"Wonderful Old Lawrence" by Elfriede Fischer Rowe


     These stories were written to share with others a few of my personal experiences, and to create a printed record of some facets of life in early Lawrence. The historical information has been obtained by careful research, and it is hoped it can be used as a true record. All except two of the articles have been printed in the Lawrence Journal-World.

     Numerous readers have urged that the articles be preserved in a book.

     The first article to appear in the Journal-World was written impulsively after reading of an event printed in the paper, which stirred up recollections of happy experiences some fifty odd years ago. Without telling anyone, I sent it to the Journal-World. The contents of the letter of acknowledgment from editor Dolph Simons meant more to me than the accompanying check.

     In recounting the events and experiences, I have attempted to describe the happy and irresponsible days when about our only serious thoughts were to look forward eagerly to the next day's new adventure. Our world was peopled with friendly folks regardless of race, color or religious beliefs. We lived by the rules of our home without question and we never felt a generation gap. The idea was never planted in our minds.

     Lawrence people and University people were on common ground; a wonderfully rewarding relationship.

     Younger readers may see that grandparents were not always as "square" as they may have been pictured in recent years.

     All of those involved in the publication of this book have a deep love for Lawrence and the University of Kansas.

     There is Dolph Simons, who made this publication possible. He has continued to follow a pattern established by his father, W. C. Simons, one of the founders of the Journal-World. It is much the same pattern followed by my father, merchant and civic leader Otto A. Fischer, and grandparents Julius Fischer and F. W. Jaedicke, all of whom helped in the building of Lawrence to make it a delightful place to live and to raise and educate their families.

     Then there is Theodore M. O'Leary, who in helping to edit these articles, repeated what his father, Professor R. D. O'Leary did at KU when he taught me in "Short Story" and other English courses. Museum director, Bret Waller, contributed immeasurably with his enthusiasm and helpful suggestions and encouragement. Artist Jeannot Barnes Seymour, a KU graduate, loves Lawrence and KU, and she has contributed the lively drawings which appear at the beginning of several of the chapters in this book. Her great grandfather was Isaac Newton Van Hoesen who was mayor of Lawrence in 1878. Her other great grandfather, John James Ingalls, one time U.S. Senator, gave the first commencement address at KU.

     Others who either helped me remember or suggested articles, include Howard L. (Pete) Reedy and Rita Mull Reedy; Charlene Smith Fitzpatrick; Louise Broeker Young; Marcella Hetzel Arndt; Elsa Barteldes Carl; Fredo and Otto Barteldes; Julius Marks; Eva Anderson Dolbee; Maude Elliott; Pattee Sankee; and Francis Stevens.

     If the reader has as much enjoyment from these stories as I have had in preparing them, then I will know my purpose has been accomplished.

     This book is dedicated to my late beloved husband, Ivan Doherty Rowe.


Next     Contents