In 1877, Reverend W. H. Smith and 300 former slaves established this community. The town started out without any buildings and the citizens lived in dugouts on the Kansas prairie. The community recruited many former slaves from Kentucky and the town was thriving by 1885. During this time, the town consisted of three general stores, one bank, two newspapers, three churches, and numerous houses. The railroads never came and the town did not prosper. Like so many towns in the 1800’s the railroad was vital to a new town’s success. Today, the town still remains as a testament to the spirit and achievements of African-American culture. On the last weekend of July the town celebrates “Homecoming”. Many former citizens and descendants come to celebrate from near and far. Nicodemus has also become a National Historic Site.
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress