TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Shawnee County Historical Society is kicking off its fall programs with a walking tour of a significant and historic Topeka block before renovations are finished.
During the tour that begins 3 p.m. on Sunday, architect Bryan Falk will guide participants on a walking tour of the Hicks Block Apartments. The row house apartments at 6th and Tyler are undergoing a construction project. The tour will show the “before and after” of the first construction phase.
Originally built in 1889 as single family homes, the homes were converted to apartments shortly after. The units have not been updated in decades, and require new electrical, HVAC and plumbing.
When the remodel is finished in about two years, there will be 28 historic loft apartments with modern features and amenities. The building was added to the list on the National Register of Historic Places in the 1970s.
The Hicks Block is a rare example of 19th-century multifamily housing in Kansas, according to the Hicks Block website. Elhanan Hicks was a Topeka realtor who acquired a permit to build a tenement and business flat at 6th and Tyler. During the economic land boom of the 1880s, Hicks Block was built.
The depression that followed, affected the building, businesses, and investments. The block was then converted into apartments. Elhanan Hicks left Topeka in the early 1890s due to the economic collapse.
The block is described as one of few buildings that survived the city’s economic boom period. It came during a time when entrepreneurs would proudly place their names on their buildings.
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This program is free to Shawnee County Historical Society members and is $5 for nonmembers.