|Year(s) Listed: • 2007 • 2008
|City/Town: • Topeka
|Location Class: • Commercial
|Built: N/A | Abandoned: N/A
|Status: • Endangered
|Contributor: Kansas Preservation Alliance
This year’s list includes eight historic places, including the Bethany Place Landscape in Topeka, Kansas. Started in the 1860s as the College of the Sisters of Bethany, Bethany Place was the first women’s college in Kansas. Georgia Neese Gray, the first female US Treasurer is one of the college’s most notable alumnae. The present day campus still retains two of the original Gothic buildings surrounded by a wooded setting with mature trees. As was the practice with most female colleges in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this landscape served as the backdrop for student meetings, athletic contests, dramas, and other traditions. The Bethany Place Campus landscape serves as a record of its time, place and use.
Bethany Place is currently used for residences and a conference center for the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas. The owners are planning to remove several mature trees to create a parking lot for nearby Grace Cathedral. This plan has been opposed by several public and private citizens groups. Immediately after the City Council approved the permit to build the parking lot, 14 mature trees were removed from the landscape. This action was stopped and the Friends of Bethany Place are going through the appeal process.