Santa Fe Depot Project On Track

Photo by Tom Harper

Photo by Tom Harper

Santa Fe All the Way
The next steps in a $1.7 million rehab of Lawrence's Santa Fe Depot, including funding and construction documents, are in place, and work should begin later this summer. A refurbished Santa Fe station will be perfectly positioned to benefit from either a comeback by personal rail travel, finding its place through some future use as an important civic building, or both.

In a critical step, the City Commission voted on May 2 on a revised plan to take ownership of the depot. That action may have caused everyone who had worked for that day, from volunteers who washed the station’s windows to city officials who worked with huge government and corporate entities, to stop and think “wait, how long did all that take?” In all, it took nine years, but the Santa Fe Depot, an important piece of 1950s-era architecture, is near to the next stop in its history.

Depot Redux has spent those nine years working incrementally to make the building cleaner, safer, and more accommodating to visitors and resident travelers alike. Staging fun and informative events both impromptu and planned, the group shone a light on an important component of our architecture and history that had been allowed to fall into the shadows. Assistant City Manager Diane Stoddard was there every step of the way, persevering through complex negotiations among a web of national corporations and government agencies who were stakeholders in the project. The neon "LAWRENCE" signs on both ends of the platform canopy (exact duplicates of the originals), now shine every night.

For their work on the Santa Fe Depot, Depot Redux and Stoddard have been chosen as winners of the Lawrence Preservation Alliance's 2017 Preservation Achievement Award.

The key funding piece was a $1.2 million grant from KDOT. The city match, after the sale of historic tax credits, will be about $160,000. Amtrak will kick in another $200,000 for ADA improvements. Amtrak had previously invested $1.5 million in the loading platform and exterior lighting upgrades several years ago.

Hernly and Associates developed the construction documents, which were also paid for by a grant with the city matching a small percentage of the funds. In fact, every step in this process (certainly one reason it took so long), where the city spent funds to get to this point, a greater amount of funds was leveraged from state or federal sources.




Spring 2017 Preservation in Progress Awards

In its Spring 2017 Preservation in Progress Awards, the Lawrence Preservation Alliance is proud to recognize a wide range of current projects, including two residential rehabs, creation of a new historic district and the relocation of a historic structure. Congratulations, everyone!

Attack of the Attached Garage

When examining building proposals for damaging impacts to historic listed properties, and in particular ones proposed within the urban core, the Lawrence Historic Resources Commission (HRC) is charged with filtering out invasive design species that would be foreign to existing historic patterns if allowed. One invasive critter that requires vigilance is the attached garage.

Core neighborhoods served by an alley system developed a predominant pattern of detached service structures, accessed by the alley, with rear yard space between the service structure and the main house. In the beginning, these structures served as tool sheds and small barns. As motorized vehicles became more affordable, a number of these structures underwent various modifications to become detached garages. Over the years, as infill projects were completed one by one, some but not all recognized and respected this pattern, and built new infill houses with detached one or two car garages.

As newer subdivisions were developed around the urban core, and began to coincide with the phenomenon of most families now being able to afford an automobile, the alley system was scrapped as a planning element, and the attached garage, accessed by a driveway along the side of the front yard and connecting to the street, was born. This distinct change in direction for neighborhood layout could not be more obvious! Have a youngster on a bicycle ride through a driveway-based neighborhood and an alley-based one, and he or she will be able to tell you.

As communities have increasingly documented their core neighborhoods and set up protections like those the HRC is tasked with upholding, positive amenities, based primarily on walkability, have been fostered that some who live in vehicle-based neighborhoods see as desirable. As they, one by one, buy vacant infill lots or properties that are demolished by neglect and propose an infill construction that will allow them to come back, it should be HRC’s mission to stand at the border (using the review process), and say, “ You can come in with this and this, but not that.” There are always exceptions to every rule, but the attached garage is one design element that should face a very steep threshold of approval in core neighborhoods with historic registered properties.

Aside from bringing in an architectural form that is foreign to predominant design patterns in these documented historic areas, the attached garage does create actual damage in at least two distinct ways. Transferring the form from a driveway accessed system to an alley system means the structure, attached to the house and abutting the alley, thereby eliminates the rear yard, a character-defining feature that is a repeated and common pattern in most older neighborhoods. Second, the historic building pattern of a residence with a detached service building breaks the built massing on the property into two separate components. The likelihood of an attached garage proposal exceeding the upper limits of massing found in existing structures in an older neighborhood is great.

Attached garages in older neighborhoods are going to occur, as not all properties in those neighborhoods are listed on historic registers and thus subject to review. It is also possible that some designs using the attached garage concept but with less of a suburban feel could come forward that would provide a rear yard and visually break up the structure’s mass. Those charged with evaluating building proposals that trigger historic review should recognize each opportunity to protect the historic planning patterns of neighborhoods we are making an effort to preserve. If they do not, then little by little, one decision at a time, that invasive species becomes established, and that youngster on the bike begins to assume it was always there.

Remembering Olive Stanford, 1916-2017; UPDATE: Mugan-Olmstead House Placed on National Register

Longtime Lawrence Preservation Alliance supporter Olive Stanford recently passed away at the age of 100.

LPA President Dennis Brown chatted with Olive Stanford during a visit to her home last summer.

LPA President Dennis Brown chatted with Olive Stanford during a visit to her home last summer.

A truly gracious person with a keen appreciation of the power of great architecture—the vernacular and historic in particular—Olive came to us from Toronto, Kan., at the northern edge of the massive and ancient Cross Timbers Forest that stretches south through Oklahoma and into Texas. During her time as a student at the University of Kansas (culminating in 1938 with a degree in entomology), she developed a great affection for particular structures she would pass by during her daily life in Lawrence.

She married Sharon B. Stanford in 1940 and began a wonderful life in Phoenix, Ariz. Together, in Paradise Valley, they constructed a home of adobe brick made on the property—the home literally rising up from the land upon which it was built.

In 1991, 17 years after her husband’s death, Olive moved back to Lawrence to be close to her daughter Mary, who, with husband Tripp Anderson, had rehabbed and repurposed a large stone barn on the 9th Street hill as their home. Olive bought the vacant Mugan-Olmstead House (1866), just down the street, a house now listed on the Lawrence Register of Historic Places and, as of March 2017, the National Register of Historic Places. 

Back in Lawrence, she began to reacquaint herself with those favorite places she had loved. A number of them were failing and threatened. Over the next 25 years of her life, at opportune times and in very quiet ways, she stepped in to save some of these for the benefit of our city and future generations.

First was her own historic home, where she directed a very sensitive rehabilitation of the native stone structure that harkened back to the days of the Old Windmill, which had been located just a few blocks south. Through her membership in LPA, Olive supported the Union Pacific Depot in North Lawrence, and more recently, the Turnhalle at 900 Rhode Island.  Within the last two years, she rejoiced when LPA members worked privately to save and rehabilitate the little two-bedroom Rhody Delahunty House at 1106 Rhode Island, bringing it and the outbuildings there back to a condition as she would have remembered it during her days at KU.

Her most notable preservation achievement, however, was her work at the Old English Lutheran Church, now owned by the family and repurposed as the 1040 New Hampshire Professional Offices. This site was one of two in the past 40 years (the Douglas County Bank property at 9th and Kentucky being the other), where preservation battles were fought that had implications for future preservation law in both Lawrence and the State of Kansas. When the dust from this one had settled, Olive’s family was the new owner of the property, and a friendship with LPA was born.

Olive fully funded the rehabilitation of this property, and just as important, personally planned it, insisting that the reuse which would sustain the structure financially into the future do nothing to physically engage or disrupt the character-defining features which made the John Haskell- designed structure unique and historic. Re-opening in 1993, the building has since been recognized with multiple preservation and architectural awards, all without most in Lawrence even knowing who Olive was, or the great thing she had done.

UPDATE: In March 2017, Olive's home, the Mugan-Olmstead House, was accepted into the National Register of Historic Places. The home on Avalon Road was built by stonemason Patrick Mugan for his family in 1866 and stayed in his family until 1960. Olivia lived there for the last 25 years of her life. It is an excellent example of a residence that evolved as Lawrence grew. Olivia was so happy that her home was on its way to being listed in the National Register.

Fall 2016 Preservation in Progress Awards

LPA recognizes three older properties where new owners performed whole-house rehabs using a sensitive and sensible touch. Congratulations everyone!

City Website Maps Historic Properties

Have you seen the newly redesigned Lawrence city website? It includes detailed, interactive maps of the city’s historic environs and properties. You can zoom in on specific neighborhoods and properties and find detailed information on individual properties. The individual properties map can even be broken down by federal, state and local historic designations.

Lawrence Historic Environs Map

Lawrence Historic Properties Map

Notice: Revision to LPA Bylaws

At the 2016 Annual Meeting of members, which will be held at 3pm on September 25th at the Carnegie Library (200 W 9th), a vote will be taken to amend Article 4, Section 14 (Fees and Compensation) of the LPA bylaws.

As a board with a specific focus, there are times when board members with unique skills are one of the few qualified entities to bid on contract work paid for by the organization.  A recent experience with a grant application exposed a weakness in our existing policy.  Board consensus was that the existing Section 14 was poorly written and unclear.  The board is recommending new language to replace that paragraph.  Also, to date the LPA board has never had a Conflict of Interest Policy.  In conjunction with the amendment to Section 14, the board proposes the addition of a Conflict of Interest Policy.

The amendment and added policy are reproduced for you here.  There will be a motion at the Annual Meeting for LPA members to approve these changes.                                                                                                                                                               

Bylaw Change

Existing Bylaw Article 4, Section 14:
Directors shall not receive any stated salary for their services as directors, but by resolution of the board adopted in advance of or after the meeting for which payment is to be made, a fixed fee with or without expenses of attendance may be allowed to one or more of the directors for attendance at each meeting. Nothing herein contained shall be construed to preclude any director from serving the corporation in any other capacity as an officer, agent, employee, or otherwise, and receiving compensation therefore.

Proposed Change to Bylaws Article 4, Section 14 on Fees and Compensation:
Directors shall not receive any stated salary for their services as directors. Before entering into a transaction or arrangement that might benefit the private interest of an officer or director of LPA the procedures outlined in the CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY shall be followed.  Nothing herein contained shall be construed to preclude any director from serving the corporation in any other capacity as an officer, agent, employee, or otherwise, and receiving compensation therefore.

Lawrence Preservation Alliance- CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY

It is important for Lawrence Preservation Alliance (LPA) directors and officers to be aware that both real and apparent conflicts of interest may occur in the course of conducting the affairs of the LPA. The purpose of the conflict of interest policy is to protect the LPA’s tax-exempt status and public interest when it is contemplating entering into a transaction or arrangement that might benefit the private interest of an officer or director of LPA.  The policy is intended to supplement but not replace any applicable state and federal laws governing conflict of interest applicable to nonprofit and charitable organizations.

Conflicts are undesirable because they potentially or eventually place the interests of others ahead of LPA’s obligations to its charitable purposes and to the public interest. Each member of the board of directors of the LPA has a duty of loyalty to LPA.  The duty of loyalty requires a director to prefer the interests of the LPA over the director’s interest or the interests of others. 

In connection with any actual or possible conflict of interest, an interested person must disclose the existence of the financial interest and be given the opportunity to disclose all material facts to the directors considering the proposed transaction or arrangement.

2.1   Interested Person
Any director, principal officer, or member of a committee with board of directors’ delegated powers, who has a direct or indirect financial interest, as defined below, is an interested person.

2.2   Financial Interest
A person has a financial interest if the person has, directly or indirectly, thorough business, investment, or family:
        (a)  An ownership or investment interest in any entity with which LPA has a transaction or arrangement,

        (b)  A compensation arrangement with LPA or with any entity or individual with which LPA has a transaction or arrangement, or

        (c)  A potential ownership or investment interest in, or compensation arrangement with, any entity or individual with which LPA is negotiating a transaction or
        arrangement. Compensation includes direct and indirect remuneration as well as gifts or favors that are not insubstantial.

3.1   Duty to Disclose
In connection with any actual or possible conflict of interest, an interested person must disclose the existence of the financial interest and be given the opportunity to disclose all material facts to the directors and members of committees with board of directors’ delegated powers considering the proposed transaction or arrangement.

3.2   Determining Whether a Conflict of Interest Exists
After disclosure of the financial interest and all material facts, and after any discussion with the interested person, he/she shall leave the board of directors or committee meeting while the determination of a conflict of interest is discussed and voted upon.  The remaining board or committee members shall determine if a conflict of interest exists.   

3.3   Procedures for Addressing the Conflict of Interest
        (a)   An interested person may make a presentation at the board of directors or committee meeting, but after the presentation, he/she shall leave the meeting
        during the discussion of, and the vote on, the transaction or arrangement involving the possible conflict of interest.

        (b)  The chairperson of the board of directors or committee shall, if appropriate, appoint a disinterested person or committee to investigate alternatives to the
        proposed transaction or arrangement.

        (c)   After exercising due diligence, the board of directors or committee shall determine whether LPA can obtain with reasonable efforts a more advantageous
        transaction or arrangement from a person or entity that would not give rise to a conflict of interest. Due diligence may include receiving multiple bids for the
        same work. In the case of an insubstantial difference between the costs proposed by a director or officer and that of an outside party for the same quality of
        work the preference shall be to award the contract to the outside party.

        (d)  If a more advantageous transaction or arrangement is not reasonably possible under circumstances not producing a conflict of interest, the board of directors
        or committee shall present the transaction or arrangement to the full board of LPA with the interested person not present for the presentation, discussion and
        vote. A determination as to whether the transaction or arrangement is in LPA’s best interest, for its own benefit, and whether it is fair and reasonable will be made
        by a majority vote of the disinterested directors and will be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

4.1   Minutes
The minutes of the board of directors and all committees with board delegated powers shall contain:
        (a)  The names of the persons who disclosed or otherwise were found to have a financial interest in connection with an actual or possible conflict of interest, the
        nature of the financial interest, any action taken to determine whether a conflict of interest was present, and the board of directors committee’s decision as to
        whether a conflict of interest in fact existed.

        (b)  The names of the persons who were present for discussions and votes relating to the transaction or arrangement, the content of the discussion, including
        any alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement, and a record of any votes taken in connection with the proceedings.

I do hereby certify that the above stated Conflict of Interest Policy for Lawrence Preservation Alliance was approved and adopted by the board of directors on _________, _____________ , 2016 and constitute a complete copy of the Conflict of Interest Policy of LPA.



Date: ________________


Member Letter From the President

LPA Members:

As we renew our membership commitment for another year, I would like to reflect on where we are as a preservation community today, and where we were some fifty years ago.

With beginnings in the 1960s and 70s, and progressing into a steady stream of activity in the 1980s, urban pioneers and Main Street saviors began transforming our downtown and core neighborhoods one structure at a time.  The 600 block of Massachusetts was blighted, and at one point a shopping mall was proposed that would have covered the block and forever closed the intersection at 6th street.  The Lawrence Opera House (Liberty Hall) was headed for a sheriff’s sale on the steps of the Courthouse.  Stately properties such as 701 Louisiana sat with for sale signs in the yard for months at a time.  The very real threat for many of these properties in core neighborhoods was demolition and replacement with suburban design, fourplexes or apartment houses.

When these pioneers began their work, probably unaware that they could be called ‘preservationists’, or that they were part of a movement, others watched in amazement and told them they were wasting their money.  “It’s a labor of love” was the likely response, and for most of these pioneers, it was.

Once a few of these early rehabilitations were completed, others saw they could do it too.  Neighborhood associations had been formed, and some even succeeded in downzoning actions.  The library, community pool, Eldridge Hotel, downtown churches, and the Carnegie Building were improved instead of scattered to satellite sites.  Voters approved bond issues that succeeded in keeping neighborhood schools.  Downtown became a mecca of dining and entertainment options, office space, and boutique shops.  A key component, however, in all these individual actions that created this critical mass of something great and desirable, was a common-held belief that our stock of historic structures should be valued and preserved.  The fact is those early naysayers that felt preservation was a waste of money couldn’t have been more wrong.

These days, downtown is a great place to take family and friends.  A ‘for sale’ sign never stays in a residential front yard for long, if it appears at all.  While those early pioneers may have wondered if anyone would ever join them, now there is great demand to live in these vibrant core neighborhoods and enjoy the great life they offer.

While demolition was the specter hanging over our old housing stock fifty years ago, the danger today is more likely to be that while a number of these folks feel an attraction to the core neighborhoods, they don’t really want an old house at all.  Judging by agendaitems this year at the Lawrence Historic Resources Commission (HRC), some have purchased old houses with no intention of actually living in them until they can take the ‘old’ out, and replace with new.

Those urban pioneers of the past would typically redo a kitchen and take out a small upstairs bedroom to create a bigger master bath or walk-in closet.  Sometimes a garage was built or an addition built on the back.  But by and large, it was understood that “character-defining features” of their historic property were to be preserved- not removed, mimicked or redone to the point of obscurity.  The HRC is there for people with properties listed on historic registers to help them achieve this goal and still fit their definition of ‘livable’.  Of course, not all older properties are listed on historic registers or within the environs of local register properties, which would require HRC review. Massive additions, however, that turn the original house into a vestibule, or an original front façade with an entirely new house behind it, are not what the standards for review are meant to allow, nor what our predecessors who created what is now so desirable had in mind.

This current demand on our downtown and core neighborhoods tells us that what has been achieved collectively over the last five decades has great cultural and economic value.  There is certainly room for more people to come in and make it even better, but before they design a building plan that effectively jumps in with both feet, they should take some time to understand their neighborhood and what makes their recently-purchased historic structure valuable. Unless you can purchase a vacant lot, a downtown loft, or an inappropriate older infill structure, the price of the ticket to this party is a wonderful old house, and that’s as it should be.

Dennis J Brown, President

Spring 2016 Preservation In Progress Awards

John Charlton - 1624 Indiana Street

1624 Indiana Street (Courtesy of Lawrence Modern)

1624 Indiana Street (Courtesy of Lawrence Modern)

Owner John Charlton, with assistance from members of Lawrence Modern, recently added his mid-century modern home to the City of Lawrence's list of local landmarks. He also had the property added to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. More information is available on our news and events page








Prairie Realty LLC - 1015 Alabama Street

1015 Alabama Street

1015 Alabama Street

This longtime home of Albert Bloch, the only American artist affiliated with the Blue Rider (Blaue Reiter), a network of German expressionist painters from 1911-1914, received a top to bottom makeover late last year.

In 1923, Bloch accepted a position as professor at the University of Kansas, where he taught art and art history until his retirement in 1947.  In 1924, he bought this house where he lived and painted for many years.  Located in the heart of Oread, 1015 Alabama now sparkles once again and is in use as a rental.













Lynnette and Nathan Littlejohn - 321 Indiana Street

321 Indiana Street

321 Indiana Street

Lynnette and Nathan Littlejohn have found a great way to move into a designated historic district and make new friends: buy one of the most dilapidated houses on the block and steadily rehab it until it stands right there among the best! The structure at 321 Indiana, a contributing to the state and nationally-listed Pinckney #2 Residential Historic District, had suffered from years of exposure to water infiltration and the usual combination of neglect and cover-up fixes. Cosmetic damage had worsened to the point of structural concerns.

The couple replaced one foundation wall and added steel I-Beams tied into new exterior concrete anchors to support another. Vertical supports were added in the basement. Cracked and sagging joists in the ceilings and floors were sistered rather than replaced. An inappropriate roof structure and five layers of shingles were removed to uncover the original roofline, and wood double-hung windows were restored.

Inside, paneling and fiber ceiling tiles were removed to expose the rotting plaster underneath. The house was rewired and plumbed, and new sheetrock installed. Oak and pine floors were refinished and painting commenced inside and out. The lot was regraded to create positive drainage around the house. The couple did as much of this work themselves as they could.

The finished product is a great home for Lynnette and Nathan, some very happy new friends and neighbors, and a much-deserved PIP Award from LPA in their front yard…well done, Lynnette and Nathan!


Beal House Added to Local, State and National Registers

People gather for the Lawrence Modern Open House held at the Beal House in October 2015.             Photo courtesy of Tim Hossler.

People gather for the Lawrence Modern Open House held at the Beal House in October 2015.             Photo courtesy of Tim Hossler.

The City of Lawrence recently added the George Malcolm Beal House (1624 Indiana Street) to the City's list of local landmarks. The house was added to both the National and State Registers of Historic Places in November 2015 thanks to the efforts of owner John Charlton, who completed the applications with assistance from members of Lawrence Modern.

Designed by KU architecture professor George Beal in 1950, and built by Robert Still, the house at 1624 Indiana is an outstanding example of Usonian organic architecture that built upon his friend Frank Lloyd Wright's design principles. Beal used a heliodon instrument that he designed and built to calculate site-specific sun angles that allowed for creating a more energy efficient house long before LEED ratings were even a concept. He introduced passive solar design by utilizing eave overhangs to shade the house in the summer, while southern facing glass collects the sun's rays in the winter to heat the house. Additionally, the central free-standing chimney absorbs heat that it releases into the house at night.

Not only is the Beal House an architectural gem, it also remains largely unchanged since it was built. Its high degree of historic integrity could not have been possible without the thoughtful stewardship of Beal and John's mother, long-time preservation advocate and LPA member Betty Jo Charlton, who resided at the house from 1971 to 2014.

For more information and photos of the Beal House please visit Lawrence Modern. You can also read the National Register Nomination.