Public Invitation: National Parks Service Oregon and California National Historic Trails - Pappan’s Ferry Design Charette

LOGO for riverfront
TOPEKA, KAN. ― The National Park Service has identified the Pappan’s Ferry crossing in Topeka as a significant site on the historic Oregon-California Trail. Three to four members of NPS’ landscape architectural team will be in Topeka the week of Aug. 22-26 to explore ideas for interpretation and development of this historic site.

The area to be discussed is part of the property already designated to be developed into an Oregon Trail-themed park. It lies between Kansas Avenue and Topeka Boulevard on the Kansas River levee near the site of the historic Pappan’s Landing. Here at the base of Harrison Street by the river, Charles Curtis wrote of his memories of watching the ferry operations as a young lad and grandson of the Pappan family. Representatives of the City of Topeka and Shawnee County Parks + Recreation are cooperating in development of this park and welcome the expertise of the NPS team.

Prior to its visit, the NPS team would like to gather input from the local community. Those who wish to contribute their ideas for the design of the historical site at Pappan’s Landing may download the form at Or, forms are available at Great Overland Station, 701 N. Kansas Ave, and Shawnee County Parks and Recreation Community Centers. Feedback forms are due back to NPS by Aug. 8. They may be submitted via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The public will also have an opportunity to provide input to NPS during a community Open House, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 22 at the Great Overland Station.

Opportunities for the public to drop in during the design charette are as follows:


Tuesday, Aug. 23 will be an all-day design workshop for project stakeholders such as organizations and individuals directly involved with the park planning due to proximity, specific experience or knowledge, or related interest. Anyone with a particular interest in this topic and ability to commit the entire day may request to be included in the design charette. Contact Kristin Brunkow, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

As the National Park Service’s celebrates its 100th year of service on Aug. 25, Topeka will have a birthday celebration for NPS from Noon to 1 p.m. Aug. 25 at the Great Overland Station. Brown vs. Board of Education, a local National Parks Service location, will partner on the festivities. The public is invited to enjoy refreshments and help NPS celebrate this momentous day. The architects also will be available during this hour for a public “drop in,” so people can get a look at the focused design effort involving community stakeholders.

The visit by the landscape architectural team presents an exciting opportunity for the local community to work directly with the National Park Service in the creation of an enticing outdoor venue for both recreation and education – one that promotes the history and heritage of the Topeka area and its role in the development of the American West.

NPS is sending its architectural team to Topeka free of charge, after the City of Topeka submitted an application for NPS involvement in transforming Pappan’s Landing into a historical venue. The estimated cost of the project will not be determined until after a design is proposed. Funding for the project will come from a mix of private and public funds on the local, state and federal level.

More information, including documents relating to the historical background of Pappan’s Ferry, the public feedback form and a schedule of events is available at

This process is being facilitated by the Oregon Trail Park Advisory Committee including the following organizations:

Oregon Trail Advisory Committee


Aug. 1, 2016
Kristen Brunkow, 785-231-6006
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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