Nicodemus National Historic Site
304 Washington Avenue
Nicodemus, Kansas 67625
(785) 839-4233

open 7 days a week Memorial Day through Labor Day Monday - Saturday during winter months 
9 AM - 4:30 PM
closed on all federal holidays
but call to confirm hours     free

Nicodemus National Historic Site Map

Nicodemus National Historic Site - Nicodemus, Kansas
Visitor Center - Nicodemus Township Hall
Nicodemus Township Hall was a Works Progress Administration Project (WPA) started in 1934 and completed in 1939.

Nicodemus, Kansas was established in July, 1877 by Negro "exodusters" from Kentucky. They lacked sufficient tools, seed or money, but managed to survive the first winter. Some survived by selling buffalo bones, others by working for the Kansas Pacific railroad at Ellis, 30 miles away. Nicodemus was named after the first black slave to purchase his freedom in the United States.

By 1880 the all black community reached 400, and was the largest community established by freed slaves following the Civil War. By 1887, Nicodemus, Kansas had churches, stores, lodges, a school and two newspapers.

After reaching a peak of 600 residents, Nicodemus failed because the railroad passed the community by, and the population slowly dropped. There are about 40 residents today, as well as several buildings being maintained by the National Park Service.

Five historic buildings in Nicodemus were declared a unit of the National Park System on November 12, 1996, but development and restoration of Nicodemus National Historic Site has been very slow. Several of the remaining buildings are in disrepair and unsafe to enter. Others are not open to visitors. The "Temporary Visitor's Center" we visited in 2006 is still in use and the only displays in this National Park Unit. While the displays are interesting, they take only a few minutes to read. There is an important and fascinating story told at the Nicodemus National Historic Site, but after 22 plus years, it appears there are no funds for telling this story.

A Nicodemus Homecoming event is hosted each year on the last weekend in July.

Nicodemus National Historic Site visitor center.
Visitor Center located inside the Nicodemus Township Hall 

St. Francis Hotel, Nicodemus, Kansas
St. Francis Hotel - Zach T. Fletcher's hotel was built in 1881 and is the original two story stuccoed portion of
the building on the right. It originally featured a cut limestone appearance with a one story stone kitchen addition
on the east. It also served as the site of the first post office in Nicodemus - the first recorded African American
operated post office in the United States. At times a school and a stagecoach station operated out of the hotel.

Nicodemus First Baptist Church - The present structure was completed in 1907 and was built around an
earlier and smaller church. The stucco exterior was added in the 1940s. After the exterior of the present
building was completed, the older structure was removed piece by piece through the front door. The newer
extension to the north was completed in the 1970s and contains the sanctuary used for services today.

African Methodist Episcopal Church, Nicodemus, Kansas
Nicodemus African Methodist Episcopal Church - The A. M. E. Church was built in 1885 of limestone. It
was later finished with stucco in the 1940s. It was closed for religious services in the 1950s.

Nicodemus African Methodist Episcopal Church repairs
Preservation of the A. M. E. Church in 2014

Nicodemus Historical Society
Nicodemus Historical Society, 611 S. 5th Street, Nicodemus, Kansas 67625 (785) 839-4280

District Number 1 Nicodemus School
District Number 1 Nicodemus School, the first school established in Graham County, is a one story wood sided
structure with a hip roof. It was built in 1918 on the same site as the original school (built around 1887) which
burned. The school closed in the late 1950s and children now living in Nicodemus commute to Bogue, Kansas.

Ernestine's BBQ and gift shop - Nicodemus, Kansas
If you are in Nicodemus in the Spring through Fall, check out Ernestine's Bar-B-Q on the east side of town. 
We haven't had the BBQ, but the warm sweet potato pie was fabulous!

Nicodemus National Historic Site Map - Nicodemus, Kansas
Nicodemus National Historic Site Map

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copyright 2006-2019 by Keith Stokes