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 the principal city of the Emporia Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Lyon and Chase counties.
Located on upland prairie, Emporia was founded on February 20, 1857, drawing its name from ancient Carthaginian Africa. Emporia is particularly known for its newspaper, the Emporia Gazette, published in the first half of the 20th century by the legendary newspaperman William Allen White. The paper became the widely perceived model of excellence in small-town journalism.
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.
The 1987 CBS miniseries Murder Ordained was filmed in Emporia. It dramatized an actual event in Emporia involving the 1983 death of Sandra Bird. Her husband, Rev. Tom Bird, was convicted of first-degree murder in her death and served 20 years in prison.
On Sunday, March 6, 1988 a heavily armed gunman walked into the Calvary Baptist Church during services and opened fire. The 29 year old gunman, Cheunphon Ji, had no particular target, killing one person and injuring four others.