Two weeks after Kansas was officially opened for settlement the state's
oldest city was born. The date was June 12, 1854, and the town was named
for nearby Fort Leavenworth.
In September, type for the first regularly weekly newspaper in Kansas
was set under an elm tree on the levee. The newspaper came in "even
before our sins," a journalist wrote later. Within four years
Leavenworth's population had soared beyond 10,000 as steamboats and
freighting wagons, supplying Western forts and the ever-advancing
frontier, made business boom.
"Buffalo Bill" Cody, William T. Sherman and Fred Harvey were early
residents before they won fame respectively as army scout and showman,
Civil War general, and restaurateur. Abraham Lincoln, on a speaking
tour, spent four days here in December, 1859. The Sisters of Charity of
Leavenworth, established in 1858, operates nearly 100 schools and
colleges, including nearby St. Mary.
Prisons abound near Leavenworth. South, at Lansing, are the state
penitentiary and women's industrial farm, while north of the city are
the U.S. disciplinary barracks at Fort Leavenworth and the federal
penitentiary. The historic Fort Leavenworth - Fort Gibson military road,
laid out in 1837, passed near this marker.