Ichabod Washburn statue installed in downtown Topeka

TOPEKA (KSNT) – A new historic statue of Ichabod Washburn was unveiled Tuesday morning in downtown Topeka.

It isn’t the Ichabod mascot most people think of when they think of Washburn University but in fact a statue of the real life Ichabod Washburn, the namesake of Washburn was unveiled on the east side of the 700 block of Kansas Ave.

President and CEO of Downtown Topeka, Inc. Vince Frye said when it came to selecting, Ichabod Washburn was an obvious choice.

“Washburn University is one of the crown jewels of Topeka and we wanted to tie downtown to the campus by honoring its early benefactor.”

Ichabod Washburn, a Massachusetts industrialist and fervent abolitionist, never actually visited the university which bears his name, but he heard the story of the struggling college once known as Lincoln College in Kansas. Ichabod Washburn was moved by the college determined to offer the benefits of an education to everyone including women and African Americans.

He pledged $25,000 to the effort and helped keep it afloat. In recognition of his gift, the college’s trustees voted to rename the college after him and it has been named Washburn ever since.

The cast bronze statue was created by local artist Janet Zoble.

A smaller version of the same statue will be installed this Friday at the center of the Washburn campus.

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