The meaning of Topeka is unknown and unrecorded. It is believed to be from the languages of the Kansa and the Ioway. As a place name, Topeka was first recorded in 1826 as the Kansa name for what is now called the Kansas River. Topeka’s founders chose the name in 1855 because it “was novel, of Indian origin and euphonious of sound.”
In the 1840s, wagon trains made their way west from Independence, Missouri, on a journey of 2,000 miles (3,000 km), following what would come to be known as the Oregon Trail.