Thursday, January 28, 2016

Revisiting History in Lawrence, KS

Stone Plaque in the Eldridge Hotel, Lawrence, KS
The stone plaque pictured at left reads:  "Site of Free State Hotel burned by Sheriff Jones, May 21, 1856 / Eldridge House burned by Quantrell, August 21, 1863."  Isaac B. Werner did not homestead in Kansas until 1878, but he too lived as a boy in a community that suffered the divisions related to the Civil War.  (Read "How Far is Gettysburg," at 6-20-2013 in the blog archives for a discussion of the strong divisions in Wernersville.)

Isaac's family also had a close connection with the city of Lawrence, for his youngest sister Ettie moved with her family from Pennsylvania to Abilene, KS, and from there to Lawrence, KS, where she and her husband are buried.  (See "Kindness of a Stranger," 10-12-2015 in the blog archives.)

Little Red Riding Hood greets fans 
This past weekend we had the pleasure of spending time in Lawrence, and we stayed at the Eldridge Hotel where the pictured plaque is posted in the hall of the main entrance. 

Just across the street from the hotel was a Starbucks that sold the New York Times on Sunday morning. When we lived in New England we loved going out to buy the Times and bringing it home to read for the rest of the day.  It was great fun to be in a city where we could indulge that pleasant memory from our youth by just walking across the street.  We have to go a lot further to buy the Times since living at the farm!

We were revisiting another bit of our own history as guests of long-time friends from college who had invited us to join them for a performance of 'Sleeping Beauty' by the Moscow Festival Ballet.  It was our first visit to the beautiful Lied Center on the Kansas University campus, and we enjoyed the ballet there, as well as seeing the excitement of young fans who lined up in the lobby to have their pictures taken with some of the ballerinas after the performance.

Our friends, Nelson and Judy, treated us to brunch at the Eldridge and then gave us a wonderful tour of campus sites, including a visit to the Dole Institute.  We will want to return to spend more time there.
Inside the Dole Institute on KU campus
The huge stained glass window that greets visitors as they enter pays homage to the home state of  senator and presidential candidate Robert "Bob" Dole.  A second equally massive window honors Dole's service to his country, as soldier, senator, and Republican leader, with a depiction in stained glass of the American flag, shown in the picture as my husband and his friend Nelson discuss the Dole Institute.

Inside the Dole Institute

As Senator Dole has freely discussed during the 2014-2015 campaign season, political discourse  has certainly changed since he ran for election.  My parents were proud to support Robert Dole when he campaigned in Kansas, and when Senator Dole was making his 'Thank You Tour' across the counties of Kansas in 2015, my husband and I attended his visit to Pratt County, where both he and his wife Elizabeth spoke at the Filley Art Museum.  I was pleased to have my picture taken with this Kansas native son.

The author with Sen. & Mrs. Dole
I am confident that my father would be proud of the picture of his daughter with Sen. & Mrs. Dole.  I am not so sure what my father would think of the Republican campaigning this election season, but I am fairly sure his opinion would be about like what Sen. Dole has expressed regarding the tone and opinions stated by some of the candidates.  As Sen. Dole has said, compromise and working together is how political parties get things done for the good of all Americans.

I'm sure I know what Isaac B. Werner would think of the picture.  He would want to know what I was doing holding the hand of a Republican politician!  As those of you who follow my blog regularly know, the People's Party saw Republicans as the servants of the wealthy, and defeating the Republicans, even if they had to work with Democrats sometimes to do it, was their goal.

I hope you enjoyed sharing a bit of our weekend in Lawrence, KS.

1 comment:

Lynda Beck Fenwick said...

I should have mentioned that the flag window is flanked by steel from the ruins of 9/11. I might also mention that a message box with paper and pencil is located near that stained glass window. They collect the messages periodically to forward to Bob Dole. I thanked him for speaking out against the unprofessional style of some of the current candidates who prefer posturing rather than proposing real ideas, and for his comments about the importance of working across the aisle to get things accomplished in congress. He is absolutely right--"compromise" is not a hateful word and refusal to compromise is not a political virtue.