Annual Meeting for LPA
Ecumenical Christian Ministry building — 1204 Oread
Sunday, September 26th, 1:30pm-3:30pm
We hope you will join us to celebrate another strong year for the Lawrence Preservation Alliance at our annual meeting to be held at the Ecumenical Christian Ministries (ECM) building, on the north end of Jayhawk Blvd, near campus. The building is a terrific example of modernism architecture in Lawrence and is on the National Register of Historic Places. ECM is also in the midst of a capital campaign to support building rehabilitation. The LPA board recently approved a $250 donation to the campaign.
To highlight various aspects of Lawrence Modernism, Professor Dennis Domer will give a talk about this building and the stylistic elements that make it such a strong example of the modernist style prevalent in the 1950s and 1960s. Rev. Thad Holcombe, the leader at ECM will also talk about the building and the programs sponsored by ECM. Tours of the building will follow the talks and then we will hold a brief annual meeting for election of LPA board members at 3pm.
Election of LPA Board members
The LPA board will recommend a slate of board members for approval by the general membership at the annual meeting on September 26. Current board members seeking another term are Kate Dinneen, Dale Slusser, Rev. Verdell Taylor, Jr. and Carol von Tersch. Weston Norwood, currently working overseas, has resigned his term. Nicole Sabatini, having served six great years, is also leaving us. The board is recommending four new members: Josh Davis, Joni Hernly, Anne Marvin, and Chris Millspaugh. Josh is a construction administrator for Treanor architects, Joni works with her husband Stan at Hernly associates, an architecture and environmental consulting firm. Anne works with KU Continuing Education and has just finished a long term on the Lawrence Historic Resources Commission. Chris is art director at the KU Endowment Association and also serves on the board of the Kansas Fiddler and Picking Championships.
Old West Lawrence survey
A new historic architectural survey of Old West Lawrence under the guidance of Professor Dennis Domer, LPA emeritus board member, will get underway in mid September. Student workers will re-survey all the homes in the blocks of OWL between 6th and 9th Streets and Kentucky and Michigan. The survey will include photographs, interior floor plans, and archival information about past ownership and date of construction for each house. The results will have a depth of detail previously not available, and for the western portion for the neighborhood will be documented for the first time.
Professor Domer and students are just now finishing a survey of East Lawrence, which documents most of the buildings in that neighborhood and many of the people who lived there over the past 150 years. The information about the area is and will continue to be invaluable for historians, planners and descendants of residents of this area.
Old House Warming
The Miller House — 1111 East 19th St.
Sunday, October 17th, 2pm-4pm
Join us to tour the Miller House (now the home of Dennis and Judy Dailey) that was built and occupied in 1858 and is the only residence in Lawrence associated with both the Underground Railroad and Quantrill’s Raid.
Robert and Susan Miller came to Lawrence from South Carolina in 1858. Their son, Josiah Miller had been in Lawrence since 1854 as a newspaper man and political activist. Both father and son were strong advocates of early efforts to have Kansas join the Union as a free state. Their house was involved in Underground Railroad activities and they hired free black people to work on their farm. On August 21,1863, Quantrill and his men stopped at the Miller home prior to the raid and talked with the Margaret, the Miller’s daughter. Apparently Quantrill had stayed briefly at the Miller home and possibly the reason their house and family were not harmed.
The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in the early 1980s and in 2005-06 major restoration work was done on the house. A short talk about the history and architecture of this important place will take place at 2:45pm.
A tour of the house and the grounds will follow at 3pm.
Varsity House at 1043 Indiana
The Dutch Colonial Revival style house at 1043 Indiana has a long and distinguished history connected to both the city and especially to KU. Unfortunately in the last few years it has fallen on hard times and a year ago was sold at auction to developer Thomas Fritzel.
Mr. Fritzel has filed an application to demolish the house, apparently to clear the way for a massive infill project for most of 1000 block of Indiana. At press time an actual site plan has not been filed, though it is believed to consist of high-density rental housing with underground parking.
Varsity House is in the environs of the Hancock and the Oread Historic districts on the National Register of Historic Places. Both the demolition request and the proposed development must be reviewed by the Lawrence Historic Resources Commission to determine if either action would damage the historic districts. The applicant can appeal an unfavorable ruling to the City Commission to determine if there is no feasible alternative to demolition.
Varsity House was built in 1908 by Constant Construction Co. The house’s designer is uncertain, though it is probably either William Alexander Griffith or Harriet Tanner an early designer and builder in Lawrence, and the mother of Edward Tanner, the chief architect of the classic Country Club Plaza in Kansas City MO. More research remains to be done to verify the designer.
It was built for Professor William Christian Hoad, a distinguished professor of Civil Engineering, whose pupil and a renter at 1043 Indiana was Tom Veatch, founder of Black and Veatch. And in later years, it housed various living groups and departments at KU, most notably as a residence hall for football players during the 1950s, called Jock’s Niche. (see KUHistory.com).
Architect Stan Hernly, who is compiling an architectural survey of the stadium area for the city, toured the property with three LPA representatives. The house is in good condition and restorable and likely eligible for state and federal tax credits. LPA believes that a renovated Varsity House would be a desirable signature element in any infill plans for that block.
Lawrence Preservation is published quarterly by the Lawrence Preservation Alliance. Our mission is to preserve historically significant buildings and natural environments, and to educate the community about the benefits of historic preservation. We welcome your comments, suggestions, and questions.