Eartha Dengler - Founder of the LHC
Thirty-five years ago there was scant interest in Lawrence's history. Families of the many earlier ethnic groups had been moving out of the City for two decades. The departure of most of the enormous textile mills which were Lawrence's economic engine and the subsequent displacement of ethnic neighborhoods during Urban Redevelopment resulted in significant loss of population even while newcomers were rapidly arriving from Latin America and Southeast Asia. Some of the impressive public and commercial buildings were razed, and other businesses were moving to surrounding communities or to the new suburban mall in Methuen. Public discussion emphasized the future; history was not the focus.
Into this environment came Eartha Dengler who had immigrated with her husband Claus and daughter Ann from war-ravaged Germany in 1951. Spending time in Chicago, she was struck by the cordial intermingling of the various immigrant groups, so unlike her experience in Germany of that time. It acquainted her with diversity and instilled a curiosity for learning about the backgrounds of different groups. Eartha and Claus became naturalized citizens in November, 1956.