In Memoriam – Betty Jo Charlton

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Betty Jo Charlton (1923-2014) at her 1624 Indiana home during the mid-1980’s.

Betty Jo Charlton, who died on July 22 at age 91, was one of the last links to a nearly forgotten Frank Lloyd Wright-KU connection. Her home at 1624 Indiana St. was designed by KU Architecture School Dean George Beal, who was a good friend of Wright’s and often hosted him when he passed through Lawrence. Betty Jo served as the first woman legislator from Lawrence from 1979 to 1994. The Beal House provided her a refuge from public affairs and allowed her to live alone there until she died 20 years after retirement. Among the legislation she helped sponsor over the years was the creation of the Kansas Land Trust for the preservation of properties across the State from destruction for perpetuity. She was also a charter member of the Lawrence Preservation Alliance and board member of the Douglas County Historical Museum. Lawrence Modern owes Betty Jo many thanks for allowing us to view her Wright-inspired, Usonian-style house and share it with the world. She will be missed.

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