Founder's Rock -- Lawrence KS
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 38° 58.405 W 095° 14.195
15S E 306247 N 4316205
Quick Description: A large glacial erratic of pink quartzite named the Shunganunga Boulder, sacred to Kanza Indians, moved and now dedicated to the founders of Lawrence KS, stands in Robinson park near the Kansas River bridge.
Location: Kansas, United States
Date Posted: 4/7/2013 5:50:59 PM
Waymark Code: WMGTA3
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member GEO*Trailblazer 1
Views: 5

Long Description:
Robinson park sits on the banks of the Kansas River near the US 59 bridge over the river.

The centerpiece of the park is a large boulder that was moved from the Shunganunga Creek near Lawrence to this park after local residents got wind of a State Legislator's plan to move the 200-ton boulder to the Statehouse lawn in Topeka. The boulder bears a plaque honoring the original settlers of Lawrence, with their names inscribed.

From the Lawrence Journal-World Newspaper: (visit link)

Boulder, plaque pay homage to pioneers
Monument in downtown park dedicated at city’s 75th anniversary
By Jay Senter - Journal-World
September 19, 2004

For most, the Shunganunga boulder is but a peripheral pink blur as they drive through downtown Lawrence.

Tucked in Robinson Park, a tiny green oasis amidst Sixth Street's intersections with the southern ends of the Kansas River bridge, the monument is difficult to reach by foot and obscured to motorists by traffic and trees.

If it is possible for a 10-foot-tall, 23-ton monolith to be inconspicuous, the Shunganunga boulder is.

But while the rock may go ignored among the hubbub of downtown traffic, it holds a significant -- and sometimes controversial -- place in Lawrence history.

Geologists theorize the boulder was pushed very slowly south from the Dakotas by glaciers during the last ice age.

In the 1800s, the boulder had come to rest near the junction of the Shunganunga Creek and Kansas River, close to what is present-day Tecumseh. It was one of several sacred sites for the Kanza Indians, the area's dominant tribe and state's namesake.

"The rock was an unusual phenomenon," said Dennis Domer, a former Kansas University professor who teaches historical preservation at the University of Kentucky. Domer, who still maintains a residence in Lawrence, published an article on the history of the boulder. "The Kanza Indians, and other Indians, associated a lot of deity with unusual phenomenon. And this was one."

As white settlers moved into the area, the Kanza were squeezed first into a reservation in Kansas, and, in 1872, down to Oklahoma. When the tribe left the area, the "prayer stone" that the Kanza had worshipped remained, as it had for centuries, in the Kansas River.

By the 1920s, Topeka, with the state Capitol, and Lawrence, with the state's largest university, had grown into substantial municipalities engaged in something of a battle for pride.

In 1929, a Topeka man spearheaded a campaign to have the Shunganunga boulder removed from the Kansas River and brought to the lawn of the Statehouse. In an effort to display the city's bravado, a group of Lawrence men quickly pieced together a plan to have the giant rock brought to Lawrence where it would serve as part of the city's 75th anniversary celebration.

With the help of a crane borrowed from the Santa Fe Railway, the Lawrence group heisted the boulder before the Topeka faction knew what had happened.

"It was done in the dark of night," said Karl Gridley, a local historian and member of the Lawrence Sesquicentennial Commission. "The Topekans had their eye on it, but the group from Lawrence got to it first."

On Oct. 11, 1929, Lawrence dedicated the rock, with a copper plaque affixed to it honoring the city's founding fathers as part of the anniversary festivities. The plaque reads: "To the pioneers of Kansas who in devotion to human freedom came into a wilderness, suffered hardships and faced danger and death to found this state in righteousness."

Headed back home?

To the Kanza Indians, the movement of the boulder from its natural resting place was, and is, alarming. They consider many glacial monoliths, include the Shunganunga, to be sacred prayer rocks.

The tribe, now located in Oklahoma, has approached the city about the possibility of returning the monolith to its home in the Kansas River -- a request complicated by the fact there are no specific records of the boulder's original resting place.

Betty Durkee, historic preservation director of the Kanza, said the Kanza were serious about their desire to have the rock restored to its natural home.

"I can tell you that the boulder is very sacred to them," Durkee said. "I don't know what the most recent request was, but I do know that they would like to see something done."

Steve Jansen, former director of the Watkins Community Museum of History, said if the tribe had documented ownership or spiritual connection to the rock, the city should consider a claim.

"As a historian, I feel that repatriation is very important," he said. "It's something that we should take very seriously."

While Gridley acknowledged that the Kanza suffered injustices during the turbulent 1800s, he hoped that, in some respect, the city's use of the boulder carried on the spirit that the Kanza worshipped.

"To the Kanza, these things had a life and a spirit," Gridley said. "In some ways, the spirituality of the rock has been shifted to a different area. The boulder was very important to the residents of Lawrence who brought it here -- it was kind of like their Plymouth Rock."

-- Kansas University journalism student Kendall Dix contributed information to this story." [end]

A fun story of thr moving of the rock to Lawrence was punlicjed in the Lawrence Journal-World on 19 Sep 1929, and can be read here: (visit link)
Marker Name: Founders Rock

Marker Type: Other (Please identify in marker text)

Marker text:
"FOUNDERS ROCK To the pioneers of Kansas who in devotion to human freedom came into a wilderness, suffered hardships and faced dangers and death to found this state in righteousness. These were the first to come under the auspices of the New England Emigrant Act Company. They founded the City of Lawrence. The first party of twenty-nine men left Massachusetts July 17, 1854 and arrived here August 1, 1854. T. Davenport, Massachusetts; N. Philbrick, Massachusetts; Ezra Conant, Massachusetts; Benjamin Miriam, Massachusetts; B. R. Knapp, Massachusetts; Edwin White, Massachusetts; G. W. Hewes, Massachusetts; W. H. Hewes, Massachusetts; George Thatcher, Massachusetts; John Mailey, Massachusetts; I. W. Russell, Massachusetts; A. Holman, Massachusetts; J. D. Stevens, Massachusetts; F. Fuller, Massachusetts; J. F. Morgan, Massachusetts; A. H. Mallory, Massachusetts; S. C. Harrington, Massachusetts; Samuel F. Tappan, Massachusetts; J. C. Archibald, Massachusetts; J. M. Jones, Massachusetts; Edwin White, Massachusetts; Augustus Hilpath, New York; D. R. Anthony, New York; John Doy, New York; Hugh Cameron, New York; A. Fowler, Vermont; Oscar Harlow, Vermont; G. W. Hutchinson, Vermont; George W. Goss, Vermont; Arthur Gunther, Wisconsin. The second party of one hundred-fourteen left Boston August 29, 1854, and arrived September 15, 1854. James F. Ayer Joseph W. Ackley S. F. Atwood L. H. Boscom Ed. Bond Mrs. Bond F. A. Bailey William Bruce Mrs. Bruce H. N. Bent Owen T. Bassett Mrs. S. Basett H. L. Crane Joseph Cracklin Jared Carter Mrs. Carter Willard Colburn Ed. Dennett James S. Emory George F. Earle Milton Grout Mrs. Grout Leo Gates Mrs. Gates George Gilbert Joel Grover Azro Hazen H. A. Hancock O. A. Hanscom W. A. Hood Franklin Haskell Lewis Howell W. H. Hookey R. J. Hooted C. Hobert S. N. Hartwell Alfonso Jones Mrs. Jones Mary K. Jones H. W. Fick Wilder Knight Mrs. Knight Ed. Knight Sally Knight W. Ritcherman D. B. Trask E. D. Ladd John A. Ladd L. P. Lincoln Lewis T. Litchfield Mrs. Litchfield Lewis L. Litchfield Otis. H. Lamb Samuel Merrill J. S. Mott John Mack J. N. Mace Mrs. Mace J. H. Muzzy Caleb S. Pratt L. J. Pratt S. C. Pomeroy A. J. Payne Charles Robinson T. F. Reynolds E. E. Ropes J. Sawyer C. W. Smith Joseph Savage Forrest Savage Jacob Strout Mrs. Strout M. H. Spittle A. D. Searle F. A. Tolles J. B. Taft Owen Taylor Mrs. Taylor John Waiter S. J. Willis Mrs. Willis Sol Willis E. W. Winslow Silas Wayne Mrs. Wayne Ira W. Younglove These names are as recorded in Andreas History of Kansas


Marker Location: Douglas

Year Marker Placed: 10/1/1929

Name of agency setting marker: Other (Please identify in marker text)

Marker Web Address: [Web Link]

Official Marker Number: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
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