On the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River is located Leavenworth, Kansas. Leavenworth is the first city in Kansas, founded in 1954, and has the first park in Kansas also established in 1854. Leavenworth is home to Fort Leavenworth, opened in 1827 by Colonel Henry Leavenworth. The fort contains the Command and General Staff College and the United States Disciplinary Barracks.
On the west side of the fort along Highway 92 is the Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. The building was completed in 1906 and has housed such infamous criminals as Bugs Moran, the target of Al Capone’s Chicago St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Machine Gun Kelly and the Birdman of Alcatraz, Robert Stroud.
Abraham Lincoln visited Leavenworth in 1859 and delivered a speech at Stockton Hall. Other frontier notables who lived in the city are Buffalo Bill Cody (army scout, buffalo hunter and entertainer) and Wild Bill Hickcock, gunslinger and lawman. Buffalo Bill’s parents are buried in Leavenworth.
Leavenworth is only 33 miles from Kansas City, Missouri and can be accessed by Highway 7 from I-70 on the south and Highway 92 from I-29 on the east. Though there is currently road work on the bridge over the river on Highway 92, it is a more scenic route than K7 from the south.
While in Leavenworth visit the Carnegie Arts Center, housing the Stacks Gallery which hosts local and national artists. Carroll Mansion is located just south of the downtown area and is an 1882 Victorian home that is open to the public. The First City Museum is located downtown and contains collections from early Leavenworth. Ride a restored carousel at the C. W. Parker Carousel Museum. There is also a static display of the older operating hand-cranked carousel.
Other points of interest are Leavenworth County Courthouse with three murals painted by local artists. The Fred Harvey Museum is currently under renovation and is not open to the public. Fred Harvey operated restaurants with the railroad and was the first to have female food servers. The Chapel of the Veterans is located on the Veterans Administration grounds and was listed in Ripley’s Believe It or Not as the only church performing Protestant and Catholic services at the same time.
Leavenworth has numerous restaurants and fast food chains (especially south on K7) and accommodate overnight stays with five hotels and motels. Union Park Guest House is a bed and breakfast and can lodge up to four adults. For additional information contact the Leavenworth Visitors Center.