Archivist presents on Lawrence’s historical buildings

Will Doreza

In collaboration with the Appleton Historic Preservation Commission, Archivist/Reference Librarian and Assistant Professor Julia Stringfellow gave a presentation last Thursday, May 13, highlighting the history of Lawrence’s current and past buildings and houses.
“The History of Lawrence, as told through its buildings and houses” was intended to be a walking tour of campus, but was presented in the Pusey room due to inclement weather. Over 30 Appleton residents and students attended the event.
Eight buildings currently in use were featured as well as eight that have since been torn down. Visitors were interested to see the progression of the university through its buildings and to learn interesting facts about them. Historic photographs of each building were projected on a screen.
The information presented for each house included the build date, a brief history of the building’s namesake, how the building has been used in the past and either how the building is used today or why it was demolished.
An example of one of Lawrence’s many historical icons is inside the old Downer Commons. The Teakwood room, consisting of all the original woodwork, furniture and decoration, was built in India and had a long journey – partway by elephant – to Milwaukee and eventually to Appleton.
Stringfellow planned the tour in collaboration with the Appleton Historic Preservation Commission to celebrate May as National Preservation Month. She hopes that next year’s weather will allow her to give an actual walking tour.
Lawrence alumna and Appleton resident Kris Ryan ’70 heard about the event from a display at the Appleton Public Library and decided to attend because of her fascination with local history and architecture.
“In many ways, the Lawrence campus has brought an aura of culture and sharing to the community,” said Ryan. “If time travel were possible, I would love to go back in time and go inside those old buildings.”
Junior Patrick Miner takes great interest in the history of the places where he lives, and the tour provided an opportunity for him to learn more about his Lawrence home.
“A lot of students are unaware of the history of the buildings,” said Miner. “They should take advantage of the archives and talk to Julia Stringfellow.”
The archives, located on the second level of the library, are open every Friday from 1 to 5 p.m. Stringfellow encourages any curious students to stop by and ask questions.
When asked about the importance of Lawrence’s history to students, Stringfellow remarked, “Students should understand the history of the place that will become such an integral part of their lives.