Leavenworth County
Historical Society and Museum

Keeping History Alive in Leavenworth County
The Leavenworth County Historical Society endeavors to tell the one-of-a-kind stories of Leavenworth’s past with exhibits, historical programs, and community outreach initiatives. Since 1965, visitors from around the world have walked through the doors of our home at 1128 Fifth Avenue, the Carroll Mansion Museum, to experience a “step back in time” to the Victorian era of Leavenworth. Renovated from an 1858 four-room farmhouse to a 16-room Queen Anne Victorian, the museum reflects the ideals held by Victorian society about status, education, and economic stability. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the house has become a vessel holding our history -- household artifacts, clothing, decorative and fine arts and portraiture. The Society maintains selective standards set forth through board approved policies which seek to preserve that which is essential to the interpretation of our cultural heritage. Substantial collections of photographic images and archived research materials offer a detailed study of early history only to be found in the first city of Kansas.

An Invitation: Connect to Leavenworth History!

Leavenworth County boasts countless historical events, visitors, and residents here since its founding in 1854. Known as the “Pioneer City” of Kansas, it became a launch pad for western expansion in the United States. In this role, Leavenworth welcomed visitors and residents alike, especially in the early days of Bleeding Kansas, the Civil War, and its emergence as a promising manufacturing center. Nationally recognized figures Horace Greeley, Abraham Lincoln, Fred Harvey, Mother Xavier Ross and the Sisters of Charity, Buffalo Bill Cody and Wild Bill Hickok, Charles Henry Langston, and Capt. W.D. Mathews were followed by George Custer, Ulysses S. Grant, Carry A. Nation, and Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Tribe. U.S. Presidents, Ulysses S. Grant, and William F. Taft made appearances in Leavenworth and nationally recognized suffrage advocates, Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Army Generals were stationed at Fort Leavenworth: (Eisenhower, Marshall, Bradley, Patton, MacArthur,Sherman, Colin Powell) and gangsters, such as “Bugs” Moran, Tom Pendergast, and “Machine Gun” Kelly paid their debts to society within the U.S. Penitentiary walls. Here in Leavenworth, there is considerable history to be preserved in chronicling individuals and events. The rapid growth of the town from the early settlement days in the steamboat era through the building of railroads, bridges, and manufacturing plants compliment fragments of noteworthy events in history.

These and additional themes can be explored throughout the County of Leavenworth and in extensive holdings at the Leavenworth County Historical Society.

Leavenworth County Kansas First Families Program


The Leavenworth County Historical Society, located in the Pioneer City of Kansas, is pleased to announce the First Families of Leavenworth County Kansas program to recognize and honor the residence of early families in Leavenworth County, Kansas.

The program is an ongoing effort to preserve the county’s rich heritage of history surrounding Fort Leavenworth and Leavenworth, the Pioneer City of Kansas, for future generations.
The Leavenworth County Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization,with revenue derived from memberships, donations, research, tour fees of our home, the Carroll Mansion Museum, and numerous fundraising activities.

Types of Certificates
Territorial Certificate Ancestors proven to have resided in Leavenworth County, Kansas on or before statehood, 29 January 1861
Pioneer Certificate Ancestor proven to have resided in Leavenworth County, Kansas between 29 January 1861 and 31 December 1880
Early Settler Certificate Ancestor proven to have resided in Leavenworth County, Kansas between 1 January 1881 and 31 December 1900

Application and Fees
• Applicant must be able to prove descent with an official record of some type or some other acceptable source of proof (i.e.: census records; obituaries; county histories; birth, death or marriage records; school or church records; newspaper clippings and any other records showing proof.)
• Applicant must show a relationship to his or her pioneer relative and must prove relationship with an official record of some type (i.e. census records, obituaries. county histories, birth record, etc).
• Applicant does not have to live in Kansas or ever have lived in Kansas.

To apply for a certificate, each applicant will need to complete an application form. This form includes the certificate application, permission to publish, a line of descendant chart, and a pedigree chart. In addition, each application will need to submit documentation to substantiate the information included in the line of descent chart, along with the application fee of $40, as determined by the Historical Society. Once approved by the LCHS Research Dept, applicant will be issued the appropriate certificate.

Printable PDF application form.

Photographic Treasures of Historic Leavenworth, Kansas


Following the premier of our traveling exhibit in the summer of 2022, at the Box Gallery in Commerce Bank, Kansas City, Missouri, it went on display at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas, Lawrence in Spring 2023.
Here is an on-line version of the exhibit:
Photographic Treasures in cooperation with Spencer Research Library.
and
2023 Exhibit at Kenneth Spencer Research Library

Click Here to read our information about the traveling exhibit, and how to become a hosting venue.

Educational Activities
History at your fingertips

The Society works diligently to provide informative educational programs and exhibits, with a focus on the history of Leavenworth, only found in the First City of Kansas.

 

Living Museum Program
One of the primary educational activities is the “Living Museum” program for third grade through sixth grade students to offer an insight into Victorian life in Leavenworth. Historical characters are portrayed by museum volunteers from the father to the cook, each visiting with the children in character. Contact the museum staff for scheduling and more information.
Living Museum
Historical Programs and Exhibits
Black History Month is recognized in February; Susan B. Anthony Day every February 15; Women’s History Month in March; and other appropriate historical anniversaries occurring in Leavenworth County throughout the year.

The Society has partnered with the National Archives at Kansas City, the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum in Adams, Massachusetts, the Henry House Museum in Oshawa, Canada, Kansas City Kansas Community College, Richard Allen Cultural Center & Museum in Leavenworth, and Humanities Kansas, in bringing interesting and educational programs and events to Leavenworth. Local historians and authors are welcomed to give presentations at the museum.

Research of Early Kansas History
The Historical Society has been collecting and preserving Leavenworth County history for nearly 70 years and offers a treasure trove of artifacts and information for the study of that history. The centerpiece of myriad collections is the 30,000-piece glass negative collection, taken by pioneer photographers in Leavenworth, which is considered by experts to be a national treasure.
Glass Negative Collection

Greenwood Cemetery Project


Greenwood Cemetery Established in 2021, the Greenwood Cemetery Preservation Commission brings together interested groups and individuals with a goal to preserve one of the oldest pioneer cemeteries in Leavenworth. Through the Society’s efforts, the cemetery was named to the Kansas and National Registers of Historic Places in 2022. In December 2022, under the direction of the local Jesse Leavenworth Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the first Wreaths Across America ceremony was held at the cemetery, with the placement of wreaths on 15 known veteran headstones.
Greenwood Cemetery The cemetery is owned by the City of Leavenworth.
For tours, to learn about those buried here, to volunteer, or to donate to the ongoing preservation efforts, contact the Carroll Mansion Museum.

Greenwood Cemetery
Preserving Leavenworth's Historic Greenwood Cemetery
Visit: Travelks.com

Greenwood Cemetery Preservation Commission - GCPC  Carroll Mansion

To make a donation for the continued preservation efforts of Greenwood, make checks payable to GCPC and mail to:
Greenwood Cemetery Preservation Commission
P. O. Box 565
Leavenworth, Kansas 66048

We’re In the News


National Votes for Women Trail
National Votes for Women Trail--First marker dedicated in Kansas.... ...Read More

Museum featured in “Our Changing Lives: Visit like a Local” Blog ...Read More

Featured in the Visit Kansas I-70 promotion of Seventy Best Attractions to See Along Kansas I-70 ...Read More

Learn more about our photograph collection in the NPR Broadcast and online feature: Post Civil War Photo Negatives Document African Americans Building New Lives in Leavenworth

History Detectives on PBS: Read More

 

A Carroll Mansion Video

To see our current contact information, go to our Contact page