Downtown Historic District | Leavenworth, Kansas (2024)


Leavenworth's 45-block downtown was planned in 1854 and in its first two decades commerce boomed.Most of the City's early stores were built in "blocks" with multiple storefronts and common upper areas.Many of these magnificent structures are gone and some that remain are the lower floors left after fire, tornado and neglect took their toll on their upper levels.Infill is evident nearly everywhere and pavement replaced buildings as the demand for off street parking grew, especially after World War II.

Examples of block-style development are still evident today are the O'Donnell Block at 100 S. 5th Street, the Masonic Temple at 421 Delaware, the Yum block at 311-321 S. 5th Street and the intact block of commercial stores in the 600 block of Cherokee Street.

There are 65 contributing properties in the district, mostly constructed of red brick with cast iron and terra cotta trim features. Their architecture is described as "high style" with Colonial and Classical revival variations reflective of their era. Two were previously placed on the National Register of Historic Places (429 and 500 Delaware Street).

Knights of Columbus Block, 331 Delaware Street,c. 1882; c. 1945

This three-story building has a corner entrance that is canted at both stories. The façade of this late 19th Century building was significantly altered in the 20th Century. Divisions are created through the use of brick stringcourses and by alternating different colors of brick and large, cast stone tiles. Commercial storefronts occupy the first story and are divided into three bays on the Delaware Street façade. The c.1945 alterations have achieved their own significance as a historic alteration and maintained the size, scale and mass of the original building.

330 Delaware Street,1910
This two-story building is a streamlined adaptation of the Neoclassical Revival style, one bay wide and 12 bays long. Round inner columns and square outer corner columns flank each window and support a simple frieze and cornice. The building terminates without ornamentation. The west façade of the building has 12 bays separated by simple pilasters that support a frieze and cornice. Much of the building’s original fabric is intact and in place and retains a high degree of integrity. An original third story was removed after being damaged by a tornado.

406 Shawnee Street,c. 1865

The first story of this redbrick structure has four bays and an end (west) bay entrance to the second story.Display windows flank a recessed entrance.All of the original storefront treatments are intact, including the cast-iron bulkheads, transoms, and window enclosures.The second story has three bays. Above the second-story windows and at the roofline, narrow, brick stringcourses project slightly from the building.This building retains a very high degree of integrity, having retained the often-compromised elements of the historic storefronts downtown.In 2003, a mural of early Leavenworth and native son Buffalo Bill Cody was painted on the west elevation.

100 N. Fifth St.,1924

Leavenworth’s City Hall is a detached, two-story, light gray terra cotta building on a landscaped area on the west half of Block 50.Feth & Feth, local architects designed this and many other city halls, courthouses and schools in the greater Kansas City area. This building is an excellent example of the Classical Revival architectural style favored by private and public institutions during the early 20th Century. A classical entablature wraps around the building. Over the entrances and above the entablature are parapets clad in terra cotta. The spandrels on both elevations have classical garlands in low relief.In 2004, all covered windows were reopened and an interior light court was reopened as a significant architectural feature.Although the original light court was open to the sky, the new atrium is roofed, with skylights.The exterior of the building was restored to its 1924 historic character.

O'Donnell Block, 100-108 S. Fifth Street and 501-505 Shawnee,1905 (with parts dating to 1854)

This two-story brick building had deteriorated during the 1970s through the 1990s and was scheduled for demolition.Mike and David Greenamyre accepted the conversion challenge and the project served as an early example of a mixed use (commercial-residential) success. During the interior tear out process, it was apparent that most of the foundation was original to a building built at this location in 1854, making at least a part of this building one of the earliest in town. The east elevation has five separate storefronts that feature full arches that span the width of the paired windows and rise to the roofline. Within the arches is a terra cotta sunburst. Common elements in all of the sections is the use of stone beltcourses to visually separate the first and second stories, as well as above the second-story windows, and as a part of the cornice configuration.Brickwork, laid in a textured pattern, defines the entablature and projecting cornice of the different building segments. Other common stylistic elements are cornice window heads, architrave window frames and stone sills supported by brick corbels.

This highly ornamented two-part commercial block retains a high degree of integrity of location and setting. The building retains all of its original exterior building materials. With a few minor exceptions, its original design, including its size, scale, massing, character-defining elements and ornamentation are retained without loss, alteration or additions. The covered transoms and bricked-up entrances are easily reversible and it remains an excellent example of a variation of popular early 20th Century revival designs for commercial buildings.

500 Shawnee,c. 1858

This former saloon survives from Leavenworth’s early heyday and retains its historic features including a diagonal corner entry.The Fifth Street elevation has a continuous row of symmetrically placed, brick, arched openings on the first and second stories that incorporate windows and entrances. The original storefront elements on Shawnee Street (bulkhead, openings, transoms, and cast iron elements) are intact. Even the rebuilt chimneys retain their original configuration.

510 Shawnee,1942

This is one of two surviving “Nu Way” drive-ins from the regional chain that dotted the south central states.It is significant for its autocentric design as well as reflecting the evolution of commercial dining facilities in the District from saloon to restaurant/café to drive-in. The secondary façades have several openings of different sizes cut into them to accommodate a drive-through window and secondary entrances.

516-518 Shawnee,1908

This two-story, red brick building has four bays.The first-story storefront is a modern alteration that retains the original configuration of entrances flanking two display windows. Wrought iron balconets span the width of the upper floor windows. It houses the Chamber of Commerce and several shops, offices and residences.

Davis Funeral Chapel, 531 Shawnee,1867, 1930

Mediterranean Revival influences of the early 20th Century dominate this Carrara glass-front building. Flanking the two slightly recessed arched entrances are rectangular casem*nt windows. Wrought iron fretwork decorates panels below these windows. The Sixth Street side features a classical door surround incorporating cast iron panels coupled with slightly recessed fluted columns resting on piers. Above the lintel is an elliptical arch with supporting brackets. The later application of Carrara glass panels has achieved significance as a historic alteration.The modern windows are reversible and do not detract from the building's importance.

600 Shawnee,1922

"Imac" as it is known locally, was onceas a college-preparatory school in an effort to attract students from Leavenworth's government and military employment centers.The structure references Art Deco motifs and geometric terra cotta ornamentation creates “cuts” in the parapet walls for more definition.Upgrades have not spoiled the building's high degree of original materials and architectural elements. In 2020-2021, the building was refurbished into high-end "Leavenworth Local" boutique hotel.

601 Shawnee,c. 1864

Although this is a simple two-story stucco building with significant alteration, it retains its original size, scale, massing, fenestration, setting and location.The storefront retains its original configuration, the original window and transom openings are intact. It still communicates the commercial association it had with its period of construction.

607 Shawnee,c. 1883

This small, one-story structure is recessed from the sidewalk.The central entrance bay has a gable roof with cross bracing.The façade contains a central entrance flanked by projecting, three-sided bay windows applied to a brick building face. A copper hip roof caps the bays and the transom and the sidelights have polygonal lead windows.

This building retains many of its architectural elements dating to the 1880s.An 1883 Sandborn map indicates that the building footprint has been retained, complete with the bay windows. Historic maps indicate a residence at this location prior to 1883.It is a unique component of the District and shows the admixture of land uses common to 19th Century development.Early photographs of Leavenworth show small wood frame houses randomly located throughout the 45 downtown blocks.

601 Delaware,1904

This symmetrical, two-story, tan-brick building has corner pilasters with stone capitals and bases that visually support an oversized entablature, cornice, and a stone-edged parapet.The entrance has flat fluted pilasters supporting a classical entablature. A wide entablature and a projecting cornice wrap around the building.Above this, a brick parapet with projecting, square, brick piers is directly above the pilasters.The building was the original sales office for the Lambert Lumber Company.

529 Delaware,1906

This corner building is a two-story structure with a brick and limestone façade that features symmetrical massing and classical ornamentation. The end bays of the primary façade are composed of red brick flanked by stone quoins.The first-story windows have stone lintels with keystones. The central portion of the building has smooth limestone facing.

The building was built for the People’s Telephone Company, was converted to an outpatient hospital in the 1970s.

Wards Building, 528 Delaware,1908

This is the only remaining six-story commercial building in the downtown. There is a three-bay front (south) elevation and a nine-bay side (west) each separated by brick pilasters that terminate midway at the sixth story with geometric, stone capitals. It was built for a tin or steel fabricator and warehouse, and was converted to the Montgomery Ward Department store, which only used the basem*nt and the first three floors from the 1940s through 1971, when it moved to the Plaza Shopping Center. In the intervening years, it has been a furniture, antique and collectibles shop.

527 Delaware,c. 1915

Although infill covers the original first-story storefront, the original second-and-third-story windows continue to be important character-defining elements of the building and its mass and style contribute greatly to the district.

520-522 Delaware,1903

Ornamented cast iron brackets highlight this Colonial Revival structure.Other stylistic elements include three molded, semi-circular, brick arches with keystones, roundels centered within each arch under a shed roof supported by paired, ornamented cast iron brackets. second-story casem*nt windows. These details, combined with the Colonial Revival motif, reflect an eclectic assembly of features that are each historic to their construction era. The building has been used as a bank, a credit bureau and for associated offices.

521 & 523 Delaware,c. 1905

These buildings contribute because of their mass, but otherwise have almost no ornamentation. The oversized windows rise into an area that normally would incorporate a third story.The treatment of the second story is consistent with its former use as a meeting hall.The window openings, transoms and casem*nts are intact under the metal sheathing and are therefore reversible.

512-514 Delaware,c. 1890

As with 521-23 Delaware, these storefronts offer little architectural appeal, but they retain their original window, door and transom configuration and contribute to the district by their mass.

513 Delaware,1899

Despite storefront and window insert alterations, this building retains much of its original building material, ornamentation and Classical Revival stylistic idioms.It conveys clear associations with its period of construction and with its original commercial and organizational use.It retains all of the window openings, stringcourses, attached columns and cornice – all of which are dominant design features. The transom window appears to be intact under paneling.The inappropriate infill can be easily reversed without damaging the building’s original materials.

510 Delaware,c. 1890

This two-story, brick building has an ornate corbelled brick cornice with two rounded openings surrounded by brick voussoirs and projecting pilasters resting on rounded stone bases.The first story of the building incorporates two storefronts, both of which reflect sensitive alterations and retain their original configuration.

509 Delaware,1890

This two-story, painted brick building exhibits Italianate features commonly found in commercial buildings of the late nineteenth Century.Those defining elements include the extruded and bracketed cornice, exaggerated bracketed window hoods, and the symmetrical arrangement of the fenestration. Doors providing access to the second story are on either side of the double storefront, in the end bays.The rectangular windows have stone sills and window hoods with exaggerated, stylized brackets. Despite the alteration to the storefront and the exterior paint, this building retains its original storefront material and character-defining architectural elements.

505-507 Delaware,1922

This painted brick building maintains its historic integrity through the retention of the original configuration of its storefronts, the dominant, second-story window treatment, the upper façade’s original brickwork, stringcourses, and the elaborate cornice.

504-506 Delaware,1883

This building's roofline is dominated by a heavy, elaborately decorated entablature and cornice. The cornice design employs a central gable front dormer for each storefront section, flanked by a projecting cornice supported by scroll brackets. This building retains a sizable portion of its original ornamentation, fenestration, materials and design.

501-503 Delaware,1938

Several geometric forms provide the design motif of this structure. Original elements include a recessed corner entry and continuous display windows. The most distinguishing characteristic is the 1938, Art Deco red Carrara glass panels aside a one-story bay that services the upstairs offices. This building is representative of streamlined 20th Century designs of the 1920s and 1930s.

Hollywood Theater, 500 Delaware,1937
National Register Property 1989

This two-and-one-half-story, concrete building represents the Art Deco architectural style of the 1920s-1930s. The central vertical definition on the building’s symmetrical south elevation emphasizes the marquee-entry area. The marquee shelters two recessed entries and the ticket booth. The City Seal was painted in the recessed circle which was originally painted pink and green. Small shop areas on either side have recessed entries and display windows. This is used as the city’s Performing Arts Center and is one of a handful of art deco theaters left in the state. It was placed on the Kansas Register of Historic Places in 1985 and had to wait two years before it was qualified for submission to the National Register. This is one of only two buildings downtown that were on the National Register prior to submission of the district.

Yum Block, 213-223 S. Fifth Street,c. 1880

The building's primary façade faces west and contains five storefronts. It had been covered with tin siding for over 30 years.In 2001, pieces of the metal exterior siding tore off the building creating a public safety hazard.The property owners initially sought to replace the metal with a seamless aluminum siding, but the local landmarks board successfully negotiated a tuckpoint and painting alternative, which the owners accepted…and saved almost $50,000 in cost differential when local tax incentives and grants were factored into the price. The building contributes to the district more so because of its mass than its detail.

429 Delaware,1905
National Register Property 1976

This two-and-one-half-story, symmetrically massed, red-and-tan brick building has an eclectic combination of stylistic ornamentation. Classical terra-cotta ornamentation decorates the wide arch surrounding the main west side entrance. Upper elevation windows are slanted bays with bracketed, arched hoods, or are rectangular openings with contrast brick surrounds and cornices with elaborate keystones.Contrasting brick also creates quoins on all of the building’s corners. The upper half story forms an entablature punctuated by regularly spaced windows between paired scroll brackets that support a molded cornice.Dentils follow the upper line of the entablature.

430 Delaware,1921

This two-story, temple front, gray Indiana limestone Neo-Classical building features two story corner piers with classical detailing and columns with Corinthian capitals and low, square plinths support a wide entablature and pediment.The design of the pediment incorporates dentils.Wrought iron fencing inhibits passage to the centralized entry.

427 Delaware,c. 1905

This two-story, symmetrical, dark-red brick building is an example of early 20th Century Revival and Colonial Revival design idioms.On the classically designed upper façade, brick piers frame a single bay and extend above the parapet to form posts for a wrought iron balustrade. A wide entablature and decorative cornice complete the elevation’s design. Despite modern renovation, the building's mass is important to the district.

421-423 Delaware,1914

This three-story, symmetrical brick building has classical terra-cotta ornamentation.The storefront housed F.W. Woolworth Co. and features a recessed entry with classical ornamented surrounds.The Masonic Block includes another a small shop with a recessed entry.Brick pillars separate the upper story bays. The brick pillars and the spandrels below the windows have terra-cotta tiles. A dentil course, brackets, an elaborate molded cornice and ornamented parapet cap the building. This property has retained its architectural elements representative of period style with a high degree of integrity.

416 Delaware,1865

This two-story, brick building is one of the original downtown buildings. Despite a current lack of maintenance, the building maintains a high degree of historic and architectural integrity.

415 Delaware,1870

This three-story, three-bay, symmetrical-painted brick building exhibits Italianate ornamentation above its remodeled storefront.A 1930 alteration changed the original storefront configuration to a deeply recessed entry flanked by display windows.A temporary panel runs above the storefront openings to the sills of the second-story windows covering the transom area.The third story windows have a full arch and the arched window hoods have keystones.The building terminates with a paneled entablature, elaborate brackets, corbelling, and a projecting molded cornice.With the exception of some minor storefront alterations, the building retains a high degree of integrity.

414 Delaware,c. 1940

This two-story, buff-brick building contains a grouping of four, tall, aluminum, stacked vent awning windows. The first story is comprised of storefront windows.The west section retains its original, curved glass recessed storefront surrounded by Carrara glass.

409-413 Delaware,c. 1900

This three-story building lost its original cast-iron window hoods; a recent restoration replicated them in paint. The two-over-two light, double-hung sash windows are original. Applied brick pilasters rise past the cornice to a finial. Signage panels cover the original transom windows.The modern storefronts retain the original cast iron posts.This building compliments the Masonic block.

412 & 408 Delaware,c. 1910

These two-story, buff-brick buildings have been modernized with wood panels over the original transoms and aluminum and glass storefronts and canopy style awnings. The retained, original architectural elements are sufficient to communicate the building’s original design, feelings and associations despite the 1980s renovations. Twenty years from now, they might qualify as historic to their era, but the modernization efforts are reversible.

400-402 Delaware,1860, 1905

This two-story building is one of the downtown’s original grand commercial properties and once housed Russell, Majors and Waddell, outfitters that later became the postal contractor that created the Pony Express (albeit in St. Joseph, Missouri). Prior to its use as a title company, it was the Manufacturers State Bank. The primary façade (south) ground floor has two entrances. The eastern entrance contains a 1905 Colonial Revival style entry. The eastern entry is a modern storefront. The fenestration and ornamentation on the east elevation (Fourth Street) is similar to that of the south elevation. The early 20th Century remodeled (eastern) storefront represents a historical “modernization” characteristic of retail commercial centers at the turn-of-the-century.Despite the replacement of some of the window sashes, this building retains a high degree of architectural integrity.

600 Block, Cherokee
The 600 Block of Cherokee Street was included in this district because the center structures (604-612) are an intact 1880s block of buildings.The carnival style, Spanish Colonial gas station on the west end of the block is a 1930s infill, a style that is vanishing from the country’s landscape.Although this was probably not the first gas station built to serve the new motorist, it is the oldest remaining such structure from that early era.

604-606 Cherokee

This two-story, symmetrically massed, brick commercial block has elaborate Italianate ornamentation and multiple storefront bays. Huge brackets support the cornice and hood. All of the important character-defining architectural features and ornamentation remain. Originally constructed as the Cleverdon Drug Company, the building has also housed the BPOEOW, known locally as the Black Elks, before its conversion to a restaurant in the early 1990s.

610-614 Cherokee,1890
The size, scale, massing, much of the original matter, setting and association with their era help these two buildings contribute to the district.

630 Cherokee,1934
This one-story, asymmetrically massed, brick curved “L” plan building is on a corner lot at 7th and Cherokee Streets. It is one of the few surviving examples of the "carnival" style of early auto-service stations. Terra-cotta pilasters topped with urn-shaped ornamentation separate the three service bays. The south end wall has arched, recessed garage door entrances with overhead, incised lettering detailing the gas station services offered. This property has had no exterior alterations over time.

700 Cherokee,1865

Originally built as a grocery store, this three-story brick building was also the Burlington Hotel and it recently reopened as the Market Place Bakery.It is one of a handful of three-story buildings remaining in the Central Business District, and it is one of the original downtown buildings, but it was built for function, not form.

702 Cherokee,1875

This two-story, red-brick building reflects popular late 19th Century commercial design idioms. A wood-frame storefront within the façade’s brick framework also features iron storefront posts. On the second story, slightly arched, four-over-four light, double-hung sash windows have stone sills and soldier course brick “hoods”. Brick stringcourses and dentils decorate the parapet wall. This building retains sufficient integrity to be a contributing resource to the District. It houses a European pottery store.

704 Cherokee,1897

This two-story, brick commercial building features Jacobethan Revival style details – steeply pitched parapet-front gables; polychrome coat of arms ornamentation in the gables flanked by vertical pilasters, cast stone trim, and tall, narrow, paired windows. Suspended brick pilasters pierce a stone cornice and terminate just below the roofline with small stone pediments. Centered above each paired window opening are two gable dormers that project above the roofline. A stone cornice with a dentil course defines the roofline.

This building retains a high degree of integrity. It was originally Ressmeyer’s Grocery and later part of Kaaz Construction Co.

Downtown Historic District | Leavenworth, Kansas (2024)
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