Emporia is a city in and the county seat of Lyon County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 24,916. Emporia lies between Topeka and Wichita at the intersection of U.S. Route 50 with Interstates 335 and 35 on the Kansas Turnpike. Emporia is also a college town, home to Emporia State University and Flint Hills Technical College.
Located on upland prairie, Emporia was founded in 1857, drawing its name from ancient Carthage, a place known in history as a prosperous center of commerce.
In 1864 the Union Pacific Railway, Southern Branch (later incorporated into the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad) received land grants to build from Fort Riley to Emporia. The road eventually reached Emporia in 1869, becoming the first railroad to serve the burgeoning town. In July 1870, a second railroad, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway reached Emporia, and in the years following the American Civil War the city became a booming railroad hub. In 1888, railroad executive and educator John Byers Anderson donated his personal library to the College of Emporia to commemorate his 50th wedding anniversary, and his former mentee Andrew Carnegie donated additional funds to build a library in Anderson's honor (conditioned upon the new college paying off its mortgage).
In 1953, Emporia was the site of the first Veterans Day observance in the United States. At the urging of local shoe cobbler Alvin J. King, U.S. Representative Edward Rees introduced legislation in The United States Congress to rename Armistice Day as Veterans Day. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill into law on October 8, 1954.
On June 8, 1974, an F4 tornado struck Emporia, killing six people, injuring 200 people, and causing $25 million in damages.
On Sunday, March 6, 1988 a heavily armed gunman walked into the Calvary Baptist Church during services and opened fire.