-old son and I were surprised how plain and ordinary it was. No fancy tomb. Just a simple stone. No monument, but a monumental legacy of which I strive daily to honor and uphold as the current publisher of his newspaper.”

Capper was on the cutting edge of media in his day. In 1927, he purchased WIBW, which was one of the first radio stations in the state. At 580 on the dial, WIBW continues to broadcast in a multi-state area with its strong AM signal.

Mayor Larry Wolgast said the Capper statue is the latest in a series that celebrates Topeka’s history.

“Major cities throughout the United States and other countries celebrate their history in this manner,” Wolgast said. “Topeka is now at that level. So be proud of our city and what it is accomplishing.”

Among those in attendance at Thursday’s ceremony was city manager Jim Colson, who said he was thrilled to see Topeka embracing its early leaders and the legacies they left behind.

“This is fantastic,” Colson said. “This is an opportunity for the community to rediscover the people who made such a tremendous difference in this city.”

Colson noted other statues on Kansas Avenue: city founder Cyrus K. Holliday, former U.S. Vice President Charles Curtis and now Capper.

“When you look at Arthur Capper and Cyrus Holliday, you see the humanity in them,” Colson said. “You want to know more about them, just by looking at the statues.”

Colson paused a moment, then said, “I think Arthur Capper has a message we need to remember and build upon.”

That message, Colson said, is that “we need to care for everybody.”

He added: “As a people, we’re too divided. As a people, we’ve got to remember we’re in this together. We have got to support each other and we’ve got to love each other.”

If Capper’s statue could speak, perhaps it would say the very same thing.

- Topeka Capital-Journal Website

Marker Name: Arthur Capper

Marker Type: Other (Please identify in marker text)

Marker text:
See long description.

Marker Location: Shawnee

Year Marker Placed: 07/14/2016

Name of agency setting marker: Other (Please identify in marker text)

Official Marker Number: Not listed

Marker Web Address: Not listed

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