Lawrence is located in the East Region of the state, in Douglas County, (county seat). It lies southeast of Topeka along U.S. Highway 59, near Clinton State Park and Leavenworth State Lake & Park.
In 1854, members of the New England Emigrant Aid Society created a settlement to keep the territory slavery-free. Philanthropist Amos Lawrence founded a college here, which grew to be the University of Kansas. In 1863, William Quantrill's proslavery guerillas staged a surprise attack and killed 150 residents. They also pillaged and torched most of the town.
Today Lawrence, population 80,098, is the cultural and commercial center of the region. In addition to KU, Haskell Indian Nations University is in Lawrence. Lawrence is the boyhood home of Langston Hughes. Tour brochures at the Lawrence Visitors Center depict Quantrill's trail and driving tours of the Oregon & Santa Fe trails. Nearby Clinton Lake is noted for boating and other recreation.
Lawrence is part of the Lawrence, Kansas metro area.