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Monuments and Milestones
1920 - 1949
The 1920s are well known for the start of prohibition, but prohibition had been enacted in Lawrence since 1880. Residents had their own methods of hiding, bootlegging and secretly delivering the illegal alcohol. Elfriede Rowe, author of "Wonderful Old Lawrence," recounts that milk trucks were used to transport alcohol in bottles painted white. She also writes that anyone could identify a bootlegger upon walking in the house because gnats or fruit flies would congregate around the front door.
Mrs. Frank Banks, a resident of Lawrence during this time, recounts that "Love was not quite as expensive a business as it is now." The Patee Theater offered shows for a nickel, then afterwards, young men could take their dates to Wiedmann's for ice cream, sodas, and sundaes for a dime each.
Lawrence was not exempt from the effects of the Great Depression in the 1930s, but it was mainly the wheat farmers who took the hit. Many banks closed, many were unemployed, and wages and prices declined. Kansas lost more than 100,000 residents.
In the 1940s, Lawrence saw an increase in business during World War II. Sunflower Ordnance Works, a large munitions plant, was built east of Eudora near DeSoto. 3000 new residents came to the area and made Lawrence a boom-town almost overnight.
Important dates during this time period:
1920 – 19th Amendment gives women the right to vote/Prohibition of alcohol enacted
1927 – Lindbergh flies solo across the Atlantic
1929 – Stock market crash
1933 – Prohibition repealed
1939 – Start of World War II
1941 – Bombing at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii/U.S. enters the war
1945 – Bombing of Hiroshima, Japan/Germany and Japan surrender