Skip to comments.Old Leavenworth Prison To Be Demolished
Posted on 08/24/2004 3:49:22 PM PDT by Former Military Chick
The stone and steel colossus that has been the symbol of U.S. military justice for 127 years is coming down in a cloud of dust and broken rock at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Demolition began Aug. 16 on the Civil War era confinement facility commonly called the Castle.
And despite its history, attempts to keep it standing failed.
A reuse study was done for the Castle, but none of the options proved feasible and all were very costly, said Leavenworth public affairs officer Janet Wray.
Those options included converting the structure to a conference center, records storage facility or urban training center.
Some of the other buildings within the 1877 prison complex will remain, including the distinctive rock walls and guard towers, according to Wray. The entire area is part of the Fort Leavenworth Historic Landmark district, she said.
The prisons inmate population was dispersed to other military facilities two years ago. The most serious offenders now are housed across post at the $69 million sate-of-the-art U.S. Disciplinary Barracks. That opened in 2002, and was accredited by the American Correctional Association in May 2003. The facility is located on a 51-acre plot of hills and woods that previously was the old prisons farm area.
With a population of more than 400, the USDB is the militarys largest prison. It houses murderers and other felons with sentences of seven or more years.
The general inmate population is housed in three cell complexes called bow ties, each consisting of two two-tier cellblocks, and a common area with chairs, televisions and pay phones.
Death-row inmates and maximum security prisoners are segregated form the rest of the inmate population.
If there was real justice, John Kerry would be serving a life sentence at Fort Leavenworth for giving aid and comfort to the enemy while an officer of the United States Navy.
I stopped by Ft. Leavenworth with my father a few years back. A very tasteful, historical base ... and the elegant old prison is part of it. I'm very sorry that it will be lost. It must be a Chick thing :-).
I would have to agree, I used to live just down the hill from the prison and it is a fixture on the post.
Dang, I was thinking of sending my ex-boyfriend there. Now it sounds too nice.
I visited Leavenworth some years back. This is a neat building. Some of the residential areas are pretty impressive.
Hell hath no fury...
Have we met?
I love those old, Midwestern bases and their officer housing. I've even cleaned a few :-). The Army didn't pay much, but they put a roof over your head!
You can spend ten years at Leavenworth, eleven years at Twelveworth, or five to ten years at Woolworth. (line (mangled) from a Marx Bros. movie).
Then you show very little gratitude for the dozen roses I sent you in apology. And don't give me that, "They looked like they were taken from a grave!" routine. I bought them fresh off that guy by the Interstate on-ramp.
Was that you? The card was mangled by a badger.
If I had a nickel for everytime I've heard that one...
Where on the grounds is the prison, near the river? Turning it into a museum would seem natural but I suppose being on a military reservation would make civilian access another headache.
As a young child my father was stationed at a base not from here, I recall a Sunday drive and we drove up to hystorical Leavenworth. As I saw the prison from a distance, I knew one thing for sure I would never EVER get in trouble. I thought the beds were size of the window. Way to small for this chick!
Nothing like a prison tour to put you off crime! I remember a visit to Yuma Territorial Prison in Arizona (my family would tourize *anything*!) Unbelievably miserable!
I actually agree with you. My beloved seems to think it was recently used in a Redford movie that was based at a prison. Don't know, but, it would have I think made it's keep by being a museum.
Access is currently a headache so an added one certainly would not have bugged me. There was very little in the KC and local news that it was to be no more. Oh well.
Thanks knarf for adding the photo. Sure does give this article another dimension.
Thanks for clearing that up - I googled it -- have never seen it so I couldn't tell if it was the wrong thing.
No problem, there are quite a few prisons around here, you have to live here awhile to get them all straight. Knarf has a good photo from the SW side.
Not to be too nostalgic but my Grandfather was a guard at Leavenworth during the Teddy Roosevelt era and is buried in the cemetery there when killed by a prisoner. I never new him but have pictures of him. I would like to visit his graveside someday.
Oh, wow ...
That picture is of the Federal Penitentiary at Leavenworth, not to be confused with the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth.
on further news, only part of the prison will be torn down. One small section of one wall will be left standing so that they can rebuild a new building but call it remodeling. This way they can get ten times the money for rebuilding it as if they were to just rebuild it.
A bit of American history meeting it's death.
There you go we now have a reason to stop tearing down the prison. I am sure we can find some prime realestate for Kerry!
Actually, the picture is of the Disciplinary Barracks, the Federal Pen is more of a Greek Revival architecture. Unfortunately, the building is structurally unsound and has been for years. Has to come down, or will fall down on its own. The new DB is about half the size (500 inmate capacity vice 1000) and will not be used to provide for incarceration for the length of the court martial sentence. When all military appeals are exhausted, you are remanded to the federal penal system, you get a short ride in a white van to the federal pen; and, you get to meet your new best friend: Bubba! Be nice to Bubba, he's very sensitive.
Now the prisoners live in a new campus style prison. They do not work anywhere on Post as they used to long ago.
The only time we see them, if they have a doctors appointment and have to be transported to Munsin. But, you cannot miss them, but, many who work at the hospital could do without their appointments.
Just curious if you know what was in post 22, I was trying to read through the web and got lost until I realized one was missing. Again if you are able to tell.
It is a nice cemetary. If you could provide a name I can see what I can find out.
Photo from 1918 postcard.
While my beloved would say I know everything, I do not. While on post today, I was speaking to a guard who brought a prisoner to be seen at Ft Leavenworth hosptial (Munson). We got to talking and he did say that the numbers have been reduced but that do have a few on death row.
Not to doubt your information and you are right the numbers have been reduced a great deal. While building the new facility they started transferring many of the prisoners.
You have Jeffery McDonald (green beret found guilty of murder) allowed to be moved to a prison closer to his current wife.
There is no doubt the building needed work, but, it is quite amazing. I might try and go tomorrow and take some photo's if they don't have a problem with it. I recall the barber shop at the entrance, little things like that.
Anyway, it appears we all have something to add to the discussion.
Someone posted a photo of the Federal pen, and had it removed after being corrected.
Here is a link that you might find helpful. Let me know if you need further help.
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