• Little houses moved from original locations

  • Main Post is the site of quarters, academic buildings and support structures, mostly made of brick.

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  • Quentin Schillare | Special to the Fort Leavenworth Lamp
    Fort Leavenworth’s Main Post is the site of quarters, academic buildings and support structures, mostly made of brick. However, spend a little time wandering around post and you will see a few smaller structures, mostly of wood or stuccoed brick that are the survivors of older post housing before the extensive construction projects of the first two decades of the 20th century.
    A review of the post directories of the late 19th and early 20th centuries reveals scores of residential structures on Kearny and Gibbon Avenues, Arsenal Hill, Arsenal Hill Road (where Bell Hall once stood) and in Bluntville. Each building was a wooden frame cottage-like dwelling, designed for one or two families. Most were demolished or moved to new locations when the brick duplexes in the old “college” area around the Building 52 complex — currently the Combined Arms Center Headquarters — and the barracks along Pope-Doniphan and Kearny Avenues were constructed. A post map of 1909 shows about 40 cottages, and a more detailed map of the post in 1937 shows 50, most in the Bluntville area on the ridgeline north of the old U.S. Disciplinary Barracks.
    Most of these cottages were designated for occupancy by noncommissioned officers or civilians with enough status to rate a separate residence on the installation and not be compelled to live in a barracks or off post. Civilians who lived on post held positions that either required them to be close to their work (plumber, electrician or fireman) or important enough to rate an on-post house (e.g., bandmaster or USDB chief clerk). Most of the surviving cottages are on Riverside Avenue. There are a few surviving examples of the frame and brick cottages elsewhere around main post.
    Building 10 on Gibbon Avenue is a wood clapboard single-family cottage built in 1897 to house an officer and his family. It appears as Building 10 on a 1909 map of post east of the then-General Service Schools complex of Sheridan, Grant and Sherman halls. It must have been considered too close to Wagner Hall, completed in 1916, so Building 10 was taken apart and moved to Gibbon Avenue and reassembled where it sits today.
    A notation on the now retired Quartermaster Corps Form 117, Real Property Record, for Building 10 states, “May 13, 1915: to be torn down and rebuilt on another site indicated on map of post herewith. To be used thereafter as noncommissioned officers quarters.” A photo of Building 10 in its former location in the collection of the Frontier Army Museum shows that when it was disassembled and moved it was rebuilt in a different — and much simpler — architectural style. The former structure was used as a source of materials, not the basis for an exact reconstruction. Today, Building 10 provides office space.
    Building 60 on McPherson Avenue is a wood clapboard duplex originally erected in 1887 on the corner of Thomas and Custer Avenues. In 1909 it was disassembled and replaced in 1910 by building 311, a brick duplex for two Hospital Corps sergeants and their families. The QMC Form117 states, “April 30, 1909: Removed to present site at a cost of $300.” It was laterreassembled at its present location on McPherson Avenue near the Military Police station.
    Page 2 of 2 - It is one of the few remaining buildings on post identified in engineer records as being constructed just for civilian employees and their families. Occupants have varied over the years including noncommissioned officers, Army civilians (mostly employed by the nearby post engineers), and band members. In the 1950s, one apartment was occupied by post Fire Chief Joseph T. Bowen, the namesake of the Fort Leavenworth fire headquarters. Today the building is used as office space.
    It is not a little house, but Building 357, the large duplex family quarters shared by the USDB commandant and command sergeant major, also was moved — sort of. It was constructed in 1840 as part of the post quartermaster depot. Since 1874 it has been associated with the USDB.
    According to Peter Grande, the Military Correctional Complex chief of staff, the house actually sat astride the USDB’s east wall when the wall was constructed to secure the military prison compound with part of the building inside the walls to facilitate access by staff and inmates visiting the office space. Sometime later, upon reflection, the military prison administration decided to dismantle that part of the house inside the walls and rebuild it on the east side of the building outside the walls.
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