Pawnee, Kansas

The first capital of the Kansas Territorial Legislature in Pawnee. Image courtesy of the Internet Archive.

Notable Events:

The township of Pawnee, Kansas, has the distinction of having served as the Kansas territorial capital for one of the shortest periods of any capital city in American history -- a mere five days. Territorial Governor Andrew Reeder designated the Free-State settlement of Pawnee as the capital, starting on July 2, 1855. Reeder had a personal financial stake in the growth of the new town, but the proslavery legislature disliked the location due to its political bent and the extremely remote location 150 miles west of Missouri. The legislature passed a bill to move the capital, Reeder vetoed it, and the legislature overrode the veto, moving the capital to Shawnee Mission. The U.S. Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis, then oversaw the destruction of Pawnee as it was subsumed by Fort Riley and most of its buildings razed. Davis, of course, went on to become the President of the Confederate States of America. Today, the old capitol building is the only surviving structure and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.