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A Visit to Lawrence Kansas

History Education Energy Water Parks Neighborhood Architecture and Local Transit

Downtown Lawrence is located 25 miles – 40 kilometers – east of Topeka and 35 miles – 56 km – west of Kansas City. Though Lawrence 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.

Massachusetts Avenue Lawrence KansasHistory Douglas County was part of the Shawnee Indian Reservation until the Kansas Territory was opened to settlement in 1854; the Oregon Trail went through here and Hogback Ridge was used as a landmark on the trail. Lawrence was entangled with the slavery issue as Northern Democrats argued that residents should be able to decide the issue in newly created territories. Popular sovereignty was embodied in the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. The law united anti-slavery forces into a movement committed to stopping the expansion of slavery, resulting in pro and anti-slavery elements moving into Kansas.

Emigration the New England Emigrant Aid Company was chartered by the Massachusetts Legislature to facilitate emigration to the region and selecting Lawrence as the site for the first colony with twenty-nine men remarking on the beauty of the spot and the magnificence of the view. The main street was named Massachusetts to commemorate the origins of the pioneer party. Pro and Anti-slavery groups co-existed for a few short months when pro-slavery settler Franklin Coleman killed a Free Stater at Hickory Point; violent political divisions characterized public life in Kansas for the next 10 years. During the Civil War, pro Confederacy forces rode into the city; houses and businesses in Lawrence were burned and between nearly 200 men and boys were murdered.

Quantrill’s Raid was one of the most destructive in the history of Kansas

Energy facing an energy crisis in the early 1870s, Lawrence constructed a dam across the Kansas River to help provide the city with power; the Lawrence Land & Water Company completed the dam in 1873. The dam helped win business against Kansas City and Leavenworth.

Water Lawrence is located between the Kansas and Wakarusa Rivers and several major creeks: Burroughs Creek, Baldwin Creek, Yankee Tank Creek in southwest Lawrence flows through central Lawrence and converges with the Wakarusa River which was dammed to form Clinton Lake. Potter Lake is on the University of Kansas Campus and Mary’s Lake is located within Prairie Park. The Haskell-Baker Wetlands, maintained by Haskell University is an extensive open space located in the southern part of the city featuring wetlands, native plants, hiking and biking trails, and interpretative signage about the prairie and wetland ecosystems.

Lawrence Visitors CenterTravel destinations and itineraries based on client interests by leveraging an in-depth knowledge of your destination, superior client service in the planning stages and throughout the trip or event and logistics expertise to reduce accommodations and transport costs as well as transfer times.

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Watkins MuseumEducation Lawrence is home to University of Kansas and Haskell Indian Nations University. The United States Indian Industrial Training School opened in 1884. Boys learned tailor making, blacksmithing and farming while girls were taught cooking and homemaking. In 1993 the name was changed to the Haskell Indian Nations University.

The Elizabeth M. Watkins Community Museum is on the premises of the Watkins National Bank which opened in 1888 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.

The Free State Brewing Company opened in 1989, 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.

Parks Lawrence has 54 parks which include community and neighborhood parks, trails, cemeteries and nature preserves. A new, multi-use trail system called the Lawrence Loop encircles the city and will create a 22-mile paved recreational trail, a green transportation network, and opportunities for environmental restoration.

Turnhalle North Rhode Island Historic DistrictsNeighborhood Architecture 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 include Italianate, Victorian, Gothic Revival and Tudor.The National Register of Historic Places includes: Old West Lawrence, Oread, Hancock, Breezedale, and most of Rhode Island Street in East Lawrence.

Amtrak StationLocal Transit 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.

Today, two bus systems operate in the city: Lawrence Transit, known as the T, is a public bus system operated by the city, and KU on Wheels, operated by the University of Kansas. Intercity bus service is provided by Greyhound. Amtrak provides passenger service with a stop at the downtown Lawrence Station on the Southwest Chief line connecting Chicago and Los Angeles.

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