Lawrence is a fun place to live. Yep, I’ve tried it, compared it, and don’t find it wanting. Well, there may be a thing or two that could improve it — like having a mountain on the west side of town, maybe a lock on one side of the Jackman Dam so canoes and small boats could navigate the Kaw. We love what we have though — just the way it is.
We have HISTORY! We are alive to the now of life and we look to the future. We are a people that love life and we thank God for it all. Just read today’s Journal-World. There is a lot going on. People are stepping out and taking on big improvements. The City Commission is working on projects like utilizing the Farmland property and considering designating a few city blocks of Lawrence as a “cultural district.” Many city blocks are architecturally and historically significant.
It makes some of us old-timers smile when we see new names given to parts of this old town we grew up knowing before it had these names. One of our favorite playgrounds was what we called Potter’s Lake. Now it is known as Potter Lake. Did you know Kansas University had a small golf course around the lake? It is great to see the slough that is just east of Learnard and 19th Street given the distinction of a name, Burroughs Creek Trail, and putting in a delightful pathway for all to enjoy. We called it Foggy Bottoms. Mr. Burroughs was not a known entity in our lives then. It was just unclaimed territory that allowed us kids a place to roam and investigate. Adjacent and to the east of that, on a piece of higher ground was where the Stolland boys, the Hodges brothers, Max Falkenstien and others played seasonal ball games and called themselves The South Side Athletic Club.
There was Green’s Lake, north of the hospital and past the old brick plant. It was a small zoo. Cages in a row north of the lake inhabited by the animals many of us had begged for, obtained, enjoyed, neglected and told we couldn’t keep: alligators, raccoons, a really mean monkey, rabbits, coyotes.
My friends and I considered Dyche Museum to be the home base for our lives of Saturday action. Rain or shine, we could spend hours there — a great place to take visiting relatives.
Here’s hoping there are others that find joy in recalling their lives — here in Lawrence and elsewhere.