Stained Glass Windows
As a United States Senator, Arthur Capper worked to create the farm bloc, a group of senators from agricultural states voting together on issues that helped the farmer. Long before becoming a senator, though, he celebrated the farmer in his home with these stained glass windows.
These windows depict the early days of agriculture in Kansas and show scenes of plowing, planting, and harvesting. The first set of windows depicts a team of horses pulling a plow across a field. The second set features a man spreading seeds before a field of ripened wheat (below, left). The third set shows two men harvesting grain with scythes (below, right).
A native of Garnett, Kansas, Arthur Capper became a successful newspaperman who owned several papers, including the Topeka Daily Capital. When Arthur Capper built his Topeka home at 1035 Topeka Boulevard in 1910, these windows were placed on a landing of the grand staircase leading to the second floor.
As Capper's business enterprises grew he became better known around the state, enabling him to enter politics. He lost the closest governor's race in state history in 1912--just 29 votes kept him out of office. Two years later he ran again and won, serving as governor from 1915 to 1919. Because his residence was a short distance from the Capitol, Capper chose to live there during his term rather than at the Governor's Mansion.
When Capper began his 30-year career in the United States Senate in 1919, he and his wife, Florence, moved out of their home. His successor as governor, Henry Allen, was permitted to use the Capper home during his term. The Cappers themselves would never live there again. Florence Capper died in 1926 and her funeral was conducted from the house, but when Arthur returned to Topeka from Washington, he chose instead to live in rooms at the Jayhawk Hotel.
In 1927 Capper acquired radio station WIBW, originally licensed to operate in Logansport, Indiana, and moved it into an office building in downtown Topeka. In 1934 he moved it again, this time into the old Capper home, placing its studios on the first floor and offices on the second. The radio station operated from this building until 1957.
When the radio station moved its facilities to the Menninger campus in 1957, the windows also were moved and were placed behind the reception desk. They were donated to the Kansas Museum of History in 2001.
Entry: Stained Glass Windows
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: July 2002
Date Modified: December 2014
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.