This past weekend I went to a place I’d only heard about, usually in reference to those being sent there for heinous crimes against the government and mankind—Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Well, I was shocked and surprised to find out this place is one, beautiful, two, not just a disciplinary establishment, and three, very significant as far a technical training and development for the military all around the world. Who knew? Not I.
Anyway as part of our Charlie Co. Reunion we were able to tour this amazing fort set on the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River. An early out-posts and a gateway to the west, there is still evidence, a cut out in the earth coming out of the river (on the east side of the fort) from early settler’s wagon wheels. I was mesmerized by its depth and the meaning it held.
Other facts about this old fort are that it population is around twelve thousand including civilian workers. It doesn’t look like most military forts in that the individual housing is all red brick with charming front porches, some overlooking the Missouri. Originally the fort was to be built on the Missouri side, but with the bluffs on the Kansas side it made more sense, defensively, to construct it there. It’s one of the smaller forts in this country, but what it lack in size it makes up for with bucolic rolling hills and hardwood trees that grace it’s landscape.
On the grounds, not far from the entrance, the Buffalo Soldier’s Monument stands. There is a kiosk explaining the history of this proud troop, a reflecting pool, and an outstanding, larger than life sculpture of a Buffalo Soldier on horseback. I’ve always wondered how this black regiment got their name. It was that the texture of their (African-American Soldier’s) hair resembled the thick nappy fur that surrounds the front flanks of the American Buffalo, and also because they were such fierce fighters. Former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, dedicated the beautiful monument in 1992. http://garrison.leavenworth.army.mil/Newcomers—Visitors/Attractions/Buffalo-Soldiers.aspx
The fort also has a beautiful golf course that is open to the public.
Public…who knew you could tour this historic fort! All you need is a photo ID and no weapons or bombs in the trunk of your vehicle.
There is so much more to this historic place—maybe this will wet your appetite to do a little research.
I look forward to going back with my grandchildren. A great day trip for nearby Kansans or if you’re making a trip across this great country, it’s worth a stop.
The Frontier Army Museum contains artifacts and information about the forts heritage and purpose in an expanding America.