Delahunty Complex

Office Building, Lawrence, KS (2016)

The Delahunty Complex, 1106 Rhode Island Street, originally served as both home and business for Rhody Delahunty, a first-generation immigrant driven from his starving Irish homeland during mid-nineteenth century famine.  He purchased two plots on Rhode Island St., the “Merchant’s Row” of Lawrence, where he built his two-story home.  He ran a transfer and storage company out of a barn on the property.  In a time before mass-produced automobiles, this was an essential business for a town, and Delahunty moved everything from butchered meat to surveying and construction equipment for establishing Old Fraser Hall atop Mount Oread.  When Rhody died, his son, Tom Delahunty, took over and mechanized the business.  He claimed to have had the first truck to move cargo throughout the streets of 1920 Lawrence.  The Delahunty property changed to reflect this, with the demolition and replacement of a stable by a large truckshed sometime before 1927.  Besides the construction of a rear service porch, also in the 1920’s, the house had no alteration and its historical integrity remains intact.

Following the retirement of Tom Delahunty, the property changed hands, first to the Swartzman family and then to Raymond F. Barland.  Barland was the local Packard dealer in Lawrence, and after its closing, Barland used the Rhode Island property as a salvage yard specializing in old Packard parts.  Falling into disrepair, the site was later purchased through eminent domain by the city of Lawrence following condemnation.  The property was bought from the City in 2014 and rehabilitated by Hernly Associates, Inc in 2015.  The character of the site is preserved with numerous examples of exposed materials from the original construction, notably the structural beams used in the garage.  Currently a sculpture with the moniker “The Packard” done by a local artist is featured on the site, incorporating and paying homage to the past of the building with automobile parts.  The site is currently part of the North Rhode Island Residential Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places, and is listed as a landmark on the Lawrence Register of Historic Places. 

The 1871 house and its 1880 addition have been rehabilitated for their original residential use.  A new 1st story addition makes this a 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath, free-standing house.  The rehabilitated barn & truck-shed are used for commercial purposes, as a professional architecture office.  All existing materials that were able to be retained were incorporated into the rehabilitation.  Visible historic materials that were deteriorated beyond usability were replaced with matching-in-kind materials.  A new carriage house on the property includes a 2nd story 1-bedroom apartment, a garage space for the house, a garage space for the apartment, and storage space for property maintenance/management. 

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