Nicodemus Historic District; Nicodemus National Historic Site

Also known as: Nicodemus Historic District and Dugout House
U.S. 24, Nicodemus, Kansas

Photos 

Nicodemus Historic District

1. GENERAL VIEW OF TOWNSITE FROM VICINITY OF CLEMENTINE VAUGHN HOUSE

Photo from the Historic American Buildings Survey

View photos at Library of Congress

Map 

Street View 

Description 

Nicodemus, Kansas, represents the earliest and most prosperous midwestern black settlement associated with the massive westward migration of former slaves out of the south during Reconstruction. Following a typical midwestern pattern of town development, the Nicodemus Town Company was formed on April 18, 1877, by seven Kansans (one white and six black). Attracted by the promotional literature of Benjamin "Pap" Singleton and led by white promoter W.R. Hill, five separate infusions of black colonists, predominantly from Kentucky and Tennessee, ultimately comprised the population of the town. By 1878, Nicodemus could boast nearly 700 residents. Nicodemus' prominence, however, was shortlived when the railroad by-passed the community in 1888. The majority of businesses relocated to nearby communities and the town slowly withered. A resilient and self-reliant nucleus of settlers remained. Today, 45 descendants of these original immigrants reside in the community, and numerous historic structures still exist. -- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS KS-49)

National Register information 

Status
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on January 7, 1976
Reference number
76000820
Areas of significance
Ethnic Heritage - Black; Exploration/Settlement; Social History
Level of significance
National
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; B - Person
Property type
District
Historic functions
Department store; Religious structure; Meeting hall; Single dwelling
Current functions
Meeting hall; Religious structure; Single dwelling; Business
Period of significance
1875-1899
Significant year
1877
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 7
Contributing sites: 1
Non-contributing objects: 1

Update Log 

  • January 10, 2012: New photos from Ruth Reynolds
  • August 22, 2011: New Street View added by Ruth Reynolds

Sources