This new KTWU documentary explores some of the interesting and historic architecture of the “First City of Kansas” — Leavenworth. WOOD, BRICK & STONE: LEAVENWORTH premieres on Thursday, August 8 at 7 p.m. on KTWU-HD-Digital Channel 11.1.
Starting off the program is the “Great Western Stove Company”, a complex of industrial buildings that helped establish Leavenworth as the manufacturing center of Kansas in the mid to late 19th century. The manufacturing and real estate booms of the late 1800s led to the construction of a number of opulent homes in Leavenworth including the “Fred Harvey House”, a three-story Italianate home that belonged to entrepreneur Fred Harvey, who is widely considered to be the originator of chain restaurants in America.
Historic architecture is not limited to buildings. The Leavenworth Centennial Bridge, is a grand steel “through arch” bridge that spans the mighty Missouri River. The Centennial Bridge was needed to carry traffic to and from Missouri and help Leavenworth compete with Kansas City. The bridge was named “Most Beautiful Bridge of 1955” by the American Institute of Steel Construction.
Featured in the second part of the program is “The Rookery.” Built as the residence for commanders of the post, the Rookery is the oldest structure in the state and was used as the office of the first territorial governor of Kansas. The structure dates back to 1827, the same year Ft. Leavenworth was established.
A stop at the Santa Fe passenger depot showcases its unique features. Unlike the many plain wood-framed structures the Santa Fe railroad built along their tracks, the Leavenworth depot is an elaborate “Richardsonian Romanesque” structure, made of pink sandstone.
The final architectural profile is the “Chapel of the Veterans” at the VA Medical Center (pictured). Built in 1933, this beautiful Gothic Revival structure was designed by renowned Kansas City architect Louis Curtiss. The two-story building contains separate Protestant and Catholic chapels.
WOOD, BRICK & STONE: LEAVENWORTH is hosted by Bob Keckeisen, Historian, and Christy Davis, Architectural Historian. The program was produced and directed by KTWU’s Jim Kelly.