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.