Topeka Kansas?


November 29, 2005, 06:53 PM
What can you all tell me about Topeka specifically, and Kansas in General? I may have a relocation opportunity there and I'm trying to get info.

Some areas I am looking for insight into:

1) Gun "scene" (CCW, competition, hunting, etc.)
2) Employment. Not an issue for me, but will be for wife. Looking at executive level accounting/finance (Controller, Finance Director, etc.). What about jobs in Kansas City?
3) Weather. How bad are the winters? Humidity? Tornados?
4) Restaurants?
5) Overall quality of life?



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November 29, 2005, 07:06 PM
No CCW (but carry without a permit is only a minor misdemeanor)

Topeka is probably the last place in Kansas I'd choose to live (keeping in mind I lived in Wichita most of my life and chose to leave the state).

Hot humid summers, cold humid winters, "interesting" springtime (read; beautiful weather with a few days of real amazing storms thrown in ... yes, tornadoes too).

Restaurants are actually better than you would expect from Kansas. Lots of national restaurant chains headquartered in KC. And if you like BBQ then KC is one of the best places on the planet.

Jobs are going to be best in the Kansas City area (which also includes northwest Missouri).

Overall quality of life is good, its not a bad place to live. Housing is very inexpensive in Kansas compared to other states.

Downsides are no CCW and no NFA toys (except for SBRs and AOWs). Biggest downside is high taxes (Kansas has one of the highest property tax rates in the country, and is run by tax-and-spend RINOS and Dems). And for me the lack of mountains was a good enough reason to leave (politics a close second).

Although believe it or not there is a small ski resort near KC (eastern 3rd of Kansas is rather hilly).

Kansas City and Wichita will have about as good a job market as here in the Front Range, but not the rest of the state.

November 29, 2005, 07:23 PM
You will be an hour from Kansas City which is a great town, good shopping, NASCAR, Pro Sports, the American Royale, the Plaza, etc.. What I would suggest is living in between KC and Topeka (Lawrence area), that would open up the KC area and greater Johnson County for your wife to job hunt.

Hunting is really solid for White Tails and birds, out of state tags in Missouri are affordable. It is really humid in the summer and windy in the winter bitter cold I think comes to mind. There is nothing like watching a thunder storm roll through with the power off and the couch turned toward the window.

As you know Colorado Ski areas and Elk hunting is about a 10hr drive due West of KC on I-70 and if you fall asleep you end up in a field doing the speed limit.:D I lasted 3yrs before moving back to Washington. You will find the people to be great, I have a ton of friends still back that direction.

Good luck with the decision. Manofsteele from this forum lives in Johnson County, you might want to pick his brain. He is a good guy and I don't think would mind lending some insight.

November 30, 2005, 11:41 AM
Thanks for the info. This is going to be a tough decision to make.


November 30, 2005, 12:05 PM
Kansas in general? Flat, ugly, and backward. More so the farther West you go. I lived in Ottawa County just a few years ago. 750 square miles, 5,000 people. 80% unpaved roads. There's pretty much nothing between Topeka and Hays (except Salina, which is a hole), and even less between Hays and Colorado.

Just in case you haven't figured it out, I wasn't real fond of the place.

November 30, 2005, 01:06 PM
I agree with polishrifleman. Try Lawrence. The only problem with Lawrence being it is part college town. Lawrence is about the half way point between KC and Topeka. Topeka also has a dragstrip that host NHRA national event once a year.

November 30, 2005, 01:47 PM
Only other problem with Lawrence is its basically a less pretty, less rich Boulder wannabe ... so if you don't like hippies who smoke pot and play bluegrass you might want to avoid the area. :neener:

Honestly the only real good thing about Kansas is the people (and then only the ones who don't hold public office or work for the government or those with jobs in media).

November 30, 2005, 02:25 PM
I don't know about the pot smoking, but the bluegrass is alright. I've been playing fiddle and mando for a little while now, and I might fit right in!


November 30, 2005, 04:50 PM
I live 85 mi from Topeka.

Eastern Kansas is NOT flat. Rolling hills, lots of trees & farmland. Living in Lawrence is's a really pretty town with everything you'll need. I grew up around here, and I don't find the humidity oppressive.

Tornadoes...yeah, big deal; buy a house with a basement.

KC has everything you'll ever need, and yes indeedy, GREAT BBQ!

There's a range on the West side of Topeka, another on the SW corner of KC Metro, and an indoor range in suburban KC. All three have IPSC matches, bowling pins at 2 for sure, plus rifle/shotgun stuff.

What others said about affordable housing, taxes, jobs for spouse, etc.

November 30, 2005, 05:21 PM
Topeka wouldn't be my pick but then I live in SE Ks and don't like crowds. One thing going for it is there are several gun shows there every year and KC is close. IMO its kind of old and dirty. There is or was an air base there. Also the state & fed has surplus depots there. If you like flat go to Wichita or Hutchinson. :) -Don

R.H. Lee
November 30, 2005, 05:31 PM
Here's raw stats. Looks like the crime rate is double the national average.

November 30, 2005, 08:19 PM
Kansas in general? Flat, ugly, and backward. More so the farther West you go. I lived in Ottawa County just a few years ago. 750 square miles, 5,000 people. 80% unpaved roads. There's pretty much nothing between Topeka and Hays (except Salina, which is a hole), and even less between Hays and Colorado.

Ummm...Ottawa county, maybe...Topeka, and the eastern half of the state, not at all.

I was born and raised in Topeka, as was my wife. I lived there for almost 40 years. I live in KC now, as that's where my job is. I moved back to this part of the country after living in places like Shreveport and Houston. I had a job offer in Phoenix, but turned it down because Phoenix reminded me of what it must be like to live in a catbox at 120 degrees.

As Moondoggie said, eastern Kansas has some very nice countryside, lots of rolling hills, fields, trees, grass. It's beautiful in springtime and fall. Just west of Topeka, stretching between Junction City and El Dorado are the Flint Hills and the tall grass prairie. Absolutely gorgeous country. It doesn't start getting really flat until out around Ellsworth or Russell. SE part of the state is also nice, as that's close to Ozarks territory.

I never had problems with crime while I lived in Topeka, but I wasn't doing stupid stuff, either. Like anywhere, there are places to avoid, mostly on the east side of town. The west side and southwest sides have always been the more "affluent" sides, although there are nice neighborhoods sprinkled through other parts of town. The north and SW suburbs, outside the city limits, are also good areas, and north of town in Pottawatomie and Jefferson counties is beautiful.

Most of the new development is on the west side, especially the Wanamaker corridor...tons of new business and restaurants. Traffic can be a problem out there, though. Topeka schools are generally good, but it depends on the neighborhood as far as the quality of the student body is concerned.

As a rule, wages are lower in Topeka than in KC, but housing is also lower, especially for existing homes. Not as much in new homes. Topeka is only about 120,000 people, so job opportunities are not plentiful, but there may be more for someone with the skills that your wife has. Being the state capital, state government is big in Topeka. I was a TV engineer, and when I got laid off, I had to leave town to find decent work in my field.

There is no CCW in Kansas, but open carry is allowed if you're the only person in the state who wants to do it, and you don't "alarm the public". I belonged to Capital City Gun Club, which was an outstanding organization, and has a super outside facility just west of town, in a very pretty setting. Annual dues are $90 nowadays. There is good deer and bird hunting around Topeka, especially if you know someone who owns land.

We've had mild winters recently, interspersed with some very cold snaps that last for a few days at a time. Snow usually averages about 15" a year. Every now and then, we'll get an icestorm. 2 years ago, we only had about 4 90 degree days all summer, but summers are usually hot, July and August being the worst months. Humidity can be high on many days, but if a cold front blows through, it can be really nice for a few days. In all the time I've lived here, I've seen 1 tornado. Been close to a couple. When the sirens go off, most of the time nothing happens. But, don't ever get complacent about them. They do happen, and they do tear the hell out of things if you're in their way, but I wouldn't classify them as being as bad as a CA wildfire or earthquake, or a Florida hurricane.

For a town of any size, I like Topeka. Commutes are short, people are friendly. Several good gunshows at the Expocentre during the year. Personally, I'd rather live in Topeka than in Wichita...I've been to about being featureless and bland. Lawrence and Manhattan are nice towns, but Lawrence is way too liberal for me (Douglas county was the only county in Kansas that went for Kerry). Nice countryside around there, though, and easy distance to KC or Topeka. I consider KC to be a great place to live and's got big city problems, but on a much smaller scale than NY or LA. KC has a new NASCAR track, also a new Cabela's, great restaurants and lots of things to do. Topeka has Heartland Park, which hosts NHRA drag races.

I love this part of the country...I've seen many other places and lived in a few of them, but I'd rather live here than anywhere else when all things are considered...cost of living, taxes, economy, jobs, schools, weather...lots of things happen to other places that don't make a ripple here. But, it won't be for everybody. That's something you'll need to decide.

Sorry for the long post, I hope I gave you some worthwhile info. Best of luck to you!

November 30, 2005, 09:19 PM
I have had 3 good friends get sick of Topeka in less than 1.5 years they are here in KC area with me now. But it depends what you are looking for i guess too. Keep in mind Topeka is a good side, bad side town that is starting to mix...research the area or you will be back posting about how may times you presented arms in a week.


November 30, 2005, 09:24 PM
PS .... hello to other Kansas and KC friends lived here all my life, no regrets.


November 30, 2005, 09:36 PM
Since I grew up in southwest Nebraska, I am officially allowed to make fun of Kansas and Kansicans, so here's my take on it.

Dude. It's frickin Kansas. High culture is cars buried in the ground so they stand up like Stonehenge. Oh, wait, that's Nebraska...

The national forest consists of fourteen cedar trees and a broke down tractor. Damn...Nebraska again...

Know why it's windy in Wyoming? Cause Kansas sucks! Oh, wait, that's Nebraska too...

Well, Kansas is startin to look better all the time! :evil:



November 30, 2005, 09:49 PM
High culture is cars buried in the ground so they stand up like Stonehenge. Oh, wait, that's Nebraska...
LOL! Don't you mean Amarillo, TX!? Farnham, you and I both know that if we live in this part of the country, we need thick skins, whether they're deserved or not. I'm used to it. I figure the bad rap helps keep out the riff-raff. I also lived in Omaha for almost 3 I know a little about Nebraska, too. ;)

One of my favorite lines in a movie comes from "Unforgiven"...Little Bill tells English Bob, "Hell, I thought I was dead once. Turns out I was in Nebraska."

Actually, I liked Omaha, but it's even colder and the weather is crappier up there. Also been to North Platte, Hastings, Minden, Grand Island, Ogallala, McCook, Broken Bow...even Thedford, to name a few! Nebraska ain't so bad, it could be North Dakota! But, I can understand why you're in TX now.

November 30, 2005, 10:30 PM
KU grad and eastern KS resident for 12 years or so.
Still have friends in Overland Park.

Can't really improve on larryf1952's post, other than to re-iterate
that the Flint Hills area is gorgeous. It's some of the last remaining
tallgrass prairie in North America.

Weatherwise, summers were not quite as bad as say,
Dallas, TX, winters were harsh, at least when I lived there (76-88)
and the spectacular spring t-storms were unforgettable.

You also might get questions about Dorothy and Toto from out of state friends.

Chris Rhines
November 30, 2005, 10:37 PM
I've spent a fair amount of time in Topeka while working. The town did not leave a favorable impression - cold, run-down, and bleak are pretty much all that I remember.

Lawrence seemed like a fairly nice place, though.

- Chris

December 1, 2005, 11:45 AM
I really appreciate all the info.


December 1, 2005, 11:49 AM
My aunt and uncle live in Topeka. They are quite well off (he is semi retired but used to own the radio station KTPK). They live in a real nice part of town and when we've visited we always make sure to gas up on the highway before we get into town because even though they live in a nice neighborhood we have to drive through "da hood" going in and out ... Topeka is smaller than Wichita but its "hood" seems much larger to me.

December 1, 2005, 01:58 PM
As others have indicated there is no CCW. We just passed a pre-emption gun law so now we can expect some consistency across the state and removed certain municipalities (read Wichita) from enacting anti-gun ordinances. There are a few gun clubs in the Topeka-KC corridor. Capital City is a fine organization. The stateís Department of Wildlife and Parks also supports fairly decent no-fee ranges. Hunting is good to very good for deer, both whitetail and mule, upland birds, coyote and fox. There are some very good outfitters/guides based in the state that do a very fine job.

Your wife should not have a problem finding a reasonable position in her area especially in and around the KC area. Salaries are a bit below national average. There are a number of national firms headquartered in the area. There is a good balance of firms in the service/manufacturing/trades/health/education sectors resulting is steady employment. .

Most donít find the weather a problem as the high/low extremes will only a few days at most. You can expect huge thunderstorms coming across the plains a few times in the spring and summer and some develop tornados but the warning system is good.

Meat and potatoes best describes the food offerings but there are some great ethnic restaurants in the KC area. You will find only a few 4 star restaurants in the area but food quality is excellent. The area has some of the best Mexican and Italian food in the MidWest. Everyone knows that Arthur Bryantís in KC is the best barbeque anywhere.

Although youíll find life in Kansas somewhat bland and uneventful on a day to day basis, pro baseball, football, NASCAR, NHRA, college sports, great shopping, famous museums and art galleries are all within an hourís drive of Topeka. Kansans are conservative and generally friendly. Health care is good and is well supported by the stateís research hospitals.

Currently there is significant political stress in the state. You are no doubt aware that weíve made the news lately as political pressure groups have gained influence at the state and local levels. Quality of Live in Kansas is going through significant changes, whether the changes are good or bad remains to be seen

December 1, 2005, 02:02 PM
Thanks, Kiwi.

I have to take exception with your description of Arthur Bryants as the best. Everyone knows (or should know) that Gates would deliver a serious smack-down to AB's in any competition. ;)


December 1, 2005, 02:18 PM
Thanks, Kiwi.

I have to take exception with your description of Arthur Bryants as the best. Everyone knows (or should know) that Gates would deliver a serious smack-down to AB's in any competition. ;)



Tell you what Scott - when you get settled, we'll have to meet at High Noon on 12th & Brooklyn at Ollie Gates for a taste and then we'll walk done to 17th street and get some real Bar-B-Que;)

December 1, 2005, 02:58 PM
Everyone knows that Arthur Bryantís in KC is the best barbeque anywhere
Gates would deliver a serious smack-down to AB's
You're both wrong! Oklahoma Joe's ( is the best BBQ in KC! Best food you'll ever eat (in a gas station)!

I'm on the MO side of the line... other than the 'NO CCW' part, I don't have a thing agains KS. Until they fix that one, I'll stay on the MO side of the border as much as possible.

December 1, 2005, 05:52 PM
Every time I travel through there, I plan my trips so I will be going through in the late afternoon/evening. I go to AB's on the way out, and Gates on the way back. AB's is good, but the short-ends at Gates are just incredible.


December 1, 2005, 10:13 PM
My wife grew up in Newton and Wichita. The only thing she has to say is that she is very happy to be in Colorado. Nearly all of her cousins ended up being parents by the age of 19 and lots of underage drinking was part of the scene as well. Yes, housing is cheaper, but wages are much lower as well. And from a gun owner's standpoint, Kansas is about the worst place to be between the two left coasts.

December 2, 2005, 12:53 AM
I've heard Kansas refered to as "Massachusetts on the plain" more than once. :) Kansas seems to have more than it's fair share of RINOs. :barf: :barf:

I live in MO but work in KS and I'm in no hurry to move over the state line.

Good luck in your search.

December 2, 2005, 01:25 AM
I've heard Kansas refered to as "Massachusetts on the plain" more than once. :)
That's a good description. I lived in the Wichita area from 1997-2000. I don't miss it at all. At least the state finally passed a state-level firearms pre-emption law. The local gun regs in Wichita were getting nuts before I moved away, but that changed as of July this year IIRC.

December 2, 2005, 12:49 PM
For starters, there is NO PREEMPTION LAW in Kansas. The law folks are referring to was a gun grab in sheeps clothing. For specific discussion of that please see

As far as Topeka is concerned, the community right now is in a bit of turmoil. There is rampant LEO corruption. There are current federal investigations into the local LEO. We have already ousted a sheriff and a police chief, as well as a few other officials. Crime is out of control, especially property crime(vandalism, theft), violent crime is high.

It is unlawful to possess a loaded firearm within the city limits on public property, in your vehicle, or on your person. You will lose your gun and go to jail. There are some really good leo's here too, seems to be an internal war at the moment. If you were 'caught' by one of them you may get lucky. Your risk to take.

Taxes are high. We have Fred Phelps. There is a current ballot question about consolidation of city and county government, which I think will be bad if it passes. There are a lot of restaraunts. Race track, etc. I have lived here for over 30 years. Us gunnies are well outnumbered. We need your help.:)


December 2, 2005, 05:51 PM
My only experience was about 6 months in Wichita about 25 years ago. I came to the conclusion that in that city, suicide was redundant. It has to be better now.

December 2, 2005, 10:45 PM
Born & raised a Kansan, Lawrence in specific. Used to be a nice town. Now it's a 'blue town', and liberal as anything... :barf:

Topeka is a town trapped in the '50's. Personally I'd find a place in Leavenworth Co, or Jefferson Co, small town (say, Winchester...) and live there happily. In fact, if it weren't for my husband's job relocation to DFW, we'd still be in Winchester!

Horrible property taxes on vehicles in KS--don't buy new! No CCW. Excellent & prolific whitetail deer population, especially in eastern KS. Used to be good pheasant hunting out west, but don't know if it still holds. Nice gunshows in KS.

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