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Leavenworth, Kansas
Downtown Leavenworth (2014)
Downtown Leavenworth (2014)
Official seal of Leavenworth, Kansas
First City of Kansas
Location within Leavenworth County and Kansas
Location within Leavenworth County and Kansas
KDOT map of Leavenworth County (legend)
Country United States
State Kansas
County Leavenworth
Founded 1854
Incorporated 1855
 • Type Commission-Manager
 • Mayor Nancy Bauder
 • Mayor Pro-tem Mark Preisinger
 • City Manager Paul Kramer
 • City Clerk Carla Williamson
 • Total 24.06 sq mi (62.32 km2)
 • Land 24.04 sq mi (62.26 km2)
 • Water 0.02 sq mi (0.05 km2)
840 ft (256 m)
 • Total 35,251
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,465.1/sq mi (565.65/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
66043, 66048
Area code 913
FIPS code 20-39000
GNIS feature ID 0478411

Leavenworth is the largest city in and the county seat of Leavenworth County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 35,251. Located on the west bank of the Missouri River 25 mi (40 km) northwest of Kansas City, Missouri, it is part of the Kansas City metropolitan area.

The site of Fort Leavenworth, built in 1827, the city became known in American history for its role as a key supply base in the settlement of the American West. It is important in nineteenth-century African-American history. During the American Civil War, it was the destination of numerous African-American refugee slaves who escaped from Missouri and other slave states.

The city has been notable as the location of several prisons, particularly the United States Disciplinary Barracks and United States Penitentiary, Leavenworth.


See also: History of Kansas

Leavenworth, founded in 1854, was the first city incorporated in the territory of Kansas. The city developed south of Fort Leavenworth, which was established as Cantonment Leavenworth in 1827 by Colonel Henry Leavenworth. Its location on the Missouri River made it a destination for refugee African-American slaves seeking freedom from the slave state of Missouri in the antebellum years. Abolition supporters helped them find refuge. In the years before the American Civil War, Leavenworth was a hotbed of anti-slavery and pro-slavery agitation, often leading to open physical confrontations on the street and in public meetings.

On April 3, 1858, it was in Leavenworth, Kansas that the "Leavenworth Constitution" for the state of Kansas was adopted. Although the federal government never approved this early version of the state constitution, it was considered one of the most radical of the four constitutions drafted for the new territory because it included freed blacks as citizens.

Refugee African Americans continued to settle in the city during the war. By 1865 it had attracted nearly one-fifth of the 12,000 blacks in the state. Charles Henry Langston was an important African-American leader in Leavenworth and northeast Kansas in the Reconstruction era and afterward. In Kansas, Langston worked for black suffrage and the right to sit on juries, testify in court, and have their children educated in common schools. African Americans gained suffrage in 1870 after passage of the federal 15th constitutional amendment, and the legislature voted for their right to sit on juries in 1874.

African Americans continued to migrate to the state after the war; there were a total of 17,108 blacks in Kansas in 1870, with 43,107 in 1880, and 52,003 by 1900. Most lived in urban areas.

Fort Leavenworth was located outside the city limits until its territory was annexed by the city on April 12, 1977.

In 2008, an underground series of "vaults" was found in the city, apparently built during the late 19th century.


Leavenworth, KS 007
Leavenworth is on the west bank of the Missouri River

Leavenworth is located at 39°18′40″N 94°55′21″W / 39.31111°N 94.9225°W / 39.31111; -94.9225 (39.3111112, −94.9224637) at an elevation of 840 feet (256 m). Located in northeastern Kansas at the junction of U.S. Route 73 and Kansas Highway 92 (K-92), Leavenworth is 25 mi (40 km) northwest of downtown Kansas City, 145 mi (233 km) south-southeast of Omaha, and 165 mi (266 km) northeast of Wichita.

The city lies on the west bank of the Missouri River in the Dissected Till Plains region of North America's Central Lowlands. Four small tributaries of the river flow generally east through the city. From north to south, these are Quarry Creek, Corral Creek, Three Mile Creek, and Five Mile Creek.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.06 square miles (62.32 km2), of which, 24.04 square miles (62.26 km2) is land and 0.02 square miles (0.05 km2) is water. Fort Leavenworth occupies the northern half of the city's area.

Leavenworth, along with the rest of Leavenworth County, lies within the Kansas City metropolitan area. Lansing, Kansas, is located to the south.


Lying in the transition zone between North America's humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) and humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa), Leavenworth typically has hot, humid summers and cold, drier winters. On average, January is the coldest month, July is the hottest month, and June is the wettest month.

The average temperature in Leavenworth is 55 °F (13 °C). Over the course of a year, temperatures range from an average low of 19 °F (−7 °C) in January to an average high of 90 °F (32 °C) in July. The high temperature reaches or exceeds 90 °F (32 °C) an average of 43 days per year and reaches or exceeds 100 °F (38 °C) an average of four days per year. The minimum temperature falls below the freezing point 32 °F (0 °C) an average of 107 days per year. The hottest temperature recorded in Leavenworth was 110 °F (43 °C) in 1954; the coldest temperature recorded was -27 °F (-33 °C) in 1989.

In an average year, Leavenworth experiences 89.7 days with measurable precipitation and receives 42.97 inches (1,091 mm) of precipitation. Typically, the first fall freeze occurs by the third week of October, and the last spring freeze occurs by the second week of April. Annual snowfall averages 16.1 inches (41 cm). Measurable snowfall occurs an average of eight days per year with at least an inch of snow being received on five of those days. Snow depth of at least an inch occurs an average of 15 days a year. Severe thunderstorms sometimes occur, particularly during the spring months. These produce strong winds and, sometimes, large hail. These storms also bring the risk of tornadoes.

Climate data for Leavenworth, Kansas
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 74
Average high °F (°C) 39
Daily mean °F (°C) 30
Average low °F (°C) 19
Record low °F (°C) −17
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.03
Snowfall inches (cm) 4.4
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 4.7 5.1 7.9 8.9 11.2 9.9 7.5 8.0 7.6 7.3 6.4 5.2 89.7
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 2.3 2.3 0.8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.4 2.1 7.9
Source: National Weather Service; The Weather Channel


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 7,429
1870 17,873 140.6%
1880 16,546 −7.4%
1890 19,768 19.5%
1900 20,735 4.9%
1910 19,363 −6.6%
1920 16,912 −12.7%
1930 17,466 3.3%
1940 19,220 10.0%
1950 20,579 7.1%
1960 22,052 7.2%
1970 25,147 14.0%
1980 33,656 33.8%
1990 38,495 14.4%
2000 35,420 −8.0%
2010 35,251 −0.5%
Est. 2015 35,980 2.1%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 35,251 people, 12,256 households, and 8,129 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,466.2 people per square mile (566.1/km²). There were 13,670 housing units at an average density of 568.6 per square mile (219.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 75.4% White, 15.1% African American, 0.9% American Indian, 1.8% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 2.0% from other races, and 4.6% from two or more races. Hispanics and Latinos of any race were 8.1% of the population.

There were 12,256 households of which 34.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.7% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 33.7% were non-families. 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55, and the average family size was 3.15.

The median age in the city was 34.8 years. 26% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 31.6% were from 25 to 44; 23.9% were from 45 to 64; and 10% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 53.9% male and 46.1% female.

The median income for a household in the city was $49,823, and the median income for a family was $61,576. Males had a median income of $49,693 versus $30,888 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,102. About 9.8% of families and 12.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.4% of those under age 18 and 10.0% of those age 65 or over.

In Popular Culture

Leavenworth is the setting for "Hurt People," a 2009 novel by Cote Smith.

Parks and recreation

Wollman Aquatic Center in Leavenworth, Kansas
Wollman Aquatic Center at 13th and Shawnee streets in Leavenworth, Kansas.

The Leavenworth Parks and Recreation Department maintains a system of more than 25 public parks as well as Riverfront Community Center, which includes an indoor cardio room and pool, and Wollman Aquatic Center. An off-leash dog park near the Dwight D. Eisenhower Veterans Affairs Medical Center was built with public donations in 2010.


Richard Allen Cultural Center (front)
The Richard Allen Cultural Center in Leavenworth, Kansas, is a museum that includes the home of a former black U.S. Army soldier. The museum shares the histories of African Americans living on the Kansas frontier during pioneer days to the present, especially those serving in the U.S. Army.

Arts and music

The Richard Allen Cultural Center and Museum contains items and artifacts from the African American pioneers and members of the military, including the "Black Dignity" collection of 1870s-1920s photographs from the Mary Everhard Collection.

Leavenworth enjoys year-round plays and musicals performed by a community theater group, the River City Community Players.


Many of Leavenworth's residents are current or former members of the military. Two Medal of Honor recipients live here as of 2014, Ret. Col. Roger Donlon and Ret. Lt. Col. Charles C. Hagemeister. Leavenworth High School boasts the very first Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps in the country. A parade is held each year on Veterans' Day in downtown Leavenworth to honor veterans. Leavenworth has an active Byron H. Mehl American Legion Post #23 and Veterans of Foreign Wars George Edward White Post 56.

Points of interest

Haymarket Square (2013)

Leavenworth has a 28-block historic shopping district, which includes antique shops, restaurants, a brewery and a variety of artisan gift shops.

Leavenworth is home to the C.W. Parker Carousel Museum, listed as one of the "8 Wonders of Kansas Customs" by the Kansas Sampler Foundation. The Leavenworth County Historical Society maintains a museum at the Edward Carroll House, a Victorian-era mansion that is open to the public for touring.

Haymarket Square is a covered lot where a local farmer's market takes place from May to October.


Leavenworth enjoys a diverse religious tradition stemming from its military and international military influences. In the mid to late 19th century, Leavenworth had one of the largest Jewish communities in Kansas, made up of immigrants from Europe. Leavenworth had multiple Orthodox congregations by 1870. Over generations many Jews ultimately intermarried and their descendants became Christian.

There are two United Methodist Churches, the First United Methodist Church and Trinity United Methodist Church. Other Protestant churches include Lutheran, Southern Baptist, American Baptist, African Methodist Episcopal, United Church of Christ, Presbyterian, Community Church of Christ, Church of the Nazarene, Grace and Truth Fellowship, Assemblies of God, and Seventh-Day Adventist. Other religious institutions include a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Islamic Center of Leavenworth. Leavenworth is part of the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas, and there are four Roman Catholic parishes in the city. A few churches conduct services in Hangul. Many Leavenworth residents attend services on Fort Leavenworth.

Sister cities


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