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Monuments and Milestones
1870 – 1900
During this time period, Massachusetts Street was home primarily to feed stores, black smith shops, livery stables, and a few dry goods stores, but according to Mrs. Frank Banks, a resident of Lawrence during this time period, "…every other building was a saloon."
City streets in Lawrence saw the advent of electric street lamps in 1887 when the first power plant opened, Lawrence Electric Light Plant. Until this time, streets were lit with gas lamps. Lamp lighters would light them at 5 p.m. during winter and early twilight during the summer. Then, they would turn them off at five in the morning.
Another use of electricity helped residents keep up with the presidential race of 1896, between William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan--a major event of the time, just like today. Magic lanterns, or slide projectors, displayed returns on large screens in front of the newspaper buildings where the residents gathered eagerly awaiting the results.
Important dates during this time period:
1874 – Gold rush in South Dakota
1881 – President Garfield assassinated
1885 – Booker T. Washington's Atlanta Compromise speech
1898 – Hawaii annexed to U.S.