Historic Lawrence church that influenced Langston Hughes is falling apart

LAWRENCE | Members of a historic church in Lawrence are collecting money to preserve the nearly 100-year-old building.

St. Luke African Methodist Episcopal Church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. Poet Langston Hughes has said the church influenced his writings.

Bill Tuttle Jr., professor emeritus at Kansas University, says the church is "literally falling down."

Some of the formerly enslaved men and women to first settle in Lawrence established the congregation in 1862. The present-day structure was built in 1910.

A group of church members and local historians have raised more than $205,000 in the past five years. But about $75,000 is still needed.

The group hopes to complete its fundraising before the church celebrates the building's centennial.