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  #21  
Old Posted May 9, 2018, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by BnaBreaker View Post
It looks like 1983.
As someone who grew up in a small-ish capital city like Topeka, I always enjoy seeing them. But this was my first thought, too, how incredibly dated it looks, and that's coming from someone who grew up in said, small-ish capital city which is still a bit behind the times.

And I know some people hate to hear it, but it's really all about politics. When a state government doesn't invest in its urban areas, it's very easy to tell. Local governments can only do so much; in fact, their respective state governments almost always explicitly make it harder for cities in these states to do things they need to do to keep talent by further defaning these local governments more than they already are.

Beautiful capitol building, of course, one of the most recognizable in the country for folks familiar with these buildings. Of course, it's a reminder of when even lowly farmers wanted a state government which was bold enough to make positive, public statements itself.
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  #22  
Old Posted May 9, 2018, 1:17 PM
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Thank you for posting these. I can't recall ever seeing Topeka here. It looks interesting, a little more rundown than I expected but overall seems to be in good shape.
When you walk through downtown Topeka, you can tell the city is investing in its core. They've put a lot of thought into the art and streetscape improvements, plus they have a new hotel under construction. I also noticed a couple of new buildings mixed in with the historic buildings and those unfortunate additions from the 70's and 80's. You can tell that a few businesses have moved in among the old guard and are doing what they can to help downtown along, but they're decades behind other cities in that department, unfortunately. North Topeka is even farther behind, but it really seems to me that if someone could figure out how to unlock the city's potential it could really roar.

I talked with a friend about how what Topeka really needs is a colony of Ashevillians to sweep in, snag a block or two of decaying Victorian houses -- of which there are hundreds and most of which can be bought for less than $100K -- and commence to churning out art. I was only half joking when I told her that. Topeka, and a lot of other underperforming places, could do well with advertising themselves to communities like artists who are being priced out of the cool kids' club of cities. Topeka was astonishingly comfortable, peaceful, and it has the amenities you need in a city even if it doesn't have, yet, everything you might want. That could go a long way in advertising a community to people who might need all that a much lower price than what they're paying now.
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  #23  
Old Posted May 9, 2018, 1:22 PM
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And I know some people hate to hear it, but it's really all about politics. When a state government doesn't invest in its urban areas, it's very easy to tell. Local governments can only do so much; in fact, their respective state governments almost always explicitly make it harder for cities in these states to do things they need to do to keep talent by further defaning these local governments more than they already are.
It's the anti-urban stance of conservative state governments, Brownback's tax failure which bankrupted the state, and also the fact that Topeka has a serious image problem with Westboro being right there, loud and proud. We stayed at an AirBnB and actually asked the host what we needed to know about that. She replied that everyone in Topeka hates them and thinks they're a joke and not to worry. I had the feeling she'd had to explain that more than a few times.
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  #24  
Old Posted May 9, 2018, 1:30 PM
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i already mentioned this, but lawrence is not only a pull for bands/creatives/professionals, but the metro of kansas city, both the missouri and kansas side are home to loads of creative (and obviously professionals) types from kansas. the emptying of huge areas of plains states like kansas is really feeding the growth of kc...the politics are also a driver for people to head to a metro like kc (or denver)...so topeka/outstate kansas really has a lot working against it, both an omnipresent very strong pull from denver/lawrence/kc combined with a massive cultural/political/economic push that seems to have become stronger, somehow.
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  #25  
Old Posted May 9, 2018, 1:44 PM
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Originally Posted by LMich View Post
As someone who grew up in a small-ish capital city like Topeka, I always enjoy seeing them. But this was my first thought, too, how incredibly dated it looks, and that's coming from someone who grew up in said, small-ish capital city which is still a bit behind the times.
great lakes state capitals are in much better shape and are more "present" in multiple ways than in kansas/missouri, where the state capitals really are in the backwaters (economically and otherwise) of each state. topeka is on the way to literally nowhere, or colorado...jefferson city is on the way to the lake of the ozarks (which are actual physical backwaters), and that's about it.
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  #26  
Old Posted May 9, 2018, 2:00 PM
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i already mentioned this, but lawrence is not only a pull for bands/creatives/professionals, but the metro of kansas city, both the missouri and kansas side are home to loads of creative (and obviously professionals) types from kansas. the emptying of huge areas of plains states like kansas is really feeding the growth of kc...the politics are also a driver for people to head to a metro like kc (or denver)...so topeka/outstate kansas really has a lot working against it, both an omnipresent very strong pull from denver/lawrence/kc combined with a massive cultural/political/economic push that seems to have become stronger, somehow.
I know, which is why, when I was talking with my friend about an "Asheville colony" I was thinking that if Topeka could market itself to artists and creative types, you'd have the massive market of Kansas City right there.

I mean, I don't know the whole situation, not after having been there for just three days. But, coming from a city where even a 2bed/1bath fixer upper will set you back a good $400K in town, it was hard not to see the appeal for a 5bed/4bath, three story Victorian fixer upper for $75K. I honestly doubt I would even have much trouble mustering enough people here to move to Topeka and settle in for prices like that. Hell, it wouldn't even be the first time that had happened there. There's a neighborhood in Topeka called Tennessee Town, and is so named because a big group of Tennesseans did move there en masse and settle in the same area.
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  #27  
Old Posted May 9, 2018, 2:09 PM
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I know, which is why, when I was talking with my friend about an "Asheville colony" I was thinking that if Topeka could market itself to artists and creative types, you'd have the massive market of Kansas City right there.

I mean, I don't know the whole situation, not after having been there for just three days. But, coming from a city where even a 2bed/1bath fixer upper will set you back a good $400K in town, it was hard not to see the appeal for a 5bed/4bath, three story Victorian fixer upper for $75K. I honestly doubt I would even have much trouble mustering enough people here to move to Topeka and settle in for prices like that. Hell, it wouldn't even be the first time that had happened there. There's a neighborhood in Topeka called Tennessee Town, and is so named because a big group of Tennesseans did move there en masse and settle in the same area.
yeah, currently that dynamic is actually kansas city, kansas (neighborhood photo below in relation to kansas city, missouri), but kansas city, missouri is not very expensive (although increasingly so, so some artists are moving to kansas city, kansas). the real estate drivers aren't really there for topeka, unfortunately, either. there's other small cities in the region that are probably ahead of topeka like leavenworth (which has a fairly historic and intact downtown) and of course manhattan is set in the midst of the wonderful flint hills and lawrence is still semi-affordable of course. the regional bias against topeka is HUGE, after living in kansas city for a few years i must have picked this up, sadly.

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  #28  
Old Posted May 9, 2018, 2:20 PM
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this is the landscape due west of topeka, btw, which DOES attract a lot of artists, and the kc symphony plays out there at times. i have a bunch of flint hills photographs somewhere that i can't find...the landscape is breathtaking at sunset, especially in late autumn. these don't really do it justice. there's places where you can feel yourself on the curve of the earth.

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  #29  
Old Posted May 9, 2018, 2:43 PM
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this is the landscape due west of topeka, btw, which DOES attract a lot of artists, and the kc symphony plays out there at times. i have a bunch of flint hills photographs somewhere that i can't find...the landscape is breathtaking at sunset, especially in late autumn. these don't really do it justice. there's places where you can feel yourself on the curve of the earth.
At the Mulvane Art Museum, I noticed that it appeared Topeka had been home to a lot more artists than one might expect. A lot of the paintings there had been created by artists either born in Topeka or who had moved there.
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  #30  
Old Posted May 9, 2018, 10:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BnaBreaker
It looks like 1983.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LMich
As someone who grew up in a small-ish capital city like Topeka, I always enjoy seeing them. But this was my first thought, too, how incredibly dated it looks
And here I was, thinking it looked a lot like a western Harrisburg.
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  #31  
Old Posted May 9, 2018, 11:29 PM
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That state capitol is gorgeous.
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  #32  
Old Posted May 10, 2018, 2:49 AM
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Love those grassy hills. What a great place to watch storms approach.
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  #33  
Old Posted May 10, 2018, 1:33 PM
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gorgeous photos!

I could live out there....
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  #34  
Old Posted May 10, 2018, 5:04 PM
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Thanks for the replies, everyone!

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That state capitol is gorgeous.
It was, and there were several nearby government buildings that were also quite grand. You could actually study the various state government buildings from oldest to newest and watch the decline of architectural quality and artistry as the years and trends went on.
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