Wood, Brick & Stone - Lawrence
John Palmer Usher House (Now Beta Theta Pi Fraternity)
Significance: This Italianate house was commissioned in 1872 by John Palmer Usher, who served as President Lincoln’s Secretary of the Interior. After the Civil War, Usher moved to Lawrence, Kansas while serving as the general solicitor for the Union Pacific Railroad. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its association with Usher and as an example of Italianate architecture.
Watkins National Bank (Now Watkins Museum)
This Romanesque Revival building was commissioned by financier Jabez B. Watkins at the height of the 1880s real estate boom. Chicago Architects Cobb and Frost designed the building to house the Watkins National Bank and J. B. Watkins Land Mortgage Company. During the bust of the 1890s, the mortgage company went into receivership.
Strong Hall (University of Kansas)
Strong Hall is a rare example of high-style Beaux Arts architecture. It was designed by St. Louis architect M.P. McArdle, who gained national acclaim for his gold-medal-winning design at the St. Louis exposition in 1904. McArdle was charged with creating a building that would be the focal point of the campus plan of preeminent landscape architect and fellow exposition alumnus George Kessler.
Carnegie Library (Ninth and Vermont Street)
Before the early twentieth century, most community libraries, like other institutions, occupied space in standard commercial buildings. Andrew Carnegie changed all this when he established standards for library construction. The libraries that Carnegie funded were often a community’s first free-standing institutional building, bringing the City Beautiful Movement to cities large and small.
Union Pacific Depot (402 North 2nd Street)
The ecclectic Richardsonian Romanesque depot was designed by nationally known architects Van Brunt and Howe. The firm was formed in the late nineteenth century, when Boston architect Henry Van Brunt partnered with Frank Howe, an MIT-trained architect who practiced in Kansas City.
Approximately 60 minutes.
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