Burroughs Creek Trail interpretive panels let you Hike Through History

City of Lawrence, Kansas, Parks and Recreation Department News Release

Contact: Porter Arneill, (785) 832-3402, parneill@lawrenceks.org
              Xander Fortunato, (785) 917-8380, xjfortunato@gmail.com

Get outside in Lawrence, Kansas, and take a Hike Through History on the Burroughs Creek Trail!

A special event on Saturday, April 28, 2018, 9:30-11 a.m., at Burroughs Creek Park, 900 E 15th Street, will mark the unveiling of a Hike Through History on the Burroughs Creek Trail, ten new interpretive history panels installed along 1.7 miles of the scenic hiking and biking trail and section of the Lawrence Loop. The event is free and open to the public.

Relive the remarkable history and the stories that intersect with this north-south path through east Lawrence and discover the real landscape where famous historical events took place, while uncovering a sometimes-hidden history:

  • See where a World War II German prisoner of war camp was located, and how the prisoners contributed to Lawrence's wartime economy.
  • Learn how a long-gone amusement park banned African American children and inspired the poetry of Langston Hughes, one of Lawrence's most remarkable citizens.
  • Hear about the prominent Haskell family and its profound impact on the cityscape.
  • Read the East Side Stories and meet the people behind street names like "Barker" and "Learnard".
  • Picture the fiery path blazed into Lawrence by William Clarke Quantrill and his raiders on that fateful day in 1863.
  • Travel with thousands of immigrants who passed this way and across the high ridges of the University of Kansas campus on their long journeys to Oregon and California. 
  • Connect with the artistry of William S. Burroughs, noted east Lawrence resident and namesake of the trail.
  • Encounter Lawrence's relationship with agriculture beneath towering silos alongside the trail.

This series of National Park Service-quality panels are the first of their kind on the Lawrence Loop trail, and serve as an outdoor museum. They feature original historic narratives, written and researched by academics and local historians. Vintage photographs, maps, and other images from local, state, and national archives enhance the exhibits. Installed along the paved, 1.7 mile Burroughs Creek Trail and Linear Park path running from 11th Street to 23rd Street, the panels provide insight to Lawrence's unique history and cultural identity.

"This visionary project is an instant asset for our city, the Burroughs Creek Trail, and the Lawrence Loop," said Lawrence Mayor Stuart Boley, "Henry Fortunato and his cadre of collaborators have provided an invaluable gift for our community."

The special event on the Burroughs Creek Trail takes place at 900 E 15th Street on Saturday morning, and begins with refreshments at 9:30, followed by remarks from Mayor Boley, and representatives of project contributors, including Jim Ogle, the executive director of Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area. After the unveiling, participants are encouraged to take a self-guided walk in either direction along the trail.

The Hike Through History on the Burroughs Creek Trail – and the Hike Through History on the Indian Creek Trail in Overland Park, Kansas – project is the brainchild of the late Henry Fortunato, a member of the Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area Board of Trustees, founder of Sunflower Republic LLC, and former Visiting Fellow at the Hall Center for the Humanities. Thanks to initial crucial support from Dolph and Pam Simons, Henry led a four-year partnership with the Lawrence Public Library, the Watkins Museum of History, the Hall Center for the Humanities, and Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area. Additional contributors to the project include the City of Lawrence, and the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department, recipients of the gifted panels. The East Lawrence Neighborhood Association, the Brook Creek Neighborhood Association, the Woods on 19th Homeowners Association, and the Barker Neighborhood Association consulted on the project.

Read more about this in an article published on Monday, April 23, in the Lawrence Journal-World.

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