| The Downtown Area | River View | Fort Leavenworth |.....
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Self-guided Tour

    Begin south of town on Kansas 7/U.S. 73 highway and head North.

  • As you drive North through Lansing, you will pass the Lansing Correctional Facility. The land was purchased as the proposed site for the prison in 1861, and construction was started in 1864. Located on the prison grounds is an 1887 Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad freight depot that the Lansing Historical Society is restoring into a museum. The museum will display numerous Lansing Artifacts.

  • Next you will pass Saint Mary College on your left. The Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, who operate the college, first came to Leavenworth in 1858 and opened an orphanage and academy for young girls. In 1870 they moved their academy from a downtown location to its current 240-acre campus. In 1923, the sisters founded Saint Mary College, now a coed, four-year college.

  • Across the highway and just North of Saint Mary College is the Dwight D. Eisenhower Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center, once known as the "Old Soldiers' Home." In 1884 the 640-acre plot was selected and two years later 17 buildings had been completed, including a dining hall that could seat 1,200 minimum. An information center is located at the gate.

    The large building dominating the north end of the grounds is the main hospital, built in 1933. The highlight of the VA is the Chapel of the Veterans, built in 1893. This Gothic building with its gargoyles and stained glass windows was called the "Believe It or Not" Chapel when it was written up by Robert Ripley many years ago. It was said to be the only house of worship where Protestant and Catholic services could be conducted simultaneously under one roof. It is open to visitors year round.

  • Leaving the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and continuing North on Highway 7-73 you will turn left on Spruce Street. Drive west on Spruce until you reach Fifth Avenue - there is a museum sign to follow - turn left and you will find the Carrol Mansion on your right at 1128 Fifth Avenue. Usually a host or hostess with be available to talk about the beautiful 16-room mansion, built in 1867. The rooms are furnished in mid-Victorian style with heirlooms of the era. One room, named the Leavenworth History Room has pictures and articles on local distinguished citizens.

    The museum is open May through August, Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Sunday, 1-4:30 p.m.; September through April, Daily 1-4:30 p.m. Closed in January and major holidays. Admission is charged. Call the museum at (913) 982-7759 for information or to arrange a guided tour for groups.

  • Across from the museum on southeast corner, is a large white house that was the home of Judge David J. Brewer. Brewer was first Supreme Court Justice appointed from Kansas.

  • Drive back North on Fifth Avenue, cross Spruce Street to Seventh and Olive streets where you'll see the former Home of Fred Harvey, the famous restaurateur. Harvey established a network of restaurants, first along the Santa Fe Railroad and later at stations on other lines. The Harvey Houses, with waitresses known as Harvey Girls, set a standard of excellence for food and fine service in a part of the country previously know for its gastronomic tortures! Harvey also developed the dining car system on on American railroads.

    In 1883, he purchased the house for $25,000. At that time, it had porches and gothic dormers on the exterior, and several fireplaces inside. The National Fred Harvey Museum will be housed in his former home in 2002.

  • Return to Spruce Street, turn right and proceed to Broadway, the first lighted intersection. Travel north on Broadway to see some of Leavenworth's most beautiful and historic homes. (These are private residences not open to the public.)

    The Queen Anne baroque home at 714 S. Broadway was built in 1885 and has been completely restored. It has 21 rooms, nine fireplaces, five full baths, 44 stained glass windows and a completely finished attic once used as a ballroom. In addition to the 9,000 square feet of the main house there is a beautiful 2,750 square-foot coach house in the back.

  • Further north at 600 S. Broadway is a house built on nearly five acres in 1876 of soft brick. Around the turn of the century, a layer of stucco was applied over the brick.

  • The home at 508 S. Broadway was built in 1868 in what was originally called Italian Mediterranean style with a predominately vertical line. In 1914, however, a new owner added the extensive porches with the heavy stone work. The interior is highlighted by exposed wood beams, walnut paneling and marble. The swimming pool was located in the large coach house. Brigadier General "Fritz" Gruber, Commandant of Fort Leavenworth, died here in 1941. He was the author of 'Artillery Song,' now known as the Army song.

  • At 410 S. Broadway you will find the Clark House, which was built in 1869 by A.M. and F.M. Clark, early Leavenworth bankers. They had a branch bank in Denver where they minted coins. That portion of their operation was bought by the U.S. Government and became the Denver Mint. The home was restored just a few years ago. Old photographs were used to guide the reconstruction. The alcove on the north side of the house remains where string ensembles would sit to entertain guests.
The Downtown Area

  • Continue north on Broadway to Delaware Street take a right and then immediately on the right hand side is The First City Museum, 743 Delaware, that currently houses a 1913 C.W. Parker Carousel in the process of restoration. There is also what is thought to be the oldest primitive carousel on display, as well as a mock-up of the Federal Penitentiary, prison memorabilia and other frontier memorabilia and artifacts. The museum is open Thursdays & Fridays Noon - 4:00 p.m., and Saturdays 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

  • Travel to Fifth Street where on the Northwest corner is the Performing Arts Center, which was once a movie house. This building is listed on the State Register of National Historic places and is currently the home of the River City Community Players, a group that produces theatrical events throughout the year.

  • One block north on Fifth Street is City Hall. This building was built in 1924 on the same site as the original City Hall, which dated from the territorial days. On the lawn is a replica of the Statue of Liberty, placed and dedicated by the Boys Scouts in 1950. Near its base the City's time capsule was buried during the nation's bicentennial celebration. It is scheduled to be unearthed in July 2076.

  • At Fourth and Delaware, southwest corner, is the Mid America Bank & Trust Co. This was once the location of the opera house, know as Stockton Hall where, in December, 1859, Abraham Lincoln delivered an address.

  • Across the street, on the northwest corner, was the location of the headquarters of Russell, Majors and Waddell, one of the largest overland freight companies in western history. In 1855 it won the government contract for hauling supplies to western forts and to the troops in the field. One of its early employees was William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody, who began working when he was about 12 or 13 years old. (The Cody farm was north of the fort in Salt Creek Valley.) Later Cody transferred to the company's branch enterprise in St. Joseph, the Pony Express.

  • Continue east on Delaware to the two blocks nearest the Missouri River. This two-block area was the center of economic activity from 1854 to 1870. It is called the Leavenworth Landing, where thousands of tons of supplies were once unloaded from the river boats. Pioneers by the thousands came to Leavenworth by boat to buy their wagons and stock from local merchants before heading west.

  • The row of brick buildings on Delaware between Second and Third Streets is a splendid example of the city's effort to preserve its past while catering to the present.

River View

  • At the end of Delaware is the old Union Depot, now on the National Register of Historic Places. The building was completed in 1884, but because of contract disputes the first train rolled onto the tracks in November 1888.

    In 1984 V.B. Greenamyre gave the property to the city. Subsequently voters approved a bond issue and ½ cent sales tax to finance its renovation and expansion. In 1988 the depot was reopened as Leavenworth's Riverfront Community and Convention Center, a handsome location for meetings and conventions of up to 350 people. It also houses complete health and recreational facilities.

  • Just south of the Riverfront Community Center is the Leavenworth Landing Park which runs for a third of a mile along the Missouri River. The design of the park focuses on the role of Leavenworth as the "Gateway to the West", with emphasis on the various modes of transportation that led to the growth of Leavenworth as the major jumping off point for settlers heading west. You may also begin the Wayside Walking Tour at this location.

  • North from the former Depot is North Esplanade Street where houses numbered from 203-515. North Esplanade is designated as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places. As you travel north you will see a vacant lot immediatly to your right, this is where the Planters Hotel stood for 100 years, overlooking the river landing.

  • The building at 203 North Esplanade supposedly once housed one of our city's finest "palaces of pleasure" and was operated by a proud madam. In the early days, approximately 120 saloons made up an important part of Leavenworth's business community. Although before the Civil War the population never officially rose above 8,000, the transient population of those who came to work for a few days or weeks numbered many thousands. These people stayed just long enough to get a "grub stake" then moved on to homesteads, gold mines or to oblivion.

Fort Leavenworth

  • Continue west on Kiowa to Seventh Street, then turn right and proceed north to the main gate of Fort Leavenworth.

    The fort was established in 1827 by Colonel Henry Leavenworth and a battalion of his 3rd Infantry Regiment. It is the oldest Fort west of the Mississippi River that has never had a break in its active duty status since the day of its founding. Today the fort is the home of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Command.

    Fort Leavenworth oversees training and combat development for the Army and is the home of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.

  • Traveling north on Grant Avenue into the fort will be the Buffalo Soldier Monument located immediately after the second stop light on the right. This magnificent monument was dedicated in July 1992. This project was initiated by General Colin Powell. While stationed at the fort, General Powell noted that only two short streets were named after the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments comprised of black soldiers. A fund-raising project was initiated in the late 1980's and, over one million dollars later the monument was installed.

    The Buffalo Soldiers proved their bravery and valor throughout the Indian Wars. They won the respect of the Cheyenne warriors who named them "Buffalo Soldiers," a badge of honor accepted and worn with pride. This beautiful monument is indeed a fitting tribute to these black cavalry troopers. At this time drive on through the parking lot and turn left on Stimson and then right on Bundel Road to view the Berlin Wall Monument located in the Grove of Regiments.

  • Return to Grant to continue north to the next stop light which is Reynolds Avenue and take a right to the Frontier Army Museum. The museum is open Monday - Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 12 noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays and holidays (closed Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years). Donations accepted. You may follow the Fort's Historic Wayside Tour from this location.

  • As you leave the main gate of the fort, turn right and drive west on Metropolitan. This road will take you by the U.S. Federal Penitentiary. Construction of the prison was begun in 1895 and was built with prison labor. The first inmates were housed after its completion in 1906. Although tours of the "Big House" are not available and visitors without official business are not allowed on the grounds, there is an overlook down past the prison on the right where you may stop and take pictures, as well as see Buffalo that are cared for by inmates.

Homeward Bound

  • Metropolitan Avenue is the northern portion of Highway 7-73. You may return to the beginning of the tour by driving south on 7-73 or you may leave the city by way of Highway 92, which takes you into Missouri to Interstate 29 north of Kansas City International Airport. To take Highway 92, simply drive east on Metropolitan and continue across the river over the Centennial Bridge.

    We hope you enjoyed your trip to our community and come back again soon.


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