The Lawrence Library Story Revised

January 18, 2013 § 2 Comments

Lawrence School

Lawrence School

When it comes to oral history, memory cannot always be trusted.  That truth was dramatically brought home to me this week when I discovered that I can’t trust my own memory.  I wrote last week’s post entitled “Lawrence Library” relying solely on what I recalled. Since the publication of that post, new information has come to my attention, and the story is much more complicated than I remembered.

An article written by retired Dana-Thomas House Site Manager Dr. Donald Hallmark and originally published in the April, 1992, issue of Historic Illinois fills in many details and corrects my recollections.  According to Hallmark, the Wright-designed library in the Lawrence School was closed in the 1930’s and remodeled to accommodate more classroom space in the building.  The furniture was evidently returned to Susan then.  Since she lived in the cottage across the railroad tracks during the 1930’s, she probably just added the library tables and chairs to the rest of the furniture she stored in the Lawrence House.

 After numerous alterations, the Lawrence School Library no longer looked like the original Wright-designed room. However, in the late 1980’s a committee of Springfield citizens (including Mark Heyman) began to raise funds  and to research for  historically accurate information so they could restore the room to its original condition.  The Taliesin Fellowship was consulted for drawings and technical assistance.  The result of their work was the re-creation of the room and its furnishings with some modern accommodations. The “new” Lawrence Library which is still in use today was dedicated in November, 1992.

I try very hard to fact check all my research before I publish.  From now on I’ll also fact check me.

 

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§ 2 Responses to The Lawrence Library Story Revised

  • Nancy Chapin says:

    The renovation story does ring truer to me. I thought there had been a fundraising and renovation, but had been ready to go with your ‘one person’ savior account.

    Great blog!

    • susanandme says:

      According to Don’s article members of the committee were Jack Pfeiffer (then principal of Lawrence), Paul Schanbacher, Rose Christoff, and Mark. I don’t know if more people were involved or not.

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