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Leavenworth County, KS

Leavenworth CountyThe land where Leavenworth and Fort Leavenworth are located today was originally inhabited by the Kansa, Osage and Delaware Indians and today many of our streets are named after these and other local Indian tribes.

Somewhere in the vicinity of present day Salt Creek Valley northeast of Leavenworth, the French operated a fur trading post for possibly a score of years in the mid-1700's. This was the earliest white settlement of the region.

In 1827, Colonel Henry Leavenworth founded Fort Leavenworth on the bluffs of the Missouri River. For the next several decades Fort Leavenworth played an important role in keeping the peace among the various Indian tribes and the increasing number of settlers heading west. By the 1840's, travel to Oregon and California had begun and thousands of wagons passed through Fort Leavenworth on the way to the Santa Fe and Oregon Trail.

In 1854, the City of Leavenworth was founded as the very first city of Kansas.

In 1858, the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth settled here. In 1864, the Sisters opened St. John's Hospital and in 1923 founded St. Mary College.

In 1863, the legislature passed an act to erect the Kansas St. Penitentiary on a site which is now located within the city of Lansing. The contract to build the prison was let in 1863 and work started in 1864. However, because of money difficulties connected with the Civil War, work stopped in 1864 and did not resume again until 1866. The building was first occupied in 1868.

In 1878, Lansing was platted into town lots.

In 1881, the school that was later to become the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College was founded on Fort Leavenworth by General William T. Sherman. Some of the many famous students and instructors at the college are George C. Marshall, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, Colin Polwell and George Patton.

In 1885, the Wadsworth of Old Soldiers Home was built, and later became the Veterans Administration Center. In 1893, the Immanuel Chapel, made famous in Ripley's "Believe It or Not", was built on the V.A. grounds.

In 1906, the first cellhouse of the Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary was opened. Among the infamous criminals incarcerated here were Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly and Robert Staud, the Birdman of Alcatraz.

There are a great deal of wonderful sites and experiences waiting for you and we hope that you will get the opportunity to enjoy some of our renowned Kansas hospitality.

Explore Leavenworth County

Oregon and Santa Fe Trails

In the 1830s, settlers heading for the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails crossed the Missouri River at this point. Teams of oxen pulled the loaded wagons through the "cut " in the hillside you can still see today.

Fort Leavenworth, KS Pioneer Life

Sutler's Home

Built in 1841 as the residence of the post sutler, Hiram Rich, who supplied the troops with such "nonissued items" as tobacco, writing paper, and whiskey.

Fort Leavenworth, KS Famous Homes

Lansing Correctional Facility

The Lansing Correctional Facility (LCF) is the oldest and largest facility in the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) for detention and rehabilitation of male adult felony offenders. Legislatively approved in 1861, LCF is built on 2,711 acres. Accredited most recently in 1996

Lansing, KS Penitentiaries

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

Old Stone Wall

The Stone wall behind and across the street from Grant's statue is a favorite with photographers. The wall was restored in the early part of this century by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Fort Leavenworth, KS Landmarks

The Fairchild/Knox Historic Barns

The Fairchild/Knox hay barn and milk parlor are now the Community building and the museum of the Tonganoxie Historical Socitey. The original barn was built in 1901, but burned down in 1928. Frank Fairchild, with his wife, Mattie, formerly of Ulster County, NY started the dairy with 40

Tonganoxie, KS Historic Barns

Tonganoxie City Parks

VFW Park - This beautiful park was built by the local VFW post. It covers about 15 acres and is located at 900

Tonganoxie, KS City Parks

Barth Hall and the "Beehive"

Barth Hall, the building on the corner of Kearney and McCellan Avenues, was the home in 1881 of the School of Application for Cavalry and Infantry, the predecessor of the Command and General Staff College. The large building directly west of Barth Hall is known as the "Beehive." Built in 1882

Fort Leavenworth, KS Historic Buildings

The Honey Valley School

As one of four buildings on the Tonganoxie Historical Society site, the Honey Valley schoolhouse – district #56 - was organized on March 25, 1869. It was located about a mile south of Tonganoxie on the Gordon Harmon Farm -near County Road 1 and U. S. Highway 24-40

Tonganoxie, KS Historic Schoolhouses

Lansing Historical Museum

A little bit of the past has been saved by a group of Lansing History enthusiasts, who dreamed of preserving the Old Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Train Depot, now sitting on a tree-shaded grounds in central Lansing.

Lansing, KS Museums

Carroll Mansion

A visit to this museum is an experience into the past. You will enter a Victorian home finished in 1882. It features elaborate handcrafted woodwork throughout the house, beautiful stained glass windows and elegant antiques from the Victorian age era to the early 20th century.

Leavenworth, KS Museums

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

Explore Leavenworth County