Our History ~ Acquiring the Mansion ~ Timeline ~ LCHS Today


Our History 


John McCullough Foster came to Leavenworth, Kansas Territory in 1858, less than four years after the establishment of the town. Foster and his wife, Letitia, purchased Lots 8, 9, and 10 on the NorthWest corner of Fifth Avenue and Middle Street from William and Abby Marshall for $900.00. The purchase included a two story, four-room frame house with a one-story rear kitchen wing constructed by an unknown builder. In 1870 Foster became partners in a lumber yard with A.J. Angell. In about 1867 Foster replaced the frame house with a large brick Italinate. In August 1876, the Fosters sold the property to Major David Taylor for $6,100. Taylor, who was a U.S. Army paymaster, died in February 1878 and four years later his widow Mary sold the property to Lucien and Julia Scott for $5,200.

Lucien Scott was the president of the First National Bank of Leavenworth, the president of the Leavenworth Coal Company, and the vice-president of the Kansas Central Railroad. He hired local carpenter George McKenna to expand the house into a sixteen room Queen Anne Victorian mansion. Additions were built on both sides and McKenna added the back of the house, porches were expanded and the roof altered. The elaborately carved woodwork to many of the rooms, plumbing and gas lighting were also installed in the dwelling. The Scott’s lavish entertaining made their home one of the city’s social gathering places in the 1880s.

In December 1887 the Scott's sold the property to Edward Carroll, an officer of the Leavenworth National Bank for $20,500. The Carrol family lived in the house for seventy-seven years. Edward's daughter, Ella, donated the home to the Leavenworth County Historical Society in 1964.




Acquiring the Mansion 


A momentous event in the life of the society occurred at the annual meeting in 1964. Miss Ella Carroll, who was a charter member of the society, conveyed her home at 1128 Fifth Avenue, by quit claim deed for the price of one dollar, to the Leavenworth County Historical Society, Inc. It was reported in the Kansas City Star newspaper, that the donation of the building was not expected by the society. The article quoted a member, "Whenever the discussion about the lack of a museum building came up, Miss Carroll would say, 'We'll have one someday', and then change the subject".

he board of directors had to make a decision on how the house would be used. The society already had the furnishings for four rooms ready at the Fort Leavenworth museum, thus the decision was made to furnish the house as a Victorian Home. On September 13, 1964 the society had an open house at the proposed museum. Over 500 visitors viewed the empty home. One June 19, 1965 the Leavenworth County Historical Society had a grand opening, with a fully furnished Victorian Home Museum. Over 14,500 visitors were registered in the first two years of operation.

The museum that opened its doors to the public on June 19, 1965 was in many respects similar to the museum that now greets the public. The museum and historical society was organized and governed by volunteers. In 1966 the museum had its first paid position, a caretaker. The original caretaker, was paid $100 a month, and furnished a room to live in. In 1971 a part-time administrator was hired. In 1977 a second part-time volunteer coordinator was hired, and by 1980, a third part-time staff member was hired for duty on the Weekends. Today the Society has a full time Administrator, a Half Time, Assistant, who is responsible for the accounting, and a part time Weekend Administrator.

The Historical Society museum would not be in existence however without the time and support of over 50 volunteers who give approximately 2,500 hours of time a year. This time is given through hostesses and tour guides, researching and documenting artifact collections, Board Member's time in formulating polices and even volunteer work in gardening, landscaping and minor maintenance in the museum itself.






June 17, 1857 - David Day sells lots 8, 9, & 10 to William R. Marshall for $1.00

July 3, 1858 - William and Abbey Marshall sell the property to John M. and Letitia Foster for $900.00

August 18, 1876 - John M. and Letitia Foster sell the property to Major David Taylor for $6,100.00.

August 21, 1882 - Mary Manning (formerly Mary F. Taylor, widow of Majopr David Taylor) sells the property to Lucien Scott for $5,200.00.

November 28, 1887 - Lucien and Julia Hoffman Scott sell the property to Edward Carroll for $20,500.00.

March 6, 1917 - Edward Carroll dies. House passes to his widow Mary and surviving children.

April 10, 1929 - Carroll heirs pass title to Ella V. Carroll and Mary Agnes Carroll.

December 1, 1956 - Mary Agnes Carroll dies.

June 16, 1964 - Ella V. Carroll donates the house and property to the Leavenworth County Historical Society for a museum.

June 19, 1965 - Carroll Mansion opens as a museum.




The LCHS Today 


Today the Leavenworth County Historical Society boasts a membership of over 300 people and businesses. The museum is open over 270 days of the year, and has an annual visitation of over 6,500 visitors.

Volunteer committees at the museum also help with research requests. In 1999, the Leavenworth County Historical Society assisted with many reference requests, and has provided information to such organizations as National Geographic Magazine, Time-Life Books, The Jeopardy Game Show, a PBS documentary about the Civil War, and several free-lance writers who working on fictional and reference Material for the Smithsonian, and the U. S. Congress.

The museum has received grants from the Institute of Museum Services (IMS), a Federal Agency which supports less than 10% of the Nation's Museums. The competition for these awards are great, and the Leavenworth County Museum is only 1 of 11 museums in the entire state of Kansas which has received an award from the IMS. In 1998, the Society received major grants, totaling over $100,000 from the State of Kansas, the city of Leavenworth and Leavenworth County for the preservation of the porches. This was a major renovation project, that will ensure the structural integrity of the building for years to come. The Society received a grants in 2000 from Hallmark Corporation and from the state of Kansas for the continuing development of the Everhard photo collection.

The out-reach programs of the Historical Society reach over 30,000 people through the Riverfest, temporary exhibits, festivals and local organizations.