July 23, 2024

MAYETTA — Thanks to the efforts of a Royal Valley Middle School history class, U.S. 75 between Topeka and Holton has been named the Lane Freedom Trail after Civil War U.S. senator and abolitionist James Lane.  The students pressed legislators for the trail name and testified in Topeka after they learned about the checkered history of Lane.  It was Lane’s past, which included the murder of a neighbor, political shenanigans and insanity that eventually resulted in his suicide; that made legislators reluctant to bestow the honor.  However, Gov. Mark Parkinson signed the law making the designation last year.  Gov. Sam Brownback and kKansas transportation secretary Deb Miller attended a ceremony at Royal Valley Middle School in Mayetta Wednesday.  U.S. 75 roughly follows a major stretch of the Underground Railroad used to smuggle slaves into free states and used frequently by Lane to smuggle free-state settlers into Bleeding Kansas.  The Franklin County city of Lane is named after him.

Thursday, Feb. 17, 8 p.m.

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