City of Leavenworth, Kansas
Leavenworth City Offices (913) 682-9201
Founded in 1827 by Colonel Henry Leavenworth, Fort Leavenworth
sat atop the bluffs of the Missouri River. The past tense is used
because the Missouri River later slightly changed its flow and the
Fort Leavenworth facility has greatly expanded. Portions of Fort
Leavenworth and the City of Leavenworth still enjoy the grand sight
of the Missouri River.
In those beginning years, Fort Leavenworth provided a providing
a place of respite and resupply for settlers heading west. Wagons
filled with settlers tightly holding their dreams for tomorrow passed
through Fort Leavenworth on the way to the
Santa Fe and Oregon Trail. As the first city founded in Kansas,
the City of Leavenworth became known as the 'jumping off point'
for the opening to the West.
Native son Buffalo Bill Cody spent part of his youth in Leavenworth,
later working in the area as a Pony Express rider and Army scout.
Cody's parents are buried in Leavenworth.
The Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth began their work of providing
for the poor and under privileged in 1854. Ten years later the Sisters
opened St. John's Hospital. In 1923 the Sisters of Charity added
the academic institution of Saint Mary College to Leavenworth's
list of attractions.
The Veterans Administration Center, originally known as Wadsworth
Old Soldiers Home, was built in 1885. The Immanuel Chapel, made
famous in Ripley's 'Believe It or Not,' is located on the Veterans
Leavenworth is probably nationally best known for its prisons,
including the infamous "big house", the
Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary first opened in 1906 after an 11
year building program. The famous prison has incarcerated infamous
criminals. Criminals given residency privileges in the Leavenworth
Federal Penitentiary include: Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly and Robert
Stroud and the Birdman of Alcatraz.
Other prisons in the Leavenworth area include Fort Leavenworth's
Disciplinary Barracks, Kansas State Correction Facility, Community
Corporation of America (CCA), a women's prison farm and a men's
The City of Leavenworth was chosen to be part of Kansas' Main Street
Program begun in 1982. The program's purpose includes saving historical
buildings and revitalization of small communities while retaining
the community's culture. You can learn more about the Leavenworth
Main Street program here.
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