Lawrence has a walkable city center called Fort Ben that has a unique history. Fort Benjamin Harrison began as a military base in 1906. It served many roles for over eight decades, from training camp to military hospital to housing prisoners of war. During World War II, it was the largest reception center in the United States. Tens of thousands of draftees experienced their first taste of Army life in Lawrence, Indiana.
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In 1995, Fort Benjamin Harrison military base was decommissioned. The City of Lawrence and the Fort Harrison Reuse Authority worked together to turn the base into a destination for citizens that celebrates the past, present, and future. Many buildings have been preserved making Fort Ben an excellent example of early 20th-century architecture. Early 1900s era officers’ quarters were converted into private housing. Former army barracks, mule barns, and service buildings have been rehabilitated for businesses and restaurants.
1,744 acres of land used for military exercises turned into Fort Harrison State Park and The Fort Golf Course, both open to the public. The 72-par picturesque golf course was designed by renowned golf architect Pete Dye. The park offers scenic hiking trails along Fall Creek, horseback riding, playgrounds, a dog park, sledding, biking, and fishing.
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The City of Lawrence and Arts for Lawrence were awarded a $5.8 million grant from the Lilly Endowment to create a Cultural Campus that will open in phases over the next 3 years. The campus will include Theater at the Fort, a cultural plaza with an amphitheater, interactive public art, and a visual art building with a gallery space.

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