Two weeks after Kansas was officially opened for settlement, the state's oldest city was born. The date was June 12, 1854, and the town was named for nearby Fort Leavenworth.
In September, type for the first regular weekly newspaper in Kansas was set under an elm tree on the levee. The newspaper came in "even before our sins," a journalist wrote later. Within four years, Leavenworth's population had soared beyond 10,000 as steamboats and freighting wagons, supplying Western forts and the ever-advancing frontier, made business boom.
"Buffalo" Bill Cody, William T. Sherman, and Fred Harvey were early area residents before they won fame respectively as army scout and showman, Civil War general, and restaurateur. Abraham Lincoln, on a speaking tour, spent four days here in December 1859. The Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, established in 1858, operates nearly 100 schools and colleges, including nearby St. Mary.
Prisons abound near Leavenworth. South, at Lansing, are the state penitentiary and women's industrial farm, while north of the city are the U. S. disciplinary barracks at Fort Leavenworth and the federal penitentiary. The historic Fort Leavenworth - Fort Gibson military road, laid out in 1837, passed near this marker.