Topeka (/t?'pi?k?/; Kansa: Tó Pee
Kuh) is the capital city of the U.S. state of Kansas and
the county seat of Shawnee County. It is situated along
the Kansas River in the central part of Shawnee County, located
in northeast Kansas, in the Central United States. As of the 2010
census, the city population was 127,473. The Topeka Metropolitan
Statistical Area, which includes Shawnee, Jackson, Jefferson, Osage,
and Wabaunsee counties, had an estimated population of 230,824
in the year 2009. The city is well known for the landmark United States
Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, which
overturned Plessy vs. Ferguson and declared segregation in
public schools on account of race to be unconstitutional.Three ships
of the US Navy have been named USS Topeka in
honor of the city.
Topeka means "to dig good potatoes" in the languages
of the Kansa and the Ioway. The potato referred to is
the prairie potato (Psoralea esculenta), a perennial herb which is an
important food for many Native Americans. As a placename, Topeka was
first recorded in 1826 as the Kansa name for what is now called the Kansas
River. Topeka's founders chose the name in 1855 because it "was
novel, of Indian origin and euphonious of sound." The
mixed-blood Kansa Indian, Joseph James, called Jojim, is credited
with suggesting the name of Topeka.The city, laid out in 1854, was
one of the Free-State towns founded by Eastern antislavery
men immediately after the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill.
In 1857, Topeka was chartered as a city.
In the 1840s, wagon trains made their way west from Independence,
Missouri, on a journey of 2,000 miles (3,000 km), following what
would come to be known as the Oregon Trail. About 60 miles (97 km)
west of Kansas City, Missouri, three half Kansas Indian sisters
married to the French-Canadian Pappan brothers established
a ferry service allowing travelers to cross the Kansas
River at what is now Topeka. During the 1840s and into the 1850s,
travelers could reliably find a way across the river, but little else
was in the area.
1869 bird's eye illustration of Topeka.
In the early 1850s, traffic along the Oregon Trail was supplemented
by trade on a new military road stretching from Fort Leavenworth through
Topeka to the newly-established Fort Riley. In 1854, after completion
of the first cabin, nine men established the Topeka Town Association.
Included among them was Cyrus K. Holliday, an "idea man"
who would become mayor of Topeka and founder of the Atchison, Topeka
& Santa Fe Railroad. Soon, steamboats were regularly docking
at the Topeka landing, depositing meat, lumber, and flour and
returning eastward withpotatoes, corn, and wheat. By the late
1860s, Topeka had become a commercial hub providing many Victorian
After a decade of abolitionist and pro-slavery conflict that gave the
territory the nickname Bleeding Kansas, Kansas was admitted to
the Unionin 1861 as the 34th state. Topeka was finally chosen as
the capital, with Dr. Charles Robinson as the first governor.
In 1862, Cyrus K. Holliday donated a tract of land to the state for
the construction of a state capitol. Construction of the Kansas
State Capitol began in 1866. It would take 37 years to build the
capitol, first the east wing, and then the west wing, and finally the
central building, using Kansas limestone. In fall 1864 a stockade
fort, later named Fort Simple, was built in the intersection of
6th and Kansas Avenues to protect Topeka, should Confederate forces
then in Missouri decide to attack the city. It was abandoned by April
1865 and demolished in April 1867.
Old Governor's Mansion (1887), replaced by Cedar Crest in
1963 and demolished the following year
Bird's-eye view in 1909
State officers first used the state capitol in 1869, moving from Constitution
Hall, what is now 427-429 S. Kansas Avenue. Besides being used as the
Kansas statehouse from 1863 to 1869, Constitution Hall is the site where
anti-slavery settlers convened in 1855 to write the first of four state
constitutions, making it the "Free State Capitol." The National
Park Service recognizes Constitution Hall - Topeka as headquarters
in the operation of the Lane Trail to Freedom on the Underground
Railroad, the chief slave escape passage and free trade road.
Although the drought of 1860 and the ensuing period of the Civil
War slowed the growth of Topeka and the state, Topeka kept pace
with the revival and period of growth that Kansas enjoyed from the close
of the war in 1865 until 1870. In the 1870s, many former slaves known
as Exodusters, settled on the east side of Lincoln Street between Munson
and Twelfth Streets. The area was known as Tennessee Town because so
many of them were from that state. The first African American Kindergarten
west of the Mississippi was organized in Tennessee Town by Dr. Charles
Sheldon, pastor of the Central Congregational Church in 1893.
Lincoln College, now Washburn University, was established in 1865
in Topeka by a charter issued by the State of Kansas and the General
Association of Congregational Ministers and Churches of Kansas. In 1869,
the railway started moving westward from Topeka, where general offices
and machine shops of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad system
were established in 1878.
During the late 1880s, Topeka passed through a boom period that ended
in disaster. There was vast speculation on town lots. The
1889 bubble burst and many investors were ruined. Topeka, however, doubled
in population during the period and was able to weather the depressions
of the 1890s.
Early in the 20th Century, another kind of boom, this time the automobile industry,
took off, and numerous pioneering companies appeared and disappeared.
Topeka was not left out. The Smith Automobile Company was
founded there in 1902, lasting until 1912.
Kansas State Capitol in 1912
Home to the first African-American kindergarten west of the Mississippi
River, Topeka became the home of Linda Brown, the named plaintiff in Brown
v. Board of Education which was the case responsible for eliminating
the standard of "separate but equal", and requiring racial
integration in American public schools.
At the time the suit was filed, only the elementary schools were segregated
in Topeka, and that Topeka High School had been fully integrated
since its inception in 1871. Furthermore, Topeka High School was the
only public high school in inner-city Topeka. Other rural high schools
existed at that time, such as Washburn Rural High Schoolcreated
in 1918and Seaman High Schoolcreated in 1920. Highland Park
High School became part of the Topeka school system in 1959 along with
the opening of Topeka West High School in 1961. A Catholic high school
Assumption High School, later renamed Capitol Catholic High School,
then in 1939 again renamed, to Hayden High School after its
founder, Father Francis Hayden also served the city beginning
Monroe Elementary, a segregated school that figured in the historic Brown
v. Board of Education decision, is now Brown v. Board of Education
National Historic Site with interpretive exhibits. The National
Historic Site was opened by President George W. Bush on
May 17, 2004.
Topeka has struggled with the burden of racial discrimination even after
Brown. New lawsuits attempted unsuccessfully to force suburban school
districts that ring the city to participate in racial integration with
the inner city district. In the late 1980s a group of citizens calling
themselves the Task Force to Overcome Racism in Topeka formed
to address the problem in a more organized way.
1966 Topeka tornado
On June 8, 1966, Topeka was struck by an F5 rated tornado, according
to the Fujita scale. It started on the southwest side of town,
moving northeast, passing over a local landmark named Burnett's Mound.
According to a local Indian legend, this mound was thought to protect
the city from tornadoes. It went on to rip through the city, hitting
the downtown area and Washburn University. Total dollar cost was put
at $100 million making it, at the time, one of the most costly tornadoes
in American history. Even to this day, with inflation factored in, the
Topeka tornado stands as one of the most costly on record. It also helped
bring to prominence future CBS and A&E broadcaster Bill Kurtis,
who became well known for his televised admonition to "take cover,
for God's sake, take cover" on WIBW-TV during the tornado.
(The city is home of a National Weather Service Forecast Office
that serves 23 counties in north-central, northeast, and east-central
Topeka recovered from the 1966 tornado and has sustained steady economic
growth. Washburn University, which lost several historic buildings from
the tornado, received financial support from the community and alumni
to rebuild many school facilities. Today, university facilities offer
more than one million square feet of modern academic and support space.
In 1974, Forbes Air Force Base closed and more than 10,000
people left Topeka, influencing the city's growth patterns for years
to come. During the 1980s, Topeka citizens voted to build a new airport
and convention center and to change the form of city government. West
Ridge Mall opened in 1988 and in 1989 Topeka became a motorsports mecca
with the opening of Heartland Park Topeka. The Topeka Performing
Arts Center opened in 1991. In the early 1990s the city experienced
business growth with Reser's Fine Foods locating in Topeka and expansions
for Santa Fe and Hill's Pet Nutrition.
Current Downtown Topeka Skyline at night from the Kansas River
During the 1990s voters approved bond issues for public school improvements
including magnet schools, technology, air conditioning, classrooms,
and a sports complex. Voters also approved a quarter-cent sales tax
for a new Law Enforcement Center, and in 1996 approved an extension
of the sales tax for the East Topeka Interchange connecting the Oakland
Expressway, K-4, I-70, and the Kansas Turnpike. During the 1990s Shawnee
county voters approved tax measures to expand the Topeka and Shawnee
County Public Library. The Kansas Legislature and Governor also approved
legislation to replace the majority of the property tax supporting Washburn
University with a countywide sales tax.
The Charles Curtis State Office Building (2001), facing the
In 2000 the citizens again voted to extend the quarter-cent sales tax,
this time for the economic development of Topeka and Shawnee County.
In August, 2004, Shawnee County citizens voted to repeal the 2000 quarter-cent
sales tax and replace it with a 12- year half-cent sales tax designated
for economic development, roads, and bridges. Each year the sales tax
funds provide $5 million designated for business development job creation
incentives, and $9 million for roads and bridges. Planning is under
way to continue to redevelop areas along the Kansas River, which
runs west to east through Topeka. In the Kansas River Corridor through
the center of town, Downtown Topeka has experienced apartment and condominium
loft development, and façade and streetscape improvements. On
the other side of the river, Historic North Topeka has benefited from
a major streetscape project and the renovated Great Overland Station,
regarded as the finest representation of classic railroad architecture
in Kansas. The Great Overland Station is directly across the river from
the State Capitol, which is undergoing an eight-year, $283 million renovation.
On March 1, 2010, Topeka Mayor Bill Bunten issued a proclamation
calling for Topeka to be known for the month of March as "Google,
Kansas, the capital city of fiber optics." The name change
came from Ryan Gigous, who wanted to "re-brand" the city with
a simple gesture. This was to help "support continuing
efforts to bring Google's fiber experiment" to Topeka, though
it was not a legal name change. Lawyers advised the city council and
mayor against an official name change. Google jokingly
announced that it would change its name to Topeka to "honor
that moving gesture" on April 1, 2010 (April Fools Day) and changed
its home page to say Topeka. In its official blog, Google announced
that this change thus affected all of its services as well as its culture,
e.g. "Googlers" to "Topekans", "Project Virgil"
to "Project Virpeka", and proper usage of "Topeka"
as an adjective and not a verb, to avoid the trademark becominggenericized.
Aerial image of Topeka
Topeka is located at 39°03'N 95°41'W. Topeka
is in north east Kansas at the intersection of I-70 and U.S.
Highway 75. It is the origin of I-335 which is a portion of
the Kansas Turnpikerunning from Topeka to Emporia, Kansas.
Topeka is also located on U.S. Highway 24 and U.S. Highway
40. 40 is coincident with I-70 west from Topeka. According to the United
States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 61.47 square miles
(159.2 km²), of which, 60.17 square miles (155.83 km²) of
it is land and 1.3 square miles (3.36 km²) is water.
In 2007, Forbes Magazine named Topeka as one of the leading
U.S. cities in terms of having the biggest variations in temperature,
precipitation, and wind. Topeka has a humid continental
climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa), with hot,
somewhat humid summers and cool to cold, fairly dry winters. Over the
course of a year, temperatures range from an average low of about17
°F (-8 °C) in January to an average high of nearly 90
°F (32 °C) in July. The maximum temperature reaches 90
°F (32 °C) an average of 45 days per year and
reaches 100 °F (38 °C) an average of 4 days
per year. The minimum temperature falls below 0 °F (-18 °C) an
average of 4 nights per year, and there are 27 days per year that stay
below freezing. Typically the first fall freeze occurs between the last
week of September and the end of October, and the last spring freeze
occurs between the first week of April and early May.
The area receives nearly 36 inches (91 cm) of precipitation during
an average year with the largest share being received in May and Junethe
April through June period averages 32 days of measurable precipitation.
Generally, the spring and summer months have the most rainfall, with
autumn and winter being fairly dry. During a typical year the total
amount of precipitation may be anywhere from 25 to 47 inches (63 to
120 cm). Much of the rainfall is delivered by thunderstorms. These
can be severe, producing frequent lightning, large hail, and
sometimes tornadoes. There are on average 100 days of measurable
precipitation per year. Winter snowfall is light, as is the case in
most of the state, not because of lack of sufficiently cold temperatures,
but as a result of the dry, sunny weather patterns that dominate Kansas
winters, which do not allow for sufficient moisture for significant
snowfall. Winter snowfall averages almost 20 inches (51 cm), but
the median is less than 11 inches (28 cm). Measurable snowfall
occurs an average of 15 days per year, with at least an inch of snow
being received on seven of those days. Snow depth of at least an inch
occurs an average of 26 days per year.
U.S. Decennial Census
Topeka's population was estimated to be 122,113 in the year 2006, a
decrease of 988, or -0.8%, over the previous six years.
As of the census of 2010, there were 127,473 people, 53,943
households, and 30,707 families residing in the city. The population
density was 2118.6 people per square mile (818/km²). There
were 59,582 housing units at an average density of 990.3 per square
mile (382.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 76.2% White,
11.3% African American, 1.4% Native American, 1.3% Asian,
0.1Pacific Islander, 4.7% from other races, and 4.9% from two or
more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were
13.4% of the population. Non-Hispanic Whites were 69.7% of
the population in 2010, down from 86.3% in 1970.
There were 53,943 households out of which 26.4% had children under the
age of 18 living with them, 37.9% were married couples living
together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.8%
had a male householder with no wife present, and 43.1% were non-families.
35.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 12% had someone
living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household
size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.99.
The median age in the city was 36 years. 24.4% of residents were under
the age of 18; 9.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.1% were from
25 to 44; 25.4% were from 45 to 64; and 14.3% were 65 years of age or
older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.8% male and 52.2% female.
As of 2000 the median income for a household in the city was
$35,928, and the median income for a family was $45,803. Males had a
median income of $32,373 versus $25,633 for females. The per capita
income for the city was $19,555. About 8.5% of families and 12.4%
of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.7%
of those under age 18 and 8.2% of those age 65 or over.
Blacksmiths at the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway shops
in Topeka, 1943
Being the state's capital city, Topeka's largest employer
is the State of Kansasemploying about 8,400 people, or
69% of the city's government workers. Altogether, government workers
make up one out of every five employed persons in the city.
The educational, health and social services industry makes up the largest
proportion of the working population (22.4%). The four school districts
employ nearly 4,700 people, and Washburn Universityemploys about
1,650. Three of the largest employers are Stormont-Vail HealthCare
(with about 3,100 employees), St. Francis Health Center (1,800), and
Colmery-O'Neil VA Hospital (900).
The retail trade employs more than a tenth of the working population
(11.5%) with Wal-Mart and Dillons having the
greater share. Nearly another tenth is employed in manufacturing (9.0%).
Top manufacturers include Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Payless
ShoeSource, Hill's Pet Nutrition, Frito-Lay, and Jostens Printing
and Publishing. Jostens announced plans in May 2012 to move
production from its Topeka facility to Clarksville, Tennessee,
affecting approximately 372 employee positions. Southwest Publishing
& Mailing Corporation, a smaller employer, has its headquarters
Other industries are finance, insurance, real estate, and rental and
leasing (7.8%); professional, scientific, management, administrative,
and waste management services (7.6%); arts, entertainment, recreation,
accommodation and food services (7.2%); construction (6.0%); transportation
and warehousing, and utilities (5.8%); and wholesale trade (3.2%). Blue
Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is the largest insurance employer,
with about 1,800 employees. BNSF Railway is the largest
transportation employer, with about 1,100. Westar Energy employs
nearly 800. About a tenth of the working population is employed
in public administration (9.9%).
Major companies based in Topeka:
CoreFirst Bank & Trust
Capitol Federal Savings Bank
Hill's Pet Nutrition
Sports Car Club of America
Arts and culture
Topeka is sometimes cited as the home of Pentecostalism as
it was the site of Charles Fox Parham's Bethel Bible College,
where glossolalia was first claimed as the evidence of a spiritual
experience referred to as the baptism of the Holy Spirit in
1901. It is also the home of Reverend Charles Sheldon, author of In
His Steps, and was the site where the famous question "What would
Jesus do?" originated in a sermon of Sheldon's at Central Congregational
Church. The First Presbyterian Church in Topeka is one of the very few
churches in the U.S. to have its sanctuary completely decorated with Tiffany stained
glass (another is St. Luke's United Methodist in Dubuque, Iowa).
The highly controversial Westboro Baptist Church is located
in Topeka. There is a large Roman Catholic population, and the city
is home to nine Roman Catholic parishes, five of which feature elementary
schools. Grace Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of
Kansas is a large Gothic Revival structure located in
the city. Topeka also has a claim in the history of the Baha'i
Faith in Kansas. Not only does the city have the oldest continuous
Baha'i community in Kansas (beginning in 1906), but that community has
roots to the first Baha'i community in Kansas, in Enterprise, Kansas
in 1897. This was the second Baha'i community in the western hemisphere.
Points of interest
The capitol building, built 1866-1906
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site
Kansas State Capitol, with murals by John Steuart Curry, including
the portrait of John Brown towering over "Bleeding Kansas"
and the Kansas prairie, and topped with the sculpture of an American
Indian named Ad Astra (from the state motto Ad Astra per Aspera, meaning
"To the Stars Through Difficulty".)
Kansas Expocentre and Landon Arena
Combat Air Museum at Forbes Field
Heartland Park Topeka, a major drag racing and road racing course just
south of the city.
Kansas Museum of History
Reinisch Rose Garden and Doran Rock Garden, both parts of Gage Park.
Topeka High School
Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library
Topeka Zoo, famous as the birthplace of the first Golden Eagle chick
hatched in captivity and as the first zoo in the nation to have an indoor
Old Prairie Town at Ward-Meade Historic Site
Washburn University, the last city-chartered university in the United
Potwin Neighborhood, originally its own town, Potwin has now been surrounded
by the City of Topeka, though it still maintains its own mayor and
traditions, including the Easter brunch and4 July Parade.
Kansas Judicial Center, where both the Supreme Court and Court
of Appeals for the state sit.
Cedar Crest, the Kansas Governor's Mansion located on a hilltop overlooking
the massive MacLennan Park.
Children's Discovery Center
American Professional Football League
Topeka Golden Giants
Independent Collegiate Summer Wood Bat
Women's Spring Football League
North American Hockey League
Main article: Media_in_Topeka,_Kansas
Topeka is the home of a daily newspaper, the Topeka Capital-Journal,
and a bi-weekly newspaper, The Topeka Metro News.
The following radio stations are licensed to Topeka:
Translator of KAWZ, Twin Falls, Idaho
Additionally, most of the Kansas City stations provide at least grade
B coverage of Topeka. KANU-FM in Lawrence (in the Kansas City
market) serves as Topeka's NPR member station as well.
The following television stations are licensed to
48; 49 (Virtual)
Most Kansas City stations are available on cable, which has been the
case for many years.
This section requires expansion. (May 2008)
See also: List of mayors of Topeka
The chief executives of Topeka are Mayor Bill Bunten (R)
and interim City Manager Dan Stanley.
Although Topeka experienced problems with crime in the 1990s, the city's
crime rates have improved in the past decade. The city is now breaking
trends when it comes to violent crime, so much so that it has gained
the interest of researchers from Michigan State University. Since 2000,
most cities with a population greater than 100,000 have seen an increase
in violent crimes. Topeka's crime rates are decreasing. Researchers
credit good communication between law enforcement agencies, informed
media outlets, and strong community involvement for Topeka's success.
Topeka was one of four cities, along with Chicago, Tampa,
and El Monte, California, to be studied.
Overall, crime in Topeka was down nearly 18 percent in the first half
of 2008, compared with the same period of 2007. Topeka police reported
a 6.4 percent drop in crime from 2007 to 2008, including significant
reductions in business robberies and aggravated assaults and batteries,
as well as thefts.
On October 11, 2011, the Topeka city council agreed to repeal the ordinance
banning domestic violence in an effort to force the Shawnee
County District Attorney to prosecute the cases. Shawnee County
District Attorney Chad Taylor said that the DA "would no longer
prosecute misdemeanors committed in Topeka, including domestic battery,
because his office could no longer do so after county commissioners
cut his budget by 10 percent." The next day, Taylor said
that his office would "commence the review and filing of misdemeanors
decriminalized by the City of Topeka." The same day it
was announced that 17% of the employees in the District Attorney's office
would be laid off.
Elementary and secondary education
Topeka is served by four public school districts including:
USD 345 Seaman (Serving North Topeka)
USD 437 Auburn-Washburn (Serving west and southwest Topeka)
USD 450 Shawnee Heights (Serving extreme east and southeast Topeka)
USD 501 Topeka. (Serving inner-city Topeka)
Topeka is also home to several private and parochial schools such as Cair
Paravel-Latin School. There are also elementary and junior high schools
supported by other Christian denominations. Hayden High School,
a Catholic High School is also located in Topeka.
Topeka has several colleges, universities and technical schools including Washburn
University, Friends University, Washburn Institute of Technology (Formerly
Kaw Area Technical School), and the Baker University School
of Nursing. The now defunct College of the Sisters of Bethany and Bethel
Bible College both once called Topeka their home.
Topeka has two major hospitals, Stormont-Vail and St. Francis Hospital
both located in central Topeka. Topeka is also home to the Colmery-O'Neil VA Medical
I-70 Viaduct going through Downtown Topeka
I-70, I-470, and I-335 all go through the City of Topeka.
I-335 is part of the Kansas Turnpike where it passes through
Topeka. Other major highways include: US-24, US-40, US-75,
and K-4. Major roads within the city include NW/SW Topeka Blvd.
SW Wanamaker Road. N/S Kansas Ave. SW/SE 29th St. SE/SW 21st St. SE
California Ave. SW Gage Blvd. and SW Fairlawn Rd.
Philip Billard Municipal Airport (TOP) is located in the Oakland
area of Topeka and Forbes Field (FOE) is located in south
Topeka in Pauline, Kansas. Passenger air service is not currently
available. Service may be added in the near future. Forbes Field also
serves as an Air National Guard base, home of the highly decorated
190th Air Refueling Wing. MHK located in Manhattan, Kansas is the closest
commercial airport, MCI in Kansas City is the closest major airport.
Passenger rail service provided by Amtrak stops at the Topeka
Station. Current service is via the Chicago-to-Los Angeles Southwest
Chief during the early morning hours. However, the Kansas
Department of Transportation recently asked Amtrak to study additional
service options, including daytime service to Oklahoma City. Freight
service is provided by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad
and Union Pacific Railroad.
Bus service is provided by Greyhound Lines.
Local transit service is provided by the Topeka Metropolitan Transit
Authority. The agency offers bus service from 6 am to 6:30 pm Monday
through Friday, and 7 am to 5 pm on Saturday. The agency also provides
demand response general public taxi service which operates evenings
from 8 pm until 11:30 pm and on Sundays.
Electricity: Westar Energy
Home Telephone: AT&T and Cox Communications
Cable:Cox Communications and AT&T
Gas: Kansas Gas Service
Water & Sewer: City of Topeka
Sanitation: Shawnee County
Internet: Cox Communications and AT&T
In popular culture
In 1998, Topeka became the site for the American release of Nintendo's Pokémon game.
It is also mentioned in the Cartoon Network series, Foster's
Home for Imaginary Friends where the character Bloo says
"It's hot in Topeka!" and then, in a play on words, says "I'm
a hot toe picker!"
Prudence Rutherford in the Nancy Drew Computer Games said
that she lives in Topeka.
In the movie Almost Famous, fictional character Russell Hammond,
goes to a party in Topeka, claiming to look for "real people."
The quote "We're just real Topeka people man" is said in response.
Topeka is an important location in many of Stephen King's works
including The Stand and The Dark Tower series.
In the South Park episode "The Red Badge of Gayness",
the re-enacted Confederates, led by Eric Cartman, attack Topeka.
In the role playing game Z-Corps, Topeka is the starting point
of a zombie invasion.
During the Superman comic book crossover storyline "Our
Worlds at War", Topeka is destroyed by Imperiex, causing massive
damage to Superman's hometown of Smallville.