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United States Penitentiary -


category : Penitentiaries
United States Penitentiary - Leavenworth is best known for the "Federal Pen" or "Big House", which is now a medium-security prison. Construction of this historic prison began in 1897, with the first cell house opening in 1906. The Federal Penitentiary has been the home of Kansas City Boss Tom Pendergast, George "Machine Gun" Kelly, "Bugs" Moran, Manuel Noreiga, and Leonard Peltier. Their most famous prisoner was Robert Stroud, known in the movies as the "Bird Man of Alcatraz". In real life he did all of his bird work in Leavenworth, serving 28 years here before being transferred to Alcatraz.

A small herd of buffalo is located west of the main building and can be viewed from a pull-off area on Metropolitan Avenue on the north side of Leavenworth. NOTE: No public tours are available but can be photographed from across Metropolitan Avenue.


Come visit us in Leavenworth, Kansas

Attractions and Upcoming Events

River Connection Tour

The River Connection Tour is a great way for you and yours to spend a couple of days or a family weekend. A multitude of interesting historical attractions, sites and experiences are available daily and spending more than a day is a definite must to capture the true flavor of our communities.

Leavenworth, KS Tours

University of St. Mary

No longer a private institution, this four year college is located across the street from the Veterans Administration Center. The College's administration building, St. Mary Hall, was completed in 1870. Visitors are welcome to visit the De Paul Library's Special Collections:

Leavenworth, KS Colleges

Riverfront Convention & Community Center

One of Leavenworth's "jewels" is the totally renovated and expanded 1888 Union Pacific Train Depot, now called the Riverfront Convention & Community Center. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Located at 123

Leavenworth, KS Community Centers

First City Museum

The museum houses collections of early frontier memorabilia and artifacts including buggies and cutters manufactured in Leavenworth. There is also a mock-up of the United States Penitentiary, plus other prison memorabilia.

Leavenworth, KS Museums

Leavenworth Historical Wayside Tour

Leavenworth, the "First City of Kansas", invites you to take a walk back in time and explore the history of "Where the West Began" by visiting our Historic Wayside Tour.

Leavenworth, KS Tours

Things to do Penitentiaries near Leavenworth, KS