1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Leavenworth

LEAVENWORTH, a city and the county-seat of Leavenworth county, Kansas, U.S.A., on the W. bank of the Missouri river. Pop. (1900) 20,738, of whom 3402 were foreign-born and 2925 were negroes; (1910 census) 19,363. It is one of the most important railway centres west of the Missouri river, being served by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fé, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, the Chicago Great Western, the Missouri Pacific, the Union Pacific and the Leavenworth & Topeka railways. The city is laid out regularly in the bottom-lands of the river, and its streets are named after Indian tribes. Rolling hills surround it on three sides. The city has many handsome public buildings, and contains the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Leavenworth being the see of a Roman Catholic bishop. The public institutions include the Kansas State Protective Home (1889) for negroes, an Old Ladies’ Rest (1892), St Vincent’s Orphans’ Asylum (1886, open to all sects) and a Guardian Angels’ Home (1889), for negroes—all private charities aided by the state; also St John’s Hospital (1879), Cushing Hospital (1893) and Leavenworth Hospital (1900), which are training schools for nurses. There is also a branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. In the suburbs there are state and United States penitentiaries. Leavenworth is a trading centre and has various manufactures, the most important being foundry and machine shop and flouring and grist-mill products, and furniture. The city’s factory products increased in value from $3,251,460 in 1900 to $4,151,767 in 1905, or 27.7%. There are valuable coal mines in Leavenworth and the immediate vicinity. About 3 m. N. of the city, on a reservation of about 6000 acres, is Fort Leavenworth, an important United States military post, associated with which are a National Cemetery and Service Schools of the U.S. Army (founded in 1881 as the U.S. Infantry and Cavalry School and in 1901 developed into a General Service and Staff College). In 1907 there were three general divisions of these schools: the Army School of the Line, for officers (not below the grade of captain) of the regular army and for militia officers recommended by the governors of their respective states or territories, offering courses in military art, engineering, law and languages; the Army Signal School, also open to regular and militia officers, and having departments of field signalling, signal engineering, topography and languages; and the Army Staff College, in which the students are the highest graduates from the Army School of the Line, and the courses of instruction are included in the departments of military art, engineering, law, languages and care of troops. The course is one year in each school. At Fort Leavenworth there is a colossal bronze statue of General U. S. Grant erected in 1889. A military prison was established at Fort Leavenworth in 1875; it was used as a civil prison from 1895 to 1906, when it was re-established as a military prison. Its inmates were formerly taught various trades, but owing to the opposition of labour organizations this system was discontinued, and the prisoners are now employed in work on the military reservation.

The fort, from which the city took its name, was built in 1827, in the Indian country, by Colonel Henry Leavenworth (1783–1834) of the 3rd Infantry, for the protection of traders plying between the Missouri river and Santa Fé. The town site was claimed by Missourians from Weston in June 1854, Leavenworth thus being the oldest permanent settlement in Kansas; and during the contest in Kansas between the anti-slavery and pro-slavery settlers, it was known as a pro-slavery town. It was first incorporated by the Territorial legislature in 1855; a new charter was obtained in 1881; and in 1908 the city adopted the commission plan of government. On the 3rd of April 1858 a free-state convention adopted the Leavenworth Constitution here; this constitution, which was as radically anti-slavery as the Lecompton Constitution was pro-slavery, was nominally approved by popular vote in May 1858, and was later submitted to Congress, but never came into effect. During the Civil War Leavenworth enjoyed great prosperity, at the expense of more inland towns, partly owing to the proximity of the fort, which gave it immunity from border raids from Missouri and was an important depôt of supplies and a place for mustering troops into and out of the service. Leavenworth was, in Territorial days and until after 1880, the largest and most thriving commercial city of the state, and rivalled Kansas City, Missouri, which, however, finally got the better of it in the struggle for railway facilities.