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City of Lawrence Celebrates Quantrill’s Raid

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LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Tuesday marks a big day in the history of Lawrence, Kansas. City officials want to make sure the history isn't lost.

On August 21, 1863, William Quantrill and his band of 400 outlaws and guerrillas attacked the town of Lawrence which was the headquarters for the state's abolitionist Jayhawks.

"It's one of these elements in history that we kind of always remember. It's probably because the scale of the attack," said Steve Nowak.

More than 200 men and boys were killed that day and an untold number were hurt. Quantrill's raid was front page news.

"I think there was a sense that what was happening here was going to shape the future of the country," Nowak. said

Quantrill's raid left the city of Lawrence a heap of smoking ruins.  But local historians say the raid also shaped the character of this community, even today.

Historians say within a year, Massachusetts Street was almost entirely rebuilt.

"I think it really did sort of determine what the community became," Nowak said.

That's why city commissioners passed a resolution Tuesday night to establish a committee to come up with a way to commemorate in 2013. That will be the 150th Year Anniversary of Qunatrill's Raid. They want the community that was established in its aftermath.

"The events that will take place here a year from today will educate so many here that at times that kind of history can get lost and we feel a real responsibility to not just keep that alive but to preserve our heritage in that way," said  Hugh Carter, Lawrence City Commissioner.

Lawrence is looking for nine community members interested in planning and coordinating the events for 2013.

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