LAWRENCE – The history of the University of Kansas’ Lawrence Campus is being recognized and preserved by the creation of a historic district.
The Kansas Historical Society’s Historic Sites Board of Review on Saturday voted to create a historic district comprising the heart of the Lawrence campus. The district is now listed in the Register of Historic Kansas Places and has been forwarded to the National Park Service for consideration for the National Register of Historic Places.
“The beauty of our campus doesn’t come from any one building or place, but rather from the whole environment that has been created on Mount Oread. This district will help us preserve that environment so future Jayhawks may enjoy the same beautiful, historic campus as their predecessors,” said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little.
The University of Kansas Historic District covers the period of 1863-1951 and comprises 52 resources—buildings, landmarks and landscapes. Twenty-six of those are considered contributing resources, and six others are already listed individually in the National Register of Historic Places.
Gaining new recognition through inclusion in the district are buildings such as Watson Library, landmarks such as the World War II Memorial Campanile and landscapes such as The Hill, which graduates walk down during Commencement.
The district was created with support from the Historic Mount Oread Friends, which provided $21,000 in funding for the drafting of the nomination. Members of the organization worked with the Campus Historic Preservation and Heritage Advisory boards to define the district in consultation with Rosin Preservation, Treanor Architects and landscape historian Carol Grove.
“The Historic Mount Oread Friends are loyal supporters of our university. Their dedication and generosity will help preserve the beauty of our campus for generations to come,” Gray-Little said.
Creation of the district builds on the work undertaken through a 2006 grant from the J. Paul Getty Trust to create a preservation master plan to guide the future preservation and development of the campus.
To be eligible for inclusion in the state or federal registers, properties must generally retain their historic appearance, be at least 50 years old and have demonstrated significance, either historically or architecturally. Historic districts generally must be contiguous. Inclusion in the registers makes properties eligible for state and federal financial incentives, such as tax credits.
The KU historic district was nominated for its local and statewide significance in the areas of education, architecture and landscape architecture.
The National Register of Historic Places is the country’s official list of historically significant properties, while the Register of Historic Kansas Places performs the same role at the state level. Properties included in the National Register are automatically listed in the State Register; however, not all properties listed in the State Register are included in the National Register. See the nomination form here.