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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

Tonganoxie Community Historical Society Museum

The Tonganoxie Community Historical Society (TCHS) owns and operates 10 acres, called the Site, with four buildings. They are The Honey Valley School house, Reno Methodist Church, Fairchild/

Tonganoxie, KS Museums

Eisenhower Dept. of Veterans Affairs Medical Cntr.

While visiting the Veterans Administration Center and its grounds, you will want to see the Chapel of Veteran's. The Chapel, built in 1893, features architecture reminiscent of the early European cathedrals. In 1921, this attraction was made famous in Ripley's "Believe It or Not"

Leavenworth, KS Historic Churches

Frontier Army Museum

The Frontier Army Museum depicts the Frontier Army (1817-1917) and history of Fort Leavenworth (1827-present). The original collection began in 1939 when the wagon shop at Fort Leavenworth closed and the horse-drawn vehicles were relocated and called the "Old Rolling Wheels Museum". In 1960

Fort Leavenworth, KS Museums

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

Buffalo Soldier Monument

The Buffalo Soldier Monument, the brainchild of General Colin Powell, is a recent addition to Fort Leavenworth's historic landmarks. Dedicated in 1992, the monument honors the African-American soldiers who served in the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments.

Fort Leavenworth, KS Monuments

Tonganoxie Water Park

The Tonganoxie Water Park is a modern facility with two large water slides, spray ground, zero depth entry main pool, toddler pool, a full bathhouse, and a large water area for recreational and fitness activities. The Water Park is open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day annually.

Tonganoxie, KS Water Parks

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

C.W. Parker Carousel

Ride a restored antique wooden 1913 Parker carousel and tour the museum dedicated to telling the remarkable story of C. Parker, the "Carnival King". There are two other carousels in the museum. One is the oldest operating, hand-cranked, wooden carousel, built around 1860 and the other is a 1950

Leavenworth, KS One Of A Kinds

Command & General Staff College

The School of Application for Cavalry and Infantry, established in 1881.

Fort Leavenworth, KS Colleges

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

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

Syracuse Houses

The two frame houses are known as the Syracuse Houses because they were designed in 1855 by E.V. Carr, a prominent architect from Syracuse, New York. Lt. Colonel George Custer and his wife lived in one of these houses for a few months in 1868.

Fort Leavenworth, KS Historic Buildings

Explore Leavenworth County