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Lawrence, Kansas

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Location within Douglas County and Kansas
Location within Douglas County and Kansas
KDOT map of Douglas County (legend)
Coordinates: 38°58′18″N 95°14′7″W / 38.97167°N 95.23528°W / 38.97167; -95.23528Coordinates: 38°58′18″N 95°14′7″W / 38.97167°N 95.23528°W / 38.97167; -95.23528[5]
CountryUnited States
IncorporatedFebruary 20, 1858[6]
Named forAmos Adams Lawrence
 • MayorJennifer Ananda
 • Vice MayorBrad Finkeldei
 • City ManagerCraig Owens[7]
 • Total34.26 sq mi (88.7 km2)
 • Land33.56 sq mi (86.9 km2)
 • Water0.70 sq mi (1.8 km2)
Elevation866 ft (264 m)
 • Total87,643
 • Estimate 
 • Density2,558.2/sq mi (987.72/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
66044-66047, 66049
FIPS code20-38900[5]
GNIS ID0479145[5]

Lawrence is a city in Douglas County in the state of Kansas in the United States. It is in the northeastern part of the state, near the Kansas City area. It is the county seat of Douglas County. In 2010, 87,643 people lived there;[11] though in 2019, there were an estimated 98,193 people.[10] This makes it the sixth-biggest city in Kansas. The University of Kansas and Haskell Indian Nations University are in Lawrence.

The New England Emigrant Aid Company (NEEAC) created Lawrence in 1854. It is named after Amos Adams Lawrence, who gave financial support to the city.[12] During Bleeding Kansas, Lawrence was where the Wakarusa War (1855) and the Sack of Lawrence (1856) happened. Lawrence is also the site of the Lawrence Massacre (1863) which happened during the American Civil War (1861–1865).

Lawrence started as an important place for free-state politics. After that, Lawrence's economy grew to be in many industries. These industries include agriculture, manufacturing, and education. Lawrence is called a "college town" because the University of Kansas is an important part of the city. There are many places in town where students like to go.


See also: History of Kansas

Early history

Before the creation of the Kansas Territory, the area was part of the Shawnee Reservation.[13][14] The Shawnee reservation was created in 1830. Most of eastern Kansas was in the reservation. In 1854, it became part of the Kansas Territory. The Oregon Trail went through the area. People on the Oregon Trail used a hill called "Hogback Ridge" to help guide them.[13] Today, Hogback Ridge is called "Mount Oread."

In the first half of the 1800s, there were many arguments about slavery in the United States. During this time, every time a free state (a state where slavery was illegal) was added into the country, a slave state (a state where slavery was allowed) had to be added too. The Missouri Compromise continued to let this happen. As a compromise to people arguing about new states being free or slave, Senator Lewis Cass and Senator Stephen A. Douglas promoted the idea of "popular sovereignty." That meant the people in the area would decide to have slavery or not (instead of politicians in Washington deciding). Popular sovereignty was a big part of the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act. That law undid the Missouri Compromise in practice. The Kansas-Nebraska Act also created the Kansas Territory and the Nebraska Territory.[15][16]

After the law passed, anti-slavery people were worried that the Kansas Territory would become a slave state.[17] This is because the state next to Kansas is Missouri, which was a slave state. People believed that the first settlers in Kansas would be from Missouri.[17] To stop Missouri from influencing Kansas, anti-slavery people from around the United States came to Kansas. These people wanted to make Kansas a free state.[15][18] These people were called "free-staters."[19] The New England Emigrant Aid Company (NEEAC) helped anti-slavery people move to Kansas. It sent two men named Charles L. Robinson and Charles H. Branscomb to explore the land. They would decide a good place to send people. They saw Hogback Ridge, and they liked it because it was close to the Oregon Trail.[20][21][22][23] They told the NEEAC to send people to this place.

Charles L. Robinson was important in creating Lawrence.

While Robinson and Branscomb were exploring, the NEEAC was getting people to move to Kansas.[20] The NEEAC wanted to send a big group of people to claim the land. However, a cholera outbreak in the Missouri Valley stopped this from happening.[24] The NEEAC was able to get a small group of only 29 men to go.[20] They left Boston, Massachusetts on July 17, 1854. Many people in Boston were happy to see them do this, and they hoped they would do well.[20][25] In late July, the group came to St. Louis and met Charles Robinson. He gave them transportation and told them what to do.[20] They came to the Kansas Territory in late July. They ate their first meal on Hogback Ridge on August 1, 1854.[20][26][27][28] After they had eaten, half of them left to claim the land around them. The other half stayed on Hogback Ridge. They began putting up their tents between Mount Oread and the Kansas River (close to where Massachusetts Street is). This was the start of the city.[25][29]

Four weeks later, Robinson and Samuel C. Pomeroy led a second group of 67 people from Worcester, Massachusetts on August 31. While they were going to Kansas, other anti-slavery people joined them. When they came to Lawrence on September 9–11, their group had 114 people.[21][25][30] This group had about ten women, some children, and some musicians.[30] A third group came on October 8-9. However, many of them "became disgusted" by the settlement because it did not look good, and they went back to New England. Many felt the NEEAC tricked them.[29] A fourth group came on October 30,[31][32] a fifth group on November 20, and a sixth group on December 1.[33]

On September 18, 1854, the people of Lawrence made a government. On September 20, they wrote a constitution which did not allow slavery. The people of Lawrence wrote this constitution even though other people near them wanted slavery. On September 30, the people of Lawrence came together to protect Thomas J. Ferril, an anti-slavery clergyman from Missouri. Pro-slavery people went to Ferril's house and threatened violence. The pro-slavery people left when they saw free-state people coming with guns.[28] On October 1, a woman destroyed the tent of a free-state man. Pro-slavery people came to stop the settlers from building the tent again, but they built the tent again without violence.[28]

Lawrence was first called "Wakarusa". It also had different names like "New Boston" or "Yankee Town."[28] Some people wanted the city to be called "Lawrence" to honor a man named Amos Adams Lawrence.[21] He was a Republican businessman who did not like slavery. People believed that if they named the city "Lawrence," he would give financial support to the city. He did.[34] On October 1, the people voted to name the city Lawrence.[21] On October 17, people started building houses and businesses.[31] Pro-slavery people tried to build houses close to Lawrence, and people from Lawrence hated this. They had a very angry argument. The pro-slavery people threatened violence, but they left. No violence happened.[31]

In early October 1854, Andrew Horatio Reeder, the first governor of the Kansas Territory, came to Lawrence. He had a party. He asked everyone to get along. He did not say anything about slavery.[28] The first winter in Lawrence was difficult because it was very cold, and people did not have good houses.[28] Two miles south of Lawrence on November 3, 1854, the first elections were held. At the elections, a man named Henry Davis attacked a pro-slavery man named Lucius Kibbee using a Bowie knife.[28][35] Kibbee then shot Davis and killed him. This was the first murder in Kansas.[28]

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

Two newspapers were started in 1854. They were the Kansas Pioneer and the Herald of Freedom. The writers of the newspapers wrote about their belief that slavery was wrong.[36] The Plymouth Congregational Church was built in September 1854; it was the first church in Kansas. In January 1855, Lawrence's first post office was built.[37] The first postmaster was E. D. Ladd.[38] On January 10, 1855, Lawrence's first free school was built. The teacher was Edward Fitch.[28]

"Bleeding Kansas"

See also: Bleeding Kansas and Wakarusa War

At the start of 1855, the free-staters and the pro-slavery people around Lawrence started fighting for political power. At the Kansas elections on March 30, 1865, about 700-1,000 pro-slavery people from Missouri voted at the election. They came in more than 100 wagons. They had guns, rifles, pistols, and Bowie knives. They also brought two pieces of artillery.[39] No one argued with them because there were a lot of them. They went back to Missouri the next day. Before the election, the government did a census which showed that 8,601 people lived in Kansas. Of those 2,905 were voters; Lawrence had 369 voters.[40] There were a total of 2,905 voters in the territory, but there were 6,307 votes counted. 1,034 votes were cast in Lawrence, but 802 were from people who did not live in Kansas. Only 232 of the votes were real.[41] At the election, a man named Silas Bond was shot at, and he ran away. He was shot at because he was "an obnoxious free-state man."[28]

On August 27, 1855, the pro-slavery people were happy when the Governor Daniel Woodson chose a pro-slavery man, Samuel J. Jones, to be the county sheriff.[42] In October 1855, the anti-slavery man John Brown came to Kansas. He brought many guns to give to other anti-slavery people.[43]

In June 1855, the people of Lawrence had a meeting and decided to resist any laws the Kansas legislature passed. They believed the legislature was elected by armed Missouri people, not Kansas people.[28] Amos Lawrence and others sent crates full of rifles. They wrote on the crates that the things inside were books because "the border ruffians had no use for books," so they did not take the rifles when they came to Lawrence.[44] Horace Greeley helped send a howitzer to Lawrence.[44]

On November 21, 1855, the pro-slavery man Franklin N. Coleman shot anti-slavery man Charles Dow in the head. This killed him.[45][28] This happened after many angry arguments between them about land claims.[46][47] When Sheriff Samuel Jones investigated the crime, Franklin Coleman said he shot Charles Dow in self-defense. Jones believed Coleman because they both were pro-slavery men. Jones decided to arrest Jacob Branson, a friend of Charles Dow and an anti-slavery man, for disturbing the peace. A group of anti-slavery people saved Branson.[48][49][50]

Wilson Shannon, the governor of the Kansas Territory, saw that the people were becoming very angry and violent. He asked the Kansas militia to come and keep the peace. Shannon wanted the people in the militia to be from Kansas, but Samuel Jones brought 1,200-1,500 men from Missouri.[28][49][51] When the people of Lawrence learned this, they made a militia of 600-800 men. They chose Robinson to lead the militia. James H. Lane was chosen as his second-in-command. John Brown and his four sons also joined to fight. Both groups were ready to fight, but they could not because the winter was very cold. Wilson Shannon decided to prevent a fight. He demanded that the leaders of both sides agree to a peace treaty. They did, and the men from Missouri went back to Missouri.[28][48][49][52] This "war" is known as the Wakarusa War.[49]

The Free State Hotel after the 1856 Sacking of Lawrence.

In spring 1856, pro-slavery people wanted to make the free-staters weak. The pro-slavery people said that the Herald of Freedom newspaper, the Kansas Free State newspaper, and the Eldridge Hotel were very bad.[32] On April 23, 1856, Samuel Jones came to Lawrence. He tried to arrest some anti-slavery people who had created their own anti-slavery government. A sniper shot Samuel Jones, but he did not die. The people of Lawrence made Jones leave.[28][53][54] On May 11, Federal Marshall (like a police officer but for the entire country) Israel B. Donaldson said that people interfered with Samuel Jones which was not legal.[54] A Kansas grand jury agreed. They said that Lawrence built the Free State Hotel (the Eldridge Hotel) for military purposes.[55] Donaldson, Jones, and others recruited an army of 800 men[56][57] to enforce the law. However, they also wanted to stop the anti-slavery men in Lawrence.[58]

On May 21, Donaldson and Jones took their army to Lawrence. They arrested more anti-slavery people. The people of Lawrence hoped that Donaldson and Jones would leave after the arrests, but this did not happen. Jones and his men started sacking Lawrence. They took over Charles Robinson's house and used it as a headquarters.[28][59] They attacked free-state newspapers offices. They struck the printing presses, and they threw the sort into the Kansas River. They shot the Free State Hotel (the Eldridge Hotel) using a cannon and burned it down. They took $30,000 worth of things. After burning Charles Robinson's house, the army left.[58][60] The day of destruction was called the "Sacking of Lawrence." Surprisingly, only one person died; a man died when he was hit by falling masonry.[61] In late September 1856, another sack seemed like it was about to happen when 2,700 pro-slavery men came to Lawrence. Anti-slavery men defended the city.[28][62] Governor John W. Geary saw what was happening. He asked for federal reinforcements to defend the city. No violence happened.[28][62]

In 1855 and 1857, Lawrence got a charter (a document that officially creates a town) from the pro-slavery Kansas government. The people of Lawrence resisted the Kansas government because they believed they were too pro-slavery. They did not accept it because it would force Lawrence to follow pro-slavery laws.[63][64] In July 1857, the people of Lawrence tried to get an "official" (only the people of Lawrence saw it as official) charter from the extralegal (having no real authority) anti-slavery government.[63][65] If they could not get one, Lawrence would simply make one themselves. Governor Robert J. Walker believed this was a revolt. On July 15, 1857, he sent an army to Lawrence and declared martial law. The army stayed close to Lawrence until October 1857. They stayed until October because there were elections.[65][66] They wanted to make sure that there would be no violence at the elections. Anti-slavery people won the elections. The Kansas government became controlled by anti-slavery people.[67] In early 1858, Samuel Jones quit his job, and he left Kansas.[68][69] On January 16, 1858, Lawrence became the county seat of Douglas County.[70][71] In February 1858, the Kansas government approved an anti-slavery charter for Lawrence. James Blood became the first mayor of Lawrence.[63][72] The anti-slavery Kansas government met in Lawrence many times. In practice, Lawrence became the capital of Kansas from 1858 until 1861.[63]

American Civil War and Kansas becoming a state

Lawrence during Quantrill's Raid
Lawrence after Quantrill's Raid
See also: Lawrence Massacre

On October 4, 1859, the people of Kansas voted to approve the Wyandotte Constitution.[73] There were 10,421 "yes" votes and 5,530 "no" votes.[73] The United States Congress approved the Wyandotte Constitution. Kansas became a free state on January 29, 1861.[73] Pro-slavery people in Kansas knew they had lost. Kansas becoming a free state ended Bleeding Kansas. However, the American Civil War began around the same time.[74]

During the war, many Jayhawkers stayed in Lawrence. These Jayhawkers went to Missouri. They stole items and burned farms there. Many people in the Confederacy believed that the stolen items were in Lawrence.[75] On August 21, 1863, a pro-slavery man named William Quantrill rode into Lawrence with some men. They destroyed much of the town. They killed every adult man they saw. More than 150 men and boys died.[76] There was 2,000,000 dollars worth of property destroyed.[28] The Plymouth Congregational Church was not destroyed, but many of its people died.[77] This attack is known as the Lawrence massacre.

After Quantrill's Raid, the people and Union soldiers rebuilt the city.[78] It was not easy because the winter was very cold. They continued rebuilding until they finished in 1864.[79] While they were rebuilding, the people of Lawrence were afraid of another attack.[80] The military built some camps in Lawrence to guard the city, but no more attacks happened. After the Civil War, the camps were closed and removed.[81][82]

After the Civil War

Massachusetts Street in 1867
See also: History of the University of Kansas

There was a plan to build a university in Kansas in 1855, but it did not happen until Kansas became a state in 1861.[83] The Kansas government needed to decide where to build the university. Their choices were Manhattan, Emporia, or Lawrence. On January 13, 1863, Kansas State University was built in Manhattan.[84] However, the Kansas government decided to build another one. The only cities left where a university could be built were Emporia and Lawrence. Amos A. Lawrence gave $10,000 and more than 40 acres (160,000 m2) of land for a university in Lawrence. The Kansas government liked that, so the government chose Lawrence. The University of Kansas opened in 1866.[83]

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

In 1864, Lawrence got its first railroad. It connected Lawrence to Kansas City. The first train to go to Lawrence went on November 28, 1864.[85] The first train to cross the Kansas River crossed it in Lawrence on November 1, 1867.[86]

The windmill two years before it was destroyed, 1903.

In the early 1870s, Lawrence needed more electricity. The city asked Orlando Darling to build a dam on the Kansas River. Darling became angry because it took a long time to build a dam, so he stopped. The Lawrence Land & Water Company finished building the dam in 1873. The dam made Lawrence special because few cities had a dam. The dam closed in 1968, but the city reopened it in 1977. They wanted to build a new city hall next to the dam.[87] Today, the dam helps prevent flooding.

In 1863, the first windmill in Kansas was built in Lawrence.[88] It burned during Quantrill's Raid. In 1864, people rebuilt it. It cost them $9,700.[89] People used it until July 1895. On April 30, 1905, the windmill burned, and it was not rebuilt.[88]

In 1884, a school for Native Americans was built in Lawrence. It was named the United States Industrial Training School. Boys learned farming, blacksmithing, and more. Girls learned cooking and homemaking. In 1887, the name changed to the Haskell Institute. It was named after Dudley Haskell, a state legislator who helped make sure the school was built in Lawrence. In 1993, it was renamed the Haskell Indian Nations University.[90]

20th century

Watkins Community Museum

In 1888, Jabez B. Watkins opened the Watkins National Bank at 11th Street and Massachusetts Street. It closed in 1929. The building was given to the city to become the city hall. In 1970, Lawrence built a new city hall, so the building became a museum. It was called the Watkins Community Museum, and it opened in 1975.[91]

In 1903, the Kansas River flooded, which did a lot of damage.[92][93] The water was 27 feet (8.2 metres) high. The damage in North Lawrence was very bad. Lawrence was hit by other floods in 1951,[94] when the water was 30 feet high. It was hit again in 1993.[95] However, the damage was not very bad because of the reservoir and a levee.[95]

In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt came to Lawrence. He gave a short speech, and he dedicated a fountain at 9th & New Hampshire Street.[96] In 1910, Roosevelt came to Lawrence again after visiting Osawatomie.[97]

In 1871, the Lawrence Street Railway Company was created. It made it easy for people to go to hotels and businesses on Massachusetts Street. They had the first streetcar in Lawrence. Horses and mules were used to pull the streetcar. They could be used only on Massachusetts Street. After the 1903 flood, the Kansas River Bridge had to be rebuilt. It was not safe for streetcars to go on the bridge. The Lawrence Street Railway Company closed in 1903. In 1902, C. L. Rutter tried to start a bus system. He failed. In 1907, he tried again. In 1909, a new streetcar system was built which caused Rutter's buses to close. The streetcar system stayed until 1935.[98] In 1909, the streetcar company made a roller coaster. It was called "Casey's Coaster." Some people called it "Daisy's Dozer." It was made out of wood. It stayed until the 1920s.[99][100]

In 1921, the Lawrence Memorial Hospital opened with 50 beds. By 1980, it had 200 beds.[101] It has won many awards for good quality care and service.[102]

In 1929, Lawrence had its 75th birthday. To celebrate, a big rock was placed. It is called "Founder's Rock" to remember the early settlers who came to Lawrence from the New England Emigrant Aid Company.[103] On October 14, 1929, they opened the Lawrence Municipal Airport to the public.[93]

Downtown Lawrence

In 1943, during World War II, the United States government brought prisoners of war to Lawrence. They were mostly German and Italian people. The government brought them because farmers needed more workers. They were forced to live in camps which were like prisons. Lawrence's camp was near 11th Street and Haskell Avenue. The camp closed in 1945.[104]

In 1983, a famous movie, The Day After, was filmed in Lawrence. The movie is about a fictional nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.[105]

In 1989, the Lawrence Free State Brewing Company opened on Massachusetts Street. It was the first brewery in Kansas in over 100 years.[106] The brewery is also a restaurant.

In 2007, U.S. News & World Report said Lawrence was one of the best places to retire.[107] In 2011, Parents & Colleges said Lawrence was one of the 10 best college towns in the United States.[108]


Lawrence is in northeastern Kansas. It is about 25 miles (40 kilometres) east of Topeka and 35 miles (56 kilometres) west of Kansas City, Kansas. The tallest place in Lawrence is Mount Oread at the University of Kansas, which is 1,020 feet (310 metres) tall.[109][110]

Lawrence is on the southern part of the Dissected Till Plains. To the south are the Osage Plains.[111][112] The United States Census Bureau says that the city has a total area of 34.26 square miles (88.73 square kilometres). Of that, 33.56 square miles (86.92 square kilometres) is land and 0.70 square miles (1.81 square kilometres) is water.[8]

Lawrence is between the Kansas River and the Wakarusa River. Many creeks flow through Lawrence. The Wakarusa River was dammed to create Clinton Lake. The University of Kansas has a small lake called Potter's Lake. The Haskell-Baker Wetlands is a big area with wetlands, plants, trails, and more. They are supported by Haskell University and Baker University. The wetlands are southeast of Lawrence.[113]

Lawrence has 54 parks, cemeteries, and community parks.[114] The community parks are South Park, Buford Watson Park, Broken Arrow Park, Riverfront Park, Holcomb Park, "Dad" Perry Park, Centennial Park and Prairie Park. Cemeteries include Oak Hill, Maple Grove and Memorial Park.[115] Pioneer Cemetery is a cemetery that has some of the earliest people from Lawrence. It was created in 1854.[116] It is at the University of Kansas.


Lawrence has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa), so it has hot and humid summers, with cold and dry winters.[117] The highest temperature recorded was 112 °F (44 °C) on August 11, 1934.[118] The lowest temperature recorded was −24.5 °F (−31.4 °C) on February 12, 1899.[119]

Every year, it gets 39.9 inches (1,010 mm) of precipitation on average.[120] Most of it happens during the summer.

Climate data for Lawrence, Kansas (1981–2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 73
Average high °F (°C) 38.5
Average low °F (°C) 18.3
Record low °F (°C) −21
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.98
Snowfall inches (cm) 3.8
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[120] The Weather Channel[121]

City design

The Ninth Street Baptist Church in Old West Lawrence


The main street in Lawrence is called Massachusetts Street. Many early residents of Lawrence came because of the New England Emigrant Aid Company which was from Massachusetts.[122] Streets that went north and south were named after US states in the order they became part of the country. Streets that go east and west were name after famous Revolutionary War heroes.[123] Over time, people broke the first rule. Some states were never used, and some states were put in the wrong order. In 1913, the east and west streets became numbered streets.[124][125]


Lawrence is organized into neighborhoods. Some neighborhoods are close to downtown Lawrence like Old West Lawrence, North Lawrence, East Lawrence, Oread, Hancock and Pinckney. There are a few neighborhoods west of Iowa Street like Sunset Hills, Prairie Meadows, Deerfield, and Alvamar. Some neighborhoods are on the National Register of Historic Places like Old West Lawrence,[126] Oread,[127] Hancock,[128] Breezedale,[129] and most of Rhode Island Street[130][131] in East Lawrence.

North Lawrence

The Lawrence Visitors Center in North Lawrence.

North Lawrence is a neighborhood north of the Kansas River. It used to be its own place called Grant Township. It renamed itself North Lawrence in 1869. Lawrence claimed it in 1870.[72]

Northeast of North Lawrence, there was a popular park called Bismarck Grove.[132] In the late 1800s, the park had picnics, fairs, and temperance meetings (meetings about getting rid of alcohol). The first meeting was in 1878. The park had its last fair in 1899. In 1900, the park closed and was sold.[132][133]


There are many architecture styles in Lawrence.[134][135] Many early buildings were burned in Quantrill's Raid. Lawrence has Victorian, Gothic, Tudor, Romanesque, and other styles.[134][135]


Historical populations
Census Pop.
Est. 201998,193[10]22.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[136]

2010 census

In 2010, there were 87,643 people, 34,970 households, and 16,939 families living in Lawrence.[9] 82.0% of the people were White, 4.7% were African American, 3.1% were Native American, 4.5% were Asian, 0.1% were Pacific Islander, 1.5% were from other races, and 4.1% were from two or more races. 5.7% of the people were Hispanic or Latino.[9]

There were 34,970 households. 24.4% of them had children under 18 years old. 35.6% of them had married people. 8.8% had only a woman as the main person (with no man). 4% had only a man as the main person (with no woman). 51.6% were not families. 32% were people living alone, and 6.5% were people over 65 years old living alone.[9]

17.5% of the people were under 18 years old. 28.7% of the people were between 18 and 24 years old. 27.4% of the people were between 25 and 44 years old. 18.5% of the people were between 45 and 64 years old. 8% were 65 years old or older. 50.2% of the people were women, and 49.8% of the people were men.[9]

The median income for a household was $41,290. The median income for a family was $65,673. Men had a median income of $42,362. Women had a median income of $34,124. The per capita income was $23,666. About 10.7% of families and 23.4% of all people in Lawrence lived below the poverty line. This included 16.2% of children under 18 years old and 7.1% of people over 65 years old.[137][138]

2000 census

In 2000, there were 80,098 people, 31,388 households, and 15,725 families living in Lawrence.[139] 83.80% of the people were White, 5.09% were African American, 2.93% were Native American, 3.78% were Asian, 0.07% were Pacific Islander, 1.36% were from other races, and 2.97% were from two or more races. 3.65% of the people were Hispanic or Latino. 91% of the people spoke English as their first language, 2.9% spoke Spanish as their first language, and 1% spoke Chinese as their first language.

There were 31,388 households. Of these, 25.1% had children under 18 years old. 38% had married people. 8.7% had only a woman as the main person (with no man). and 49.9% were not families. People living alone made up 30.6% of households, and 5.6% were people over 65 years old living alone. The average household size was 2.30. The average family size was 2.93.[139]

By age, 18.6% of the people were under 18 years old. 30.7% of the people were between 18 and 24 years old. 28.5% of the people were between 25 and 44 years old. 15.1% of the people were between 45 and 64 years old. 7.2% were 65 years old or older. By gender, 50.6% of the people were women, and 49.4% of the people were men.[139]

The median income for a household was $34,669. The median income for a family was $51,545. Men had a median income of $33,481. Women had a median income of $27,436. The per capita income was $19,378. About 7.3% of families and 18.9% of all people in Lawrence lived below the poverty line. This included 10.6% of children under 18 years old and 7.7% of people over 65 years old.[139] However, Lawrence has a lot of students, and students usually have lower incomes. Therefore, the number of people living in poverty is misleading.[140][141]


Much of Lawrence's economy is from the University of Kansas. The biggest private employer is Maximus Inc.[a][142][143] Other big employers are Lawrence Public Schools, Hallmark Cards, the City of Lawrence, and Lawrence Memorial Hospital.[142]

In the 1980s, Lawrence's economy grew. This is because the city created the East Hills Business Park in 1986. This is an industrial park. Some businesses moved to this place. Many of these businesses were from Kansas City, such as PROSOCO.[144]

Historic places and museums

South Park gazebo

South Park is a big park in Downtown Lawrence. The park was made of four different parks, but they became just one big park.[145] South Park was created in 1854. A gazebo was built in 1910. Bands play music at the park in the summer.[145]

The Watkins Museum of History is one block north of South Park. It has exhibits about Lawrence and Douglas County.[146] Next to the museum is a Japanese garden made by sister city Hiratsuka, Japan.[147] The University of Kansas has the Natural History Museum in Dyche Hall,[148] the Spencer Museum of Art[149] and the Dole Institute of Politics among others.[150]

Centennial Park was made in 1954 for Lawrence's 100th birthday.[151] The park has many hills, a skatepark, a disc golf area, and a Polaris missile from the Cold War.[151]

The Bowersock Opera House burned in 1911, so people built a new one. It is called "Liberty Hall."[152] Liberty Hall is a small theater which often shows independent movies, and sometimes live acts. Liberty Hall also has a video rental store.[153] The Granada Theater was built in 1928 as a vaudeville theater. In 1934, it became a movie theater. It closed in 1989, but it was reopened in 1993.[154] Today, it shows comedy acts and concerts.

The Eldridge Hotel is a historic hotel. It is one of the oldest buildings in Lawrence. It was built in 1854, but it was burned in 1855. It was rebuilt, but it was burned in Quantrill's Raid. It was built again. In 1925, the hotel was renovated. In 1970, the hotel became apartments. In 1985, people worked to make it a hotel again. In 2004, the building was sold. It was changed to make it look like it was from 1925 again.[155] It is a popular rumor that the ghost of Eldridge haunts the hotel.[156] The Eldridge Hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places.[157]

The University of Kansas (KU) has the Memorial Stadium and the Allen Fieldhouse. They built Memorial Stadium in 1920 for American football games. It is named to remember KU students who died in World War I. They built Allen Fieldhouse in 1955 for basketball games. On November 4, 2010, ESPN's magazine said that Allen Fieldhouse was the loudest basketball stadium in the United States.[158] Mark Whicker, a famous sports writer, said Allen Fieldhouse " the best place in America to watch college basketball."[159]

Oak Hill Cemetery is a cemetery in Lawrence for famous people from Lawrence.[160] It was built in 1866. Memorial Park Cemetery is across the street. It has a memorial for James Naismith, the creator of basketball.[161]

Lawrence has many historic houses, and some of them are on the National Register of Historic Places. The Robert Miller House did not burn in Quantrill's Raid, and it was part of the Underground Railroad.[162] Ferdinand Fuller was one of the first people to move to Lawrence. He built his house in the Hillcrest Neighborhood.[163] The John Roberts House is used for many formal events. John G. Haskell, a famous architect (someone who designs buildings), designed the John Roberts House.[164][165]

Arts and culture

Lawrence is known for a thriving music and art culture. Rolling Stone said Lawrence is one of the best small college towns in the United States on August 11, 2005.[166] In 2005, The New York Times said Lawrence had one of the best music cultures in any city between Chicago and Denver.[167] Esquire magazine said The Replay Lounge, a bar and music venue in Lawrence, was one of the best in the United States in 2007.[168]

A brown bag concert in downtown Lawrence

The University of Kansas has the Lied Center of Kansas. It is a building that shows many Broadway musicals. They have had famous bands perform, including The Beach Boys and Kansas.[169]

In December 2005, the city said it would have "International Dadaism Month" in 2006.[170] This was about the early 20th century art movement. In the spirit of Dada, Mayor Dennis “Boog” Highberger did not choose a calendar month for it. Instead, he chose 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. He chose these dates by rolling dice and pulling numbers out of a hat.[171][172]

The Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival was an annual four-day music festival which began in 2004.[173] It was held at Clinton Lake. Thousands of people went to the festival every year.[174] They had many different kinds of bands play, including The Flaming Lips, STS9, Wilco, Matisyahu, and North Mississippi Allstars. Because of an agreement with the state government, the event was smaller than other festivals.[175] As well as listening to music, people could also play disc golf, do yoga, go hiking, and go swimming. The festival moved to Mulberry Mountain, Arkansas. This happened because of a disagreement between the organizers and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks about the limits on the number of people and the rent.[173]

Every year since 1959, on the third Thursday in July, Lawrence has had the "Massachusetts Street sidewalk sale." It is a big sale on Massachusetts Street. Many stores take part.[176] Often, radio stations and live music are played during this event.


People celebrating the Jayhawks win in 2008.

The University of Kansas sports teams are in Lawrence. They are called the Jayhawks. The most famous team is the men's basketball team. Many people watch the men's basketball team. Many fans came together on Massachusetts Street in 2002, 2003, 2008,[177] and 2012.[178] This was when the Jayhawks won or lost the last games in the NCAA tournament. The Jayhawks won the 1952,[179] 1988,[180] and 2008 NCAA tournaments.[181] KU's football team had their best year in 2007–2008. They won 12 games, and they lost only one game. That year, they won the Orange Bowl.[182][183] The city honored the mascot in 2003 when the Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau created 30 statues of the Jayhawk. They placed them around town. They called this event "Jayhawks on Parade."[184] The Jayhawks also have a soccer team, a baseball team, a softball team, track and field teams, a cross country team, and a men's club hockey team. KU also has a club rugby team. The KU Rugby Football Club runs it. They often meet at North Johnny's Tavern.[185] They also run high school rugby teams.


City Hall
The Douglas County courthouse.

A city commission and city manager run Lawrence. Five people who are elected make up the commission. Every year, three people can be elected. The two people who get the most votes are elected for four years. The person who gets 3rd place is elected for two years.[186] Every April, the commission chooses a mayor and a vice mayor, and they hire a city manager.

Even though Kansas is a Republican state, Lawrence often chooses the Democrat for president. Lawrence has been Democratic since the late 1980s. In the 2004 presidential election, Douglas County was one of two Kansas counties to choose John Kerry. In the 2008 presidential election, Douglas County was one of three Kansas counties to choose Barack Obama. In the 2016 presidential election, Douglas County chose Hillary Clinton. It was one of only two Kansas counties to choose Hillary Clinton. Douglas County chose the Democratic candidate in the last seven presidential elections.[187]

As of July 2019, Lawrence has four state representatives: Mike Amyx,[188] Eileen Horn,[189] Barbara Ballard,[190] and Dennis "Boog" Highberger.[191] All of them are Democrats. Lawrence has two state senators: Marci Francisco[192] and Tom Holland.[193] Steve Watkins represents Lawrence in the House of Representatives. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran represent Lawrence in the Senate. All three of them are Republicans. Before 2002, Lawrence was part of the 3rd district. This changed when Lawrence was split in both the 3rd and 2nd districts. Since 2012, all of Lawrence is in the 2nd district.[194]

On May 4, 1995, Lawrence became the first city in Kansas that made discrimination against gay people illegal.[195] On October 4, 2011, Lawrence made discrimination against transgender people illegal.[196] Lawrence was the first city in Kansas to do this.[197] In April 2005, there was a change to the Kansas Constitution which made same-sex marriage and civil unions for gay people illegal.[198] Douglas County was the only county to vote against the change.[198] Lawrence created a domestic partner registry on May 22, 2007. The registry gave unmarried couples —both same-sex and other-sex— some recognition by the city for legal reasons.[199]


New York Street Elementary School in Lawrence

Primary and secondary education

Lawrence has 14 elementary schools, four middle schools, and two high schools. The high schools are Lawrence High School and Lawrence Free State High School. The middle schools are Liberty Memorial Central Middle School, West Middle School, Billy Mills Middle School and Southwest Middle School. The elementary schools are Langston Hughes Elementary, Quail Run Elementary, Broken Arrow Elementary, Cordley Elementary, Hillcrest Elementary, Kennedy, Pinckney Elementary, Prairie Park Elementary, New York Elementary, Schwegler Elementary, Sunflower Elementary, Sunset Hill Elementary, Woodlawn Elementary, and Deerfield Elementary.[200]

Colleges and Universities

Strong Hall on the KU Campus

The University of Kansas is in Lawrence. It is the biggest university in Kansas and has over 30,000 students.[201] It has more than 170 fields of study. It is a part of the Big 12 Conference, a famous college sports organization. The Haskell Indian Nations University is also in Lawrence. It has more than 1,000 students.[202] It gives free tuition to all Native American students. It also has the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame, and the Haskell Cultural Center.

In 2010, MSN, MSNBC, and the American Institute for Economic Research said Lawrence was one of the best college towns in the United States.[108] In 2011, Parents & Colleges said Lawrence was one of the 10 best college towns in the United States.[108]


The first library in Lawrence was built in 1854.[203] It was burned in Quantrill's Raid. A new library was built in 1865. In 1902, Andrew Carnegie gave a lot of money to build a new library. Built it in 1904, and it was called the "Lawrence Public Library." A new library was built in 1972. In July 2014, the design changed.[204]

In 2016, the library won an award for the building's beauty.[205]


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

One of the first businesses started in Lawrence was a newspaper called the Herald of Freedom. It started in October 1854 and ended in 1859.[206] In August 1885, the newspaper the Lawrence Daily Journal started[207] and in June 1895, the Daily World started.[208] In 1911, they joined together, and became the Lawrence Journal-World.[209][210] There is also a student newspaper published by the University of Kansas. It is called the University Daily Kansan.[211] Change of Heart is a street newspaper sold by homeless people in Lawrence.[212]

Lawrence mostly gets television shows from Kansas City, but people can get them from Topeka, too.[213]

From 1947 to 1981, the Centron Corporation was in Lawrence. The Centron Corporation was a big movie company which made many big industrial and educational movies.[214][215] Two students from the University of Kansas started the company. Some residents of Lawrence were able to get into the movie industry through Centron. One resident, Herk Harvey, worked at Centron for over 30 years as a director.[216] He created a full-length theatrical movie, Carnival of Souls, a horror cult movie shot mostly in Lawrence, and released in 1962.[217]


Lawrence has the Lawrence Journal-World, a local newspaper that publishes every day. Many people also get the University of Kansas student newspaper, The University Daily Kansan.[218]


These radio stations are in Lawrence, Kansas:


Frequency Callsign[219] Format[220] Notes
1320 KLWN News/Talk


Frequency Callsign[221] Format[220] Notes
90.7 KJHK Student radio, Sports, News, Alternative
91.1 KCIU Christian radio
91.5 KANU Kansas Public Radio (NPR)
92.9 KMXN Country
96.1 K241AR Christian radio Air1
101.7 KLWN News/Talk
105.9 KKSW Top 40


These television stations are in Lawrence, Kansas:

Digital Channel Analog Channel Callsign[222] Network Notes
31 31 KUJH-LP Student-run television for the University of Kansas
32 N/A Midco Sports Network Local sports network. It shows high school sports and college news meetings.



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

Interstate 70, U.S. Route 40, U.S. Route 59, and U.S. Route 24 go through Lawrence. Interstate 70 goes east-west in the northern part of Lawrence and connects with U.S. Route 59. Route 59 goes north-south along North 2nd Street, Iowa Street, and 6th Street. U.S. Route 40 is about two miles south of Interstate 70. It also goes east-west through northern Lawrence along 6th Street. K-10 is a state highway that goes east-west. It enters Lawrence on 23rd Street, then it goes south. It goes to west Lawrence, and it stops northwest of Lawrence.[113]

Two bus systems are in Lawrence. One is called the Lawrence Transit, and the city runs it. The other is called KU on Wheels, and the University of Kansas runs it.[223] There are 18 bus routes.[224] KU students and teachers can use them for free.[225] Greyhound Lines has a bus stop in Lawrence.[226] It can take people to other cities. Also, the Johnson County, Kansas bus system can take students to and from the colleges in Lawrence and Overland Park. This bus is known as the "K-10 Connector."[227]

The Lawrence Municipal Airport is northeast of Lawrence. It is very close to U.S. Route 40. It is used for people who have airplanes. No airplane companies have planes there.[228] Kansas City International Airport is the closest airport that airplane companies use. It is about 50 miles northeast of downtown Lawrence.[229]

Two Class I railroads go through Lawrence.[230] One railroad is owned by Union Pacific Railroad. The other is owned by BNSF Railway.[230] The BNSF Railroad track starts in the eastern part of Lawrence, and it goes west. It follows the path of the Kansas River. The Union Pacific track also starts in eastern Lawrence and goes west.[113] It also follows the path of the Kansas River. It is north of the Kansas River. The BNSF railroad track is south of the Kansas River. There is an Amtrak station in Lawrence, very close to downtown.[231] Lawrence is a stop on Amtrak's "Southwest Chief" route from Chicago to Los Angeles.[232]

Health and Utilities

Lawrence has one hospital, the "Lawrence Memorial Hospital."[233] It has won awards for good care and quality.[102]

The biggest electric company in Lawrence is Westar Electric. The biggest gas company is Black Hills Energy.[234] Lawrence has television providers including Midco and DirecTV.[234] Lawrence has Internet service providers including Midco, Wicked Broadband, CenturyLink, HughesNet, Allconnect, ViaSat Satellite, Exede, and Wild Blue Internet.[234] Lawrence has telephone providers including Verizon,[235] AT&T,[234] Sprint,[236] and Midco.[234]

Sister cities

Lawrence has three sister cities through Sister Cities International:[237]

Notable people

See also: List of University of Kansas people
See also: Haskell Indian Nations University#Famous alumni

Langston Hughes was poet who grew up in Lawrence while his grandmother took care of him.[238] Alan Mulally, former CEO of Ford, grew up in Lawrence. He was a member of the Plymouth Congregational Church.[239] George Docking, former Governor of Kansas, went to school in Lawrence and to the University of Kansas.[240] Danny Manning, NBA player and college basketball coach, went to school in Lawrence and at the University of Kansas.[241] Federal judge Sri Srinivasan also went to school in Lawrence.[242]

Some very famous people came to Lawrence to study at the University of Kansas. Wilt Chamberlain played for the Jayhawks basketball team before he joined the Harlem Globetrotters.[243] James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, was the Jayhawks's first basketball coach.[244] Bob Dole, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader and 1996 Republican Presidential nominee, studied at the University of Kansas.[245] The Dole Institute is in Lawrence because of him. Many different governors studied there including Jane Dee Hull,[246] the first female Governor of Arizona, Kathleen Sebelius,[247] Sam Brownback,[248] and Alf Landon.[249] Other famous students include Juan Manuel Santos,[250] former President of Colombia and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize winner; Brian McClendon,[251] the creator of Google Earth; Clyde Tombaugh,[252] the man who discovered Pluto; Ronald Evans,[253] a NASA astronaut who went to the Moon; and Vernon L. Smith,[254] the winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics.

In popular culture

Lawrence was the setting for many books by science fiction writer James Gunn, including the The Immortals (1964). The book was used for the ABC television movie and TV series The Immortal (1969–1971).[255]

The 1983 television movie The Day After was set in Lawrence. Parts of the movie were filmed in the city.[256]

Sam and Dean Winchester, the main characters of the Supernatural TV series, are from Lawrence. Lawrence was referenced many times in the show.[257] Lawrence was destroyed in the 2006 TV Series Jericho.[258]

Josh Ritter, an American folk singer, has a song called Lawrence KS on the 2002 album Golden Age of Radio. Cross Canadian Ragweed's 2007 album Mission California has a song entitled "Lawrence." A homeless family the band saw while visiting the town around Christmas inspired the song.[259]

Lawrence is the normal starting place for the map program Google Earth (2005).[260] Brian McClendon chose the place.[260] McClendon graduated from the University of Kansas in 1986, and he was the director of engineering for Google Earth.[b][260]

Related pages


  1. "Pearson Government Solutions" came from Pearson PLC. They became "Vangent." General Dynamics bought Vangent in 2011. In 2018, Maximus bought the call center that General Dynamics owned.
  2. Older versions of Google Earth have Lawrence as the normal starting place. Newer versions of the program start on Lawrence for the first time, but it starts on the user's own place when it is loaded again.


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