Lawrence, Kansas facts for kids

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Lawrence, Kansas
City
Massachusetts Street downtown
Massachusetts Street downtown
Official seal of Lawrence, Kansas
Seal
Nickname(s): River City
Motto: From Ashes to Immortality
Location within Douglas County and Kansas
Location within Douglas County and Kansas
KDOT map of Douglas County (legend)
KDOT map of Douglas County (legend)
Country United States
State Kansas
County Douglas
Founded 1854
Area
 • Total 34.26 sq mi (88.73 km2)
 • Land 33.56 sq mi (86.92 km2)
 • Water 0.70 sq mi (1.81 km2)
Elevation 866 ft (264 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 87,643
 • Estimate (2015) 93,917
 • Density 2,558.2/sq mi (987.75/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 66044-66047, 66049
Area code 785
FIPS code 20-38900
GNIS ID 0479145
Website lawrenceks.org

Lawrence is the sixth largest city in the state of Kansas and the county seat of Douglas County, Kansas. It is in northeastern Kansas next to Interstate 70, along the banks of the Kansas and Wakarusa Rivers. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 87,643. Lawrence is a college town and the home to the University of Kansas and Haskell Indian Nations University.

Lawrence was founded by the New England Emigrant Aid Company and was named for Amos Adams Lawrence who offered financial aid and support for the settlement. Lawrence was central to the Bleeding Kansas era and was the site of the Wakarusa War, the sacking of Lawrence, and the Lawrence Massacre.

Lawrence began as a center of Kansas politics. However, its economy soon diversified into many industries including agriculture, manufacturing, and ultimately education, beginning with the founding of the University of Kansas in 1866, and later Haskell Indian Nations University in 1884.

History

See also: History of Kansas

Settlement

Prior to Kansas Territory being opened to settlement in May 1854, most of Douglas County was part of the Shawnee Indian Reservation. The Oregon Trail followed the Kansas River through what would become Lawrence and Mount Oread was used as a landmark and an outlook.

Dr. Charles Robinson and Charles Branscomb were sent by the New England Emigrant Aid Company to scout for a location for a city. They arrived in the vicinity of Lawrence in July 1854 and noted the beauty of the area and felt the area was well suited for a town.

The original “pioneer party” left Massachusetts on July 17, 1854 and consisted of 29 men. They arrived at the site Robinson and Branscomb selected on August 1. The second party arrived in Lawrence on September 9 after leaving near the end of August. The town was officially named Lawrence City on October 6. Original names for the settlement were Wakarusa, Yankee Town, New Boston and Plymouth but Lawrence was chosen to honor Amos A. Lawrence, a valuable benefactor of the Emigrant Aid Company and because “the name sounded well and had no bad odor attached to it in any part of the Union." The main street of the town was named Massachusetts to commemorate the origins of the pioneer party.

The first post office in Lawrence was established in January 1855.

1857 Plymouth Stone Church photo
Plymouth Congregational Church in Lawrence was the first church established in Kansas Territory.

In March 1857, the Quincy School was started in the Emigrant Aid office before moving to the basement of the Unitarian Church in April. The Plymouth Congregational Church was started in September 1854 by Reverend S.Y. Lum, a missionary sent to Kansas.

Bleeding Kansas and the Civil War

Shortly after Lawrence’s founding, two newspapers were started: The Kansas Pioneer and the Herald of Freedom. Both touted the Free State mission which caused problems from the people of Lecompton, then the pro-slavery headquarters, about ten miles northwest of Lawrence, and land squatters from Missouri. The Kansas Free State began in early January 1855.

On November 21, 1855, Charles Dow was shot and killed by Franklin Coleman in Hickory Point about fourteen miles south of Lawrence. Shortly after, a small army of Missourians led by Douglas County Sheriff Samuel L. Jones entered Kansas to attack Lawrence. John Brown and James Lane had hustled Lawrence citizens into an army and erected barricades but no attack happened. A treaty was signed and the Missouri army reluctantly left.

Sacking-lawrence
Ruins of Free State Hotel after the attack in 1856

Harassment by Sheriff Jones and other Southern sympathizers continued unabated. The Herald of Freedom, the Kansas Free State and the Free State Hotel were indicted as “nuisances.” On April 23, 1856 Sheriff Jones was shot while trying to arrest free-state settlers. On May 21, Sheriff Jones and a posse of 800 Southern sympathizers converged on Lawrence. Dr. Robinson’s house on Mount Oread was taken by the federal marshal as headquarters and the newspaper printing presses were damaged and thrown in the river. The Free State Hotel was also destroyed.

Despite the constant presence of impending war, Lawrence continued to grow. Its 1860 population was estimated at 2,500 although the official Census recorded 1,645. Lawrence became the county seat of Douglas County in 1857, prior to that Lecompton had been the seat and even when the American Civil War broke out in April 1861, Lawrence was still a magnet to conflict. William Clarke Quantrill and 300-400 Confederate guerillas rode into Lawrence and sacked the city at dawn on August 21, 1863. Most houses and businesses in Lawrence were burned and between 150 and 200 men and boys were murdered.

Post-Civil War

Massachusetts Avenue, Lawrence, Kansas, 38 miles west of Missouri River. (Boston Public Library) (cropped)
Massachusetts Avenue, ca. 1867

Attempts to begin a university in Kansas were first undertaken in 1855, but it was only after Kansas became a state in 1861 that those attempts saw any real fruition. An institute of learning was proposed in 1859 as The University of Lawrence, but it never opened. When Kansas became a state, provision was included in the Kansas Constitution for a state university. From 1861 to 1863 the question of where the university would be located—Lawrence, Manhattan or Emporia—was debated. In February 1863, Manhattan was made the site of the state's land-grant college, leaving only Lawrence and Emporia as candidates. The fact Lawrence had $10,000 plus interest donated by Amos Lawrence plus 40 acres (160,000 m2) to donate for the university had great weight with the legislature and Lawrence beat out Emporia by one vote. The University of Kansas opened in 1866 with 55 students.

Overlooking Lawerence and the Kansas River. (Boston Public Library) (cropped)
Old North College, the first building on KU Campus, overlooking Lawrence and the Kansas River, ca. 1867

Facing an energy crisis in the early 1870s, the city contracted with Orlando Darling to construct a dam across the Kansas River to help provide the city with power. Frustrated with the construction of the dam, Darling resigned and the Lawrence Land & Water Company completed the dam without him in 1873; however, only when J.D. Bowersock took over the dam in 1879 that the constant damage to the dam ceased and repairs held up. The dam made Lawrence unique which helped in winning business against Kansas City and Leavenworth. The dam closed in 1968 but was reopened in 1977 with help from the city, which wanted to build a new city hall next to the Bowersock Plant.

In 1884 the United States Indian Industrial Training School was opened in Lawrence. Boys were taught the trades of tailor making, blacksmithing, farming and others while girls were taught cooking and homemaking. In 1887 the name was changed to the Haskell Institute, after Dudley Haskell, a legislator responsible for the school being in Lawrence. In 1993 the name was changed again to Haskell Indian Nations University.

North Lawrence

Lawrence Visitors Center
The Lawrence Visitors Center, formerly the Union Pacific Depot

Grant Township, north of the Kansas River, was annexed to Douglas County in 1870 from southern Sarcoxie Township in Jefferson County. The largest city in the township was Jefferson, founded in 1866 just over the river from Lawrence. Jefferson was renamed North Lawrence in 1869 and it was attempted to annex the town to Lawrence proper but the motion failed. In 1870 the State Legislature annexed the town.

Just northeast of North Lawrence was Bismarck Grove, home to numerous picnics, temperance meetings and fairs. In 1870, "Bismarck" was organized and the first gathering was a temperance meeting in 1878. The last fair was held at the Grove in 1899 and the area became private property in 1900.

20th century and beyond

In 1888, Watkins National Bank opened at 11th and Massachusetts. Founded by Jabez B. Watkins, the bank would last until 1929. Watkin’s wife Elizabeth donated the bank building to the city to use as a city hall. In 1970, the city built a new city hall and after extensive renovations, the bank reopened in 1975 as the Elizabeth M. Watkins Community Museum.

Watkins Museum
Watkins Community Museum, once Watkins National Bank and Lawrence City Hall

In 1903, the Kansas River flooded causing property damage in Lawrence, especially North Lawrence. The water got as high as 27 feet and water marks can still be seen on some buildings especially at TeePee Junction at the U.S. 24-40 intersection and at Burcham Park. Lawrence would be hit by other floods in 1951, where the water rose over 30 feet, and in 1993 but with the reservoir and levee system in place, Lawrence only had minimal damage compared to the other floods.

Also in 1903, Theodore Roosevelt visited Lawrence on his way to Manhattan where he gave a short speech and dedicated a fountain at 9th & New Hampshire. The fountain was later moved to South Park next to the gazebo. Roosevelt would visit Lawrence again in 1910 after visiting Osawatomie where he dedicated the John Brown State Historical Site and gave a speech on New Nationalism.

In 1871, the Lawrence Street Railway Company opened and offered citizens easy access to hotels and businesses along Massachusetts Street. The first streetcar was pulled by horses and mules and the track just ran along Massachusetts Street. After the 1903 flood, the Kansas River bridge had to be rebuilt but was not considered safe for a streetcar to pass over. The Lawrence Street Railway Company closed later that year. In 1907, C.L. Rutter attempted to bring back a bus system, after having failed in 1902. In 1909, a new streetcar system was implemented putting Rutter out of business and lasting until 1935.

In 1921, Lawrence Memorial Hospital opened in the 300 block of Maine Street. It started with only 50 beds but by 1980, the hospital would expand to 200. LMH has been awarded several awards and recognitions for care and quality including The Hospital Value Index Best in Value Award and is ranked nationally in the top five percent for heart attack care by the American College of Cardiology.

In 1929 Lawrence began celebrating its 75th anniversary. The city dedicated Founder’s Rock, commonly referred to as the Shunganunga Boulder, a huge red boulder brought to Lawrence from near Tecumseh. The rock honors the two parties of the Emigrant Aid Society who first settled in Lawrence. Lawrence also dedicated the Lawrence Municipal Airport on October 14.

In 1943, the federal government transported German and Italian prisoners of World War II to Kansas and other Midwest states to work on farms and help solve the labor shortage caused by American men serving in the war effort. Large internment camps were established in Kansas: Camp Concordia, Camp Funston (at Fort Riley), Camp Phillips (at Salina under Fort Riley). Fort Riley established 12 smaller branch camps, including Lawrence. The camp in Lawrence was near 11th & Haskell Avenue near the railroad tracks. The camp would close by the end of 1945.

In 1947, Gilbert Francis and his son George opened Francis Sporting Goods downtown, selling mostly fishing and hunting gear. A decade later they moved across the street to larger retail space at 731 Massachusetts Street, enabling them to expand into other sporting goods. In November 2014, in the wake of the opening of a new Dick's Sporting Goods location in Lawrence, Francis Sporting Goods, announced its retail business within what had become Lawrence's Downtown Historic District would close by the end of the year, allowing the Francis family to focus on supplying uniforms and equipment to teams.

Downtown Lawrence
The 900 block of Massachusetts Street

In the early 1980s, Lawrence grabbed attention from the television movie The Day After. The TV movie first appeared on ABC but was later shown in movie theaters around the world. The movie depicted what would happen if the United States were destroyed in a nuclear war. The movie was filmed in Lawrence, and hundreds of local residents appeared in the film as extras and in speaking roles.

In 1989, the Free State Brewing Company opened in Lawrence becoming the first legal brewery in Kansas in more than 100 years. The restaurant is in a renovated inter-urban trolley station in downtown Lawrence.

In 2007, Lawrence was named one of the best places to retire by U.S. News & World Report. In 2011, the city was named one of America's 10 best college towns by Parents & Colleges.

Geography

US-KS-Lawrence--2008-01-12-T-04-09-33-um-al
The Turnhalle in the North Rhode Island Historic District

Downtown Lawrence is located at 38°58′18″N 95°14′7″W / 38.97167°N 95.23528°W / 38.97167; -95.23528 (38.959902, −95.253199), approximately 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Topeka, and 35 mi (56 km) west of Kansas City, Kansas. Though Lawrenece has a designated elevation of 866 feet (264 m), the highest elevation is Mount Oread on the University of Kansas campus with an elevation of 1,020 feet (310 m).

The city lies on the southern edge of the Dissected Till Plains, bordering the Osage Plains to the south. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 34.26 square miles (88.73 km2), of which, 33.56 square miles (86.92 km2) is land and 0.70 square miles (1.81 km2) is water, and is split between Wakarusa Township and Grant Township with small portions in Lecompton, Kanwaka and Clinton Townships.

Lawrence is between the Kansas and Wakarusa rivers. Sveral major creeks flow through Lawrence: Burroughs Creek in east Lawrence and Baldwin Creek in northwestern Lawrence converge with the Kansas River. Yankee Tank Creek in southwest Lawrence and an unnamed creek that flows through central Lawrence converge with the Wakarusa River south of the city. Yankee Tank Creek is dammed to form Lake Alvamar, which was originally called Yankee Tank Lake. The Wakarusa River is dammed to form Clinton Lake. Potter Lake is on KU Campus and Mary’s Lake is in southeastern Lawrence as part of Prairie Park. There are also the Haskell-Baker Wetlands maintained by Haskell University and Baker University.

Lawrence has 54 parks which includes community parks, neighborhood parks, trails, cemeteries and nature preserves. Community parks include 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. The first cemetery in Lawrence, Pioneer Cemetery, is on the University of Kansas campus and is maintained by KU.

Climate

Lawrence has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa), typically experiencing hot, humid summers and cold, dry winters. The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 28.4 °F (−2.0 °C) in January to 78.5 °F (25.8 °C) in July. The high temperature reaches or exceeds 90 °F (32 °C) an average of 32 days a year and 100 °F (38 °C) an average of 1.9 days. The minimum temperature falls to or below 0 °F (−18 °C) on an average 4.9 days a year. Extreme temperatures range from 111 °F (44 °C) on July 13 and 14, 1954 down to −21 °F (−29 °C) on December 22, 1989.

On average, Lawrence receives 39.9 inches (1,010 mm) of precipitation annually, most of which occurs in the warmer months, and records 96 days of measurable precipitation. Measurable snowfall occurs an average of 8 days per year with 4.6 days receiving at least 1.0 inch (2.5 cm). Snow depth of at least one inch occurs an average of 15.8 days a year.

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
(22.2)
82
(27.8)
90
(32.2)
94
(34.4)
98
(36.7)
107
(41.7)
111
(43.9)
107
(41.7)
108
(42.2)
98
(36.7)
84
(28.9)
76
(24.4)
111
(43.9)
Average high °F (°C) 38.5
(3.61)
44.3
(6.83)
54.8
(12.67)
64.6
(18.11)
74.4
(23.56)
83.4
(28.56)
88.6
(31.44)
87.8
(31)
79.0
(26.11)
67.5
(19.72)
53.8
(12.11)
40.6
(4.78)
64.8
(18.22)
Average low °F (°C) 18.3
(-7.61)
22.0
(-5.56)
31.5
(-0.28)
42.6
(5.89)
54.1
(12.28)
63.5
(17.5)
68.4
(20.22)
66.2
(19)
56.9
(13.83)
45.4
(7.44)
32.7
(0.39)
21.5
(-5.83)
43.6
(6.44)
Record low °F (°C) −18
(-27.8)
−11
(-23.9)
−7
(-21.7)
13
(-10.6)
30
(-1.1)
44
(6.7)
51
(10.6)
42
(5.6)
31
(-0.6)
20
(-6.7)
2
(-16.7)
−21
(-29.4)
−21
(-29.4)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.98
(24.9)
1.36
(34.5)
2.71
(68.8)
4.06
(103.1)
5.36
(136.1)
5.88
(149.4)
4.14
(105.2)
4.05
(102.9)
4.20
(106.7)
3.35
(85.1)
2.20
(55.9)
1.60
(40.6)
39.89
(1,013.2)
Snowfall inches (cm) 3.8
(9.7)
4.3
(10.9)
0.8
(2)
0.2
(0.5)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.2
(0.5)
0.9
(2.3)
3.2
(8.1)
13.4
(34)
Avg. 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
Avg. 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 The Weather Channel

Cityscape

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

Streets

Originally, north–south streets were named after the states in the order they were admitted to the union and east–west streets were named after people involved in the American Revolution. Massachusetts was selected for the main thoroughfare since the original settlers came from Massachusetts. Over the years, however, this plan became marred causing Oregon Street to be placed before Delaware, North and South Carolina being represented by a single Carolina Street near Lawrence High School and nine states not being included, as a few examples. The state street naming was abandoned with Iowa Street, which runs through the center of Lawrence. In 1913, east-west streets, originally named for important people of the American Revolution, were renamed to numbered streets.

Lawrence is split between east and west by Massachusetts Street and separated north and south by an imaginary line a block north of 2nd Street. North–south streets in North Lawrence are numbered from North 1st Street to North 9th Street, while east–west streets in Lawrence are numbered from 2nd Street to 34th Street.

Neighborhoods

Lawrence is designated by neighborhoods. Neighborhoods closest to downtown are Old West Lawrence, North Lawrence, East Lawrence, Oread, Hancock and Pinckney. The neighborhoods west of Iowa Street are Sunset Hills, Prairie Meadows, and Alvamar. There are several neighborhoods listed on the National Register of Historic Places: Old West Lawrence, Oread, Hancock, Breezedale, and most of Rhode Island Street in East Lawrence.

Architecture

The Forum at Marvin Hall
The Forum at Marvin Hall
UK Lawrence Nima 07
Bailey Hall on the University of Kansas campus

The architecture of Lawrence is greatly varied. Most buildings built before 1860 were destroyed in the Lawrence Massacre. Architectural styles represented in Old West Lawrence are Italianate, Victorian, Gothic Revival, Tudor, Richardson Romanesque and many others.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 1,645
1870 8,320 405.8%
1880 8,510 2.3%
1890 9,997 17.5%
1900 10,862 8.7%
1910 12,374 13.9%
1920 12,456 0.7%
1930 13,726 10.2%
1940 14,390 4.8%
1950 23,351 62.3%
1960 32,858 40.7%
1970 45,698 39.1%
1980 52,738 15.4%
1990 65,608 24.4%
2000 80,098 22.1%
2010 87,643 9.4%
Est. 2015 93,917 7.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

Lawrence is the anchor city of the Lawrence, Kansas Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Douglas County.

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 87,643 people, 34,970 households, and 16,939 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,611.5 inhabitants per square mile (1,008.3/km2). There were 37,502 housing units at an average density of 1,117.5 per square mile (431.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 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. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.7% of the population.

There were 34,970 households of which 24.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.6% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 51.6% were non-families. 32.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.91.

In the city, the population was spread out with 17.5% of residents under the age of 18; 28.7% of residents between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.4% from 25 to 44; 18.5% from 45 to 64; and 8% were 65 years of age or older. The median age in the city was 26.7 years. The gender makeup of the city was 50.2% male and 49.8% female.

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 80,098 people, 31,388 households, and 15,725 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,849.4 people per square mile (1,100.2/km2). There were 32,761 housing units at an average density of 1,165.4 per square mile (450.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 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. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.65% of the population. 23.8% were of German, 10.6% English, 10.1% Irish and 7.1% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 91.0% spoke English, 2.9% Spanish and 1.0% Chinese or Mandarin as their first language.

Of the 31,388 households, 25.1% included children under the age of 18, 38.0% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 49.9% were non-families. 30.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the city, the population was spread out with 18.6% under the age of 18, 30.7% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 15.1% from 45 to 64, and 7.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females there were 98.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.2 males.

As of 2000 the median income for a household was $34,669, and the median income for a family was $51,545. Males had a median income of $33,481 versus $27,436 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,378. About 7.3% of families and 18.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.6% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those age 65 or over. However, traditional statistics of income and poverty can be misleading when applied to cities with high student populations, such as Lawrence.

Historic sites and museums

South Park Gazebo
The South Park gazebo

South Park is a large park in Downtown Lawrence divided by Massachusetts Street just south of the county courthouse between North Park and South Park Streets. The park originally consisted of four separate parks—Lafayette, Hamilton, Washington and Franklin Parks—but was combined to form one park. South Park was developed in 1854 as part of the original city plat. A gazebo was built in South Park in 1910 and is used for annual city band performances during the summer months.

The Watkins Museum of History is a block north of South Park and houses exhibits from Lawrence and Douglas County. The building is managed by the Douglas County Historical Society and used to be Watkins National Bank (1883–1929) and Lawrence City Hall (1929–1970). The third floor of the building was used as a home office and a bathtub and sink are still in place. Next door to the museum is a Japanese Friendship Garden designed by the city and representatives from sister city Hiratsuka, Japan. An exhibit on the Bleeding Kansas era and the Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area is in the old Lawrence Public Library at 9th and Vermont Streets. Other museums on KU campus include the Natural History Museum in Dyche Hall, the Spencer Museum of Art and the Dole Institute of Politics among others.

Centennial Park, between 6th and 9th Streets and Rockledge Road and Iowa Street, was established in 1954 for the city's 100th anniversary. The park features rolling hills, a skatepark, a disc golf course and a Polaris missile constructed during the Cold War. Sesquicentennial Park is near Clinton Lake and was established for Lawrence's 150th anniversary and is mostly undeveloped but features a timeline of Lawrence history and a time capsule to be opened in 2054.

Liberty Hall was built when the Bowersock Opera House burned down in 1911. Liberty Hall is a small theater typically showcasing independent movies and the occasional live act. Liberty Hall also runs a video rental next door. The Granada Theater was originally built in 1928 as a vaudeville theater. It was renovated in 1934 as a movie theater until closing in 1989. It was renovated again in 1993 and opened as a venue for comedy acts and live music.

The Eldridge Hotel
The Eldridge Hotel

The Eldridge Hotel was first built in 1855 as the Free State Hotel by Colonel Shalor Eldridge. The hotel was destroyed during the sack of Lawrence. Col. Eldridge rebuilt the Free State and added an extra story, vowing to do so every time. The Free State was destroyed again during Quantrill's Raid but Eldridge rebuilt again and renamed the hotel The Eldridge. In 1925, due to deterioration, the Eldridge was demolished and rebuilt but was closed and converted into apartments in 1970. In 1985, work began to renovate the Eldridge back into a hotel and in 2004 the building was sold and completely renovated back to its 1925 look. It is rumored the ghost of Colonel Shalor Eldridge haunts the Eldridge and was featured on the Biography Channel's series My Ghost Story.

Memorial Stadium and Allen Fieldhouse are on KU campus. Memorial Stadium was built in 1920 for the Kansas Jayhawks football program. It was named to honor KU students who died in World War I. Allen Fieldhouse was built in 1955 for the basketball program and was named for Phog Allen, a coach at KU from 1907 to 1909 and 1919 to 1956. On November 4, 2010, the ESPN's online publication, The Magazine, named Allen Fieldhouse the loudest college basketball arena in the country, whilst prominent sportswriter, Mark Whicker, has publicly declared the fieldhouse is "the best place in America to watch college basketball."

Oak Hill Cemetery in east Lawrence was established in 1866 and was called by William Allen White the "Kansas Arlington." The cemetery features the burials of James Lane, Lucy Hobbs Taylor, Langston Hughes' grandparents, numerous veterans and many prominent Kansans. Across the street is Memorial Park Cemetery which features a memorial for KU coach and inventor of basketball James Naismith. The memorial is a cenotaph but Naismith is buried in the mason section of Memorial Park.

Lawrence is also the site of many historic houses related to the history of the city. The Robert Miller house survived Quantrill's Raid and was a stop on the Underground Railroad, Ferdinand Fuller, an original settler of Lawrence, built his house atop of Windmill Hill in what is now the Hillcrest Neighborhood and the John Roberts House, commonly called the Castle Tea Room, was designed by famed architect John G. Haskell in 1894 and is now used for various formal events. There are many other houses of historic prominence in Lawrence, many of them on the National Register of Historic Places.

Arts and culture

The Polinators mural in Lawrence, KA
The mural "The Pollinators" was designed by artist David Loewenstein and painted by the community as a tribute to Aaron Douglas and other African-American artists with Kansas roots. It was in downtown Lawrence from 2007 until being torn down in 2015.

The city is known for a thriving music and art scene. Rolling Stone named Lawrence one of the "best lil' college towns" in the country in its August 11, 2005, issue. The New York Times said Lawrence had "the most vital music scene between Chicago and Denver" in a travel column on February 25, 2005. Locally owned bar and music venue The Replay Lounge was named one of Esquire magazine's top 25 bars/venues in the country in 2007.

In December 2005, the city announced International Dadaism Month, celebrating the early 20th century art movement. In the spirit of Dada, rather than select a typical calendar month for the occasion, Highberger set the dates for the "Month" as February 4, March 28, April 1, July 15, August 2, August 7, August 16, August 26, September 18, September 22, October 1, October 17, and October 26, determined by rolling dice and pulling numbers out of a hat.

Lawrence is home to many bands and record labels. Many artists, such as Paw, Mansion, Mates of State, The New Amsterdams, Kansas, Fourth of July, White Flight, The Anniversary, Minus Story, The Appleseed Cast, La Guerre, Old Canes, Ad Astra Per Aspera, Ghosty, The Esoteric and The Get Up Kids originated in Lawrence or its surrounding areas. KJHK 90.7 FM, the University of Kansas's student-run radio station, is a staple of the local music scene. It won a CMJ award in 2006 for "most improved station" and was nominated for a Plug Award for best college radio station in 2007.

Lawrence USA Downtown Office Hours
A Thursday Brown Bag Concert on the streets of downtown Lawrence

The Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival was a four-day-long weekend music festival held annually in early June just outside Lawrence, at Clinton State Park. After its inception in 2004, the festival grew dramatically by 2006, with almost 60,000 tickets sold, and developed a nationwide following that accounted for 80% of ticket sales. The festival featured an eclectic mix of music, with artists like The Flaming Lips, Wilco, STS9, Medeski, Martin and Wood, Neko Case, and Widespread Panic taking the stage. The event is kept smaller than other festivals such as Bonnaroo by an agreement with the state. Activities other than music include disc golf, yoga, hiking, and swimming in Clinton Lake. The festival was relocated to Mulberry Mountain due to a dispute between the organizers and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks over limiting attendees and over rent payment.

Sister cities

Lawrence has three sister cities through Sister Cities International:

  • Germany Eutin, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany - 1989
  • Japan Hiratsuka, Japan - 1990
  • Greece Iniades, Greece - 2009

In popular culture

In addition to serving as the setting for a number of science fiction writer James Gunn's novels, including The Immortals (1964), which was the basis for the ABC television movie and TV series The Immortal (1969–1971), Lawrence was also the setting for the 1983 television movie The Day After, and has figured into other recent science fiction and speculative works. Dean and Sam Winchester, brothers of the Supernatural TV series, are from Lawrence, and the city has been referenced numerous times throughout the show's history. Lawrence was destroyed in the 2006 TV Series Jericho.

American folk singer Josh Ritter's song entitled Lawrence KS is on the 2002 album Golden Age of Radio. Cross Canadian Ragweed's 2007 album Mission California features a song entitled "Lawrence," which was inspired by a homeless family the band encountered near Christmas while visiting the town.

Lawrence is the default starting point for the map program Google Earth (2005). This location was set by Brian McClendon, a 1986 graduate of the University of Kansas and director of engineering for Google Earth.

Images for kids


Lawrence, Kansas Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.