The origins of today’s Lawrence School on Cabot Street can actually be found two blocks north, at the corner of Maple and Appleton Streets. For decades, the Appleton Street School stood where the War Memorial Building now stands. For 39 of those years, from 1872-1911, Hiram Bartlett Lawrence served as its principal. In 1914, three years after his retirement, the building was renamed to Lawrence School in his honor. The current Lawrence School was planned as a consolidation of the Appleton Street and South Chestnut Street schools, primarily because the Appleton Street School land was valuable, and the city was eager to sell it.
Plans for the new school were submitted in July 1930, with a contractor in place by October. Built in Norman Gothic style with a total cost of approximately $450,000 and 28 classrooms, it opened for a public viewing on November 26, 1931, and was officially dedicated four months later, on March 8, 1932. The plot of land itself was free to the city, as they built the new school over a playground. The interior was renovated in 1975 to bring it up to code for the time, and it was rededicated in May of that year.