Ft. Leavenworth, KS is an easy one hour drive from the Topeka area. Interstate 70 will bring you to KS 7 which leads to Ft. Leavenworth. The fort was established by Col. Henry Leavenworth in 1827 and is the oldest fort west of the Mississippi that has maintained a constant active duty status. This is a great day trip and especially nice during the fall months when the trees begin turning colors.
Civilians entering the military installation are required to have a valid ID (driver’s license or military ID.) Cars without military stickers will move to the far right lane to have their ID checked and a quick inspection made of their car. Some people are put off by this security measure, but by arriving during low traffic periods, such as after the morning rush hour, it is usually a quick and efficient procedure and shouldn’t be a deterrent to visiting the fort.
Upon entering Ft. Leavenworth and traveling north on Grant Ave. one may visit the Buffalo Soldier Monument which is located after the second stop light on the right side of Grant. This impressive monument, dedicated in July 1992, was a project that General Colin Powell initiated while he was stationed at Ft. Leavenworth. It is a tribute to the Buffalo Soldiers who were noted for their bravery during the Indian Wars.
Waysides can be found at 16 historical sites on the post. Each wayside contains art work and a 2-8 minute recording about the site. A map is needed to complete the driving tour and is available at http://www.visitleavenworthks.com. The driving tour begins at the Frontier Army Museum. The museum is open Mon.-Fri. 9:00am-4:00pm and Sat. 10:00pm-4:00pm. The museum is a nice introduction to the self guided wayside driving tour that follows. The next wayside stop is the new Lewis and Clark center which houses the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and then follows along a scenic route that offers a great view of the Missouri River which blazes with color in the fall. One of the stops along this route is the area where pioneers crossed the river to come to Ft. Leavenworth. As one follows the Wayside Tour there is much more to see including the Main Parade ground and the Ft. Leavenworth National Cemetery.
By the time you finish the Wayside Tour you may be feeling hunger pangs! A food court is available at the PX as well as Burger King, both located off Grant Ave. on Kansas Ave. As you leave the post on Grant Ave. other restaurants are available By turning west on Metropolitan St. one will find The Metropolitan Steakhouse which serves tasty sandwiches and other entrees. Other eating establishments can be found by driving straight down Seventh St. which Grant Ave. becomes once leaving post.
Ft. Leavenworth is chock full of history and visitors will have the opportunity to not only witness an important part of Kansas history, but also the beauty of this Army Post.