This month marks the close of the Watkins National Bank Building’s 125th year. On November 1, 1888 it was open for public viewing, after more than two years of construction. After seeing it, the Lawrence Journal described it as “one of the best buildings west of the Mississippi.” I think it still is. Look closely; every little detail is a thing of beauty, like the door hardware, for instance. Inspired by Japanese designs, the door knobs are chrysanthemums and the hinges have patterns from kimono fabrics—beautiful and the height of cutting edge fashion in the 1880s.
A door knob on the 3rd floor
One of the hinges on our main office door
-Steve Nowak, Director of the Watkins Museum of History
The Watkins Museum of History: the beautiful brick building on the corner of 11th and Mass St. If you live in Lawrence, KS, you have walked past us. You might have visited us before or have never step through the doors. Perhaps you didn’t even realize we were a museum! Either way, we’re here to give you a behind the scenes look at the building that has been a part of your community since 1888. Everyone from the Director to our intern will share what they do to here at the Watkins. Feel free to ask questions too! Just like the museum is a part of your community, we want this blog to be part of your Internet community.
Get ready to enter the world of the best (and only) museum in Downtown Lawrence!
-Bunting, the unofficial mascot of the Watkins