The Los Angeles Times / Creative Commons

There's a federal surveillance file from the early 20th century that refers to Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in Kansas during World War I as a "University of Radicalism."

"That's not hyperbole," said researcher Christina Heatherton of Trinity College in Connecticut during a conversation on Central Standard

Heatherton was writing a book on the Mexican Revolution.

In the early 20th century, new laws inspired by World War I ensnared revolutionary thinkers all over the country, and sent them all to the same place to do time: Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in Kansas. It turns out Leavenworth was a hotbed of radical training and thought. At the center of it all was Mexican revolutionary Ricardo Flores Magon.


  • Christina Heatherton, professor of American Studies, Trinity College
Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

If President Obama closes the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, the suspected terrorists who are housed there might be transferred to the military prison at Fort Leavenworth. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has spoken out against that idea. Thursday, he brought that message to Leavenworth and heard from the people who would be most directly affected: local residents.

A former overseer of Leavenworth’s wastewater treatment plant says solid waste was dumped by the truckload onto the ground behind the plant and eventually washed into the Missouri River.

The incendiary allegation was contained in a whistleblower lawsuit unsealed Monday. The suit was filed in federal court in October by Michele Coffman, a former assistant superintendent of the plant who resigned in October 2013.

Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever wanted to take a peek at the case files of mobsters, bootleggers or even murderers?

On Monday's Up to Date, we look into the historical underbelly of Leavenworth Penitentiary as we delve into its records with a local archivist.


Hallmark Cards, Inc. today announced the consolidation of its manufacturing operations in Kansas to two locations: Lawrence and Leavenworth.