Community Profile: Lawrence, KS

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Feature Image: 
Lied Center building exterior. Photo courtesy of Lied Center of Kansas.

In the early 19th century, settlers in caravans of covered wagons traveled west on the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails. These wagon trails were the first American “highways,” and both ran through the area that would become Lawrence, Kansas. Traders, explorers, and settlers traveling along these two routes would stop for rest and supplies, making Lawrence one of America’s first caravanserais.

Map of Lawrence, Kansas in 1869. From the Library of Congress Panoramic Maps Collection

When the Kansas Territory was opened to settlement in 1854, it was determined that the Territory’s settlers would decide whether Kansas would be admitted to the Union as a state that allowed slavery. Lawrence, Kansas, was founded quickly thereafter by a group of abolitionists from Massachusetts who rushed to the area to keep it from becoming pro-slavery. The town was named after Amos Adams Lawrence, a prominent financial supporter of the settlement. Kansas entered the Union as a free state on January 29, 1861.

Situated along the banks of the Kansas and Wakarusa Rivers, the city of Lawrence is now a cultural hub in America’s heartland, home to more than 87,000 people and both the University of Kansas and Haskell Indian Nations University.

Fun Fact

Lawrence is the default center point for the map program Google Earth. Specifically, Google Earth is centered over the southwest corner of one particular building in Meadowbrook Apartments, a popular student housing center located near the University of Kansas campus. That apartment building was the childhood home of Brian McClendon, the co-inventor and head engineer of Google Earth.

Community Partner

The Lied Center – University of Kansas

Photo courtesy of Lied Center of Kansas

Opened on the University of Kansas campus in 1993, the Lied Center of Kansas is a multi-purpose venue that reflects the University's commitment to its community and to cementing Lawrence's reputation as City of the Arts. Serving more than 65,000 people per year, Lied Center of Kansas is a leading major university presenter, engaging audiences and artists through presentation, education, research, and service. The Lied Center is a center for student talent, educational opportunities, community events, and acclaimed performances.

Caravanserai Residency Dates

September 22-28, 2013 – Omar Faruk Tekbilek
January 20-22, 2014 – Pelin Esmer
April 13-19, 2014 – Serkan Cagri Band

By Arts Midwest | 07-16-2013


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