|Nicodemus National Historic Site|
|Location||Graham County, Kansas|
|Established||November 12, 1996|
Nicodemus National Historic Site is a national historic site located in the state of Kansas. It is an immensely important town because it is the last remaining town in the west built by African Americans following the events of the Civil War. Nicodemus National Historic Site contains five important buildings, two of which were once churches (including the First Baptist Church and the African Methodist Episcopal Church).
History of the areaEdit
Founded by six black men and a white man, the town of Nicodemus was formed when these men travelled the state of Kentucky, searching for people in churches and trying to convince them to move to Kansas. It was an easy proposal considering that Kansas was a free state, meaning slavery was not allowed. The people in Kentucky advertised that what they hoped to do was create a government run by African-Americans instead of white men. Their tactics worked, and black men, women and children immigrated from Kentucky over to Kansas, building a town hall, churches, houses, and even hotels and ice cream shops. The success of the town ultimately lied in whether or not the railroad would pass through their town. Unfortunately for the town, which at its peak was around 700, the railroad did not pass through Nicodemus and instead went through Bogue, a town many of the residents ended up moving to because of this fact.
Nicodemus was an important town for African Americans, mainly because they did not have to face prejudice or the threat of being slaves. Many African American children were not allowed to get an appropriate education. In Nicodemus, they were given this right through schools built and run by African Americans such as District No. 1 School.
The visitor center of Nicodemus is situated in the town hall. Within the visitor center is a video that explains the history behind the site. Visitors will also find a bookstore and even a library there too. A majority of National Park Service units include a system where a park employee at the visitor center will stamp a special NPS stamp book, and this park is included in that program. There are several historic items located within the center.
There are five historic buildings at the site including the Township Hall, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, St. Francis Hotel, First Baptist Church, and Nicodemus District No. 1 School. Four of these buildings can be viewed from the outside, but are not open to go inside. The only one that the public can go inside is the Township Hall. There are guided tours, but only after scheduling an appointment with a Park Ranger.