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Lawrence, Kansas

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Lawrence, Kansas
From top-right: Dyche Hall, Eldridge Hotel, Shunganunga Boulder, Lawrence Public Library, Massachusetts Street, Douglas County Courthouse, view from sky
From top-right: Dyche Hall, Eldridge Hotel, Shunganunga Boulder, Lawrence Public Library, Massachusetts Street, Douglas County Courthouse, view from sky
LFK,[1] Larryville,[2], River City[3]
From Ashes to Immortality[4]
Location within Douglas County and Kansas
Location within Douglas County and Kansas
KDOT map of Douglas County (legend)
Coordinates: 38°58′18″N 95°14′7″W / 38.97167°N 95.23528°W / 38.97167; -95.23528Coordinates: 38°58′18″N 95°14′7″W / 38.97167°N 95.23528°W / 38.97167; -95.23528[5]
CountryUnited States
 • MayorLisa Larsen
 • Vice MayorJennifer Ananda
 • City ManagerCraig Owens[6]
 • Total34.26 sq mi (88.7 km2)
 • Land33.56 sq mi (86.9 km2)
 • Water0.70 sq mi (1.8 km2)
Elevation866 ft (264 m)
 • Total87,643
 • Estimate 
 • Density2,600/sq mi (990/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
66044-66047, 66049
Area code785
FIPS code20-38900[5]
GNIS ID0479145[5]

Lawrence is a city in Douglas County in the state of Kansas in the United States. It is in the northeastern part of the state, near the Kansas City area. In 2010, 87,643 people lived there.[10] The University of Kansas and Haskell Indian Nations University are in Lawrence.

The New England Emigrant Aid Company (NEEAC) created Lawrence, and it is named after Amos A Lawrence. Amos Lawrence was a man who gave financial support to the city.[11] During Bleeding Kansas, Lawrence was the place for the Wakarusa War (1855) and the Sack of Lawrence (1856). During the American Civil War (1861-1865), it was the place of the Lawrence Massacre (1863).

Lawrence started as an important place for free-state politics. Today, Lawrence is called a "college town" because the University of Kansas is a big part of the city. There are many places in town where students like to go.

History[change | change source]

Early History[change | change source]

Before new residents from the east came to Lawrence, the area was part of the Shawnee Reservation.[12][13] The Shawnee reservation was created in 1830, and it was in most of eastern Kansas. In 1854, it became part of the Kansas Territory. The Oregon Trail went through the area. People on the Oregon Trail used a hill called "Hogback Ridge" to help guide them.[12] Today, Hogback Ridge is called "Mount Oread."

In the first half of the 1800s, there were many arguments about slavery in the United States. During this time, every time a free state (a state where slavery was illegal) was added into the country, a slave state (a state where slavery was allowed) would need to be added too. The Missouri Compromise continued to let this happen. As a compromise to people arguing about new states being free or slave, Senator Lewis Cass and Senator Stephen A. Douglas promoted the idea of "popular sovereignty," where the people in the area would decide to have slavery or not (instead of politicians in Washington). Popular sovereignty was a big part of the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act, a law that basically cancelled the Missouri Compromise. The Kansas-Nebraska Act also created the Kansas Territory and the Nebraska Territory.

After the law passed, anti-slavery people were worried that the Kansas Territory would become a slave state. This is because the state next to Kansas is Missouri, and Missouri was a slave state. People believed that the first people in Kansas would be from Missouri. To stop Missouri from influencing Kansas, anti-slavery people from around the United States came to Kansas. These people wanted to make Kansas a free state. These people were called "free-staters." The New England Emigrant Aid Company (NEEAC) helped anti-slavery people move to Kansas. They sent two men named Charles L. Robinson and Charles H. Branscomb to explore the land. Then, they would decide a good place to send people. They saw Hogback Ridge, and they liked it.[14][15] They liked it because it was close to the Oregon Trail.[16][17] They told the NEEAC to send people to this place.

Charles L. Robinson was important in creating Lawrence.

The first group of people left Boston, Massachusetts on July 17, 1854. Many people in Boston were happy to see them do this, and they hoped they would do well.[18][14] In late July, the group cam to St. Louis. They met Charles Robinson there. Robinson gave them transportation, and he told them what to do.[14] They came to Lawrence on August 1, 1854.[14][19][20][21] A second group came on September 9-11.[15][18][22] A third group came on October 8-9.[23] A fourth group came on October 30.[24][25] A fifth group came on November 20, and a sixth group came on December 1.[26]

In 1854, a group of people who were against slavery started Lawrence. (This was before Kansas became a state. Kansas did not become a state until January 29, 1861.) Many people had moved to Kansas because a law called the Kansas-Nebraska Act said that people could vote on whether slavery would be allowed there or not. These people moved there so they could vote. The New England Emigrant Aid Company helped move many people to Kansas.

On September 18, 1854, the early people of Lawrence made a government. On September 20, they made a constitution for Lawrence. This constitution did not allow slavery. Lawrence made this constitution even though other people near them wanted slavery. On September 30, the people of Lawrence came together to protect Thomas J. Ferril. Ferril was an anti-slavery clergy from Missouri. Pro-slavery people went to Ferril's house, and they threatened violence. The pro-slavery people left when they saw free-state people come with guns.[21] On October 1, a woman destroyed an free-state man's tent. Pro-slavery people came to stop people from building the tent again, but the tent was built again without violence.[21]

Before Lawrence was called Lawrence, people called it "Wakarusa". Some people called it different names like "New Boston" or "Yankee Town."[21] Some people wanted the city to be called "Lawrence" because of a man named Amos A Lawrence.[15] Amos A Lawrence was a Republican businessman, and people believed that if they named the city "Lawrence," Amos A Lawrence would give financial support to the city. He did.[27] On October 1, the people voted to make the name of the city to be Lawrence.[15] On October 17, people started building houses and businesses.[24] Pro-slavery people tried to build houses close to Lawrence, and people from Lawrence hated this. They had a very angry argument. The pro-slavery people threatened violence, but they left. No violence happened.[24]

In early October of 1854, Andrew Horatio Reeder, the first governor of the Kansas Territory, came to Lawrence. He had a party. He asked everyone to get along. He did not say anything about slavery.[21] The first winter in Lawrence was difficult because it was very cold. People did not have good houses.[21] Two miles south of Lawrence on November 3, 1854, the first elections happened. At the elections, an incident happened. A man named "Davis" attacked a pro-slavery man named "Keebs" with a Bowie knife. Then, Kibbee shot Davis. This was the first murder in Kansas.[21]

Plymouth Congregational Church in Lawrence was the first church in Kansas Territory.

Two newspapers were started in 1854 called the Kansas Pioneer and the Herald of Freedom. The writers of the newspapers wrote about their beliefs that slavery was wrong.[28] The first post office was made in January 1855. The Plymouth Congregational Church was the first church in Lawrence; it was made in September 1854. In January 1855, Lawrence's first post office was built.[29] The first postmaster was E. D. Ladd.[30] On January 10, 1855, Lawrence's first free school was built, and the teacher was Edward Fitch.[21]

"Bleeding Kansas"[change | change source]

At the start of 1855, the free-staters and the pro-slavery people around Lawrence started fighting for political power. At the Kansas elections on March 30, 1865, 700 pro-slavery people from Missouri with guns voted at the election. No one argued with them because there were a lot of them. They went back to Missouri the next day. At the election, a man named Silas Bond was shot at, and he ran away. He was shot at because he was "an obnoxious (unpleasant or bad) free-state man."[21]

On August 27, 1855, the free-staters became happy when the governor of the Kansas Territory, Daniel Woodson, chose a pro-slavery man, Samuel J. Jones, to be the county sheriff.[31] In October 1855, the anti-slavery man John Brown came to Kansas, and he brought many guns to give to other anti-slavery people.[32]

In June of 1855, Lawrence had a meeting, and they decided to resist any laws the Kansas legislature passed. They did this because they believed the legislature was elected by armed Missouri people instead of Kansas people.[21]

On November 21, 1855, the pro-slavery man Franklin N. Coleman shot anti-slavery man Charles Dow nine times in the back.[21] This happened after many angry arguments between them about disagreements about land claims.[33][34] When sheriff Samuel Jones investigated the crime, Franklin Coleman said he shot Charles Dow in self-defense. Jones believed Coleman because they both were pro-slavery men. Jones decided to arrest Jacob Branson, a friend of Charles Dow and an anti-slavery man. A group of anti-slavery people saved Branson.[35][36][37]

Wilson Shannon, the governor of the Kansas Territory, saw that the people were becoming very angry and violent. He asked the Kansas militia to come and keep the peace. Shannon wanted the people in the militia to be from Kansas, but Samuel Jones brought 1,200-1,500 men from Missouri.[21][38][36] When the people of Lawrence learned this, they made a militia of 600-800 men. Both groups were ready to fight, but they couldn't because the winter was very cold. Wilson Shannon decided to prevent a fight, and he demanded the leaders of both sides to agree to a peace treaty. They did, and the men from Missouri went back to Missouri.[21][35][36][39] This war is known as the Wakarusa War.[36]

The Free State Hotel after the 1856 Sacking of Lawrence.

In spring 1856, pro-slavery people wanted to make the free-staters weak. The pro-slavery people said that the Herald of Freedom newspaper, the Kansas Free State newspaper, and the Eldridge Hotel were very bad.[25] On April 23, 1856, Samuel Jones came to Lawrence, and he tried to arrest some anti-slavery people who resisted laws. A sniper shot Samuel Jones, but he didn't die. The people of Lawrence made Jones leave.[21][40][41] On May 11, Federal Marshall (like a police officer but for the entire country) Israel B. Donaldson said that people interfered with Samuel Jones, and that is illegal.[41] A Kansas grand jury agreed, and they said that Lawrence built the Free State Hotel (the Eldridge Hotel) for military purposes.[42] Because of this, Donaldson, Jones, and others made an army of 800 men.[43][44] They said the purpose of the army was to enforce the law, but they also wanted to stop the anti-slavery men in Lawrence.[45]

On May 21, Donaldson and Jones came to Lawrence, and they arrested more anti-slavery people. The people of Lawrence hoped that Donaldson and Jones would leave after the arrests. This did not happen. Jones and his men started sacking Lawrence. They took over Charles Robinson's house, and they used it as a headquarters.[21][46] Next, they attacked free-state newspapers offices. They hit the presses, and they threw the sort into the Kansas River. Next, they shot the Free State Hotel (the Eldridge Hotel) with a cannon, then they burned it down. They took $30,000 worth of things. They burned Charles Robinson's house, then they left.[45][47] This was called the "Sacking of Lawrence." Surprisingly, only one person died.[48] In late September 1856, another sack seemed like it was about to happen. 2,700 pro-slavery men came to Lawrence, and the city was defended by anti-slavery men.[21][49] Governor John W. Geary saw what was happening. He asked for federal reinforcements to defend the city. No violence happened.[21][49]

In 1855 and 1857, Lawrence got a charter (a document that officially creates a town) from the pro-slavery Kansas government. The people of Lawrence resisted the Kansas government because they believed they were too pro-slavery. They did not accept it because it would force Lawrence to follow pro-slavery laws.[50][51] In July 1857, the people of Lawrence tried to get an "official" (only the people of Lawrence saw it as official) charter from the extralegal (having no real authority) anti-slavery government.[50][52] If they couldn't get one, Lawrence would simply make one themselves. Governor Robert J. Walker believed this was a revolt. On July 15, 1857, he sent an army to Lawrence, and he declared martial law. The army stayed close to Lawrence until October 1857. They stayed until October because there were elections.[52][53] They wanted to make sure that there would be no violence at the elections. Anti-slavery people won the elections. The Kansas government became controlled by anti-slavery people.[54] In early 1858, Samuel Jones quit his job, and he left Kansas.[55][56] On January 16, 1858, Lawrence became the county seat of Douglas County.[57][58] In February 1858, the Kansas government approved an anti-slavery charter for Lawrence. James Blood became the first mayor of Lawrence.[50][59] The anti-slavery Kansas government met in Lawrence many times. Lawrence basically became the capital of Kansas from 1858 until 1861.[50]

American Civil War and Kansas becoming a State[change | change source]

Lawrence during Quantrill's Raid.
Lawrence after Quantrill's Raid.

On October 4, 1859, the people of Kansas voted to approve the Wyandotte Constitution. 10,421 people voted yes and 5,530 people voted no. The United States Congress approved the Wyandotte Constitution, and Kansas became a free state on January 29, 1861.[60] Anti-slavery people in Kansas knew they lost. Kansas becoming a free state ended Bleeding Kansas. However, the American Civil War began around the same time.[61]

During the war, many Jayhawkers stayed in Lawrence. These Jayhawkers went to Missouri, where they stole things and burned farms. Many people in the Confederacy believed that the stolen things were in Lawrence.[62] On August 21, 1863, a pro-slavery man named William Quantrill rode into Lawrence with some men. They destroyed much of the town. They killed every adult man they saw. More than 150 men and boys died.[63] $2,000,000 worth of property was destroyed.[21] The Plymouth Congregational Church wasn't destroyed, but many of its people died.[64]

After Quantrill's Raid, the people and Union soldiers rebuilt the city.[65] It was hard because the winter was very cold. After winter, they continued rebuilding. They finished in 1864.[66] While they were rebuilding, the people were afraid of another attack.[67] The military built some camps in Lawrence to guard the city. No more attacks happened. After the Civil War, people got rid of the camps.[68][69]

After Civil War[change | change source]

Massachusetts Street in 1867

There was a plan to build a university in Kansas in 1855, but it didn't happen until Kansas became a state in 1861.[70] The Kansas government needed to decide where to build a university. Their choices were Manhattan, Emporia, or Lawrence. On January 13, 1863, Kansas State University was built in Manhattan.[71] The only cities left were Emporia and Lawrence. Amos A. Lawrence gave $10,000 and more than 40 acres (160,000 m2) of land for a university in Lawrence. The Kansas government liked that, so the government chose Lawrence. The University of Kansas opened in 1866.[70]

Old North College, the first building on KU Campus, 1867.

In 1864, Lawrence got its first railroad. The first train to go to Lawrence went on November 28, 1864.[72] The first train to cross the Kansas River crossed it on November 1, 1867.[73]

In the early 1870s, Lawrence needed to make more electricity. The city asked a man named Orlando Darling to build a dam on the Kansas River. Orlando Darling became angry because it took a long time to build a dam, so he stopped. The Lawrence Land & Water Company finished building the dam in 1873. The dam made Lawrence special because few cities had a dam. The dam closed in 1968, but it opened again in 1977. The city helped open it. This is because they wanted to build a new city hall next to the dam.[74] Today, the dam helps prevent flooding.

In 1863, the first windmill in Kansas was built in Lawrence.[75] It burned during Quantrill's Raid. In 1864, people rebuilt it.[76] People used it until July 1895. On April 30, 1905, the windmill burned, and it wasn't rebuilt.[75]

In 1884, a school for Native Americans was built in Lawrence. The name was the United States Industrial Training School. Boys learned farming, blacksmithing, and more. Girls learned cooking and homemaking. In 1887, the name changed to the Haskell Institute. In 1993, the name changed to the Haskell Indian Nations University.[77]

20th Century[change | change source]

Watkins Community Museum

In 1888, the Watkins National Bank opened at 11th Street and Massachusetts Street. Jabez B. Watkins created it. It would stay until 1929. The building was given to the city to become the city hall. In 1970, Lawrence built a new city hall, so the building became a museum. The Watkins Community Museum opened in 1975.[78]

In 1903, the Kansas River flooded, and it hurt Lawrence.[79][80] The water was 27 feet high. The damage in North Lawrence was very bad. Lawrence would be hit by other floods in 1951,[81] where the water was 30 feet high. It was hit in 1993.[82] However, the damage was not very bad. This is because it had a reservoir and a levee. [83]

In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt came to Lawrence. He gave a short speech.[84] In 1910, Roosevelt came to Lawrence again.[85]

In 1871, the Lawrence Street Railway Company was created. It made it easy for people to go to hotels and businesses on Massachusetts Street. They had the first streetcar in Lawrence. Horses and mules would pull the streetcar. They could be used only on Massachusetts Street. After the 1903 flood, the Kansas River Bridge had to be rebuilt. It was not safe for streetcars to go on the bridge. The Lawrence Street Railway Company closed in 1903. In 1902, a man named C. L. Rutter tried making a bus system. He failed. In 1907, he tried again. In 1909, someone made a new streetcar system. This made Rutter fail again. The streetcar system stayed until 1935.[86] In 1909, the streetcar company made a roller coaster. It was called "Casey's Coaster." Some people called it "Daisy's Dozer." It was made out of wood. It stayed until the 1920s.[87][88]

In 1921, the Lawrence Memorial Hospital opened. It started with 50 beds. By 1980, it had 200 beds.[89] It has won many awards. This is because it has good quality care and service.[90]

In 1929, Lawrence had its 75th birthday. Lawrence placed a boulder (a big rock). They called it "Founder's Rock." They wanted to remember the early people who came to Lawrence. They wanted to remember the New England Emigrant Aid Company.[91] On October 14, 1929, they built an airport called the Lawrence Municipal Airport.[80]

Downtown Lawrence

In 1943, the United States government brought prisoners to Lawrence. These prisoners were war prisoners from World War II. The prisoners were mostly German people and Italian people. The government brought them because farmers needed more people. They were forced to live in camps. These camps were like prisons. Lawrence's camp was near 11th Street and Haskell Avenue. The camp closed in 1945.[92]

In 1983, a famous movie, The Day After, was filmed in Lawrence. The movie is about a fictional nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.[93]

In 1989, the Lawrence Free State Brewing Company opened. It was the first brewery in Kansas in over 100 years.[94] It is also a restaurant. It is on Massachusetts Street.

In 2007, the U.S. News & World Report said Lawrence was one of the best places to retire.[95]

Geography[change | change source]

Clinton Lake.
Trees sit in a wetland
The Haskell-Baker Wetlands (2017)

Lawrence is in northeastern Kansas. It is about 25 miles (40 km) east of Topeka. It is about 35 miles (56km) west of Kansas City, Kansas. The tallest place in Lawrence is Mount Oread at the university of Kansas, which is 1,020 feet (310 meters) tall[96][97].

To the south of Lawrence, there are the Osage Plains.[98] Lawrence is between the Kansas River and the Wakarusa River. Many creeks flow through Lawrence. The Wakarusa River was blocked to create Clinton Lake. The University of Kansas has a small lake called Potter's Lake. The Haskell-Baker Wetlands is a big area that has wetlands, plants, trails, and more. It is southeast of Lawrence.[99]

Lawrence has 54 parks, cemeteries, and community parks.[100] The community parks are South Park, Buford Watson Park, Broken Arrow Park, Riverfront Park, Holcomb Park, "Dad" Perry Park, Centennial Park and Prairie Park. Cemeteries include Oak Hill, Maple Grove and Memorial Park.[101] The first cemetery in Lawrence is Pioneer Cemetery. It is at the University of Kansas.

Climate[change | change source]

Lawrence has hot and humid summers, and it has cold and dry winters. The highest temperature ever was 111 °F (44 °C) on July 13 and 14, 1954. The lowest temperature ever was −21 °F (−29 °C) on December 22, 1989[102].

Most of Lawrence's rain happens during the summer.

Climate data for Lawrence, Kansas (1981–2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 72
Average high °F (°C) 38.5
Average low °F (°C) 18.3
Record low °F (°C) −18
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.98
Average snowfall inches (cm) 3.8
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 5.2 5.9 7.9 9.7 11.3 10.4 8.7 8.6 8.4 8.1 6.6 5.6 96.4
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 2.2 2.1 0.5 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.8 2.2 8.0
Source: NOAA[103] The Weather Channel[102]

City Design[change | change source]

Plymouth Congregational Church in Lawrence
The Ninth Street Baptist Church in Old West Lawrence

Streets[change | change source]

The main street in Lawrence is called "Massachusetts Street." This is because many early residents of Lawrence came because of the New England Emigrant Aid Company. The New England Emigrant Aid Company was from Massachusetts.[104] Streets that went north and south were named after states. It was from the order the states became part of the country. Streets that go east and west were name after famous Revolutionary War heroes.[105] Over time, people broke the rule. Some states were never used, and some states were put in the wrong order. In 1913, the east and west streets became numbered streets.[106][107]

Neighborhoods[change | change source]

Lawrence is organized into neighborhoods. Some neighborhoods are close to downtown Lawrence like Old West Lawrence, North Lawrence, East Lawrence, Oread, Hancock and Pinckney. There are a few neighborhoods west of Iowa Street like Sunset Hills, Prairie Meadows, Deerfield, and Alvamar. Some neighborhoods are on the National Register of Historic Places like Old West Lawrence,[108] Oread,[109] Hancock,[110] Breezedale,[111] and most of Rhode Island Street[112][113] in East Lawrence.

North Lawrence[change | change source]

The Lawrence Visitors Center in North Lawrence.

North Lawrence is a neighborhood north of the Kansas River. Its history is special. It used to be its own place called Grant Township. It renamed itself North Lawrence in 1869. Lawrence claimed it in 1870.[59]

Northeast of North Lawrence, there was a popular park called Bismarck Grove.[114] In the late 1800s, the park had picnics, fairs, and temperance meetings (meetings about getting rid of alcohol). The first meeting was in 1878. The park had its last fair in 1899. In 1900, the park closed and was sold.[114][115]

Architecture[change | change source]

There are many architecture styles in Lawrence. Many early buildings were burned in Quantrill's Raid. Lawrence has Victorian, Gothic, Tudor, Romanesque, and others.

People[change | change source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
Est. 201796,892[9]21.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[116]

2010 Census[change | change source]

In 2010, there were 87,643 people, 34,970 households, and 16,939 families living in Lawrence.[8] The people were 82.0% White, 4.7% African American, 3.1% Native American, 4.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.5% from other races, and 4.1% from two or more races. 5.7% of the people were Hispanic or Latino.

There were 34,970 households. 24.4% of them had children under 18 years old; 35.6% of them had married people; 8.8% had only a woman as the main person (with no man); 4% had only a man as the main person (with no woman); 51.6% were not families. 32% were people living alone, and 6.5% were people over 65 years old living alone.

17.5% of the people were under 18 years old; 28.7% of the people were between 18 and 24 years old; 27.4% of the people were between 25 and 44 years old; 18.5% of the people were between 45 and 64 years old; 8% were 65 years old or older. 50.2% of the people were women, and 49.8% of the people were men.

2000 Census[change | change source]

In 2000, there were 80,098 people, 31,388 households, and 15,725 families living in Lawrence. The people were 83.80% White, 5.09% African American, 2.93% Native American, 3.78% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 1.36% from other races, and 2.97% from two or more races. 3.65% of the people were Hispanic or Latino. 91% of the people spoke English as their first language, 2.9% spoke Spanish as their first language, and 1% spoke Chinese as their first language.

There were 31,388 households households. 25.1% of them had children under 18 years old; 38% of them had married people; 8.7% had only a woman as the main person (with no man); 49.9% were not families. 30.6% were people living alone, and 5.6% were people over 65 years old living alone. The average household size was 2.30. The average family size was 2.93.

18.6% of the people were under 18 years old; 30.7% of the people were between 18 and 24 years old; 28.5% of the people were between 25 and 44 years old; 15.1% of the people were between 45 and 64 years old; 7.2% were 65 years old or older. 50.6% of the people were women, and 49.4% of the people were men.

The median income for a household was $34,669. The median income for a family was $51,545. Men had a median income of $33,481. Women had a median income of $27,436. The per capita income was $19,378. 7.3% of families lived below the poverty line. 18.9% of all people in Lawrence lived below the poverty line. 10.6% of children under 18 years old lived below the poverty line. 7.7% of people over 65 years old lived below the poverty line. However, Lawrence has a lot of students, and students are usually poor. Therefore, the number of people living in poverty is misleading.[117][118]

Economy[change | change source]

Much of Lawrence's economy is from the University of Kansas. The biggest private employer is General Dynamics. Other big employers are Lawrence Public Schools, Hallmark Cards, the City of Lawrence, and Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

In the 1980s, Lawrence's economy got bigger. This is because the city created the East Hills Business Park in 1986. This is an industrial park. Some businesses moved to this place.[119]

Historic Places and Museums[change | change source]

South Park gazebo.

South Park is a big park in Downtown Lawrence. The park was made of four different parks, but they became just one big park.[120] South Park was made in 1854. A gazebo was made in 1910. Bands play music at the park in the summer.[120]

The Watkins Museum of History is one block north of South Park. It has exhibits about Lawrence and Douglas County. Next to the museum is a Japanese garden made by sister city Hiratsuka, Japan. The University of Kansas has the Natural History Museum, the Spencer Museum of Art, and the Dole Institute of Politics.

Centennial park was made in 1954 for Lawrence's 100th birthday. The park has many hills, a skatepark, a disc golf area, and a Polaris missile from the Cold War.

The Bowerock Opera House burned in 1911, so people built a new one. It is called "Liberty Hall."[121] Liberty Hall is a small theater. It frequently shows independent movies, but sometimes it shows a live act. Liberty Hall also has a video rental store.[122] The Granada Theater was built in 1928. It used to be a vaudeville theater. In 1934, it became a movie theater. It closed in 1989, but it opened again in 1993. Today, it shows comedy acts and concerts.

The Eldridge Hotel

The Eldridge Hotel is a historic hotel, and it is one of the oldest buildings in Lawrence. It was built in 1854, but it was burned in 1855. It was built again, but it was burned in Quantrill's Raid. It was built again. In 1925, the hotel was changed to look better. In 1970, the hotel became apartments. In 1985, people worked to make it a hotel again. In 2004, the building was sold. It was changed to make it look like it was from 1925 again.[123] It is a popular rumor that the ghost of Eldridge haunts the hotel.[124]

The University of Kansas (KU) has the Memorial Stadium and the Allen Fieldhouse. They built Memorial Stadium in 1920, and they use it for football games. It is named to remember KU students who died in World War I. They built Allen Fieldhouse in 1955. It is used for basketball games. On November 4, 2010, ESPN's magazine said that Allen Fieldhouse was the loudest basketball stadium in the United States.[125] Mark Whicker is a famous writer about sports, and he said Allen Fieldhouse "is the best place in America to watch college basketball."[126]

Oak Hill Cemetery is a cemetery in Lawrence for famous people from Lawrence.[127] It was built in 1866. Memorial Park Cemetery is across the street. It has a memorial for James Naismith, the creator of basketball.[128]

Lawrence has many historic houses. The Robert Miller House did not burn in Quantrill's Raid, and it was part of the Underground Railroad.[129] Ferdinand Fuller was one of the first people to move to Lawrence. He built his house in the Hillcrest Neighborhood.[130] The John Roberts House is used for many formal events. John G. Haskell, a famous architect (someone who designs buildings), designed the John Roberts House.[131][132] Lawrence has many historic houses, and some of them are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Arts and Culture[change | change source]

Lawrence is known for a thriving music and art culture. Rolling Stone said Lawrence is one of the best small college towns in the United States on August 11, 2005.[133] The New York Times said Lawrence had one of the best music cultures in any city between Chicago and Denver on February 25, 2005.[134] Esquire magazine said The Replay Lounge, a bar and music venue in Lawrence, was one of the best in the United States in 2007.[135]

The University of Kansas has the Lied Center of Kansas. It is a building that shows many Broadway musicals. They have had famous bands come, such as The Beach Boys and Kansas.

Every year since 1959, on the third Thursday in July, Lawrence has the "Massachusetts Street sidewalk sale." It's a big sale on Massachusetts Street, and many stores do it.[136]

Sports[change | change source]

People celebrating the Jayhawks win in 2008.

The University of Kansas (KU) athletics teams are in Lawrence. They are called the Jayhawks. The most famous team is the men's basketball team. Many people watch the men's basketball team. Many fans came together on Massachusetts Street in 2002, 2003, 2008,[137] and 2012.[138] This was when the Jayhawks won or lost the last games in the NCAA tournament. The Jayhawks won the 1952,[139] 1988,[140] and 2008 NCAA tournaments.[141] KU's football team had their best year in 2007-2008. They won 12 games, and they lost only one game. That year, they won the Orange Bowl.[142][143] The Jayhawks also have a soccer team, a baseball team, a softball team, track and field teams, a cross country team, and a men's club hockey team. KU also has a club rugby team. It is run by the KU Rugby Football Club. They often meet at North Johnny's Tavern.[144] They also run high school rugby teams.

Government[change | change source]

City Hall
The Douglas County courthouse.

Lawrence is run by a city commission and city manager. The commission is made of five people who are elected. Every year, three people can be elected. The two people who get the most votes are elected for four years. The person who gets 3rd place is elected for two years. Every April, the commission chooses a mayor and a vice mayor, and they hire a city manager.

Even though Kansas is a Republican state, Lawrence is very Democratic. Lawrence often chooses the Democrat for president. Lawrence has been Democratic since the late 1980s. Douglas County, where Lawrence is in, chose Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. It was one of only two Kansas counties to choose Hillary Clinton. In the 2008 presidential election, Douglas County was one of three Kansas counties to choose Barack Obama. In the 2004 presidential election, Douglas County was one of two Kansas counties to choose John Kerry. Douglas County chose the Democratic candidate in the last seven presidential elections.[145]

Lawrence has four state representatives: Mike Amyx, Eileen Horn, Barbara Ballard, and Dennis "Boog" Highberger. All of them are Democrats. Lawrence has two state senators: Marci Francisco and Tom Holland. Steve Watkins represents Lawrence in the House of Representatives. He is a Republican. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran represent Lawrence in the Senate. Both of them are Republicans.

In 1995, Lawrence was the first city in Kansas that made discrimination (treating someone poorly because of who they are) against gay people illegal. On October 4, 2011, Lawrence made discrimination against transgender people illegal.[146] Lawrence was the first city in Kansas to do this. In April 2005, there was a change to the Kansas Constitution. This change made same-sex marriage and civil unions for gay people illegal. Douglas County was the only county to vote against the change.[147]

Education[change | change source]

New York Street Elementary School in Lawrence

Primary and secondary education[change | change source]

Lawrence has 14 elementary schools, four middle schools, and two high schools. The high schools are Lawrence High School and Lawrence Free State High School. The middle schools are Liberty Memorial Central Middle School, West Middle School, Billy Mills Middle School and Southwest Middle School. The elementary schools are Langston Hughes Elementary, Quail Run Elementary, Broken Arrow Elementary, Cordley Elementary, Hillcrest Elementary, Kennedy, Pinckney Elementary, Prairie Park Elementary, New York Elementary, Schwegler Elementary, Sunflower Elementary, Sunset Hill Elementary, Woodlawn Elementary, and Deerfield Elementary.

Colleges and Universities[change | change source]

Strong Hall on the KU Campus

The University of Kansas is in Lawrence. It is the biggest university in Kansas because over 30,000 students go there.[148] It has more than 170 fields of study. It part of the Big 12 Conference, a famous college sports event. The Haskell Indian Nations University is also in Lawrence, and they have more than 1,000 students.[149] They give free tuition to all Native American students. It also has the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame, and it has the Haskell Cultural Center.

In 2011, Parents & Colleges said Lawrence is one of the best college towns in the United States.[150] In 2010, MSN, MSNBC, and the American Institute for Economic Research said Lawrence was one of the best college towns in the United States.[150]

Libraries[change | change source]

Lawrence Public Library (2014)

The first library in Lawrence was built in 1854.[151] It was burned in Quantrill's Raid, so they built a new library in 1865. In 1902, Andrew Carnegie gave a lot of money to build a new library. They built it in 1904, and they called it the "Lawrence Public Library." In 1972, people built a new library to get rid of the old one, and it was made better in July 2014.[152]

In 2016, the library won an award because the building is beautiful. [153]

Media[change | change source]

The Lawrence Journal-World offices before they moved in May 2019. This building was used as a post office.

One of the first businesses made in Lawrence was a newspaper. The newspaper was called the Herald of Freedom. It started in October 1854, and it ended in 1859.[154] In August 1885, the newspaper the Lawrence Daily Journal started. In June 1895, the newspaper the Lawrence Daily World started. In 1911, the Lawrence Daily Journal and the Lawrence Daily World joined together, and they became the Lawrence Journal-World. There is also a student newspaper by the University of Kansas. It is called the University Daily Kansan. Change of Heart is a street newspaper sold by homeless people.

Lawrence mostly gets television shows from Kansas City, but people can get it from Topeka too.[155]

From 1947 to 1981, the Centron Corporation was in Lawrence. The Centron Corporation was a big movie company. They made many big industrial and educational movies.[156][157] Two students from the University of Kansas made it.

Newspaper[change | change source]

Lawrence has the Lawrence-Journal World, but some people get the University of Kansas newspaper, The University Daily Kansan.

Radio[change | change source]

These radio stations are in Lawrence, Kansas:


Frequency Callsign[158] Format[159] Notes
1320 KLWN News/Talk


Frequency Callsign[160] Format[159] Notes
90.7 KJHK Student radio, Sports, News, Alternative
91.1 KCIU Christian radio
91.5 KANU Kansas Public Radio (NPR)
92.9 KMXN Country
96.1 K241AR Christian radio Air1
101.7 KLWN News/Talk
105.9 KKSW Top 40

Television[change | change source]

These television stations are in Lawrence, Kansas:

Digital Channel Analog Channel Callsign[161] Network Notes
31 31 KUJH-LP Student-run television for the University of Kansas
32 N/A Midco Sports Network Local sports network. Shows high school sports and college news meetings

Infrastructure[change | change source]

Transportation[change | change source]

The U.S. 40 and 59 Bridges on the Kansas River
Amtrak station in Lawrence
A train in Watson Park.

Interstate 70, U.S. Route 40, U.S. Route 59, and U.S. Route 24 go through Lawrence. Interstate 70 goes east-west in the northern part of Lawrence. It interchanges (connects) with U.S. Route 59. Route 59 goes north-south along North 2nd Street, Iowa Street, and 6th Street. U.S. Route 40 is about two miles south of Interstate 70. It also goes east-west through northern Lawrence. It goes along 6th Street.

Two bus systems are in Lawrence. One is called the Lawrence Transit, and the city runs it. The other is called KU on Wheels, and the University of Kansas runs it.[162] There are 18 bus routes.[163] KU students and teachers can use them for free.[164] Greyhound Lines has a bus stop in Lawrence.[165] It can take people to other cities. Also, the Johnson County, Kansas bus system can take students to and from the colleges in Lawrence and Overland Park. This bus is known as the "K-10 Connector."[166]

The Lawrence Municipal Airport is northeast of Lawrence. It is very close to U.S. Route 40. It is used for people who have airplanes. No companies have planes there.[167] Kansas City International Airport is the closest airport that companies use. It is about 50 miles northeast of downtown Lawrence.[168]

Two railroads go through Lawrence.[169] One railroad is owned by Union Pacific Railroad, and the other is owned by BNSF Railroad.[170] The BNSF Railroad track starts in the eastern part of Lawrence, and it goes west. It follows the path of the Kansas River. The Union Pacific track also starts in eastern Lawrence.[99] It also goes west. It also follows the path of the Kansas River. It is north of the Kansas River. The BNSF railroad track is south of the Kansas River. There is an Amtrak station in Lawrence. It is very close to downtown.[171] Lawrence is a stop on Amtrack's "Southwest Chief" route. It is a route that goes from Chicago to Los Angeles.[172]

Health and Utilities[change | change source]

Lawrence has one hospital, and it is called the "Lawrence Memorial Hospital."[173] It has won awards for good care and quality.[90]

The biggest electric company in Lawrence is Westar Electric. The biggest gas company is Black Hills Energy.[174] Lawrence has television providers like Midco and DirecTV.[174] Lawrence has Internet service providers like Midco, Wicked Broadband, CenturyLink, HughesNet, Allconnect, ViaSat Satellite, Exede and Wild Blue Internet, and others.[174] Lawrence has telephone providers like Verizon,[175] AT&T,[174] Sprint,[176] Midco,[174] and others.

Sister Cities[change | change source]

Lawrence has three sister cities through Sister Cities International:[177]

Notable people[change | change source]

In popular culture[change | change source]

Lawrence was the place for many books by science fiction writer James Gunn. The book The Immortals (1964) took place in Lawrence, and it was used for the ABC television movie and TV series The Immortal (1969–1971).

The 1983 television movie The Day After was in Lawrence. Parts of the movie were filmed in the city.[178]

Sam Winchester and Dean Winchester, the main characters of the Supernatural TV series, are from Lawrence. Lawrence was referenced many times in the show.[179] Lawrence was destroyed in the 2006 TV Series Jericho.[180]

Josh Ritter, an American folk singer, has a song called Lawrence KS on the 2002 album Golden Age of Radio.

Lawrence is the normal starting place for the map program Google Earth (2005). Brian McClendon chose the place. McClendon graduated from the University of Kansas in 1986, and he was the director of engineering for Google Earth.[a][181]

See also[change | change source]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. Older versions of Google Earth have Lawrence as the normal starting place. Newer versions of the program start on Lawrence for the first time, but it starts on the user's own place when it is loaded again.

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Bibliography[change | change source]

Links[change | change source]