The logo of the City of Lawrence Police Department combines ancient mythology, Kansas Civil War history and our views of the future.
Egyptian mythology tells of a bird, the Phoenix, which lived for 500 years and then consumed itself in flames. After three days, the Phoenix rose from its own ashes to begin its life anew.
Kansas was a hotbed of activity prior to and during the Civil War. “Bleeding Kansas” was a phrase used between abolitionist “Free-Staters” and southern sympathizers. Guerilla raids into and between Missouri and Kansas were common. In August of 1863, a Confederate guerilla, William Clark Quantrill, raided, sacked, and burned the Free State stronghold of Lawrence. Over 200 citizens, adult men and army recruits were massacred.
The logo of the department shows the Phoenix in the flames of burning Lawrence. Like the Phoenix, Lawrence was consumed by flames, yet rose again toward immortality.
The City of Lawrence has had the symbol of the Phoenix as part of its official image since 1860 – 61, as indicated on the cover of an edition of the City Directory and Business Mirror from that time period. Surprisingly, three other known cities in the United States also have some form of a Phoenix image on their city flags and other official documentation. Those cities are San Francisco, California; Atlanta, Georgia; and Portland, Maine.
On April 18, 1906, an earthquake struck San Francisco and most of Northern California. The resulting quake was noted as far north as Oregon, south to Los Angeles and eastward into neighboring Nevada. Subsequent fires burned out of control and caused more damage and deaths than the effects of the earthquake. At least 3,000 lives were lost.
Atlanta has had several sizeable and notable fires in its history. According to ourgeorgiahistory.com, on April 15, 1850, a large fire destroyed warehouses, a store and livery stable. This event precipitated the formation of the Atlanta Fire Department. On December 9, 1902, an early morning fire destroyed several blocks of downtown businesses. The immense fire could be seen from 30 miles away. Two fires on May 8, 1908, burned several blocks of buildings. On May 21, 1917, a fire burned over 1,900 structures including residences, businesses and places of worship. On May 16, 1938, a fire at the Terminal Hotel claimed 34 lives. On December 7, 1946, 119 people died when the Winecoff Hotel burned. The hotel had 15 stories, however, Atlanta’s firefighting equipment could not handle any building taller than eight stories.
Portland has been destroyed by fire several times during wars and conflicts since its initial settlement in 1623. The town was almost completely burned on October 18, 1775, after nine hours of British shelling during the Revolutionary War. Another damaging fire occurred on July 4, 1866, when a “cigar ash or firework” ignited a boat house and soon spread throughout the town. An estimated 1,800 buildings burned, two fatalities were recorded and 10,000 were left homeless.
(Information about Atlanta and Portland partially from Wikipedia.)