Overlooking the Missouri River, Leavenworth lies on the northwestern outskirts of Kansas City and serves as the seat of Leavenworth County. It played an important role as a supply base during the settlement of the American West before attracting African-American slaves seeking freedom from neighbouring Missouri.
Things to do in Leavenworth
On the banks of the Missouri River is the C.W. Parker Carousel Museum, which exhibits a range of historically significant carousels. It is named after the original builder of the 1913 Carry-Us-All, a full-operational carousel that features 31 hand-carved wooden features. Also on display is a 1950s-built Liberty carousel and a hand-cranked C.W. Parker cylinder piano that plays 10 different tunes.
If you’re interested in the area’s military history, visit the Frontier Army Museum in Fort Leavenworth. The “Beyond Lewis and Clark” exhibition details the exploration of the American West, with old uniforms, weapons and equipment on display. Nearby is the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery where nine Medal of Honor recipients are laid to rest.
The region’s African-American history is highlighted at the Richard Allen Cultural Center, which occupies the former home of William Bly, who served as a Buffalo Soldier during World War I. Browse the photographs of African-American pioneers who once lived in the area and learn about the rich heritage of African-Americans. Outside the Richard Allen Cultural Center is a bronze bust of the first Black woman to enlist as a soldier, Cathay Williams.
Getting around Leavenworth
Leavenworth is around 40 minutes’ drive from the centre of Kansas City and 25 minutes from Kansas City International Airport, which has flights to destinations across North America. Regular buses connect to Leavenworth while renting a car will give you greater freedom to explore the area.