Parent Category: Kansas State History Articles
Category: Kansas Local History
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Lawrence, Kansas is the principal educational center of the State is divided by the Kansas River into two segments North and South Lawrence. Home of the University of Kansas, Haskell Institute, and Lawrence Business College, the city is also important as a shipping point for potatoes, corn, wheat, and alfalfa grown in the rich valley land around it, and as an industrial center.

South Lawrence or "Lawrence" as distinguished from "North Lawrence" clings to the north, east, and south slopes of a hill that forms the divide between the valleys of the Kansas and Wakarusa Rivers, and spreads down into the level bottomland on the south and east. Massachusetts Street, the city's main thoroughfare, for the most part skirting the foot of the east slope of the hill, bisects the town, and extends from the river southward through the business district to the outskirts.

The older residential districts on the first gentle slopes of the hill west of Massachusetts Street, have an atmosphere of nineteenth century New England with brick paved streets, low retaining walls, broad landscaped lawns, and old mansions of brick and stone designed in the Mid-Victorian style. The newer sections, on the western and southern limits, are as modern as those in the average prosperous Kansas city.

North Lawrence is a semi-suburban community of modest homes and small stores clustered about the Union Pacific Railroad yards and extending along the two highways that enter the city from the north.

Little remains of the old Lawrence that played such an important part in the history of Kansas during its struggle for statehood. The dusty streets that resounded with guerrilla war cries and hoofbeats of the galloping horses of William Quantrill, John Brown, and Charles Robinson are now wide tramcways lined with business houses or comfortable dwellings. "The Hill," overlooking the town and known as Mount Oread, is no longer crowned by Free State fortifications but by the buildings of the University of Kansas.

Modern homes, the property of local chapters of national college fraternities, stand where early settlers built log cabins ; and streamlined cars, usually borrowed from indulgent fathers back home, sweep down the brick-paved hillsides. The fine old homes in Lawrence, which have escaped being turned into student rooming houses, stand aloof behind protective screens of shrubbery.

Completing the contrast is Haskell Institute, a Federal Government high school and junior college for Indians, where smartly-clad Indian co-eds and white-collared braves seek to adjust themselves to a new culture, replacing lacrosse and the old war cries with football and "Rah! Rah! Haskell!"

Founded in 1854 by the New England Emigrant Aid Company and named for Amos A. Lawrence of Boston, a prominent member of the company, the town was originally planned as the capital of Kansas. Dr. Charles Robinson was hired by the New England financiers to look after their interests.

As the center of Free State activities the town was a hotbed of warfare throughout the Territorial years. By March 1855 Lawrence was a growing and prosperous town with 369 voters. Late in November of that year, Charles W. Dow, a Free State man, was shot at Hickory Point, ten miles south, by Franklin N. Coleman, a pro-slavery settler, and the enmity between northern and southern settlers of Kansas and Missouri reached the boiling point. This incident precipitated the Wakarusa War (see HISTORY).

Jacob Branson, with whom Dow lived, was rescued by Free State friends after he was arrested by Samuel J. Jones, sheriff of Douglas County. Sheriff Jones, a pro-slavery man, retaliated by tricking Territorial Governor Wilson Shannon into sending out the militia (which then consisted largely of Missourians who had come across their State Line to Kansas at the call of Sheriff Jones) to put down the "rebellion" at Lawrence. This army camped at Franklin about three miles east of Lawrence.

Finally after a week of siege the citizens of Lawrence sent a delegation to the Governor to acquaint him with the true state of affairs. Incredulous, the Governor went to Lawrence to examine the situation and, seeing that he had acted too hastily, called the leaders of both sides together and drew up a peace treaty.

On May 21, 1856, Sheriff Jones returned to Lawrence this time under the pretense of serving some writs. Before he and his forces left, the town's newspaper offices were dismantled, their presses broken to pieces, and their type thrown in the Kansas River, several stores and residences were robbed, and Dr. Robinson's home was burned. One man, a member of the Jones band, was killed. Citizens of Lawrence declared that an American flag, whipping in the breeze atop the Free State Hotel, knocked off a brick that dropped on his head.

After five years of strife the Free State faction was triumphant. The Wyandotte Constitution, under which the State was admitted to the Union, was adopted October 4, 1859, and two months later an election of provisional State officers was held in which Dr. Charles Robinson was chosen Governor of the new State. Robinson's fellow townsman and political rival, Gen. James H. Lane, was elected to the office of United States Senator by the first State legislature, which convened in February 1861.

At daybreak on August 21, 1863, Lawrence citizens were aroused by the sound of firing and the shouts of guerrilla raiders who swept down on the town from the east, led by the notorious irregular, William Clarke Quantrill. After shooting down the Reverend S. S. Snyder in his barnyard, two miles east of town, Quantrill's command, numbering 450 men, all mounted and heavily armed, galloped toward the city. Opposed to them were only a few unarmed recruits, twenty of whom were mowed down by the raiders.

The guerrilla band moved north on Rhode Island Street and was soon racing down Massachusetts Street, Lawrence's main thoroughfare, toward the Eldridge House. The guests of this inn were spared and allowed to go to the City Hotel while the guerrillas sacked the Eldridge and set fire to the building. The raiders then divided into squads of six or eight men and scattered over town, slaying and burning. After four hours they withdrew, leaving 150 dead and the major portion of the town in ruins. So futile was the resistance offered by the surprised and terror-stricken citizens that the Quantrill band retired with the loss of only one man.

Twice sacked and burned in the first decade of its existence, Lawrence rose from its ashes like the fabled Phoenix, although progress was somewhat halted during the Civil War. The Kansas Pacific, one of Kansas' first railroads, was built through the town in 1864 and with the increasing development of diversified agriculture in the fertile valleys on either side of it, Lawrence became a prosperous trading and shipping point.

Less affected by synthetic booms than many Kansas cities, the growth of the town has been gradual, and its economic structure has been established on a substantial foundation. Among the industries of the city are a large flour mill that utilizes power from the Kansas River, an organ factory, a paper box factory, a cannery, a wholesale seed house, a wholesale grocery, and a poultry packing plant. Lawrence is also the site of one of the largest fraternal insurance companies in the United States.

Paul Starrett, building and structural engineer, who made important contributions to the practical design of skyscrapers in Chicago and New York City during the early twentieth century, was born (1866) in Lawrence. He wrote Paul Starrett: Changing the Skyline, in 1938.


The University of Kansas, on the summit of Mount Oread, overlooks the broad Kansas River Valley on the north and the historic valley of the Wakarusa on the south. The 160-acre campus is noted for its purple lilac hedge in the spring and for the scenic panorama of one of the richest sections of the State. University buildings, for the most part, border a drive that follows the crest of the ridge. Below the drive, on the north, is a broad expanse of woodland and bluegrass that stretches down the slope to the stadium and athletic field. Potter's Lake, a placid little pond, which in the morning light reflects the great bulk of the Administration Building, lies in a hollow near the western edge of the campus.

Because of its proximity to Kansas City, Mo., the University draws a considerable portion of its student body from that city. The rhythmic "Rockchalk, Jayhawk, K. U." battle cry of the Kansas "Jayhawks" is outstanding among college yells. The famous yell is a rallying cry for former Kansans the world over. It was heard in the Philippine jungles where former students fought as members of the 2oth Kansas Regiment, and on the battlefields of France.

Freshmen and other new students pledge fidelity to K. U. and its ideals in the symbolic torch ceremony which is usually held during the last week in September. The ceremony begins on North College Hill, the site of the first building, where the novitiates are told the story of the University's beginning. Members of the Torch Society kindle a beacon fire and, as the new students march down the hill to the stadium, a runner lights a torch from the fire and carries it to the Rock Chalk Cairn where a second fire is kindled. In the stadium the students gather about an altar of fire which burns before an illuminated seal of the University. Representatives of the freshman class are handed flaming torches by upperclassmen, symbolizing the transference of culture and knowledge. After a brief address by the chancellor, the students pledge allegiance by repeating a modified form of the Athenian oath. In conclusion the chancellor places a freshman cap on the head of a torch bearer, indicating that male members of the class must wear the little caps until the end of the football season.

K. U. points to many illustrious names on its alumni roster, including U. S. Senator William E. Borah of Idaho, Gov. Alf M. Landon, William Allen White, and Gen. Frederick Funston.

On the athletic field K. U. has developed a number of Olympic entrants, including Everett Bradley and Jim Bausch, decathlon contestants and Glenn Cunningham, one of the greatest middle distance runners of all time.

Amos A. Lawrence, who conceived the idea of the University, gave notes and stocks to the amount of $12,000 to be held in trust for the proposed institution. It was first chartered in 1859 as Lawrence University, but this attempt, like several others in the years before Kansas became a State, ended in failure. After Kansas was admitted into the Union plans were revived, and through the efforts of Dr. Charles Robinson, Lawrence was chosen in 1861 as the seat of the State university. An act of the legislature the following year provided for its organization and in September 1866 the first classes were held in Old North College, the University's first building, with an enrollment of 55. In 1938 the University (co-educational) had an enrollment of 5,200. The university has colleges of arts and sciences, law, medicine, pharmacy, education, engineering and architecture, fine arts, business, and a graduate school. The chancellor is its executive head.

The MEMORIAL UNION BUILDING, SW. corner 1 3th St. and Oread Ave. is of modern design constructed of brick and limestone. Pond and Pond of Chicago were the architects. Dedicated in 1927 to former students who lost their lives in the World War, the building, in which are a cafeteria and lounge, is for the use of campus visitors and extra-curricular activities of students. Murals in the lounge are the work of WPA artists of the Federal Art Project.

The DYCHE MUSEUM, NW. corner i4th St. and Oread Ave., was built in the early 1900'$ to house the extensive natural history collection of the late Prof. L. L. Dyche. Constructed of native limestone with white limestone trim and ornamentations of white limestone and brick, the structure is of modified Romanesque style and is adorned with naturalistic carvings of birds and beasts, the work of an Italian stone cutter. Its arched portal, approached by a broad flight of steps, is modeled after that of St. Trophime in Aries in southern France. The building was designed by Root & Seimans of Kansas City, Mo.

The THAYER MUSEUM OF ART, NE. corner 14th St. and Oread Ave., served as the university library from 1894 to 1924. After the completion of the new Watson Library it was remodeled to house the $150,000 art collection, donated to the University by Mrs. Sally C. Thayer of Kansas City, Mo., as a memorial to her husband, the late W. D. Thayer, Kansas City merchant. Constructed of red sandstone, the three floors of the building are utilized to exhibit the collection. In the basement is a display of Indian blankets, baskets, and pottery. The first floor contains a collection of rare volumes, histories of art, reference books on arts and crafts, and a collection of 500 pieces of English porcelain and eighteenth century English glassware. Another collection includes a large exhibit of textiles from many nations, a collection of coins, Japanese lacquer and silverware, and Chinese tapestries. In the central gallery of the second floor is a collection of Japanese prints and Chinese paintings, and in a smaller room is an exhibit of American handicraft including old furniture, coverlets, hooked rugs, and samplers.

At 14th St., Oread Ave. becomes Campus Drive; R. on Campus Drive.

GREEN HALL (R) houses the School of Law. It is a buff colored brick structure with huge stone columns that form a wide front portico approached by a broad flight of stone steps.

In front of the building is a STATUE OF "UNCLE JIMMY" GREEN, dean of the School of Law from 1879 to 1919. The work of the late Daniel Chester French of Stockbridge, Mass., the bronze statue is set on a granite base and represents the dean standing with one of his students.

FRASER HALL (L), the oldest building on the campus, is a gaunt four story structure of native limestone completed in 1872. Its great bulk is topped with twin towers that have almost flat tops and are encircled by iron railings.

On the second floor is the WILCOX MUSEUM, named for Prof. A. M. Wilcox, its founder, who was a professor of Greek for 43 years. It contains facsimile reproductions of various objects of antiquity, a collection of Greek and Roman coins, vases, lamps, articles of dress, specimens of Roman glass, and full-sized plaster casts of the works of noted Greek sculptors.

The PIONEER STATUE, E. of the entrance of Fraser Hall, is a, bronze figure of a pioneer with spade in hand, the work of Frederick G Hibbard of Kansas City, and a gift of Dr. Simeon D. Bell. A marker commemorates the site of the barracks and trenches of 1864, dug in preparation for Price's raid (see HISTORY).

The WATSON LIBRARY, Campus Drive, (L) west of Fraser Hall, is a three-story Bedford limestone structure, Collegiate Gothic in style and designed by Ray M. Gamble, State architect. Completed in 1924, it contains about 291,900 volumes. It was named for Carrie M. Watson, librarian from 1887 until 1921.

HA WORTH HALL, Campus Drive (L), is a two-story native stone structure with shops for students of mining in the rear. It contains the PALEONTOLOGY MUSEUM with a large collection of fossils, most of which came from chalk beds along the Smoky Hill River. There is also a GEOLOGICAL MUSEUM including specimens of igneous and sedimentary rocks, crystals, ores, and building stone.

The ADMINISTRATION BUILDING, (R) across the Drive from Haworth Hall, is of Italian Renaissance design and constructed of brick faced with yellow terra cotta. It is the largest building on the campus, and contains the BRYNWOOD COLLECTION of paintings, loaned to the University by Chester Woodward, Topeka alumnus.

SNOW HALL, Campus Drive (R) just west of the Administration Building, is Collegiate Gothic in design with walls of Bedford limestone. It was completed in 1929 and houses the natural science departments, some departments of the School of Medicine, and the FRANCIS HUNTINGTON SNOW ENTOMOLOGICAL MUSEUM, considered one of the finest insect collections in the United States.

Campus Drive swings N. at the W. end of campus becoming West Campus Rd.;R. on llth St.

MEMORIAL STADIUM (open for athletic events only), main entrance at nth and Alabama Sts., a concrete horseshoe, is the scene of the University of Kansas football games, the Kansas Relays, and the commencement exercises. Completed in 1927, it has a seating capacity of 38,000.

The ROCK CHALK CAIRN, approximately 100 yards south of the stadium on the slope of a hill, is a pile of historic stones including remnants of North College and of old Snow Hall.

NORTH COLLEGE HILL, 9th St., N. end of Mount Oread, is a plateau like elevation bounded by loth, Ohio, and Indiana Sts. Here Old North College, the first building, was erected in 1865. It was torn down in 1923 and replaced by CORBIN HALL, a three-story building of brick and stucco, housing a women's dormitory.

The hill is the scene of noisy pregame football rallies climaxed by the preThanksgiving game ceremony. On the night before the annual Thanksgiving game with the University of Missouri, loyal followers of the Kansas Jayhawks gather around a crackling bonfire and join in the ceremony of burning the Missouri Tiger in effigy.


The POWER DAM, just east of the bridge that spans the river at Massachusetts St., furnishes power for many of Lawrence's industries. It is the only dam on the Kansas River.

In ROBINSON PARK, overlooking the river at 6th and Massachusetts Sts. is the OLD SETTLERS' MONUMENT, a giant boulder brought to Lawrence by the Santa Fe Railway Co. from the mouth of Shunganunga Creek near Tecumseh. On it is a bronze plaque bearing the names of the first settlers who arrived in 1854.

The SITE OF THE FIRST METHODIST CHURCH, 724 Vermont St., is indicated by a stone marker bearing the inscription: "Site of First Methodist Church in Lawrence. Bought July 6, 1855. Building erected 1857. Used as a morgue, August 21, 1863." The last date is that of Quantrill's raid.

The CARNEGIE LIBRARY, NW. corner 9th and Vermont Sts., was originally a one-story building constructed of tan brick, completed in 1904. A $35,000 addition was added in 1937 as a PWA project. The library contains 27,000 volumes.

The PLYMOUTH CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, 923 Vermont St., a red brick structure with a modern community house on the south, houses the oldest church organization in Kansas. On October i, 1854, the Reverend S. Y. Lum delivered the first sermon in Lawrence. The congregation was organized two weeks later with seven members. Meetings were held in the Pioneer Hotel.

"A few rough boards were brought for seats," wrote Mrs. Sara Robinson, "and with singing by several good voices among the pioneers the usual church services were held. The people then, as on many succeeding Sabbaths, were gathered together by the ringing of a large dinner bell."

SOUTH PARK, between nth and 13th Sts., and divided by Massachusetts St., has an area of 12.8 acres. The eastern section of the park is attractively landscaped and contains a bandstand where public concerts are given. Franklin D. Roosevelt, as a candidate for Vice President, spoke from this bandstand in September 1920.

The SITE OF THE MASSACRE OF RECRUITS, near the sidewalk at 935 New Hampshire St., is indicated by a stone marker. It was near this spot that Quantrill's guerrillas shot down twenty unarmed boys during the raid of August 21, 1863.

The SITE OF THE ROBINSON HOME, 1115 Louisiana St., is commemorated by a granite marker. Dr. Charles Robinson built a home here soon after his arrival in 1854. It was burned by Sheriff Jones' raiders May 21, 1856.

The JOHN SPEER HOME, 1024 Maryland St., used as an implement shed and in a state of dilapidation, was built by one of the town's first settlers. In front of this house Larkin M. Skaggs, the only member of Quantrill's band who lost his life during the raid, was killed by White Turkey, a Delaware Indian.

HASKELL INSTITUTE, 23rd St. and Barker Ave., is the largest Indian school in the United States. Haskell was opened in 1884 as one of three non-reservation boarding schools provided by an Act of Congress in 1882. The purpose of the institution, according to its founders, was "to provide an opportunity for the American Indian to acquire an education which would fit him for useful citizenship." Land for the original campus of 280 acres was donated by the city of Lawrence. The school was known as the Indian Training School of Lawrence until 1890 when it was named for Congressman Dudley C. Haskell of Kansas who was influential in locating it in the State.

This initial attempt to educate the Indian in the ways of the white man was regarded as a radical innovation, especially by the considerable group of people in the western States who still adhered to the belief, fostered by years of bloody warfare, that "the only good Indian was a dead Indian."

Classes opened with twenty-two students and a faculty of three members. While enrollment was unrestricted as to age, tribe, or residence, the first enrollees were younger children from the reservations whose parents felt compelled to send their boys and girls to Lawrence to "learn the white man's ways." Consequently the first academic courses were elementary and many of the children had to be taught to speak English as well as to read and write.

The first superintendent was Dr. James Marvin, who had lately retired as chancellor of the University of Kansas. Doctor Marvin held office for one year and was replaced by Col. Arthur Grabouski, a retired Army officer who instituted a rule of strict military discipline. Colonel Grabouski was succeeded by former Gov. Charles Robinson.

Enrollment increased rapidly and at the end of the second year had reached 200, representing 31 tribes. As older students began to enroll courses in home economics for the girls and handicraft and agriculture for the boys were developed. By 1895 new academic courses had given the school a rating equal to that of a standard elementary school and junior high school.

As the older Indian boys came in increasing numbers Haskell began a program of organized athletics. In competitive sports, especially football, the Indians displayed a remarkable skill. As the fame of Haskell elevens spread, the Braves were invited to compete with some of the larger colleges and universities in the Missouri Valley area. In later years they played in every section of the country.

Although Haskell has never produced an athlete who equalled Carlisle's Jim Thorpe, many of its gridiron heroes have received national or sectional recognition. The list includes Bill Bain, the Hauser brothers, Chauncey Archiquette, John Levi, Buster Charles, and Louis "Little Rabbit" Weller. Pete Hauser, who played on a Haskell team that defeated the Universities of Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri, was one of Walter Camp's All American selections in the early 1900's. John Levi, a giant Arapahoe, starred in the early 1920's and was recognized as one of the finest fullbacks of his generation. The Little Rabbit, an eel-like Caddo halfback, thrilled Kansas football crowds from 1928 to 1931 with his sensational runs.

In 1931 Haskell's enrollment reached its peak of 1,240. Two years later the Reverend Henry Roe Cloud, a full-blood Winnebago, was appointed superintendent, the only Indian who ever held the office. He was succeeded in 1935 by Russell M. Kelley, the present (1938) institutional head.

In 1934 a new Indian educational policy resulted in the elimination of the agricultural courses and the curtailment of enrollment. The new plans originally provided for the abandonment of non-reservation schools, but because of a storm of protest Haskell was permitted to continue. Haskell now offers a four year high school course and a two year postgraduate commercial course. Enrollment is limited to students from Kansas, Iowa, Montana (except the Flathead Reservation), North Dakota, South Dakota, North Carolina, Michigan, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Wyoming. In 1938 there were approximately 600 students. Applicants who are of less than one fourth Indian blood are not accepted.

Except for their racial characteristics Haskell students look very much like their neighbors at the University. Indian coeds keep pace with the current styles in campus wear, and boys dress in the casual garb affected by college men throughout the country.

A tour of the campus may be made by following a circular tree lined drive from the Barker Street entrance. The drive passes the Administration Building, a one-story frame building of bungalow-type; Pocahontas Hall and Winona Hall, girls' dormitories; Sacajawia Hall, Home Economics Building. Keokuk Hall and Osceola Hall, now used as boys' dormitories, are the oldest buildings on the campus. Both were built in 1884 and are of local limestone construction, four stories high and of the institutional-type of architecture. Other buildings in the following order are: Sequoia Hall, the Academic Building; Tecumseh Hall, the boys' gymnasium; Hiawatha Hall, the girls' gymnasium; the Auditorium; Pontiac Hall, the vocational building; and Powhatan Hall, which contains apartments for teachers. The buildings are predominantly of the institutional-type, ranging from two to four stories in height and are of brick and local limestone construction. Left from the entrance is the STADIUM, with a seating capacity of 17,000, donated to the Institute by Indians in appreciation of the work done for Indian youth. It was dedicated November n, 1926.

The REUTER ORGAN FACTORY, 6th and New Hampshire Sts., manufactures custom-built pipe organs and is the only factory of its kind between the Mississippi River and the Pacific Coast. The company was organized at Trenton, 111., in 1917 and moved to Lawrence three years later. The plant is housed in a four-story, factory-type building of brick. Normal production varies from 50 to 60 organs a year and the company employs approximately 45 persons.

The KAW VALLEY CANNING PLANT, E. loth and Maryland Sts., is a three-story, factory-type building of brick. The factory was established in 1885 by the late Jabez Watkins. In 1930 it was leased to the Columbus Foods Corp. and has since operated under their control. Providing a cash market for truck farmers in the Kaw Valley areas near Lawrence, the cannery operates continuously from April, when the spinach crop is harvested, until late November, when the last of the pumpkin crop is ready for canning. Large quantities of peas, sweet corn, tomatoes, and green beans also are canned. An average of 75 persons are employed during the season. Since 1930 the average annual output has been 75 carloads.

The ELDRIDGE HOTEL, SW. corner 7th and Massachusetts Sts., a five-story brick structure of modern design erected in 1925 is the fourth hotel on this site. The Free State Hotel, the first on the townsite, was burned by Sheriff Jones' raiders, May 21, 1856. In 1863 Col. S. W. Eldridge built another hotel on the corner, but this building was burned by Quantrill's men a few months after its completion. Before the end of the year, Colonel Eldridge began the construction of a third building that occupied the site until it was razed in 1924 to be replaced by the new Eldridge.

TRINITY EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 1009 Vermont St., now used as a parish house, is the oldest church building in Kansas. It is English Gothic in design, constructed of native limestone, and was erected in 1858. The present church, just north of the old building, is also of native stone and of similar design. It was completed in 1871 and has been remodeled in recent years.

The SITE OF THE OLD SNYDER HOME, approximately 400 yards south of the intersection of 19th and Haskell Sts., where the Reverend S. S. Snyder of the United Brethren Church was killed by Quantrill's band as they entered Lawrence, is marked by a WELL.

See also: Kansas Facts: Douglas County Facts

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