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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

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

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

Leavenworth Landing Park

Located on the Missouri River, the park revives one of the major river landing sites where boats loaded and unloaded travelers and freight. The design of the Leavenworth Landing Park focuses on the role of Leavenworth as the "Gateway to the West"

Leavenworth, KS Recreation

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

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

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

Reno Methodist Church

The original Reno Methodist Church was opened August 16, 1891 at a cost of $1,900. Samuel Kelsall and James Phenicie were instrumental in its organization. The first minister was John Jacobs - a Baptist and blacksmith in Reno. The original building was destroyed by fire in 1918

Tonganoxie, 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

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

Headquarters Area

Headquarters area buildings are named for Generals Sherman, Grant, and Sheridan. They were built from 1859 to 1904 and are on the site of the former soldiers burying ground.

Fort Leavenworth, KS Historic Buildings

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

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

Explore Leavenworth County