To the editor:
About one-third of the residents of Lawrence have not lived here even five years! More people live west of Iowa Street than lived in all of Lawrence when I moved here just 45 years ago. People have been arriving here for about 150 years. Of course the Native Americans even preceded us here.
Is it any wonder we have such varying views of Lawrence, our community? My hat is off to the World Company for calling attention to our concerns over the implications of our growth and stimulating conversation and understanding among us. Nearly all of us love our town and especially loved it the way it was when we arrived on the scene. That's what drew us here at the time.
This realization points up the value of our own Watkins Community Museum of History. We need to have our past interpreted so that we can understand our present and future in proper perspective. The museum's outreach programs to the schools and community are very popular throughout the county. In addition, within its walls it offers interesting and informative rotating exhibits interpreting our varied history and resources for personal research.
We should all be proud of the museum's care and preservation of artifacts representing our history. The Watkins Bank building in which it is housed is a treasured artifact itself. We have the Watkins estate to thank for the gift of the building, many early donors to a fund drive spear-headed by Dolph Simons, Sr. which raised the money to renovate it and the county commission for its continued improvement and maintenance.
The operation of the museum is the responsibility of the Douglas County Historical Society which is funded by individual and corporate memberships, fund-raising events and the Friends of the Museum, plus help from your county taxes and several benevolent foundations and grant monies for special needs. Running the museum gets more expensive each year you think your heating bills are expensive!
You too can become a member of the Douglas County Historical Society by contacting the museum for information (841-4109), or better yet by dropping by at 10th and Massachusetts across from the courthouse. See you there? We need your help and support.
Phillip Godwin, president,
Douglas County Historical Society