April 2001, Part 3 of 10
By Eldon Harding
A monthly series from the Kansas State Historical Society
Some of the night security staff and maintenance workers will swear the
Kansas State Capitol has a few ghosts lurking within the building. Eerie sounds,
echoing footsteps and chandeliers that sway are only a few of the incidents
these staff members have reported. Most reports of such sounds are during rainy
and windy nights.
The first group of ghosts of the Capitol are thought to be that of one of
nine men who lost their lives while constructing the building. Around 1890, one
worker was assigned to fastening plates on the dome of the building. According
to some, he stretched his body too far to reach a bolt, lost his balance and
plunged to the ground floor where he instantly died.
Workers were paid by the month. The accident, occurring near the end of the
month, meant the worker was due several weeks wages. While no one ever admitted
actually seeing his ghost, several people reported that ghostly sounds were
coming from the dome late at night. A story grew that each night the worker
returned to the capitol hunting for some one to pay him.
Jack Dillon lived on Harrison Street across from the building. He reported
that from his front porch, a tapping sound could be heard coming from the dome.
The sound was attributed to the spirit of the unpaid laborer, working overtime
to get his wages.
The worker apparently had no heirs to his unpaid pay check because in 1948,
Robert Fisher, a reporter for the Topeka Daily Capital, checked with George
Robb of the state treasurer's office ( He was State
"Auditor") to see if he had ever been paid.
Robb replied that he had never heard of a ghost being paid from that office and
that the ghost had never been around (to collect), but "Sometimes when the
pay rolls are late, I would just as soon have a ghost bothering me as all those
live folks who want their checks."
To learn more stories about the Kansas State Capitol, join a free guided tour
at 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. or 3:00 p.m. Monday -
Friday. The Capitol is located at 300 W. Tenth Topeka KS 66612; 785-296-3966; www.kshs.org.
To reach the Capitol in downtown Topeka take exit 362B I-70 and follow the
signs. During the legislative session, January through May, parking is limited.
The Kansas State Historical Society does not discriminate on the basis
of disability in admission to, access to, or operation of its programs. The
Society requests prior notification to accommodate individuals with special
needs or disabilities.