Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Double the Fun in Leavenworth

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Double the Fun in Leavenworth

Article excerpt

WHICH came first, Leavenworth or Fort Leavenworth?

These settlements have rubbed elbows - and sometimes tempers - since 1854, when Leavenworth was illegally established by a group of pro-slavery Missourians on Delaware Indian acreage. Buying the Indians off, the settlers incorporated Leavenworth the same year - but Fort Leavenworth had already been a thriving military post since Col. Henry Leavenworth founded it in 1827. Both are in Kansas.

In 1857, Russell, Majors and Waddell made the city the headquarters for its vast overland transportation system, and three years later it was a horse-change spot for the company's Pony Express riders. I entered across the double-arched bridge from Platte City, hit Highway 73, and drove right to the main gate of Fort Leavenworth. This is still the military's main lock-up, as barred windows on the baracks attested. The base is pin-neat and clean, and bathed in history, making it a fine place to visit. A few of the military notables who served at this oldest permanent military base west of the Mississippi: George C. Marshall, William "Billy" Mitchell, Dwight D. Eisenhower and George S. Patton. On the base, you'll see the abutments - all that remains - of the first bridge across the Missouri at this point. The fort is situated on 5,000 acres of scenic river bluffs, and the views are gorgeous any time of year. The fort was also a major traffic artery for wagons headed west from 1840 to 1860 and was an outfitter during the war with Mexico. The entire Fort Leavenworth facility is a national historic landmark. It's also the home of the Army Command and General Staff School, the army's highest tactical school. Many of our future leaders went there to be trained. You can't go wrong by starting at the Frontier Army Museum - an extraordinary window into the past, with equipment in remarkably fine condition. …

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