We have exciting news to announce. As part of our mission to preserve historically significant buildings in Lawrence, the LPA has purchased the home at 904 Rhode Island, immediately south of the Lawrence Turnhalle. Like the Turnhalle, which the LPA bought for preservation in 2012, the home was previously owned by the Ernst family.
LPA worked with attorney Boog Highberger to craft preservation covenants that will protect the historic property, and is now offering this landmark home for sale. The covenants focus on preserving the historic features visible from the street, specifically the character-defining wooden front porch, brick walls and original windows. This will make it possible to do rehabilitation work inside and possibly build an addition off the rear of the house.
LPA purchased the Turnhalle, which was built in 1869 at the corner of 9th and Rhode Island, in 2012. The group raised funds, did critical repair work to stabilize the structure, crafted legal protections for the building, and later sold it to developer Tony Krsnich. The Ernst Family had owned the Turnhalle and the current house and provided generous terms for both sales to support their desire to preserve these important structures. LPA believes that its purchase of 904 Rhode Island will assist with plans to return the Turnhalle to a community resource by removing uncertainty about its status.
Records show that 904 Rhode Island was built prior to 1889 and originally owned by Thomas Collier. In 1908 it was sold to the Turnverein, the German community group that operated the Turnhalle, and the LPA believes it became the home of the caretaker for the two properties. The Ernst family purchased both buildings in 1938. “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to take another step towards the adaptive reuse of the Turnhalle and are grateful to the Ernst Family,” LPA President Dennis Brown said.
In December, the home was sold to a new owner, ensuring its long-term preservation.