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Overview

In 1854 the Kansas Territory opened for settlement; some territories went in as slave states, some went in as slave free. The town of Lawrence, located along the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails, was slave free. It would go on to become a significant stop on the Underground Railroad that helped slaves escape to freedom. This was a hotbed of conflicts between anti-slavery Jayhawkers from Kansas, a free state, and pro-slavery Bushwhackers from the nearby slave state of Missouri. The two men most prevalent in the town’s Civil War history are John Brown and Confederate Colonel William Quantrill. In 1856 Brown led his Lawrence militia into a ...

In 1854 the Kansas Territory opened for settlement; some territories went in as slave states, some went in as slave free. The town of Lawrence, located along the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails, was slave free. It would go on to become a significant stop on the Underground Railroad that helped slaves escape to freedom. This was a hotbed of conflicts between anti-slavery Jayhawkers from Kansas, a free state, and pro-slavery Bushwhackers from the nearby slave state of Missouri. The two men most prevalent in the town’s Civil War history are John Brown and Confederate Colonel William Quantrill. In 1856 Brown led his Lawrence militia into a victorious battle against pro-slavery Bushwhackers. In 1863 Quantrill retaliated with 400 Missourians who raided the town burning every house and killing most of the men. Lawrence is a pretty town with tree-lined streets, Victorian style architecture, art galleries, universities and museums. The Spencer Museum of Art on the University of Kansas campus is ranked in the top ten of the nation’s college art museums. The Haskell Indian Nations University, opened in 1884, is the oldest intertribal college in the United States. Its 320-acre campus is a National Landmark. On it are the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame, a medicine wheel totem pole and the Haskell Cultural Center with exhibits from many tribes.

Frances Folsom
About the Expert

Frances Folsom is the author of CitySpot Palermo, a contributor to the Reiskits guides to Milan and Italy's Lakes Region, and Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Any time of year is good. There are art related happenings and theater performances year round.