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Sight-Seeing Tours


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 1:00 p.m. - 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.

Continue on to The Downtown Area
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