Archive for Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Lawrence portrait to grace City Hall

September 14, 2004


Amos Lawrence is about to make a grand entrance at Lawrence City Hall.

Members of the Lawrence Sesquicentennial Commission tonight will present the city with a framed portrait of the city's namesake, whose likeness doesn't grace any City Hall walls.

"That will be rectified now," said Bill Woodard, a spokesman for the Spencer Museum of Art. "In a time we're trying to recognize all the good things, with the 150th birthday of the city, it's sort of surprising there's not a portrait of him at City Hall."

The presentation, at tonight's 6:35 p.m. City Commission meeting, is part of the celebration surrounding the 150th anniversary of the city's founding, which is Saturday.

Amos Lawrence was a Boston philanthropist who helped fund the New England Emigrant Aid Company, which settled Lawrence. Citizens chose to name the city after Lawrence, according to one account, because it had "no odor attached."

"He's a very prominent philanthropist," said Karl Gridley, the historian who initiated the portrait presentation. "He was a well-respected man. I'm always surprised how little people know about who this man is."

The portrait, measuring approximately 25 inches by 29 inches, is a copy of a painting housed at the Spencer Research Library at Kansas University. Lawrence's granddaughter, Marian L. Peabody, painted the portrait around 1931. She based it on a painting done a century earlier by James Frothingham, a prominent New England artist.

Staff members at the Spencer Museum of Art photographed the painting and reproduced it, carefully matching the colors to the original.

The portrait will be on display at the Watkins Community Museum of History, 1047 Mass., during the next week. Mayor Mike Rundle said he expected it to be displayed at City Hall after that.

"He's the namesake," Rundle said. "It's important for us to have a real sense of place, which I think is at the heart of the yearlong sesquicentennial celebration.

"It makes that history more real. Otherwise, it's an abstraction."

Here's a look at events planned this week. All are free unless otherwise noted.Today6:35 p.m.: Presentation of Amos Lawrence portrait to Lawrence City Commission by the Lawrence Sesquicentennial Commission, City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.Wednesday4 p.m.-9 p.m.: Tell Your Lawrence Stories, Lawrence Public Library auditorium, 707 Vt. A videographer will be available to record your comments for the future residents of Lawrence.Thursday4 p.m.-9 p.m.: Tell Your Lawrence Stories, Lawrence Public Library auditorium, 707 Vt. A videographer will be available to record your comments for the future residents of Lawrence.6 p.m.: "Life in Kansas Territory: Toil and Turmoil from the Letters of John and Sarah Everett," lecture by Pat Michaelis of Kansas State Historical Society, Trinity Episcopal Church, 1011 Vt. Pre-registration, call 864-7826.Friday7 p.m.: Presentation by Lawrence Sesquicentennial Commission honoring the relationship between Haskell Indian Nations University and Lawrence public schools on Haskell's 120th birthday, Haskell Stadium.5 p.m.-7 p.m.: Sesquicentennial Splash, Lawrence Indoor Aquatic Center, 4706 Overland Drive.Saturday8 a.m.: Breakfast with the descendants of Amos Lawrence, Eldridge Hotel, 701 Mass. Reservations by Monday, call 842-6313. $10.8:30 a.m.: Massachusetts Mile Race, starting at South Park, 11th and Massachusetts streets. $12.10 a.m.: Sesquicentennial Parade From Watson Park, south on Massachusetts Street to South Park. Rain or shine.10 a.m.-4 p.m.: Sesquicentennial stamp cancellation, Watkins Community Museum of History, 1047 Mass., $5 per envelope.10 a.m.-4 p.m.: Early Settlement of Douglas County, Watkins Community Museum of History.10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.: Birthday party in South Park, with free birthday cake, games, exhibits, food, vendors and souvenirs.Noon: Birthday Concert by the Lawrence City Band, South Park gazebo.12:30 p.m.: Luncheon for descendants of Amos Lawrence, Watkins Community Museum of History, reservations by Monday, call 842-6313. $20.1 p.m.: Pie-eating Contest, South Park.2 p.m.: Beard Contest, South Park Gazebo.5 p.m.: Grand Entry Celebration Social Pow Wow, Haskell Pow Wow Grounds. Cultural dances featuring the California Pomo Bird Dancers.7 p.m.: Street Dance in the Park with Kelley Hunt, Billy Ebeling and the Late for Dinner Band, South Park.Sunday1 p.m.: Lawrence High School Alumni Hall of Honor presentation, Lawrence High Atrium, 1901 La.3 p.m.-4 p.m.: Music at Sesquicentennial Point, Clinton Lake.4 p.m.: Closing Ceremony at Sesquicentennial Point. Introduction of contributors, burial of official time capsule to be opened in 2054. Refreshments will be served.

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