Take a walk back in time to where the West began. From Abraham Lincoln to Buffalo Bill, to Susan B. Anthony to the Star of the West Saloon, to the African-American Unsung Heroes, one will be captivated by Leavenworth past and present.
This is one of the remaining mansions along Fifth Avenue that was the prestige block in town. The Victorian style architecture is reflected throughout the mansion that has 16 rooms. Built starting in 1867 by John Foster, the lot already had a small home on the site, and later Foster deeded other lots for sale to keep up his state of poverty. Foster expanded the home into an Italianate style and doubled the size. He sold the home to Major David Taylor in 1876 to pay off debts. Taylor family lived here until 1878 when the home was sold to Lucien Scott. Scott was a local banker, railroad and cola company owner, and constructed the home into a larger Queen Anne style and with the then 16 rooms completed. He sold to the Carroll's in 1887, who family members lived here until 1962, when they deeded the home to the Leavenworth Historical Society. They are "still" working on renovating some of the home, and a lot of the items inside are not from the home but of period pieces donated around from others.
The tour is nice, and takes about 1 1/2 hours. Nothing special made me feel it was an outstanding place to see, though. Merely a home under renovation with a lot of memories.
Tour cost is $5, and it is open Tues-Sat 10:30 to 4:00
This is quite a large museum that holds a lot of old military items such as cannon, weapons of all kinds, military uniforms, supplies/wagons, and so forth. There also is a great description of chronological events that took place from the fort that protected and escorted settlers heading west, and were involved with the various wars (like Mexican and Civil WArs) and also were part of numerous Indian battles and pursuing them to the reservations.
The fort began in 1827, and it really had a lot of activity from then on, as a gateway to the wet opening up. A real surge came in 1870-80, and the fort supplied many people, and set up escort parties.
The museum is a great experience and is free of charge-but do donate something-. There area also about 15 different films describing the times and events that took place in the west, and at the fort. I saw one and it was very good.
This is a somber moment to think of the lives that sacrificed their own to save our freedoms. Not all died from wars, but natural death is also noted on the tombstones. The oldest known marker is from 1846. Lincoln dedicated this cemetery during the Civil War, and now it has 12,000 graves.
This was built over a period of 25 years, but labor from the military prison at Ft. Leavenworth. Completion was in 1903, and it looks still ornate at the main entry area. There are today 2300 prisoners here.
The old military Discipline barracks from 1921 is now closed, and repair work on the grounds inside, as well as a restaurant are on the premises. Surrounding this old style prison was a ring of walls and 41 feet high. A lot is now torn down, but some 10 buildings remain for use today.
Leavenworth states it has 7 different historical districts in the immediate downtown area; all are but a couple of blocks each. I drove around most and saw some nice homes, but also a lot of homes not kept up in good condition. The Harvey House home on 724 Olive is presented as being a site to tour. That IS NOT case in that they still have been working on renovation, as money finds its way to the project; very slowly.
Two-story Italianate/Classical Revival-style house built in 1868. For a period of time, this home was owned by Daniel Reed Anthony, brother of renowned suffragette, Susan B. Anthony, who visited him at this home. President William Howard Taft and Melissa Etheridge have also visited the house.
I ran across this interesting information regarding the home-owner in a pamphlet published by Leavenworth's Convention and Visitor's' Bureau:
"Daniel Reed Anthony founded The Leavenworth Daily Conservative in 1861, the year Kansas became a state. As a free stater, Anthony dueled (and killed) pro-slaver RC Slatterlee. Later that year he was commissioned a Lieutenant Colonel in the Union Army (7th KS Regiment). He was beaten, shot, and was always in the thick of Leavenworth's early days. His epitaph reads: 'He helped to make Kansas a free state, he fought to save the Union. He was no hypocrite.'"
The shaded, grassy parkway overlooking the Missouri River is Kansas' oldest city park, fitting for the state's oldest city. Many of the homes along the North Esplanade date to the 1860s - 80s and were built by Leavenworth's early city leaders and industrialists.
This small park on the banks of the Missouri River has picnic and camping facilities, as well as a boat ramp. The Lewis and Clark Expedition reached this point on July 1, 1804, and camped for the night just across the river. An educational kiosk provides helpful information regarding their findings in the area. The park also affords an excellent view of the massive bridge crossing the river to the state of Missouri.
This museum alone warrants a visit to Leavenworth! Who doesn't love a carousel?
The highlight is a 1913 C.W. Parker Carousel purchased by the Leavenworth Historical Society and re-furbished in 1997. It's in working condition and can be ridden. I have a short video of this carousel in action and will upload it shortly. Adjacent to that is a primitive, hand-operated carousel dating to the 1850s. I did not get any usable photos of this remarkable artifact, but you can see it at www.firstcitymuseums.org/carousel_pages/hist_primitive.
There are numerous other carousel-related items of interest, including a 1950s portable model.
Two thumbs way up for this attraction!!
The Big House - Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary - definitely not a place to visit, but one to see from the road or from this viewing stand far to the west side of the infamous facility. Some of its better-known occupants through the ages: Buggsy Moran, George "Machine Gun" Kelly, Leonard Peltier, Robert Stroud (the Bird Man of Alcatraz), and Michael Vick.
The site was first established as a military prison in 1875 and became a federal prison in 1895. In 2005 its designation was changed to medium security.
Final resting place for thousands of military veterans from numerous eras, many wars. A somber, yet peaceful place. The beautiful rolling land has also served as part of a Delaware Indian reservation, and later the Stockbridge (Indian) Baptist Mission.
The veterans care home in Leavenworth dates to 1885 with the admission of its first Union Army soldier, and by the next year had 17 buildings. Until 1935 it served as one of the National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. It is now primarily an out-patient facility treating over 100,000 military veterans yearly. Facilities include a hospital, nursing home, and small dormitory.
A tour of the Eisenhower Center provides views of many of the old structures, many in need of repair, an unusual chapel (with gargoyles - rare in these parts), and striking views of the veterans cemetery and the Missouri River.
Visit the USDB...If you can get a tour.
The US Disciplinary Barracks, or prison, is one of the oldest military prisons in operation.