From the collections at the Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum. Reprinted with permission from The Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum and the Leavenworth Times. Donated by Debra Graden.

As City Directory Saw It

Early Leavenworth

Leavenworth Times, February 5, 1967


On the 3d of September, 1855, the first city election was held. Thomas T. Slocum was elected Mayor. He continued in office until January 21st, 1856, when he resigned and his place was filled by the election of William E. Murphy. He held the position until September, 1857, when Henry J. Adams was elected his successor. H. B. Denman succeeded his in Sept., 1858. At the espiration of his second term, in September, 1860, James L. McDowell was elected Mayor. In September, 1861, Warren A. Latta was called to the place. H. B. Denman commenced his third term in September, 1862, having beeen elected in April 1862, the time of holding the city election being changed from Fall to Spring by the legislature of 1862. In April 1863, D. R. Anthony was elected Mayor. In April 1864, James L. McDowell was again elected. In April 1865, ex-Governor Thomas Carney was elected.

Immediately after the organization of the city government, steps were taken to improve the city. In the year 1857 and 1858, the levee was paved, giving us the finest landing west of St. Louis, and in deed better than that in this respect, that the ascent from the water is very slight and the heaviest goods are easily drawn up into the city. Delaware and Cherokee, the then two principal business streets, were macadamized and a fin market house, with rooms in the second story for the city officers built. In the year 1859, gas works were put up, and the principal streets are now lighted with gas. Within the last eighteen months Shawnee street has been macadamized and the contracts are now let for macadamizing the cross streets in the business part of the city. The only streets in the city which need sewers have been supplied therewith. Across Three Mile creek abd connecting Leavenworth city proper with the various additions south, have been constructed three substantial stone bridges, at an expense of about $15,000 each. Two equally substancial bridges across the ravine in the western part of the city. Seneca street is now being graded to Broadway and fine stone culverts erected thereon. In short nothing which an enterprising people could do towards improving the city, has been neglected. Not only have their interior arrangements of the city been attended to but the outlets for trade, the different roads running in every direction been carefully watched. Over all the streams substantial bridges have been built, the roads kept in good order, and everything which facilitates travel done thereon.

The subject of railroads is one of vital importance to a new city, and the energies of our citizens have long been employed in that direction and with brillaint[sic] prospects of success. To the Leavenworth, Pawnee & Western Railroad, now changed to the Union Pacific Railway Company, Eastern Division, the finest portions of the Delaware and Pottawattomie lands have been granted by Congress, upon terms which will inevitably secure to us a railroad to Fort Riley within eighteen months. Already fifteen miles are graded. The North Missouri Railroad Company, conscious of the vast superiority of Leavenworth over her former rivals, is straining every energy to extend their road directly to this place. The completion of this road will give us a direct connection with St. Louis, and bring us forty-two miles nearer that place than Kansas City is by the Pacific road. The Platte country road now runs within seven miles of Leavenworth and will reach here in October. In addition to this a charter has been granted by the Missouri legislature and a company ofganized to construct a road from this place to Cameron. It is safe to say that two years will give us more estern railroad connections than even St. Louis.

In the absence of Railroads in Kansas, now and for year past, the Kansas Stage Company, making Leavenworth their headquarters, have run daily lines of stages to all the principal points in the interior.

In Leavenworth is located the office of the Surveyor General of Kansas and Nebraska, the patronage of which is from $50,000 to $150,00 a year. the following have been the Surveyor Generals:

The office as now constituted is as follows:

Kansas contains 55,641,588 acres, of which 38,484,270 remain to be surveyed.

U.S. Sanitary Commission.

A general supply depot of Sanitary stores for hospitals and armies west of Missouri. This agency was established in the winter of 1861, with Jeremiah R. Brown as general agenet, who has been a zealous worker to the present date. Supplies have been sent from time to time, to all the various hospitals and garrisons of the far West, to Laramie, Larned, Zarah, Kearney, Bridger, Halleck, Riley and other points. To Wyandott, (sic) Olathe, Lawrence, Paola, Ossawattomie, (sic) Mound City, Fort Scott, and Fort Leavenworth of this State, and to Fort Smith, Arkansas, and the Forts and garrisons of the Cherokee Nation. During the raid of Price last October, large ammounts of supplies were early sent to all the points along the line of the raid in this State, besides large amounts sent to Kansas City and Westport, Missouri, supplying largely the sick and wounded of both the Army of Kansas and Missouri, as well as the rebel wounded, who fell into the hands of our troops. Too much credit cannot be given to the Sanitary Commission for their labors in behalf of suffering soldiers during the past four years in this Department. General Depot rooms, 52 Shawnee.

The proximity of the Fort has always been of great advantage to Leavenworth. During the Sioux war in 1854, the Mormon expedition in 1858, and again during the present rebellion, Fort Leavenworth has been the headquarters for the gathering of troops, the purchase of quartermaster and commissary stores, and for the equipment of the many different expeditions which have been made in the West. The Government has been steadily increasing her storehouses, workshops, and other buildings, until now the Fort is a city by itself. It is estimated that at least a thousand citizens of Leavenworth find constant employment there.

The prospects of Leavenwroth were never surpassed by those of any city. Eastern capitalists are seeking investments here, Eastern merchants bringing their goods here, Eastern railroad men striving to extend railroad connections to this place, and among the people of Kansas and the traders and merchants of the territories west, the immense and growing superiority of Leavenworth is universally admitted.

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