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The Kaw people, also known as the Kansa, settled the region including what is now Lawrence in the late 17th or early 18th century. A series of treaties with the U.S. government compelled the Kaw to relinquish the land to the Shawnee and their Indian Reservation, established in 1830. The Kansas Territory was established in May 1854. During this period, the Oregon Trail ran parallel to the Kansas River, roughly through the area where Lawrence is now. A hill in the area, then known as Hogback Ridge and now known as Mount Oread, which sits on the water divide separating the Kansas and Wakarusa River, was used as a landmark and outlook by those on the trail. While the territory was technically closed to settlement until 1854, there were a few "squatter settlements" in the area, especially just north of the Kansas River.
Lawrence was founded "strictly for political reasons" having to do with slavery, which was heavily debated in the United States in the early to mid-1800s. Northern Democrats, led by Senators Lewis Cass of Michigan and Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, promoted "popular sovereignty" as a middle position on the slavery issue. Its proponents argued that it was more democratic, as it allowed the citizens of newly organized territories (and not Washington, D.C. politicians) to have a direct say as to the legality of slavery in their own lands. (Meanwhile, enemies of the bill, especially in the north, derisively called this idea "squatter sovereignty".) Douglas eventually made popular sovereignty the backbone of his Kansas–Nebraska Act—legislation that effectively repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska—which passed Congress in 1854.
The Christian abolitionist and Protestant minister Richard Cordley later noted that after the bill became law, "there was a feeling of despondency all over the north" because its passage "opened Kansas to [the possibility of] slavery [which many] thought equivalent to making Kansas a slave state." This was largely because nearby Missouri allowed slavery, and many rightly assumed that the first settlers in Kansas Territory would come from Missouri, bringing their penchant for slavery with them. In time, anger at the Kansas-Nebraska Act united antislavery forces into a movement committed to stopping the expansion of slavery, eventually institutionalized as the Republican Party. Many slavery opponents decided to "meet the question [of slavery in Kansas] on the terms of the bill itself" by migrating to Kansas, electing antislavery legislators, and eventually banning slavery altogether. These settlers soon became known as "Free-Staters". Even before the bill passed, some people already had this idea. In early May 1854, four men—Thomas W. and Oliver P. Barber, Samuel Walker, and Thomas M. Pearson—toured the new territory with the intention of finding a good place to settle. Their travels included what would become Lawrence, passing up on the spur of Hogback Ridge. The Kansas-Nebraska Act passed while they were in the territory, and they were instrumental in convincing others to come. In his book A History of Lawrence (1895), Cordley wrote:
Branscomb was tasked with exploring the Kansas River up to about Fort Riley, while Robinson scouted land near Fort Leavenworth and the nearby city of the same name; after assessing the territory they had surveyed, the two recommended that the New England Emigrant Aid Company (NEEAC) send its settlers to claim territory along the Oregon Trail near Hogback Ridge. The two likely chose this site because it was the "first desirable location where emigrant Indians had ceded their land rights." The area was also attractive because it was close to not only on the Oregon Trail, but also the Santa Fe and the 1846 Military Trails.
Concurrent with Robinson and Branscomb's exploration, the NEEAC was soliciting some of its members to settle in Kansas. At first, the NEEAC wanted to send a somewhat sizeable group of settlers to claim the land, but a cholera outbreak in the Missouri Valley prevented that. In the end, a group of only 29 men—which Eli Thayer later called the "pioneer colony"—volunteered for the job. Led by Branscomb, these pioneers left Boston, Massachusetts, and set out for Kansas Territory on July 17, 1854; according to Thayer's antislavery newspaper the Kansas Crusader for Freedom, "Immense crowds had gathered [in Boston] at the station to give them a parting God-speed. They moved out of the station amid the cheering of the crowds who lined the track for several blocks." In late July, the group met Robinson in St. Louis, and he discussed the next leg of the journey with them and provided them with transportation. The pioneers arrived in Kansas Territory near the end of July, and at about noon on August 1, they ate their first meal on Hogback Ridge itself, which was soon renamed Mount Oread after the Oread Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts. Immediately thereafter, about half this party set off to claim land in the nearby countryside, where about 15 of the original settlers remained, and began to establish a city between Mount Oread and the Kansas River roughly where Massachusetts Street now runs.
While all of this was unfolding, a followup party of 67, guided by Robinson and Samuel C. Pomeroy (an abolitionist and a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives), left Worcester, Massachusetts, on August 31; along the way to Kansas, settlers of similar political inclinations joined this group, and when the party reached its destination on September 9–11, it had grown to about 114 people. This second party included about ten women, a number of children, and several musicians. A third group of settlers arrived in the vicinity of the future city on October 8–9, but many "became disgusted by the outlook" of the settlement and returned to New England, feeling they had been "deceived" by the NEEAC. A fourth group of settlers arrived on October 30, followed by a fifth on November 20 and a sixth on December 1. On September 18, the early colonists convened and established a "voluntary municipal government", and by September 20, the settlers had approved a constitution that included principles of prohibitionatory Maine law to govern their town. The settlement was created against threats by pro-slavery men that the free-staters ought to be "driven from the country." The first rally of forces from Lawrence was the night of September 30, done to protect Thomas J. Ferril, a free-state Methodist preacher from Missouri. His assailants had surrounded his house, threatening violence and to destroy his property, but retreated upon seeing a body of armed free-staters without injury to either side. The next day, a woman tore down a free-state man's tent. Pro-slavery men rallied to prevent the tent's reconstruction by a group of about 20 armed free-staters, but it was completed without violence. The next day, a sizeable band of pro-slavery men appeared, threatening a repeat of the attack, but upon seeing their opponents ready, they retreated with renewed threats of vengeance.
When the settlers first arrived, most had called their fledgling city simply Wakarusa, after the nearby river of the same name, but other names were considered, such as New Boston (in recognition of both the NEEAC's city of operation and the hometown of many early settlers) and Plymouth (after Plymouth Rock). Meanwhile, settlers from Missouri derisively called it "Yankee Town", due to its New England connections. Another name considered around this time was Lawrence. Many approved of this name in honor of Amos A. Lawrence, an Ipswich-based businessman and noted abolitionist, who, Cordley writes, was "a man of wide personal influence" and "one of the first men of means" to fund the Emigrant Aid Company. Others hoped that if they named their town after him, Lawrence would be inclined to support them with monetary donations, which proved correct. Another factor making "Lawrence" a popular choice was that it had "no bad odor attached to it in any part of the Union." On October 1, the settlement's leaders voted to approve "Lawrence" as the name of their new city, and on October 17, the citizens drew territory lots so as to begin erecting homes and businesses. Around this time, the settlers got into a heated argument with pro-slavery squatters, who were hoping to establish a city named Excelsior on the land where Lawrence was being constructed. These pro-slavers threatened violence against anyone who stood in their way, but eventually acquiesced to the New Englanders, and no open conflict occurred.
In early October 1854, the first governor of the Kansas Territory, Andrew Horatio Reeder, arrived, had a reception and a festival, and after a welcoming speech by Pomeroy, made a conciliatory speech urging harmony and order, while evading the slavery question. Lawrence's first winter was characterized by great hardship, as the people predominantly lived in sod houses and "shanties made of clap-boards." About two miles (3.3 km) south of Lawrence, at the first election on November 3, 1854, which was to elect only Congressional delegates, there was a commotion; it ended with a man named Henry Davis attacking a pro-slavery man named Lucius Kibbee with a Bowie knife. The fight ended when Kibbee shot Davis, making this Kansas's first homicide. While briefly incarcerated at Fort Leavenworth, Kibbee was never tried.
By the end of 1854, two newspapers touting the free state mission had been established in the town: the Herald of Freedom, edited by George W. Brown, and the Kansas Pioneer, edited by John Speer, renamed the Kansas Tribune after Speer discovered that a proslavery Kansas Pioneer newspaper already existed. A third paper, the Kansas Free State, was also created by editors Robert Gaston Elliott and Josiah Miller, and began publication in early January 1855. The Plymouth Congregational Church was started in September 1854 by Reverend S. Y. Lum, a missionary sent to Kansas from Middletown, New York. The first post office in Lawrence was established in January 1855, and E. D. Ladd was appointed the town's first postmaster. On January 10, 1855, the first school in Kansas was established in Lawrence by voluntary contributions, and it was taught by Edward P. Fitch.
At the start of 1855, settlers who held opposing opinions about slavery had settled in the Kansas Territory around the Lawrence area and began vying for political power. Secret societies, called Blue Lodges, were created, and their sole purpose was to make Kansas a slave state. Their plan was to come into Kansas on the day of the election and vote so as to gain control of the legislature. Before the election, a census was conducted. Kansas had a population of 8,601 with 2,905 of them being voters. Lawrence, specifically, had 369 voters. At the legislature election on March 30, 1855, about 700–1,000 armed pro-slavery men from Missouri voted at the election. They came in over 100 wagons, and they were armed with guns, rifles, pistols, and Bowie knives. They also brought two pieces of artillery. Due to their large numbers, they went unchallenged. They left for Missouri the next morning, having camped in Lawrence the night before. Silas Bond was shot at and driven from the polls on the grounds that he was "an obnoxious free-state man." 1,034 votes were cast in Lawrence, 232 of which were legal, with 802 being from non-residents. There were only 2,905 legal voters in the territory, but 6,307 votes were cast. The people appealed to Governor Andrew Reeder to set the election aside, to which he agreed initially, but after being threatened by pro-slavery people, he decided instead to hold another election in districts in which there were protests, such as Lawrence. The people of Lawrence felt this did nothing, and many were uncertain about what would happen or what they needed to do.
In June 1855, a meeting was held in Lawrence, at which resolutions were adopted intending to resist any laws that may be passed by the legislature, and they declared that the legislature was elected by "armed usurpers from Missouri." This paved the way for a larger convention on June 25. Between June 8 and August 15, 1855, seven meetings were held in Lawrence for the purposes of resisting the legislature. The free-state leaders sent George W. Deitzler to the east to secure weapons from other anti-slavery people. Amos Lawrence and others sent crates full of rifles, to which they labeled "books" because "the border ruffians had no use for books, they came through without being disturbed." With the help of Horace Greeley, a howitzer was sent to Lawrence. On August 27, 1855, the proslavery faction in Douglas County (based primarily out of the territorial capital, Lecompton, as well as smaller satellite settlements like Franklin and Lone Star) got a boost when acting territorial governor Daniel Woodson appointed the zealously proslavery settler Samuel J. Jones to the office of county sheriff. Then, in October 1855, the outspoken abolitionist John Brown arrived in the Kansas Territory; he brought with him a wagon-load of weapons with which he intended to use to fight off "Satan and his legions" (i.e., proslavery settlers).
For much of 1855, the pro- and antislavery factions existed uneasily with one another. Then on November 21, 1855, after an intense verbal altercation, the proslavery settler Franklin N. Coleman shot the Free-Stater Charles Dow in the head, killing him. The murder was the culmination of a long-simmering feud between the two, as for some time they had bickered about a land claim near the Hickory Point post office, located about 14 miles (23 km) south of Lawrence. According to the Border War Encyclopedia, "Politics had not motivated Coleman to kill Dow, but the murder marked the genesis of the violent political divisions that characterized Kansas for the next 10 years." When Jones investigated the crime, Coleman argued that he had simply been acting in self-defense. The sheriff sided with his proslavery compatriot and chose to instead arrest Dow's free state affiliate Jacob Branson for disturbing the peace. Branson was quickly rescued by Samuel Newitt Wood and a gang of Free-Staters by breaking him out of jail. He was rescued at one in the morning, just two hours after the arrest. As the gang of free-staters were heading back, they were unsure of what to do. They consulted with Charles Robinson, and they all realized that the pro-slavery people would label this act of breaking someone out of jail as an insurrection. They realized that the militia would be called to carry out the arrests of those who broke Branson out of jail, but that they would likely use it as an excuse to destroy Lawrence. The rest of the city was unaware of the rescue at this time. It was decided that the men who broke Branson out of jail would need to keep out of the way. Robinson informed the others at a meeting of citizens that morning, to which they agreed. They then started preparing the city for defense.
To calm the increasingly belligerent settlers, the governor of the Kansas Territory, Wilson Shannon, called on the Kansas militia to intervene and keep the peace. Shannon had intended for the militia to be composed of Kansans, but Jones mustered a small army of 1,200–1,500 proslavery men, all but about 50 came from Missouri. When the citizens of Lawrence learned of Jones's army, they raised up a defensive militia of 600–800 men armed with "Beecher's Bibles". Robinson was chosen to direct the city's military operations, the future state senator James Lane was selected as his second-in-command, and a "committee of safety" was also created, which organized squads of about 20 men to keep watch over the city. Lawrence was additionally aided by John Brown and his four sons: John Jr., Oliver, Owen, and Watson. Five forts of earthwork or rifle pits were constructed, and a solid defense was prepared. While both sides were ready for a fight, an outright clash between the two militias was prevented at least in part by the harsh Kansas winter. On December 8, Shannon had had enough and ordered representatives from both sides to meet at the proslavery stronghold of Franklin to sign a peace treaty. Terms were agreed to, and eventually, after much persuading, the Missouri army reluctantly left the area. This conflict, despite its rather diminutive size and scale, would later be known as the "Wakarusa War".
In the spring of 1856, the proslavery forces, hoping to diminish the power of the anti-slavery settlers, singled out the Kansas Free State, the Herald of Freedom, and the Free State Hotel (the latter of which was owned and operated by the NEEAC) as "nuisances" that needed to be stopped. On April 23, 1856 Sheriff Jones entered into Lawrence and attempted to arrest about a dozen members of the extralegal Free-State legislature (a rogue governing body which had been set up in opposition to the official proslavery territorial government). During the commotion, Jones was non-fatally shot by a sniper named Charles Lenhart, and Lawrence residents promptly drove the sheriff out of town. The people of Lawrence disavowed the act, and they offered a $500 bounty for the sniper's arrest. A few weeks later, on May 11, Federal Marshal Israel B. Donaldson proclaimed the act had interfered with the legal execution of warrants against select antislavery settlers. This proclamation was bolstered by a Kansas grand jury's presentment that "the building known as the 'Free State' Hotel' [sic] in Lawrence had been constructed with a view to military occupation and defence, regularly parapetted and port holed, for the use of cannon and small arms, thereby endangering the public safety, and encouraging rebellion and sedition in this country". Donaldson, Jones, and Missouri senator David Rice Atchison consequently raised up another army comprising around 800 Southerners. Ostensibly this army's purpose was to enforce the legal arrest warrants, but the group was also motivated by a desire to stamp out the Free-Stater nest that was Lawrence.
On May 21, Donaldson and Jones rode into town and successfully arrested those who had previously evaded them. While the citizens of Lawrence hoped that the officers would leave peacefully after making the arrests, this did not come to pass. Donaldson dismissed his men, who were immediately deputized by Jones. The sheriff was then joined by more followers and together they began to sack the city. After seizing the house of Charles Robinson (who had recently been arrested in Missouri, and was held in prison near Lecompton on grounds of treason) to serve as his headquarters, Jones and his men attacked the offices of the antislavery newspapers. The attackers smashed the presses, tossed the type into the nearby Kansas River, and threw already-printed copies of the newspapers into the wind. After this was done, the proslavery mob shot the Free State Hotel with a cannon before burning it down. Jones and his men then pillaged $30,000 worth of valuables. When Jones left the city, he and his men lit Robinson's house on fire for good measure. Although the city was thoroughly ransacked, the human cost of the attack was low: only one person—a member of Jones's posses—died during the attack when he was struck by a piece of falling masonry. In late September 1856, another sack seemed nigh when, according to the Kansas State Board of Agriculture 1878 Biennial Report, "2,700 proslavery men appeared in sight of Lawrence, and the city was temporarily defended by Free-State men, under the command of Maj. J. B. Abbott". However, this threat was neutralized when the recently-installed territorial governor John W. Geary realized what was about to happen and called for federal reinforcements to defend the city.
In both 1855 and 1857, Lawrence received a charter from the proslavery government in Lecompton, but the citizens, being adamant in their opposition to the "Bogus Legislature", refused to accept it, as it would have organized Lawrence under proslavery laws. In July 1857, the citizens of Lawrence then attempted to secure an "official" city charter from the extralegal Free-State legislature before issuing one themselves. This act was seen as one of bold-faced insurrection by the newly-installed territorial governor Robert J. Walker; as a result, on July 15, 1857 Walker ordered William S. Harney to send a regiment of soldiers to watch over the city and impose martial law. These troops remained in the vicinity of Lawrence until the territorial elections in October of that year. By this time, it seemed as if the struggles of Lawrence's early citizens were coming to fruition. In the election of 1857, free-staters gained the upper hand and were able to oust the proslavery majority from the territorial legislature. By the start of the next year, Samuel Jones—long the enemy of Lawrence's free state population—resigned his post as sheriff and left the territory. On January 16, 1858, Lawrence was declared the seat of Douglas County (an honor that had previously belonged to Lecompton). In February of that year, the legislature approved the city charter that had been drafted a little less than a year prior in July, and soon James Blood became the first mayor of the city. Around this time, the antislavery legislature often met in Lawrence, which functioned as the de facto capital of Kansas Territory from 1858 until 1861 (although Lecompton was still the de jure seat of the governing body).
On October 4, 1859, the Wyandotte Constitution was approved in a referendum by a vote of 10,421 to 5,530, and after its approval by the U.S. Congress, Kansas was admitted as a free state on January 29, 1861. By the time the Wyandotte Constitution was framed in 1859, it was clear that the proslavery forces had lost in their bid to control Kansas. But while Kansas's entrance into the Union as a free state arguably ended the Bleeding Kansas period, it coincided with the outbreak of the American Civil War. Kansas's admission as a free state immediately followed the departure of the seceding states' pro-slavery congressmen, who until then had blocked it.
During the war, Lawrence became a stronghold for Jayhawker guerilla units (also known as "Red Legs"), led by James Lane, James Montgomery, and "Doc" Jennison, among others. These groups raided parts of western Missouri, stealing goods and burning down farms; it was a common belief by Southerners that the goods snatched by these Jayhawkers were stored in Lawrence. On August 21, 1863, Lawrence was attacked and destroyed by William Quantrill and hundreds of his irregular Confederate raiders. Most houses and businesses in Lawrence were burned and between 150 and 200 men and boys were murdered, leaving 80 widows and 250 orphans. About $2,000,000 worth of property (equivalent to $41,529,730 in 2019) was destroyed. The Plymouth Congregational Church in Lawrence survived the attack, but a number of its members were killed and its records were destroyed.
Following the Lawrence Massacre, the survivors and their Unionist allies began to clean up the damage and restore their settlement. After a very bitter winter that forced the citizens to temporarily put their work on hold, rebuilding continued into 1864, and was completed with a zeal that Richard Cordley described as akin to "a religious obligation." Given the trauma of 1863, the citizens of Lawrence were on edge during this period of rebuilding; Cordley notes, "Rumors [of guerrilla attacks] were thick and the people [of Lawrence] were particularly sensitive to them." Consequently, Lawrence citizens organized themselves into companies to protect the city. Around this time, the federal government also erected several military posts on Mount Oread (among them Camp Ewing, Camp Lookout, and Fort Ulysses) to keep guard over the city. However, no further attacks were made on Lawrence, and these installations were eventually abandoned and dismantled after the war.
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. On January 13, 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. Eventually, Lawrence beat out Emporia by one vote, and in 1866, the University of Kansas (KU) was opened to students.
The first railroad that connected Lawrence was built in 1864, starting from Kansas City. It was surveyed by the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division, and the first train to Lawrence traveled on November 28, 1864. The first train to operate in Kansas south of the Kansas River did so by crossing the river in Lawrence on November 1, 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.
The first wind-powered mill in Kansas was built in Lawrence in 1863 near the corner of what is now 9th Street and Emery Road. It was partially destroyed during Quantrill's Raid, but it was rebuilt in 1864 at a cost of $9,700. It continued to be operational until July 1885, but on April 30, 1905, it was destroyed in a fire.
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.
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.
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 1909, the streetcar company created Casey's Coaster (also known as Daisy's Dozer), a wooden roller coaster which lasted from 1909 to the 1920s, in Woodland Park.
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.
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.
The city's planning and urban development department estimates that the city reached 100,000 people in early 2018.
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.
As of 2010 the median income for a household was $41,290, and the median income for a family was $65,673. Males had a median income of $42,362 versus $34,124 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,666. About 10.7% of families and 23.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.2% of those under age 18 and 7.1% of those age 65 or over.
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.
Kansas is the home of some of the most famous names in American history, including Heman Ely, Attanasia Hanks, Lawrence Wethington, Atta Mills and many more. Kansas City is where many of the "Greatest Names in History" were born, like Sam Langhorne Clemens, Atta Mills, Lawrence Lasker and the aforementioned individuals. Kansas has also been a destination for musical artists, including Jelly Belly, Percy Sledge and Aretha Franklin. Kansas City has played a crucial role in shaping the country's culture and today, Kansas City is again, making it a hot destination for immigrants to the country.
The state of Kansas has been described as a place filled with excitement since the early days of the nation. Its territory stretched from the western portions of Texas into present-day northern Louisiana. This "American West" region was a center of growth for both fur traders with their African horses. It was also a major trading post in the Heartland during the 1800s. When the nation was experiencing a "grain depression," Kansas was one of the few states that prospered, thanks in large part to the abundance of fertile land, paired with an excellent climate and the ability to railroads through much of the state.
Kansas had been a center for one of the biggest and most important trade disputes in modern history. At the time, Kansas was the very heart of the transcontinental railroad and, later, the state's biggest market for grain. Kansas became a pro-slavery state when the Kansas territory was split among slave-holding Missouri settlers and free states. Kansas was the final destination for both free blacks and white slave-holding Missourians in the United States' vast slave-holding south.
The pro-slavery element in Kansas was a significant one. Kansas was under the thumb of a man named Aaron Henry Powlegs. He organized and led what was known as the "Kansas Free State Party" and was instrumental in getting Kansas into the union. This group was considered a dangerous fringe by many of its Southerners and other people in the north. The Kansas Free State Party later splintered and was absorbed into the larger anti-slavery movement.
Kansas was also the home of some of the nation's biggest popular comedians. Kansas City has been the home of Dick Gregory, Larry the Cable Guy, and several other notable comedians who have made a name for themselves in Kansas City. In fact, Kansas City is the home of the "Kansas City Chainsaw Massacre" where a dispute between citizens resulted in a horrific killing. Bill Kansas was the Kansas Governor at the time, and he ordered the execution of the victims because they were African-Americans.
Basketball was a big part of Kansas during the early years. Kansas was one of the first colleges to offer professional basketball programs. A lot of good basketball players have come out of Kansas including Clyde Drexler, Scottie Pippen and Bruce Maxwell. They are just a few of the many that have gone on to become professional basketball players all over the world.
The University of Kentucky has also held the title of "Famous Five." This was back in 1960. These included such notables as John Wooden, George Mason, Oscar Robertson, and John Ringo. The "Famous Five" is still popular today as a fun class to take in college.
As you can see, Kentucky is both a world-famous place in which to live and also a popular place for entertainment. You can find a variety of events taking place in Kansas City throughout the year. From the large annual Jazz Fest in January to the amateur basketball leagues throughout the summer, Kansas City is an interesting and vibrant place to visit.