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St. Luke AME Capital Improvement Fund

St. Luke AME, built in 1910, has served a predominantly Black congregation as a church and cultural center for its entire history. Listed on local, state and national registers of historic places, it is one of the few Lawrence buildings left with documented ties to the celebrated writer Langston Hughes, who lived here for several years as a boy.

A first phase of rehabilitation was completed in 2010, and included structural repair of the roof, and sanctuary restoration. This next phase will restore the two large stain glass windows, and rehab the two brick veneer walls in which they sit. The project also continues an accessibility improvement project begun last fall with installation of a zero-entry door into the basement level. Now, installation of an interior elevator will allow accessible entry to the church’s main level.

This project has received a Kansas Heritage Trust Fund grant of $95,000, and a Douglas County Heritage Conservation Council grant of $57,750. The Rice Foundation has also provided a $25,000 grant for the elevator portion of the project. The congregation is working to fund completion of the accessibility improvement project.

The grant funding ensures that work will start this fall, but other significant portions of this structure, including the south gable and the two towers, are critical needs that remain unfunded. The Lawrence Preservation Alliance, lawrencepreservation.org, is gathering donations from its members to support the project, but much more help is  needed from the greater Lawrence community. Please help Lawrence’s ‘Friendly Church on the Corner’ continue its essential service well into its Second Century.


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