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Digital Douglas County History

Lawrence Public Schools

While Lawrence is now home to two 6A high schools, its first high school started off small. In 1857, Mr. C.L. Edwards founded the school in the basement of the Unitarian Church on the 900 block of Ohio Street. In its first few years, the school served students ranging from age five to late-teens. The high school, as we think of them today, was officially organized in 1870. As the students outgrew their building, the Manual Training School was opened in 1908 as an addition. The student population would continue to grow, forcing Lawrence to build the Liberty Memorial High School building at 14th and Massachusetts in 1923. This building would also become too small and in 1954 a new high school was once again built at 19th and Louisiana and the middle school took over the old high school building. In 1997, Lawrence Free State High School was built to provide even more space for Lawrence's growing population.