In this issue:
-Annual LPA awards event
-Douglas County Commission approves Heritage Conservation Fund
-New LPA greeting cards
-Old House Warming
-New Executive Director of Douglas County Historical Society
Annual LPA Awards Event — save the date
Castle Tea Room — 1307 Massachusetts St.
Wednesday, May 4, 7-9pm
Save the date so that you will be able to join us to celebrate at the Castle Tea Room. Tickets are $25 per person. Enjoy Hors D’oeuvres, drinks and live entertainment by local band Cathy Hunt and the Jump House Band!
This years recipients are Katie and Ken Armitage as well as The Black Jack Battlefield Trust. Come celebrate our past and our future! Invitations will be mailed to you in April, or you can register online! More information here.
Douglas County Commission approves Heritage Conservation Fund
The Douglas County Commission has approved $350,000 in their 2011 budget to help fund the conservation of the county’s natural and built historic resources. An additional $350,000 was approved for economic development. This innovative proposal was championed by Commissioner Nancy Thellman and supported by Commissioner Mike Gaughan. While Commissioner Jim Flory agreed with the proposal’s goals, he objected to the funding mechanism, preferring instead to seek a locally approved sales tax. The funding is in place for 2011 only, but the hope is that heritage conservation will receive continued funding in the future.
The commission appointed a Natural and Cultural Heritage Task Force to present a report, due in March, detailing what steps the commission should take and what criteria should be used to grant funding to projects. The preliminary report suggest funding for a mixture of projects, including historic structures, natural areas, heritage farms, Freedom’s Frontier themes and pre-settlement history. On or two major project each year would receive the bulk of the funding, with project having matching resources and encompassing more than one goal (a heritage farm, for instance could include historic structures and natural areas) would receive priority in evaluating proposals.
A major goal for this year is for the county to work with the Kansas State Preservation office (SHPO), to establish a county preservation ordinance that creates a Certified Local Government (CLG), and a Heritage Conservation Council. There are currently 15 CLG communities in Kansas, including the city of Lawrence. CLG communities are eligible to access federal funds set aside annually by the SHPO, usually for historic survey work.
This would allow the county to obtain grant funding to conduct a county-wide inventory of our heritage resources, a goal strongly supported by LPA. To date there have been piecemeal surveys done, primarily in Lawrence, but by no means complete, up to date, or all in one place. This is a crucial database to collect before project dollars are allocated.
The Heritage Conservation Council, proposed to have seven members, could be appointed by late May. The Council will administer the grant application process and forward their funding recommendations to the County Commission. For 2011, applications for funding are proposed to be accepted between August 1 and October 31.
This landmark initiative by the Douglas County Commission is a major step forward in understanding and protecting our historic cultural resources, in the year that we commemorate 150 years of Kansas statehood and celebrate the official formation of the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area.
New LPA greeting cards
The LPA has printed fine greeting cards with ten beautiful color photographs of architectural details such as windows, doors, porches and ceilings in historic old houses of Lawrence. These will be for sale for $3.50 each at the various events sponsored by LPA. Pick some up and send a “hello” to someone the old fashioned way!
Old House Warming
Bishop Vail House — 505 Ohio
Sunday, April 10, 2-4pm
The Vail House, one of the first large residential structures built in Lawrence after Quantrill’s raid, will be the site of LPA’s next Old House Warming. It is now the home of Katie Armitage, a local historian and author of the recent book Survivors of Quantrill’s Raid, and her husband Ken Armitage. The house was built in 1866-67 by W.O.K. Cone, a military attorney, and from 1868-1890, it was owned by Thomas Vail, the first Episcopal Bishop of Kansas. (Survivors of Quantrill’s Raid can be purchased at the Watkins Museum Gift Shop, the Raven, and other local bookstores.)
This beautiful Italianate with a five-sided bay window facing south and a wraparound porch on the east and south sides is a contributing property to the Pinckney 1 National Historic district.
Come spend a spring Sunday afternoon with us as we tour the house and learn more about this outstanding Lawrence property and about 19th century Lawrence history.
Steve Nowak is the new Executive Director of Douglas County Historical Society and Watkins Museum
On Feb 28, 2011, Douglas County will have a new Executive Director of the Historical Society and the Watkins Museum. Steve Nowak comes to Lawrence from the Toledo Museum of Art, where for 22 years he served in a variety of roles, most recently as the director of education and community outreach and a curatorial consultant in decorative arts. He was a member of that museum’s senior management team and oversaw school tours, teacher resources, art classes, public programs and outreach programs. The Douglas County Historical Society hopes Mr. Nowak will help to put renewed focus on the “important struggles for freedom that have been an ongoing part of local history” and to strengthen their relationship with the newly formed Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area.
You are invited to meet him at a reception at the Watkins Museum, on Sunday March 6, 1pm-3pm.
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.