Awards of Excellence:
Leavenworth Union Depot

Year(s) Listed:
Location Class:
Built: 1888 | Year Saved: 2015
Historic Designation: National Register of Historic Places (1982) Register of Historic Kansas Places
Contributor: Kansas Preservation Alliance

Beginning life in 1888 as the Leavenworth Union Depot, the Riverfront Community Center features Richardsonian Romanesque design elements, which would become popular for important buildings throughout the decade. The Union Pacific, Rock Island, Santa Fe, Missouri Pacific, Leavenworth Northern & Southern, and Leavenworth & Olathe railroads all held an interest in the depot, making it the transportation hub for the City of Leavenworth and Ft. Leavenworth for many years. With the decline in rail travel, passenger operations to Leavenworth ceased in 1963 and the depot was sold into private ownership. In 1982, it was listed on the State and National registers, and was shortly after purchased by the city and rehabilitated into the Riverfront Community Center, providing meeting & event space as well as recreation facilities for the city. Over the years the masonry on the exterior of the building had fallen into disrepair, and after the chimney was reconstructed following a car crash in 2008, a closer look was taken at necessary repairs in 2011. All 550 exterior stones were documented and assessed, leading to the conclusion that the locally quarried sandstone was heavily deteriorated, causing deterioration in the surrounding brick. The restoration project was begun in 2014 and continued through 2015. The faces of all quoin, rake, window and arch stones were replaced, and the second floor of the façade above the main entrance arch was deconstructed and rebuilt. The stone ornamental carvings that were missing were recreated, referencing the assessment work and the historic photographs available. To date, 376 of the 563 stones have been restored, accounting for the worst of the deterioration and assuring the building will continue to serve Leavenworth’s citizens for years to come.

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