Grover Barn’s interpretive panels set for dedication; organizers hope to allow attendees inside building

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Lawrence historians and preservationists will soon invite the community to a dedication of interpretive panels installed at Grover Barn, which served as a stop along the Underground Railroad.

The Guardians of Grover Barn, a volunteer organization, led a project last year to add the panels outside the building, highlighting that important history.


The panels’ dedication will occur in January to observe the stay of abolitionist John Brown and 12 freedom seekers at the barn. The exact dates of their stay at the barn are unknown, but it was in January 1859, said Will Haynes, director of engagement and learning for the Watkins Museum of History.

“After dedicatory remarks and a benediction by the Rev. Verdell Taylor, the public will be invited to view the interior of the barn,” according to plans from the Watkins Museum.

However, as of publication time, the city would not allow access to the interior of the building because of a safety issue in one of its windows, Haynes said.

“We are working to get a temporary fix and permission to allow public access during the event,” he said.

Assuming that fix happens, masks will be required indoors.

The dedication is set for 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22 at the barn, 2819 Stone Barn Terrace. Parking at the site is very limited, so a Lawrence Parks and Recreation shuttle will run between the Holcom Park Recreation Center parking lot and Grover Barn from 12:45 to 2 p.m.

The event will also be livestreamed on the Watkins’ Facebook, YouTube and Twitter pages. See the interpretive panels virtually at this link.

Lawrence farmer and Free State militia member Joel Grover built the barn in 1858. It is designated on the National Park Service’s Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.

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Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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