Welcome to the first room in the Topeka Room Suite. It is the Keith and Bette Bossler Foyer. In this space is the staff desk, as well as art and architectural remnants with links to Topeka’s past. I’ll just highlight a couple of items here. To see more, please visit us in person.
When you walk into the foyer, you will notice a set of green doors leading into our Baker Genealogy Center (more on that room in a future post). These doors are from the Robert Stone house formerly located at the corner of 17th & Stone Streets in Topeka. The house was built in 1881 and was razed in 1992. Robert Stone was a lawyer, speaker and writer who also had a strong interest in local history. The original windows have been replaced with windows etched with historic Topeka buildings: First National Bank, the old Governor’s Mansion, Shawnee County Court House, the Charles Curtis home, Topeka State Hospital Administration building, the old Topeka Public Library, the David Mulvane home, and the Union Pacific Railroad Station. Only the Charles Curtis home and the Union Pacific Railroad Station are still standing. Ger Markey of Lawrence, Kansas did the etching.
There is also the self-portrait of George Stone, ca. 1920. George Stone (brother to Robert of the green doors) was an artist and art teacher who began his art career by drawing portraits. He studied in Paris and Venice before returning home to Topeka to teach art. He continued to travel to paint commissions. In 1902, with Albert Reid, he founded another art school which became the Washburn College Art Department.
Keith & Bette Bossler made a gift to the library during the Great Expectations Campaign and chose to name the foyer. Keith (who passed away in 2005) was an active member of the Topeka business community and owned the Bossler/Brown Employment agency. Keith was and Bette continues to be active in community development here in Topeka with donations to many organizations including the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library and Washburn University. Thank you Keith & Bette for your support!
The Topeka Room Suite is on the second floor of the library and open the same hours as the rest of the library so come explore what we have to offer with local history and genealogy resources. We do ask that anyone under the age of 12 be accompanied by a responsible person older than age 12 as we do have old and fragile items in our collection.
Photo credits: Charity Rouse & Sabatini Art Gallery, used with permission.