History of the City of Leavenworth, Kansas
From: History of Leavenworth County, Kansas
BY: Jesse A. Hall and Leroy T. Hand
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka, Kansas 1921


Leavenworth City was governed by a mayor and councilmen till 1909, when the city adopted a commission form of government. The mayor was elected by the entire city and the councilmen were chosen, two each from each of the six wards. Under the commission form of government the mayor is elected by the entire city and the four commissioners are also elected by the entire city. The duties of the commissioners are designated and divided as follows: Finance and Revenue, Parks and Public Property, Streets and Public Improvements, Water and Lights.

The following are the officers of the City of Leavenworth since its organization:

Judge of City Court - 1899-1900, F. P. Harkness, appointed by Governor; 1900-1904, H. Miles Moore; 1904-1910, David W. Flynn; 1910-1914, Floyd E. Harper; 1914-1916, Wm. P. Wettig; 1916, present time, Eli Nirdlinger.

Clerk of City Court. - 1899-1900, O. C. Phillips; 1900-1904, Wm. Bucher; 1904-1906, R. G. McFarland; 1906-1914, A. J. Erman; 1914-1916, August Kunz, abolished in 1916.

Marshal of City Court. - 1899-1904, John Bramlage; 1904-1906, Henry Yerkes.

Fire Department. - The first fire company was organized by charter granted to the City Council by the Territorial Legislature in the fall of 1855. Miles Shannon was chosen the first chief that fall and served two terms. James L McDowell was the next chief and later served as mayor of the city. Henry Deckehtan was the next and he was the father of the Turner's Society. Martin Smith followed him for eight years. The following have been chiefs since that time: Cyrus Sprague, Matt Kelley, Patrick Delaney, Mike Bahler and Gus Schoreder, the present incumbent

The department has two divisions. Department No. 1 is located at the northeast corner of 5th and Shawsee Streets and No. 2 is located at the southeast corner of 5th Avenue and Spruce.

The following men make up the department:

Department No. 1-Fire chief, Gus Schroeder; foremen, Peter Johosky and Chas. Voss; mechanic, J. H. Ciift; firemen, J. E. Ramey, Frederick Copenhaver, Andrew Hauserman, J. L. Ramey, Lynton Tuttle and Louis Ringlesby.

Department No. 2-1st assistant chief, Peter Taschetta; 2nd assistant chief, G. A. Stevenson; firemen, Wm. Meeker, L. L. Malody, Chas. Hoctor, and W. R. Shouse.

The department is equipped with the following fire apparatus: At Fire Department No. 1, one White combination hose wagon, one White service ladder truck, one Fulton hose truck, and one Stutz, chief's car.

At Fire Department No. 2, one White combination hose wagon.

Police Department. - The headquarters of the police department was formerly located between Delaware and Shawnee streets on Fifth. It is now located at the northeast corner of 5th and Shawnee streets.

The following named persons have served as chiefs: John Roundee, John Shockley, John Kendall, John Schott, Joseph Michael, John McKee, Hiram Robinson, D. A. Hook, Col. Thomas Moonlight, James Jennings, Isaac Losee, Charles H. Miller•, Milt Orr, S. S. Ellis, W. D. Shallcross, Joseph E. Walter, Wm. W. Roberts. J. G. Doane, Chas. H. Robinson, A. McGahey, Dan McFarland, F. W. Willard, E. C. Murphy, J. H. Rothenberger, J. A. Cranston, W. M. Pickens, Anton Maduska, J. T. Taylor, J. M. Murphy, W. B. Shaughnessy, John T. Glynn, Lewis Young (the present incumbent.)

The following constitutes the entire police force at present: Lewis Young, chief; Wm. Mueller, captain; John Kinney, lieutenant; Geo. W. Herren, detective; Andy Welkey, W. A. Heath, J. A. Cranston, H. T. Madison, Geo. Richardson, Frank Brown, V. M. Hooper, W. E. Felix, Louis Jackson, Henry Johnson, Phil Knight, Robt. Buckley, patrolmen; M. Fitzpatrick, jailor; James Freeh, guard; Bentley Clark, J. P. Reavy, auto drivers; Jas. M. Thompson. Wm. Leeman, Joe Gorzkiewiez, merchant police.

J. A. Cranston served as chief from 1897 to 1903, from 1905 to 1908; a part of the year 1893 and for the past three years has been a patrolman; he has the longest service as chief of any one on record in the department.

Cemeteries. - There are four burial grounds in the vicinity of the city of Leavenworth, namely: Mount Muncie, Mt. Calvary, Jewish Cemetery and Greenwood Cemetery. In 1858 a burial place known as Mount Aurora was donated by W. W. Bachus. This was used for about fifteen years and then abandoned. Most of the bodies were removed to Mount Muncie and the ground has been since used by the Leavenworth Water Company.

Greenwood Cemetery is located on the Lawrence Road at the city limits. This tract was donated by Mrs. Mary A. Davis in December, 1865.

Mt. Calvary Cemetery is three and a half miles south of the city on the DeSoto Road. It is the Roman Catholic burial grounds. It consists of an eighty acre tract of land.

Mount Muncie Cemetery is located about three and a half miles south of the court house on the old Delaware Road. It adjoins the grounds of The National Military Home on the south. It is a tract of 187 acres, extending to the Missouri River.

It is incorporated under the laws of Kansas and a portion of the charter provides that the sale of the lots and proceeds of the investment of the funds are dedicated to the purchase and improvement of the grounds for a cemetery and keeping them durably and permanently inclosed and perpetual repair throughout all future time and no part of the funds shall inure as dividends or profits to the incorporators. The grounds were opened for burial about 1865. Thirteen thousand persons have been buried in this cemetery.

The Jewish Cemetery is located about three miles west of the city on the Mt. Olive road.

Cushing Hospital and Home of the Friendless. - Cushing Hospital grew out of the Home for the Friendless. The latter institution was organized in 1868. A charter was secured in 1870. An appropriation of $10,000 was made by the State Legislature and the city of Leavenworth purchased the present site of five acres for the institution. In 1879 an additional appropriation of $6,000 was obtained from the state for the purpose of an additional building. The first building was known as the "Cottage". The building as it now stands is of brick with stone trimmings, three stores and a basement located on Marshall street. It originally cost about $16,000. The Home of the Friendless was originally founded for the following purposes: First, to temporary shelter for sick and destitute women and children; second, to aid women in securing employment in respectable families and secure Christian homes for children; third, to reform the inmates and teach them a better mode of life. The management of Cushing Hospital has been in the hands of benevolent women of the various Protestant churches of the city till 1920 when an advisory board of men were selected to aid them. It was named after Mrs. C. H. Cushing who devoted much of her time and money to the founding and maintaining of this most needed institution.

The following are the names of the presidents: Mrs. C. H. Cushing, Mrs. S. A. Lord, Mrs. H. Mills, Mrs. Florence Hopkins, Mrs. O. H. Shelly, Mrs. Carrie Huffman, Mrs. Louis C. Feller.

The Kansas Orphan Asylum was located on a beautiful five acre tract of land on South Broadway. It was organized and incorporated as a private charitable institution for Leavenworth city and county. The original cost of the land and buildings thereon was met by the business men of the city. The organization was formed in 1866. At first the asylum had only the right to receive and dispose of children under the apprentice law. In 1867 the State Legislature gave the asylum the right "to receive and retain orphans, destitute and friendless children, and provide the same with homes for such time, not exceeding their majority, and upon such terms as the board of directors may determine."

The institution was first known as The Leavenworth Protestant Orphan Asylum and Home for Friendless Children, and changed to the name of Kansas Orphan Asylum by act of 1874. By this act the board of directors were bound to receive children from all the counties of the state. The sum of $16,000 was expended for buildings which sum was appropriated by the legislature and donated by people of Leavenworth. The state also made appropriations at various times for the support and maintenance. The report of the board of directors in 1882 stated that twenty eight children remained in the home, sixty four received; making a total of ninety two; forty eight boys and forty four girls; placed in homes, twenty; adopted, eight; agreement, twelve; returned to friends, thirty one; died, one; sent to Reform School, one; remaining in the asylum, thirty eight.

About the year 1900 the Dr. Stewart McKee took over the asylum and ran it till 1914 as The Leavenworth Hospital, a private institution. May 27, 1912, the board of trustees offered a lease to Leavenworth County for a County Hospital. On March 9, 1914, was recorded a lease dated May 25, 1912, and running to May 25, 1959, to the Board of County Commissioners of Leavenworth County. The inmates of the old Poor Farm were then removed to the County Hospital and the farm was sold.

The Leavenworth Free Public Library Association was organized in 1895 under the auspices of the Whittier Club of Leavenworth and the library was opened in a room in the Ryan building with Mrs. G. W. Mickel as librarian and Miss Syrena McKee and Mrs. Mary Fitzwilliam Carney as assistants.

In the spring of 1899 the city of Leavenworth voted to levy a tax for library maintenance and in August of the same year Mayor Neely called a meeting to effect a permanent library organization. In November, 1899, the first formal meeting was held at which officers were elected and rules, regulations and by-laws adopted. Miss Syrena McKee was appointed librarian and Miss Bessie Martin assistant. The following were members of the first Board of Directors: Judge M. L. Hacker, president; James A. McGonigle, vice president; Mrs. J. A. Lane, secretary; A. J. Tullock, Mrs. Florence Hopkins, Mrs. W. C. Hook, Miss Catherine Becker, W. C. Schott, L. P. Rothchild, Mrs. G. W. Mickel, Mrs. E. W. Snyder and Mrs. Mary Fitzwilliam Carney.

Through the efforts of A. J. Tullock a gift of $25,000 was secured from Andrew Carnegie for the erection of a permanent library building. This gift was later increased to $30,000 and in May, 1902, the library was moved to its present location at Fifth and Walnut.

In November, 1904, Miss Syrena McKee resigned her position as librarian and was succeeded by Miss Ortha Johnson as acting librarian. Miss Johnson's appointment as librarian was confirmed in March, 1905. In January, 1907, she resigned and Asa Don Dickinson was appointed to fill the vacancy. Mr. Dickinson served until September, 1909, and was succeeded by Julius Lucht who resigned in May, 1912. Irving R. Bundy, his successor, served until March, 1916, when Truman R. Temple became librarian. Mr. Temple resigned in January, 1919, and was succeeded by Miss Elsie Evans, the present incumbent. The present Board of Directors is comprised of the following members: N. H. Burt, president; Lee Todd, vice president; Mrs. Mary Fitzwilliam Carney, secretary; Mrs. Victor Cain, Mrs. Harry DcCoursey, A. J. Schilling, C. E. Snyder, O. H. Wulfekuhler. The only member of the present board who was a member of the original board is Mrs. Mary Fitzwilliam Carney. She has served continuously since the establishment of the institution.

The total number of books in the library, January 1, 1921, was 28,679. The number of registered borrowers was 5,216, 32 per cent of the population. The circulation for the year 1920 totaled 99,786. Besides the central library, the library maintains deposit stations at the Y. W. C. A. and the Small Memorial Home and traveling libraries in twelve of the public and parochial schools of the city.

Leavenworth Public Schools - The Board of Trustees for the common schools of Leavenworth City was organized July 3, 1858. This board consisted of four members and was responsible for the management of the public schools although it had no control over the school funds which were entrusted to the common council. In May, 1864, the Board of Education, displacing the old Board of Trustees, was organized and entered upon its duties as guardian and manager of the educational interests of the city. In October, 1859, the board adopted the graded system. In 1865 the high school was organized and has continued to grow in importance and numbers since that time.

The Board of Education is now composed of six members elected at large for a term of four years. A clerk and treasurer are appointed by the board yearly.

The personnel of the present board is as follows: S. B. Langworthy, president; William S. Albright, vice president; F. D. Bolman, W. W. Hooper, Thomas L. Todd, S. E. Nirdlinger, Ira J. Bright, superintendent.

The following table gives the essential facts concerning the schools:

Name of School


Jan., 1921


High School

Fourth and Walnut


E. R. Stevens


Fifth and Osage


Josephine O'Keefe

Third Avenue

Third Ave. and Congress


Mary M. Pfefferkorn

Oak Street

Seventh and Oak


Olga Gates


Chestnut and Grand


Anna Willeott


Fifth Ave. and Chestnut


B. K. Bruce


612 Dakota


E. H. Lawson


Ninth and Arthur


Lillian McBride


Eleventh and Kickapoo


Lillian Kunz


Union and Vilas


Jane Cleavinger

Cleveland Park

Sixteenth and Vilas


Anna Truesdale

The larger elementary school buildings, Oak Street, Third Avenue, Morris, and Sumner, need to be replaced by modern school buildings. Oak Street was rebuilt in 1874; Third Avenue was built in 1860, and Morris was built in 1867. It is needless to say that these buildings do not meet modern educational needs.

The Board of Education is now working out a School Building Program and there is little doubt that Leavenworth will have school buildings of which she may be proud.

The efficiency and standing of the Leavenworth school system is well set forth in the report of Allen D. Albert, a "city doctor" of national renown, who made a survey of the city in the early summer of 1920. He says:

"Leavenworth has developed one of the outstanding school systems in the Middle West. There runs through the whole establishment the modern purpose to fit the school to the child, to help the child find himself, to arouse motive rather than to impose disciplinary control, to build character rather than to teach by note."

The standing of the high school is best indicated by the fact that the Leavenworth High School has been a member of the North Central Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges for fifteen years and no school in Kansas has been a member of the association for a longer period. Affiliation with this organization means that admission without examination to practically all the larger universities and colleges of the middle west is granted graduates of high schools belonging to the association.

The Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce was organized by consolidating and absorbing the Commercial Club, Greater Leavenworth Club, Merchants' League, Retail Merchants' Association and Ad Club. This was done in 1914. The organization was incorporated under the laws of the State of Kansas in 1916 and since that time has operated as a corporation organized not for profit.

The Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce has been very active in business and civic affairs. It secured the establishment in Leavenworth in 1917 of the Red Cross Sanitary Unit No. 6. This unit, in co operation with the United States Public Health Service and the City and County Governments and Board of Education, spent approximately $50,000 in sanitary work in the city and immediately adjacent county during the years of 1917, 1918 and 1919 and after the clinic was withdrawn this work was then carried on by the city government through the organization of a public health service.

The Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce undertook the organization of Leavenworth County and Leavenworth City for war work in preparation for the Third Liberty Loan campaign and perfected an organization in the city by dividing the congested district into committees, the residence district into precincts and the county into school districts. Loyal, public spirited citizens of the city and county volunteered in this organization which, with minor changes, "put over" the Third Liberty Loan campaign, the Second Red Cross Drive, the United War Fund Drive, the Fourth Liberty Loan campaign, the Near East campaign, the Victory Liberty Loan campaign, the War Savings Stamps drive and the Welcome Home Fund for the returning soldiers. One million and twelve thousand dollars ($1,012,000) was raised in the Third Liberty Loan which was over $300,000 more than the county's quota. Approximately $53,000 was raised in the Second Red Cross War Fund, which was $17,000 more than the county's quota. One million six hundred and sixty six thousand dollars ($1,666,000) was raised in the Fourth Liberty Loan, which was approximately $50,000 more than the county's quota. The quota of $60,000 in the United War Work Drive was exceeded. Nearly $14,000 was raised in the Near East campaign. In the Victory Liberty Loan the county exceeded its quota of $1,100,000 by nearly $50,000 and nearly $4,000 was raised in the Welcomed Home Fund to afford a proper celebration and welcome for the boys from Leavenworth County who did their part in the Great War.

The Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce sponsored the organization of the Leavenworth County Counsel of Defense which served during the war and the secretary manager acted as chairman of the County Council of Defense. The Farm Agent acted as Vice Chairman. The local Food Administration was also handled by the County Council of Defense.

The Chamber of Commerce also organized the local branch of the Military Training Camp Association in the early days of our participation in the war and acted as headquarters in this work of securing personnel for the training camps

The Chamber of Commerce also organized the Leavenworth War-Camp Community Service, which handled the Community House at Leavenworth during the war.

The Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce also organized the work of securing harvest laborers and recruited harvest armies in 1918 and 1919, furnishing the farmers of Leavenworth County with harvest help and sending the excess to the harvest fields in central and western Kansas. The Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce helped organize the Farm Bureau of Leavenworth County, which was the first bureau organized in the State of Kansas. They paid a substantial proportion of the expenses of the Farm Bureau for the first two years of its existence and at the present time furnished an office and headquarters for the Farm Bureau.

The Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce has been very active in the promotion of good roads. It originated the Fort to Fort road but the putting over of these petitions, especially on the cross county road, was done by the good roads booster in and around Tonganoxie. These road boosters at Tonganoxie had been frying for a long time to secure a hard road connection with Kansas City and with Lawrence, and at the time the Federal Aid Law was passed, practically the only hard road sentiment in the entire county was along the line of the east and west road from Tonganoxie to the end of the parallel road in Wyandotte County.

The Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce has approximately 325 members holding about 400 memberships. Through its activities, secured the purchase by the War Department of the old North Bridge. It has cooperated with the Farm Bureau in its efforts to bring pure bred livestock into the county and with the State Holstein Association and the County Holstein Association in the holding of pure bred livestock sales at Leavenworth.

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