Friends of Historic Topeka Cemetery
Topeka Cemetery opened in 1859 with a board of directors made up of community leaders. Its goal was not to make a profit but to provide Topekans with a final resting place that befitted their important city. It was Topeka’s first park area, with wide, green spaces on a hill east of the bustle of Downtown.
The mission continues, with the Friends of Historic Topeka Cemetery helping connect residents with this remarkable place.
Through fundraising and volunteer activities, the Friends give support in maintaining the grounds and historic structures and in sharing Topeka Cemetery’s legacies.
Dues are $35 a year for an individual membership and $50 for a family membership.
Friends may be as active as they wish in the organization. Annual dues sustain the group, so the more, the merrier. But some members may wish to volunteer to help stage events or give tours or even serve on the Friends Board of Directors.
Among the Friends activities are the annual Ghost Tours in the cemetery, the Seance in the Cemetery and Yoga in the Cemetery.
In addition to the satisfaction of being part of this important cause, Friends also receive special benefits:
- A Friends Night will kick off the annual Ghost Tours. Members can enjoy a trip through the spookier side of Topeka history and get special treats. (The cost for guests is $10 each.)
- Friends get first crack at tickets for the annual Séance in the Cemetery. This event sold out in just a few days last year, so Friends will have at least 10 days’ notice before ticket sales are open to the public.
- Discounts on merchandise – as our offerings develop – are also part of the package.
An ongoing project of the Friends is Remember Me, which is putting markers on the of graves of infants and young children buried before 1930. The pink and blue flags in the photo above show some of the hundreds of graves that went unmarked, mostly because of families’ inability to afford a gravestone at the time.
For $100, the Friends will provide a 16- by 8-inch granite marker with the child’s name and date of death. A complete list of names that are eligible for the program can be found here:
The Friends’ Mission
To support Historic Topeka Cemetery in its missions to preserve its grounds and buildings, promote Topeka and Kansas history, and educate Topekans on the legacies created by their forebears – the extraordinary and the ordinary, the famous and the infamous, the entrepreneur and the artist.