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Liberty Hall

There’s no shortage of historic buildings with interesting stories in Lawrence, and Liberty Hall is one such place. After being destroyed by fire, it was rebuilt in 1911 in the Beaux-Arts style with an Imperial Roman façade. This impressive structure may be over 100 years old, but is still a thriving business in downtown Lawrence.

LIBERTY HALL as we know it today has hosted a variety of live events ranging from Willie Nelson to Wu Tang Clan, in an intimate setting with a state of the art concert hall sound system. Liberty Hall has been voted Lawrence’s Best Music Venue for three years straight. It has acted as a community-meeting house since 1856, and hosts regular screenings and lectures that promote culture and civility in Lawrence, KS.

LIBERTY HALL VIDEO is located directly on the corner of 7th and Massachusetts Street and boasts an enormous collection of DVD, VHS, and Blu-ray titles for rent. Liberty Hall Video has a friendly and knowledgeable staff, and great prices. Enjoy two-for-one rentals every day, or sign-up for the Uranium Option: unlimited rentals with no late fees for just a small monthly charge.

LA PRIMA TAZZA is a European style coffee house that serves the best in Fair Trade coffee and specialty drinks on Massachusetts Street. They claim it is home to the most experienced and loveable baristas in downtown Lawrence. La Prima Tazza has been voted Best Coffee in Lawrence for three years straight, and is the perfect spot to work on a project, chat with a friend, or contemplate life’s big questions over a hot brew.

LIBERTY HALL CINEMA shows the latest in first-run independent, foreign, and art house films on two screens. Liberty Hall Cinema also offers monthly creative special screenings of classic and soon-to-be-classic films on the big screen. They offer a traditional movie theater concession stand with the addition of beer, wine, and cocktails.

Liberty Hall’s website, libertyhall.net, is where you can find the information above along with Showtimes, Live Event Details and more. Stephens Real Estate appreciates what this locally owned business offers. We are also locally owned and operated; have been since 1978. Contact us when you’re ready to buy or sell your home. Contact us or call 785.841.4500 when you’re ready to buy or sell your home.

Lawrence will surprise and please you with all the options for arts and culture

Photo by John Clayton.

The arts have been essential to this town since some of the first settlers arrived, packing brass instruments to form a community band. From visual to experimental, Lawrence continues to back the arts because this town knows that what’s good for the arts is good for the community. Come enjoy this rich connection to a flourishing arts environment.

Start with the Lawrence Arts Center, just a block from Massachusetts Street. Here you’ll find 20 to 25 art exhibitions a year. The best in contemporary art is also offered through art talks, live performances and more. Locals of all ages enjoy the classes for dance, printmaking, jewelry, ceramics and arts-based pre-school education. Artists-in-Residence in ceramics and printmaking bring new perspective with their shows and classes, while internationally known artists add a richness that reflects the Lawrence community.

Spencer Museum of Art, located on the University of Kansas campus, has changing exhibits as well as seven galleries displaying selections from the permanent collection of more than 45,000 works of art. Special exhibitions drawn from the collection or touring from other museums are displayed in four additional galleries. The collection spans the history of European, North American, and East Asian art.

The Lied Center of Kansas, located on the west side of the University of Kansas campus, has a busy calendar of events that range from Broadway productions and world-class artistic performances to KU School of Music and the KU Department of Dance productions and recitals of budding artists. The Lied Center serves KU, its students, the Lawrence community and greater Kansas as a catalyst for the arts, creativity and engagement.

Theatre Lawrence works with volunteers to create and deliver extraordinary theatre and educational programs that engage community members of all ages and backgrounds. Theatre Lawrence hosts a season of performances, concerts series, art exhibits and more.

The arts community comes together every month to offer special exhibits, receptions, amazing artwork and more on the last Friday of every month. Final Fridays include activities for kids, exhibitions designed to challenge adults, music, dance and theater for all ages.

This overview just taps the surface of what Lawrence has to offer if you’re looking for arts and culture. Come to Lawrence ready to play. And when you’re ready to buy or sell your home, we’re ready to help. Call Stephens Real Estate at 785.841.4500 or Contact Us.

Historic Union Pacific Depot and Lawrence Visitor Information Center

Whether you’re visiting Lawrence for the first time or you’ve lived here for years, stop by the historic Union Pacific train depot and Lawrence Visitor Center. Located at 402 N. 2nd Street, in North Lawrence, across the Kansas River Bridge from Downtown Lawrence, the center is open Monday through Saturday – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday – 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friendly volunteers are ready to help you make a plan to explore Lawrence.

From driving directions to dining options, self-guided tour brochures to local hiking and biking maps, you’ll find it here. Need info on KU? Or a John Brown of Kansas historic tour brochure? The Visitor Center has it!

Learn a little of Lawrence’s volatile pre-Civil War history, while you’re there. View the free, 25-minute docudrama, “Lawrence: Free State Fortress.” This film about Lawrence’s turbulent beginnings and Quantrill’s Raid is shown on weekends every hour, on the hour, and weekdays by request. Copies of the film are available for purchase.

And the depot has a history of its own. During its post-Civil War rebuilding, one of Lawrence's main goals was to establish itself as the railroad hub of the Midwest. Union Pacific spent $40,000 buying lots in North Lawrence and announced that it would build a new passenger depot. The 1889 building design blends proportions and forms of French Vernacular architecture with the robust masonry exterior of the Richardsonian Romanesque.

For townspeople, the depot instantly became the hub of community activity. It was the point of departure and return for soldiers during World War I and World War II. The years took their toll on the depot and freight service was discontinued in 1984. However, Union Pacific and the City of Lawrence aggressively fought against plans to tear down the depot.

The building was saved, restored and re-opened as the Lawrence Visitor Information Center and public meeting facility in 1996. Over 20 years later this historic depot still serves visitors and residents of Lawrence. Come visit, take a look at the beautiful gardens with sculptures by local artists, and find out how you can explore Lawrence.

And when you’re ready to buy or sell your home, contact Stephens Real Estate. Our agents know the Lawrence market and are ready to help you find your perfect home in your perfect neighborhood. Call Stephens Real Estate at 785.841.4500 or Contact Us.

A Strong History

When Bob Stephens founded Stephens Real Estate in May of 1978, his vision was simple: Stay true to your independence, and true to your community. Almost 40 years later, from those humble beginnings in the old Douglas County Bank building on Kentucky Street with 28 sales associates and a small support staff, his vision remains intact. We’ve grown larger, to be sure, but we’ve never lost our independence or our commitment to Lawrence and the surrounding area.

That commitment isn’t just in real estate. From day one to the present day, we’ve been dedicated to giving back to Douglas County through service and volunteerism. Our community involvement includes our support of United Way of Douglas County, The Salvation Army, Boys & Girls Club of Douglas County, Just Food, American Red Cross, Heartland Community Health Center, Go Red For Women, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Toys For Tots and many more. In addition, we are a community partner with Sunset Hill Elementary School.

Moving Forward

Like Bob Stephens, when our current owners Pat McCandless and Chris Earl bought the company in 2013 they had a simple vision: Never lose sight of the values that led to our success. Stephens Real Estate is still independent, still full service, and still linked to our community through roots that run decades deep. That means our agents and support team are committed to helping our clients live out their personal dreams right here in our hometown.

We’ve been synonymous with residential real estate for almost 40 years but there was a day when we were just as well known for our commercial business. Well we’re proud to say we’re back in the commercial game. Big time. Whether it’s a high-traffic spot or just a quiet little corner, we have the local knowledge to deliver just what you’re looking for.

We’re Different

Stephens Real Estate is much more than a conglomeration of talented and knowledgeable Realtors. Our team, unlike some companies, includes experienced transaction coordinators, a marketing coordinator, and a relocation coordinator. We are positioned to give assistance where you need it, when you need it, without the hassle and headache of running around trying to find the right person to talk to. Working alongside our outstanding group of agents, this dedicated support staff will provide you with expert service and guidance through the entire buying or selling process - from start to finish. When you hire a Stephens Agent you get the skills and expertise of the entire Stephens Real Estate Team.

One of the true benefits of being a locally owned and operated company is knowing the right community partners to help with your transaction. At Stephens we collaborate with local lenders, title insurance companies, appraisers and inspectors to provide you with the assistance you need. We value the experience of these local experts who provide an unbiased, objective analysis for our clients. Stephens Real Estate, with offices in Lawrence and Baldwin City, is your locally owned, independent real estate resource. We’re committed to serving you when you’re ready to buy or sell. Call Stephens Real Estate at 785.841.4500 or Contact Us.

Locust Street Marketplace

Drive north across the bridge over the Kansas River, take a quick right on Locust Street, drive a few blocks to 7th and you will discover a charming little shopping district in North Lawrence known as the Locust Street Marketplace. It’s off the beaten path and many people find out about it by word of mouth from others who have been pleasantly surprised by their experiences there.

The Locust Street Marketplace has shops with unique home décor, antiques, re-purposed furnishings, charming accessories and perhaps even vintage clothing. The store-fronts are picturesque and inviting, welcoming you inside for some leisurely browsing.

There are several restaurants and coffee houses nearby to complete your outing, and we recommend taking a camera - the photo opps are plentiful. The shops aren’t open every day; some of them only on Friday and Saturday, so you will want to plan ahead. Another helpful tip: the merchandise sells quickly so when you see something you like, don’t take too long to make your decision (similar to the real estate market in Lawrence right now).

Enjoy your Saturday paper and then take a drive across the bridge to Locust Street.

Stephens Real Estate is locally owned and proud of the great town in which we live. We are an independent, full service company linked to Lawrence through roots that run decades deep. Our agents know the Lawrence market, and have the experience and the connections to help you find the home that’s right for you. Call Stephens Real Estate at 785.841.4500 or Contact Us.

Take your summer grilling to a whole new level

(BPT) – When the summer arrives, you spend much of your time outdoors. Your yard becomes your living room and you move your cooking to the grill. Now is the perfect time to make this grilling season your best yet. To do just that, here are a few suggestions to up your grilling game in 2017.

Switch to lump charcoal. The number one reason people grill with lump charcoal is due to the enhanced wood-fire flavor it imparts. When you grill with it, you'll enjoy a quick, hot burn with less ash production. Lump charcoal is natural and available in an array of varieties, allowing you to find the perfect charcoal to match your menu.

Use a Smarter Starter fluid. Lighter fluid is a mainstay around the grill when you want to get cooking quickly; however, the chemical taste it leaves behind poses a serious drawback. You can gain the benefits of a quick burn without the chemical taste by using Smarter Starter Fluid. Made from recycled restaurant cooking oil, it doesn't smell like traditional petroleum-based alternatives and you'll never have to worry about it corrupting the taste of your food. And, it's perfectly suited for use on lump charcoal.

Customize the smoke flavor. Lump charcoal already lends itself a natural smoke flavor when compared to briquettes, but to really customize that flavor in your food, you can complement your lump charcoal with wood chips or chunks. Chips are smaller and more readily available in most stores, but they burn faster. Chunks burn slower and give you a better chance to lock in that unique smoke flavor. And once you pick a wood size, it's time to pick a flavor. Apple, cherry, oak, mesquite and hickory are just a few of your options, so don't be afraid to explore several. Whatever you're planning to smoke, there's a chip or chunk out there that offers the perfect flavor complement.

Take control of your temperature. In the hands of an experienced grill master, the uneven heat offered by charcoal grills is a benefit, not a drawback. Creating two zones on your grill will give you the strong, searing heat of the fire on one side, and indirect heat on the other side to cook your meat all the way through. To accomplish this, pour charcoal into one half of the grill - this will be your direct heat source - and leave the other half empty as your indirect heating zone. Heartier meats like steak can then be cooked for two minutes on each side in the direct zone and allowed to finish cooking in the indirect zone to lock-in the flavor.

You look forward to the summer grilling season all year. Now that it's here, don't let a single opportunity pass you by. Apply the tips above and you'll take your time-honored pastime to a whole new level. Summer is also a great time to buy or sell a home and we’re ready to help. Call Stephens Real Estate at 785.841.4500 or Contact Us.

North Lawrence

Lawrence lies on both banks of the Kansas River, locally known as “the Kaw.” Each part has its own character. North Lawrence played a part in Lawrence’s pre-Civil War political struggles and is still a distinctive and dynamic community within the city today.

Before the 1903 flood, North Lawrence included four blocks west of what is now N 2nd Street. Nearly one-third of North Lawrence was added to the channel of the Kaw River by that disastrous flood. Flooding is no longer the threat it once was, thanks to the Bowersock Dam.

The Lawrence Visitors Center is located in the historic Union Pacific Train Depot at 402 N. 2nd. Helpful volunteers will give you tips on what to see and do during your visit.

Motorcycle enthusiasts, check out Slowride Roadhouse Bar and Grill. Kansas City Ride Guide magazine gave it a nod in an article about the scenic rides around Lawrence and Douglas County.

North Lawrence can also claim “the most iconic bar in Kansas” according to Thrillist.com. Since 1953, Johnny’s Tavern has been the place to go for hamburgers and “the longest running tap in Lawrence.” A more recent addition to the area is the Levee Café with a nice outdoor dining space when the weather is nice. It’s open for breakfast and lunch Tues. to Sun., and dinner Thurs.-Sat. (We at Stephens highly recommend it. Our own Evan Holt and his wife Mary are the owners/operators of this fun cafe.)

A charming cluster of vintage, antique and home furnishing stores sit near the intersection of 7th and Locusts Streets. Stroll between Tooter and Tillaye’s, BeBe’s Cottage, Amy’s Attic, and The Art House.

North Lawrence has a great jogging, mountain bike, walking and dog-walk trail, recognized in Outside Magazine as one of the best in Kansas. The Lawrence River Trail is located on the north bank of the river and runs along the top of the levee on the outskirts of town. This crushed stone 9 mile trail offers views of nearby farmland and the river as well as downtown Lawrence, on the opposite bank.

If it’s been a while since you crossed the bridge for a visit to North Lawrence, we recommend you explore that area again. And when you’re ready to buy or sell a home we recommend you give Stephens Real Estate a call. Our agents know the Lawrence market and have the experience and the connections to help you find the home that’s right for you. Call Stephens Real Estate at 785.841.4500 or Contact Us.

Spencer Museum of Art

Life in close proximity to the University of Kansas has its perks, one of which is access to The Spencer Museum of Art. The only comprehensive art museum in the state of Kansas, its diverse collection houses more than 45,000 art objects and works of cultural significance, and is toured by more than 100,000 visitors each year. One of those visitors had this to say on Trip Advisor: “KU’s Best Kept Secret. This small museum of art is a rare treasure in the heart of mid-America.” And we wholeheartedly agree.

The University of Kansas Museum of Art, housed in Spooner Hall, was established in 1928 based on a collection of nearly 7500 art objects offered to KU by Kansas City art collector Sallie Casey Thayer. Over the years the collection has continued to grow thanks to the generosity of benefactors and the expertise of curators.

The museum eventually outgrew its quarters in Spooner Hall. Mrs. Helen Foresman Spencer, a KC collector and patron of the arts, made a gift of $4.6 million to fund the construction of a new museum. The resulting building houses the Spencer Museum of Art, the Murphy Library of Art and Architecture, and the Kress Foundation Department of Art History.

The collection expanded significantly in 2007 when the Spencer Museum of Art assumed stewardship of approximately 8,500 ethnographic objects from the former University of Kansas Museum of Anthropology.

The Museum closed to the public in April of 2015 for the first major renovation since the building’s opening. The transformation includes an enlarged, light-filled lobby with a new flexible gathering space; expanded and enhanced teaching and learning spaces; increased storage for works on paper; improved access through an in-gallery elevator and staircase; and a two-story, floor-to-ceiling window overlooking historic Marvin Grove.

Saralyn Reece Hardy, Museum Director, invites you to, “Experience our transformed galleries, explore our redesigned website, or participate in our programs. However you choose to connect with us, astonishing possibilities await you.” Visitors seem to concur, one recently sharing this on Trip Advisor: “Art lovers should stop here! An interesting collection and well worth a visit. I am guessing way too many people in the area do not realize what a gem they have.”

We encourage you to plan your own visit to the Spencer very soon. Admission is free and the galleries are open daily except Monday. Visit their website, www.spencerart.ku.edu, for exact hours and more information.

Content provided by www.spencerart.ku.edu
Image courtesy of the Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas

Farmer's Market

Picture this: people, wind in their hair, strolling through a farmer’s market on a sunny Saturday morning; heirloom tomatoes, local honey and fresh-cut flowers at every turn. Children laughing, adults walking along with their dogs, music playing… Sounds like a scene from a movie, right?

Anyone in Lawrence can enjoy that experience on Saturday mornings or Tuesday afternoons during the growing season. Enjoy local vegetables, fruit, honey, meat, flowers, crafts and music. The market at 824 New Hampshire Street runs from April 8 to August 26, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., and September 2-November 18, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. There is also a Tuesday Market from May 2 to October 24, 4 to 6 p.m. at the Lawrence Public Library Outdoor Plaza,707 Vermont Street.

Locally grown, fresh, organic food along with the sense of community found in a farmer’s market is appealing on several levels. You can eat healthier, support local farmers, enjoy time with family and friends, and find seasonal produce that’s just bound to taste better. Plus, the local farmers and growers will take time to chat with you about this year’s harvest and offer suggestions or recipes. We recommend a visit to the Farmer’s Market soon. We think you’ll walk away with great memories of your time there.

Visit lawrencefarmersmarket.com to see the long list of vendors, learn how to join or volunteer. And when you’re ready to buy or sell your home, contact Stephens Real Estate. We know Douglas County and we’re ready to help!

Walk this Way to Final Fridays!

On the last Friday of every month (all year long!) from 5-9PM, the streets of Downtown Lawrence erupt. Storefronts convert into flash spaces, and performances and exhibits spill in and out of galleries and businesses. Final Fridays include activities for kids, exhibitions designed to challenge adults, music, dance and theater for all ages.

HISTORY

Final Fridays began in August of 2010. The Lawrence Arts Center, Downtown Lawrence Inc., The Lawrence Cultural Arts Commission and a wealth of artists, gallerists, art collectives and local businesses came together. They all saw the value of the arts in Lawrence, and that an opportunity existed to bring the arts to a wider public. The idea of a monthly free arts festival was agreed upon, and as a result Final Fridays was born.

Lawrence has one of the highest percentages of working artists in the country per capita, therefore Lawrence has long stood out in the Kansas landscape as a mecca for creative thought and energy.

There’s something for everyone at Final Fridays. Here are some of the events on tap for Friday, June 30.

Lawrence Arts Center Main Stage - Legendary political satirist and activist Barry Crimmins follows up his special Whatever Threatens You (filmed at the Lawrence Arts Center in 2016 and directed by Louis C.K.) with a new one-man show, Atlas’s Knees.

Massachusetts Street - 3 stellar street acts from the Busker Festival will be bringing their act to Massachusetts Street during Final Fridays!

Essential Goods - Katie’s Kat Show - a collection of works by local artist Katie Reese.

Lawrence Arts Center Main Stage - Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World

The Eldridge Hotel

If you know anything about Lawrence history, you know about The Eldridge Hotel. A pillar of downtown Lawrence for over 150 years, this hotel has quite an interesting story.

The original structure, called the Free State Hotel, was built in 1855 by New England settlers who needed temporary quarters while waiting for their homes to be built. The next year Colonel Shalor Eldridge leased the building and equipped it as a first-class hotel. Just months later, it was attacked and burned to the ground by pro-slavery forces. Colonel Eldridge rebuilt the hotel, adding another floor, and making a pledge to rebuild every time it was destroyed.

Six years later the hotel, along with the rest of Lawrence, was destroyed by Quantrill and his raiders. Lawrence has always been a proud city and the people were determined to rebuild. Using an original cornerstone from the burned hotel, Colonel Eldridge promptly rebuilt the hotel with a new name – The Hotel Eldridge.

For the next several decades The Eldridge stood as one of the finest hotels west of the Mississippi River and played an important role in the early development of Lawrence and the State of Kansas. In 1925 the hotel had started to deteriorate and was purchased by a group of Lawrence business leaders who decided it should be torn down and rebuilt to its former dignity and elegance. A few decades later the building and the hotel’s business started to decline, and in 1970 the old hotel closed its doors and was converted into apartments.

In 1985, a group of investors supported by The City of Lawrence decided The Eldridge Hotel should be revived once again. The top four floors were completely rebuilt converting them into 48 two room luxury suites, and the lobby was restored. Then in 2004, the hotel was sold at auction, closed for a short time, and a multi-million dollar renovation project restored it to its 1925 grandeur. The Eldridge, occupying its historic corner on Massachusetts Street, once again became Lawrence’s premier hotel.

With such a fierce history, it’s no surprise that The Eldridge has its share of ghost stories. The fifth floor – especially room 506 – has been host to other-worldly happenings such as breath marks on recently cleaned mirrors, doors opening and shutting on their own, and lights turning on and off by themselves. Guests have even encountered an “elevator ghost” who opens and closes the elevator doors on the fifth floor.

Today The Eldridge Hotel, located at 7th and Massachusetts in Downtown Lawrence, is a thriving hotel and event venue perfectly situated and waiting to help you make your own history there.

Stephens Real Estate is locally owned and proud of the great town in which we live. We are an independent, full service company linked to Lawrence through roots that run decades deep. Our agents know Lawrence, and they have the experience and the connections to help you find the right home. Call Call Stephens Real Estate at 785.841.4500 or Contact Us.

Stephens Real Estate, Inc.
2701 W. Sixth Street
Lawrence, KS 66049

Phone: 785-841-4500
Toll-Free: 1-800-875-4315