With warm weather during the week, I'm getting out on the bike on my days off. One of my favorite rides is out to Lecompton. I used to go out on narrow Hwy 24--which I don't mind so much--but I was told to take the Farmer's Turnpike west, instead of taking 24.
One my way out of town I pass the historic Black Methodist Church in Old East Lawrence. This is the church (built 1901) that poet Langston Hughes attended as a small boy when he lived here with his grandmother in Lawrence.
Historic Downtown Lawrence is getting razed to make way for wealthy out of state developers to put in high-end hotels and condos. There would also be galleries and studios--the kind of stuff that most people cannot afford or don't want to buy anyway. When Lawrence was attacked by pro-slavery Bushwackers, it was said that Black Union Soldiers killed in the raid where hastily buried here. It may have been a ploy to slow down or stop the developers, but a dig by archaeologists found no evidence of any graves.
This apartment complex is actually pretty nice--its across the street from the vacant lot I photographed for you. Lawrence is a slum lord's dream; every long-time Lawrence resident or family owns a couple of rentals they lease out to KU students.
On the outskirts of town, I pass near the entrance of the Power Plant. This is an old power line from the 1930s that they saved for posterity. I think that's pretty cool to have a reminder of those days.
This house is at the intersection of the Farmer's Turnpike and the edge of town. Now I'll be heading West--into a headwind of course--on my way to Lecompton.
The section of the Farmer's Turnpike runs next to I-70. K-10 is the old Oregon Trail route.
Its windy, mes amis!
I discovered that this old one room school is called the Winter School House, built in in 1869.
I'm riding West on the wide shoulder of the Turnpike, and on the left you can see I-70. This kind of reminds me of the Frontage Rd. I used to ride back in Tucson along I-10.
Here in Lecompton, where you see the replica of the cabin that was here, Jayhawkers from Lawrence rode up (probably along the same route I rode) and attacked this pro-slavery outpost called Ft. Titus. After a several hour shot-out, the pro-slavery men surrendered.
This is the historic Kansas Territorial Capitol which was illegally built by pro-slavery homesteaders in 1855. Congress was still debating whether or not Kansas would be admitted to the Union as free or slave, but pro slavery folks didn't want to wait for the outcome.
The building was never quite completed and later the State Capitol moved to Topeka--along with everything else. It was bought and finished and became Lane University. President Dwight Eisenhower's parents met here at Lane and were married in the building. The Mighty Trek is leaned up against an old hitching block. I guess you could park you saddle horse or buggy here back in the day.
This is the way cool Constitutional Hall, built in the late 1850s. The Kansas Constitution was written and fought over here--later it was a dorm for Lane University, the State Land Office, even a hotel.
This year the Historical Society bought the old jail, which wasn't far from the Hall and in a private resident's back yard. The private owners donated the jail building, and it was taken apart, moved, and is now being re-assembled next to the Hall.
After I ate a Hamburger at the Kroeger Gas Station and Meat Market, I headed back to Lawrence. I had a powerful headwind to take me back.
This is the Baldwin Barn built in 1979. Its a ways off the Turnpike, but since I had a little time, I rode down to take a closer look.
The power plant North of Lawrence is coming into view.
I'm riding back into the city limits and through an old neighborhood Northwest of downtown. Lawrence was an affluent stronghold of Free State Abolitionists, mainly from New England. With Lawrence being so close to Missouri, it was always eyed with resentment, which is why it was probably attacked back in 1861.
It was a fun ride with nice weather. I hope you enjoyed the photos!