Located on the Kansas River
in northwest Douglas County
, about 12 miles from Lawrence
, Lecompton has a long and rich history, beginning with its being the pro-slavery
capitol of Kansas
Territory. The Lecompton Town Company was organized at the Potawatomie Agency in 1855 and consisted of pro-slavery men. In the spring of 1855, the town company held its first meetings in Westport, Missouri and by May, the town site, consisting of 600 acres, was surveyed and platted. It was designed with the expectation of making Lecompton, not only the capitol of the territory, but also to make it a large city. The first house was built of logs by W.R. Simmons in the fall of 1854. 1855 was a busy year for the new settlement as workers began to construct a new capitol building in the east part of the town on a picturesque site overlooking the Kansas River Valley. Ten acres of land was donated by the town company for the capitol grounds. It was to have been a large stone building, and had it been completed, would have cost half a million of dollars, provided Congress could have been influenced to continue appropriations. The $50,000 initially provided was quickly spent by the time the basement was completed and the walls up nearly to the height of one story. Work upon it was then discontinued, and the structure as it stood was utilized as a fort.