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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

Memorial Chapel

Built in 1878 by prison labor from stone quarried on the post and, today, is considered to be an outstanding architectural "gem" in this area.

Fort Leavenworth, KS Historic Churches

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

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

National Cemetery

Designated a National Cemetery by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862 along with eleven others, military graves date back to 1846. Today, more than 20,000 veterans representing every war since 1812 are buried in the cemetery. Two soldiers from Operation Desert Storm were interred here in 1991.

Fort Leavenworth, KS Cemeteries

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

Performing Arts Center

Placed on the National Register of Historic Places, this 1938

Leavenworth, KS Theatres

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

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

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

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

St. Ignatius Chapel

The St. Ignatius Chapel was built here in 1889 and replaced the original chapel which had been built near here in 1871. Historical Marker (1967) - "

Fort Leavenworth, KS Historic Churches

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

Explore Leavenworth County