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Arthur Capper, Garnett, Topeka


Arthur Capper as a young man. Photo courtesy Easter Seals Capper Foundation



Arthur Capper with Dwight D. Eisenhower. Photo courtesy Easter Seals Capper Foundation



On February 23, 1917, Kansas Governor Arthur Capper, 1865-1951, as he signs the "Bone Dry Law," just passed by the Kansas Legislature. The new law prohibited possession of liquor within the state, and ended direct shipments of liquor to Kansans from out-of-state. Photo courtesy Anderson County Historical Society



The Capper Building, 1950. Photo courtesy Anderson County Historical Society


Address: 416 S. Cedar, Garnett, KS 66032
[map this location]
Phone: 785.448.5496
Website: www.kshs.org/portraits/capper_arthur.htm

Arthur Capper is a finalist for the 8 Wonders of Kansas People because he was the first Kansas-born governor, a 30-year U.S. senator, a newspaper and magazine publisher, and he established the Capper Fund for Children with disabilities. 1865-1951.



Photo courtesy Anderson County Historical Society
Arthur Capper was born July 14, 1865, in a small, humble brick house in Garnett to Herbert and Isabella Capper.

PUBLISHING

Arthur Capper was a successful writer and publisher. He got his start in the newspaper business as a boy growing up in Garnett. Upon his death in 1951, Capper Publishing was the largest publishing house west of the Mississippi River with one weekly, two daily, and five state farm newspapers, as well as two national magazines. All together, Capper's circulation was approximately five million. Also included were two radio stations.

GOVERNOR

Arthur Capper ran for office and became the state's 20th governor and the first native-born Kansan to hold that office. On January 11, 1915 he began serving for two terms (1915-1919).


Photo courtesy kansasmemory.org


U.S. SENATE

He also served Kansas in the U.S. Senate for five terms (1919-1949). Capper holds the Kansas record for the longest serving senator with 30 years. He retired from office at the age of 83. Capper was a leading proponent and champion of agricultural issues, which endeared him to the hearts of many rural Americans.


Arthur Capper with prize winning corn at the Kansas State Fair in 1930. Photo courtesy Anderson County Historical Society
Capper was a leader for farming states and was the first to promote pig and canning clubs, and was instrumental in establishing legislation that created and funded 4-H.

The Capper-Volstead Act of 1922 is often called the "Magna Carta" of farm cooperatives. The Capper-Tincher Act of 1922 provided federal government regulation of grain futures trading and exchanges and later included other commodities. The Capper-Lenroot-Anderson Agricultural Credits Act of 1923 laid the groundwork for future policies granting agricultural credits and establishing lending agencies in the field of agriculture.

Capper was a good friend to the American farmer and midwesterner. Capper's farming publications were also a household item in the Midwest at the time and connected him even more with rural America.

LASTING LEGACY


Capper serving cake at the annual "Children's Day" event held annually on his birthday, July 14. Photo courtesy Easter Seals Capper Foundation
The lasting legacy of Arthur Capper is Easter Seals Capper Foundation located in Topeka.  On Christmas Day 1920, upon learning more about the inability of poor children in Topeka to receive proper care, he immediately decided to use his resources to help. Capper's crusade to help crippled children became well-known in the Midwest.

 

Arthur and Florence Capper never had children of their own but children all over the nation benefited from Capper's unending devotion. "Children's Day" was held annually on July 14th, Capper's birthday. Without regard to race, creed, color or class, this tradition was held from 1908 to 1950 and included a free carnival, pony rides, games, free ice cream and refreshments for all. Nearly 20,000 people attended these events.

 

The Capper Foundation for Crippled Children became a non-profit charity on September 26, 1934.  The good work continues today serving children and families living with autism and other disabilities and training professionals from across the state who work with these children.

Arthur Capper died in Topeka on December 19, 1951 at the age of 86.

Source:  Garnett Tourism's nomination and Easter Seals Capper Foundation.




POINTS OF INTEREST ABOUT ARTHUR CAPPER IN KANSAS

GARNETT

  • Arthur Capper Memorial , 5th Avenue and Cedar. The stone memorial includes inlaid brick from the house and is located at the site of his birth home. A kiosk provides information.
  • Anderson County Historical Museum, 418 W. 6th. 785.448.5740. Open summer Tuesday-Saturday 1-4 p.m. or by appointment. Find Capper artifacts and personal belongings, including a top hat, letters, pictures.
  • Garnett Public Library, 125 W. 4th. 785.448.3388. Open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Wednesday, Friday 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Books, brochures, and newspapers on microfilm.
  • Signage on U.S. 59 and 169 state "Garnett, Birthplace of Arthur Capper, 1st Kansas Born Governor."
  • Garnett Cemetery, northeast side of Garnett, east of Garnett Lake. Arthur Capper's parents and siblings, except for sister Edith, are buried here.


TOPEKA

  • Easter Seals Capper Foundation, 3500 S.W. 10th Ave.  785.272.4060. Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. for viewing lobby display of Capper or tours of Easter Seals Capper Foundation by appointment.  

  • Kansas State Capitol, 300 S.W. 10th, second floor rotunda. One of the Pete Felton statues on display is of Arthur Capper.

  • Topeka Cemetery, 1601 SE 10th, is where Capper is buried, adjacent to his father-in-law Governor Samuel Crawford.