Lecompton is starting to be noticed nationally and internationally.
On Oct. 28, a group of more than 20 French junior and senior high school students will visit the historical town in northwestern Douglas County.
The students are interested in learning about the town's pre-Civil War history. They will watch the Lecompton Re-enactors in a play called "Bleeding Kansas."
Lecompton was visited recently by six travel writers attending a national gathering in Kansas City, Mo. A group of tourists - members of the Pamplin Historical Park and National Museum on the Civil War Soldier in Virginia - stopped on their way to other Civil War historical sites. Last summer, a group of teachers from across the country saw Lecompton on a tour of Bleeding Kansas sites.
"I feel like Lecompton has had a hard time getting much publicity for a long time," said Charlene Winter, one of the Lecompton Re-enactors. "With these other groups coming in and the travel magazines picking up more information on us, they say, 'Yeah, this is something we'd be interested in.'"
Lecompton is often on regional schools' lists for students to see the Territorial Capital Museum, Constitution Hall and the stone building that in the mid-1800s was the Democratic Party's headquarters.
The French students are part of a school district partnership in Olathe. The travel writers' visit was sponsored by Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area and included other sites in Lawrence and Missouri. The heritage area was established a couple of years ago and includes Douglas County as well as 40 other counties in eastern Kansas and Western Missouri.
"Freedom's Frontier is playing a role in this, and I think it will even more in the future," said Paul Bahnmaier, president of the Lecompton Historical Society.
Judy Billings, who heads the heritage area's management entity, agreed. "Places like Lecompton can get people to come in, but they are going to get a whole lot more exposure as part of the whole story of Bleeding Kansas through Frontier Heritage," she said.