Sunday, June 10, 2012

16 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

1.  Fort Leavenworth was first settled in 1827 during the presidency of John Quincey Adams, making it the 3rd oldest continually used US Army Garrison in the country after West Point, New York, and Ft McNair, Washington, DC.

2. Ft Leavenworth was never a fort in the traditional sense.  It had no stockade or stone walls, even during Indian conflicts.

3.  There are no memorials on the grounds to those who resigned their commissions to serve in the Confederate Army, but three (General Robert E. Lee, General Joseph E. Johnston, and General J.E.B. Stuart) have places in the Hall of Fame, due to their honorable army careers prior to 1861.

4.  In 1866, Congress authorized several black regiments, one of which, the 10th Cavalry Regiment, was formed at Ft Leavenworth under Colonel Benjamin H. Grierson.  A monument to the "Buffalo Soldiers" of the 9th and 10th Cavalry stands at Ft Leavenworth as tribute.

5.  The military's central US Disciplinary Barracks was established in 1875.  Its inmates built the federal civilian prison on the southern edge of the post.

6.  The original Disciplinary Barracks are partially torn down, but much of the main prison remains, including the stone wall and guard towers.  A restaurant, 12th Brick Grille, now resides at the processing gate.  The new USDB is on the isolated northern section of Ft Leavenworth, and sadly, built to be easily expanded.

7.  The public has access to the army post, though you have to submit to a thorough car search.  While you can't use the commissary, exchange, gyms, or other MWR facilities, you can attend religious services and take self-guided tours to visit various monuments and the Frontier Army Museum.

8.  The cemetery is one of the original 12 National Cemeteries established by President Lincoln.  Veterans as far back as the War of 1812 are buried there, including Colonel Henry Leavenworth, for whom the fort, city, and county are named.

9.  If you are stationed at Ft Leavenworth, you can bring your horse- one section of stables is still used, and horses pasture in several locations throughout the post.

10.  Many of the current office buildings are converted from horse stables.

11.  The Fort Leavenworth Hunt is one of the last three military foxhunts in the world, the others being in Oklahoma and Great Britain.  They only chase, though!

12.  Gruber Gym was originally an indoor horse riding arena.

13.  Some of the housing on post dates back to the 19th century.  The oldest is designated for the current commanding officer and was built in 1861.

14.  Ft Leavenworth was considered a "gateway" to westward expansion as it lies at the junction of several wagon trails, including the Oregon, Santa Fe, Mormon, and California.

15.  There are three elementary schools on post: Eisenhower, Bradley, and MacArthur, and one junior high school, Patton.  They are part of the city's school district, but are leased by the federal government.

16.  The US Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC) located at Ft Leavenworth has evolved from the "application of infantry and cavalry school" set up by General William T. Sherman.  His vision and investment paid its first dividends in World War I.

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