Robinson Park Directions

4 West 6th Street

Developed as a historic space to honor the first settlers of Lawrence.

The park was named to honor the first Governor of the State of Kansas, Charles Robinson.

Description of Park
Robinson Park lies near the Kaw River Bridge. The one-acre park is home to Founder’s Rock, which is a large chunk of Sioux quartz that bears the names of the 143 founders who came to Lawrence from Massachusetts in August and September 1854.

It is speculated that 40,000 to 100,000 years ago, the rock was moved by glacial ice movement from Montana but most likely South Dakota. From that time until 1929, the rock rested on the banks of the Shunganunga Creek just east of Topeka where the creek joins the Kaw River.

In an article in the Topeka State Journal on September 7, 1929, it was suggested to move the rock to the Statehouse grounds in Topeka because of its geological importance and that it was held in spiritual reverence by the Kanza Indians.

Before Topekans could act, a man from Lawrence, with the aid of the Santa Fe Railway 200-ton crane moved the rock by rail and placed it in Robinson Park.

The placard on the rock reads:

“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. The second party of one hundred-fourteen left Boston August 29, 1854, and arrived September 15, 1854.”

The park contains two benches, which allows visitors to take a break and observe the area. The benches are in memory of Erma Fischer McCoy and Ivan D. Rowe by Elfriede Fischer Rowe, D. Tom Jones, and Sally Rowe Jones.

The walkways and benches provide a river view overlooking the dam.

The amenities of the park include:

  • Historic Rock
  • Benches

There are no shelters located in Robinson Park.

Reservations for outdoor shelters and indoor facilities are taken at any of the community recreation centers including the Community Building, 115 West 11th St.; East Lawrence Recreation Center, 1245 East 15th St.; Holcom Park Recreation Center, 2700 West 27th St.; Lawrence Indoor Aquatic Center, 4706 Overland Drive and South Park Recreation Center, 1141 Massachusetts St.

See our shelter rentals page for more information on renting these facilities or call (785) 832-7920.