Archive for Sunday, October 3, 2004

In 1929, buildings from pioneer days could still be found

October 3, 2004


No building erected in 1854 remains in Lawrence, unless the old James Lane house at 800 Ill. dates from that time.

Note: Reprinted from the official souvenir program of the 75th anniversary, printed in 1929 by the Journal-World.

Careful examination by a committee headed by Miss Hannah Oliver, of the Old Settlers' Assn., has revealed three score historic spots in Lawrence and in Douglas County, and further search has shown 30 or more buildings that have been standing in Lawrence since before the Quantrill raid on Aug. 21, 1863. Most of these houses have been kept in repair and are now occupied, but a few are falling into decay.

More than 100 of the historic spots and old buildings have been marked for this occasion. Among them are:

  • The Free State Hotel, started the spring after Lawrence was founded, completed a year later in 1856, and then burned three weeks later by Sheriff Jones, occupied the site of the present Eldridge House. Col. Shalor W. Eldridge was manager of the Free State Hotel. He rebuilt it after the Jones Raid, and it was again destroyed by Quantrill's Raid in 1863.
  • Killam's Boarding House or Easter Hotel stood at the southwest corner of Sixth and New Hampshire. It was burned by Quantrill.
  • The Johnson House, operated by Benjamin Johnson, was at 725 Vt., the present site of the Elks Club. In 1857, it was headquarters for state lines through the territory.
  • The Morrow House was on the north part of the site of the Lawrence National Bank building, 647 Mass. It was erected in 1858.

Churches started early

Plymouth Congregational Church was organized in a grass house near Fifth and Ohio streets and erected its first building between 605 and 607 La. It was still standing in 1858.

Trinity Episcopal Chapel at 1005 Vt. was erected in 1858 and the tower added in 1864. This chapel is soon to be replaced by a modern building.

The Unitarian church, with a town clock in its tower, was erected at 931 Ohio. In the early years of Kansas University, its art classes met "at the town clock."

The First Methodist Church was moved in from Franklin, four miles east of Lawrence, and put on the southeast corner of the lot now occupied by the Chamber of Commerce. Later, the building was used as a wholesale liquor store.

Three newspapers in little town

The Kansas Free State, one of the first papers in Lawrence, was published at 7 E. Seventh St., the present site of the J.R. Holmes building.

The Herald of Freedom office was just south of the Free State office. Both the Free State and the Herald of Freedom were destroyed by Sheriff (Samuel J.) Jones in 1856.

The office of the Republican, a paper published in 1857, was across the street from the Morrow House.

Bechtelbrauer's Saloon, 732 Mass., is now occupied by the north half of the Journal-World building.

The Robert Miller home at 1101 E. 19th St. was shingled Christmas Day 1858. This was the first house in Lawrence passed by Quantrill on the day of his raid.

The home of Dr. Charles Robinson, president of the Lawrence Assn., acknowledged leader of the Free State movement in the 1850s and first governor of the state, was on Louisiana just south of 11th Street. It was burned by the Jones posse.

The home of Gov. Wilson Shannon, second territorial governor, stood where Rankin's Drug Store is now at 1101 Mass.

The Donneley Livery Stable in 1857 stood at the southeast corner of Seventh and New Hampshire streets.

The Kimball Iron Foundry stood in 1858 on the present site of the Burgner-Bowman-Matthews Lumber company, West Sixth Street.

The Emigrant Aid Society's sawmill was at the northwest corner of Fifth and Ohio streets.

The old jail stood until recently on the old levee, now Robinson Park.

Troops under Gen. Sam Walker camped in 1857 at Fourth and Maine streets. The Perkins property now occupies the site.

The Delaware Ferry, owned by John DeWitt, was operated across the Kaw at the foot of New Hampshire. He advertised that regular fares would be charged until 11 p.m., and double fares thereafter.

Fort on Mount Oread

Earthworks thrown up to defend Lawrence against the intended raid by Gen. Price, in 1864, were on the southeast crest of Mount Oread until the Sigma Kappa house was erected there.

An old windmill, erected in 1862, stood on the hill northwest of the stadium, and near Ninth Street, until a few years ago.

The home of Gen. George W. Collamore, mayor of Lawrence at the time of the Quantrill Raid, stood at the southeast corner of Sixth and Louisiana streets. The well in which Collamore and others were suffocated the day of the raid is still there.

The farm of the Rev. S.S. Snyder of the United Brethren Church, killed by the Quantrill band as they entered Lawrence, was 80 rods south of 19th Street, on Haskell Avenue. A well marks the site of the house.

The home of Judge George W. Smith stood south of Oak Hill Cemetery, on a line with the present Sexton's house. Smith was on the executive committee of the Big Springs Free State convention, Sept. 5, 1855, and of subsequent Free State conventions. He was arrested for treason by Judge Cato and imprisoned at Lecompton.

Foundations alone remain

An oak tree stood for years at 809 Ky. The Methodist people met there to plan establishment of their church.

Foundations still remain at the northeast corner of 19th and Louisiana streets where the three-story Dalinski house stood. It was a rendezvous for pro-slavery sympathizers. Dalinski was shot by Quantrill's raiders as they left Lawrence. He had called, "Three cheers for Jeff Davis," and the guerillas, thinking he was mocking them, killed him.

The house at 1701 Tenn. is erected on the foundations of the Albach house, which was a bowling alley and country hotel at the time of the Quantrill Raid. It was burned that day.

Immediately to the north of the present Medell home at 818 N.H. was Medell's carpenter shop, which was used as a morgue after the raid. Here Medell made many coffins.

Sites outside Lawrence

Scores of places outside of Lawrence figured in the history of the stirring border-warfare days. Some of these places have been designated by the Historic Sites Committee. The list includes:

  • Fort Titus, the log cabin home of Col. Titus, a mile south of Lecompton. It was captured by the Free State men.
  • Black Jack battleground was in the middle of Section 7 of Palmyra Township, known as Calhoun Township, in 1857. It is east of Lawrence. Franklin school is probably near the site of this city.
  • Pacific City was a mile west of Baldwin, in Section 19.
  • Franklin, a pro-slavery stronghold, was four miles east of Lawrence. Franklin school is probably near the site of this city.
  • Sebastian was in the northwest quarter of Section 13, Lecompton Township.
  • Marshall lay in the north half of Section 27 and the south half of Section 22, Lecompton Township.
  • Wakarusa Fort and Bluejacket crossing of the Wakarusa was in the middle of the south quarters of Section 12, Wakarusa Township. It was a pro-slavery fort.
  • Cameron's Ferry was in the northeast quarter of Section 13, Lecompton Township.
  • Blanton's bridge and Ford were in the northwest quarter of Section 19, Wakarusa Township.
  • Fort Saunders was in the northwest corner of the northwest quarter of Section 13, Washington Township.
  • A Pony Express station was maintained in the northwest corner of the northwest quarter, Kanwaka Township.

Houses in Lawrence at the time of Quantrill's Raid and still standing include: 617 Ind., one-story frame house; 701 Ind., George Churchill home; 708 Ohio, Filmore home; 712 Ohio, Atherton home; 1008 Ohio, Bell home; 546 Tenn., Frank Kimball home; 611 Tenn., Sands home; 615 Tenn., Dr. Minor house, 1857; 624 Tenn., Dr. Fuller home, 1857; 1033 Ky., Presbyterian choir had rehearsal there the night before the raid; 811 Vt., Lawrence house; 835 Vt., Josiah Miller home, 1863; 617 Mass., W.E. Sutliff home; 1036 Mass., August Ellis home, now lumberyard office; 720 N.H., L. Bullene home; 740 N.H., Fred Read home; 924 N.H., north part of frame house; 1039 N.H., Shearer home; 938 R.I., brick house; 941 R.I., Judge Hendry home; 945 R.I., T.B. Eldridge home; 1004 R.I., Faxon house, now occupied by aunt of Vice President Curtis; 1024 R.I., Murphy home; 1205 R.I., Allison home; 630 Conn., home of the Rev. G.W. Paddock, Methodist minister; 640 Conn., Thatcher home; 739 Conn., part of stone house built in 1857; 1046 N.Y., two-story frame house, governor moved store there after Quantrill's Raid; 1100 N.Y., Spencer home; 735 N.J., two-story brick house; 938 N.J., Tooten home; 1001 Pa., Ingle Barker home; 1020 Md., John Speer home, White Turkey, a Delaware Indian, killed Skraggs in front of this place, Skraggs was one of Quantrill's men.

The Whitney House was north and across New Hampshire. T.W.L. Whitney, proprietor, operated stages into all parts of the territory.

The Waverly Hotel was just south of the present site of the organ factory at 618 N.H. It was one of the central state offices in 1857.

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