Loyal supporters of the historical sites in Lecompton are launching a campaign that deserves the support of area residents.
Constitution Hall, the historic "Bleeding Kansas" building located in Lecompton, is among 24 finalists to be designated as one of the eight "Wonders of Kansas." Among the other contenders are the Kansas Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Abilene's Eisenhower museum and Monument Rocks in Gove County.
Designating the eight "wonders" is a project of the Kansas Sample Foundation in Inman, a group that promotes Kansas tourism and appreciation for Kansas heritage.
Constitution Hall certainly is worthy of consideration as a state wonder. Some of the most significant political events in the history of the state and the nation occurred in this building. It was the meeting site for three territorial legislative sessions - one pro-slavery and two free state - before Kansas gained statehood.
Delegates to the Lecompton Constitutional Convention met there to write the constitution that would have brought Kansas into the Union as a slave state. The pro-slavery, anti-slavery debate that occurred at the territorial capital was pivotal to the events leading up to the American Civil War.
It's wonderful that Lecompton residents - and many people from other area communities - are so dedicated to promoting and preserving Lecompton's interesting and significant history. Some of those people have launched a grassroots effort to garner votes for Constitution Hall as one of the eight state wonders. Similar efforts likely are under way on behalf of the other 23 finalists, so the little town of Lecompton needs the help of many residents outside its borders.
The "8 Wonders" campaign is a popularity contest and, in some ways, a gimmick to draw attention to significant state sites. It's not a life or death matter, but why not contribute to the effort to get Constitution Hall the attention it deserves? People can pick up ballots while enjoying a visit to Constitution Hall and other historical sites in Lecompton or go to 8wonders.org to vote. The balloting closes on Dec. 31 and the winners will be announced on Kansas Day, Jan. 29.
It would be great if people in this area would show they are at least as proud of Constitution Hall as Cawker City is of that ball of twine.