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Built: 1869 | Year Saved: N/A
Contributor: Kansas Preservation Alliance

Historic preservation projects are often buildings that once served as centers for their communities. Turnhalle in Lawrence is a special example of one such building, serving as the center of the local German community, the largest immigrant group to populate Lawrence in the 19th century. Standing in frontier contrast to the more elaborate Turnhalles that still stand in major metropolitan areas, the rusticated stone structure in Lawrence was built in 1869, eight years after statehood and only six years after Quantrill’s Raid destroyed most of the city’s downtown. Failing significantly when purchased by the Lawrence Preservation Alliance (LPA), in September 2012, LPA planned and secured funding for a major stabilization project. LPA recognized that a revived Turnhalle would serve as a key element in remembering the powerful stories of immigration in our rich cultural past, not just for Lawrence and Douglas County, but for the Midwest and the entire country as well. Work performed included commissioning of a Historic Structure Report, clearing the building of years of accumulated junk, structural repairs to beams and trusses, repairs to parapet walls, a new roof, stone foundation repairs, replacement of door sills, siding, eaves and soffits. Decorative brackets were repaired and reinstalled; new half round gutters and fluted downspouts installed. A building that was failing from neglect and infiltration of water was stabilized, made water tight and sold to a new owner. A Historic Preservation Covenant running with the land was put in place to ensure it, and with it the German heritage of Lawrence, will be protected into the future.

State historic preservation tax credits were utilized to fund this rehabilitation, as well as grants from the National & Cultural Heritage Program, Douglas County Board of Commissioners, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Douglas County Community Foundation, and the Sherry Miller Charitable Trust.

The project team included: Lawrence Preservation Alliance, Dunfield Design, openhanddesign, Bartlett & West Engineers, Trettel design + build, and Treanor Architects.

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