Archive for Saturday, April 17, 2010

Events recall fire at Kansas Union

April 17, 2010


Tuesday will mark the 40th anniversary of the Kansas Union fire.

To remember the incident, KU Student Union Activities will host “Ballroom in Flames,” an exhibit of photographs, newspaper articles and historical information on the fire. Featuring items from the Spencer Research Library Archives and The Kansas Union Collection, the exhibit will be on Level 4 of the Kansas Union, 1301 Jayhawk Blvd. Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday of next week, the exhibit is free and open to the public.

The Kansas Union fire, which caused more than $1 million worth of damage, was set on April 20, 1970. No one was ever charged in connection with the crime.

On Tuesday, a reception will be held from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Kansas Union Gallery for the fire’s 40th anniversary. A cake that replicates the 1970 Kansas Union will be in the Kansas Union lobby.

Also that day, the Lawrence Journal-World and 6News will launch a series on the Kansas Union burning and the civil unrest that came in its wake. Photos, audio recordings and reader-submitted stories from that turbulent year will be posted online at


Althea Schnacke 8 years ago

Wonder if the cake is going to have a chunk missing where the ballroom was?

BigPrune 8 years ago

Though I was young at the time, I remember the smelly, lice infested hippies. I also remember the death threats business leaders received on a daily basis because they owned or ran a business - just because they owned or ran a business. I also recall one guy being advised by the police to have a .45 in the glove box and a shotgun in the trunk. Then martial law was declared and the National Guard was brought in to patrol Lawrence and I believe an 11:00 curfew was put into place. When the armored personel carriers started rolling through town, the business owners stood on the curb and applauded their arrival. Today these hippies could be called liberal terrorists, because that's what they were.

BigPrune 8 years ago

I remember it because my dad was one of the people who got death threats on a daily basis. No rumor mongering at all. Do you think the experience from my family's personal terrorization by liberals at a young age would have an influence on me in life?

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