"Lawrence" Top 5 Page for this destination Lawrence by jayhawk2000

Lawrence Travel Guide: 188 reviews and 398 photos

With its steep hills, colorful Victorian houses, stately churches and tree-lined streets, Lawrence seems like a misplaced and overgrown New England village.

The similarities are not accidental. The city was founded by abolitionists (people who opposed slavery) who came from Massachusetts in the years before the American Civil War when the legality of slavery in the Kansas Territory was of nationwide concern.

Lawrence was the unofficial Free State Capital, an equal rights bastion in the territory. Thanks in large part to the efforts of the locals, Kansas entered the Union as a free state in 1861 a few months before the Civil War. The city paid an awful price for this victory when a band of about 500 raiders, led by rebel leader William Quantrill, stormed Lawrence in 1863. Over 150 men and boys of Lawrence were killed in the Civil War's worst civilian massacre. This atrocity was dramatised in the film Ride With the Devil.

The settlers, bouyed by a national outpouring of sympathy and charity, rebuilt and rebounded. They founded the University of Kansas (KU) atop the towering Mount Oread that overshadows the town, replacing a barricaded lookout post with a beautifully landscaped campus.

Lawrence has another university that is every bit as historical. Haskell Indian Nations University provides free higher education to about 1000 Native Americans from over 150 tribes.

Modern Lawrence is a fast-growing city of 80,000 people that has for its symbol the phoenix, the mythical creature reborn from the flames of its death. It remains a youthful, multicultural, free-spirited place today thanks to about 25,000 university students and professors.

The main photo is taken from atop Mount Oread, home to the university. What I love about this view (aside from the lush fall foliage) is that the town below is completely hidden by the trees!

Lawrence, also known as...

One of America's 'Distinctive Destinations' (National Trust for Historic Preservation);

'The nicest city in Kansas' which is home to an 'active downtown, perhaps one of the country's nicest' (Lonely Planet USA guide);

In his book "The 100 Best Small Arts Towns in America" author John Villani ranks Lawrence in the top 15; the city has the 12th highest proportion of professional artists of any American city according to the National Endowment for the Arts;

One of America's National Poetry Landmarks as designated by the Academy of American Poets;

Lawrence is universally recognized as being one of the top college music towns in the country;

Clinton Lake is ranked among America's top 50 lakes by Boating World Magazine,

Golf Digest magazine has described Lawrence as one of the 'Best Little Golf Towns in America' and consistently ranks Alvamar golf course among the nation's 100 best public golf courses.

Local heroes and leading lights

Lawrence was the birthplace of writer Langston Hughes whilst Beat poet William S Burroughs lived his last years here.

University of Kansas alumni include basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain, Senator Bob Dole, astronomer Clyde Tombaugh (discover of Pluto), actors Mandy Patinkin and Paul Rudd, film maker Neil LaBute, TV journalist Bill Kurtis and playwright William Inge.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:an arts powerhouse, vibrant downtown, good food and beer
  • Cons:suburbs and strip malls spreading like a rash on the outskirts
  • In a nutshell:a mecca for firebrands & gourmands, athletes & aesthetes!
  • Last visit to Lawrence: May 2003
  • Intro Updated Mar 26, 2006
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Reviews (20)

Comments (7)

  • Oct 14, 2005 at 4:33 PM

    Imagine stumbling upon someone who has lived in Larryville...while looking for info for our upcoming trip to Malta.

  • Jonathan_C's Profile Photo
    Jun 6, 2004 at 8:45 AM

    Your page makes we want to go! Now I understand why my dad took eleven years to get his bachelor's and master's there.

  • yooperprof's Profile Photo
    Nov 20, 2003 at 2:45 PM

    Rock Chalk Jayhawk! Ad Astra per Aspera!

  • Goner's Profile Photo
    Oct 20, 2003 at 9:14 PM

    Great narrative Robert. I have to admit Lawrence is a nice little town - I went there to visit the Simons, they owned the newspaper there - maybe they still do.

  • giampiero6's Profile Photo
    Oct 20, 2003 at 1:48 PM

    Very thoroughly enjoyed this cool page. Went as a teenager, but didn't explore all the riches. Surprising and interesting! Thanks

  • XenoHumph's Profile Photo
    Oct 17, 2003 at 8:40 AM

    Excellent page! Looks like a beautiful little town set in the middle of the woods!

  • a5floor's Profile Photo
    Sep 21, 2003 at 2:20 AM

    LOVE the pic of the trees! :)) Really great.

jayhawk2000 Used To Live Here!


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