When we found out that my husband would be attending the resident Command and General Staff College (CGSC) at Fort Leavenworth, we knew that we would try and live on-post for the first time in his career. Fort Leavenworth, known as The Best Hometown in the Army, is a relatively small post and has one of the most beautiful historic main posts I’ve seen. The post itself is extremely walkable, bike-friendly, and as soon as we learned more about historic Infantry Barracks, we knew we belonged there rather than in one of the newer builder-grade homes on the other side of post.
Infantry Barracks consists of sixteen buildings, plus the former band house. Each building consists eight (8!) 2000+ square foot apartments (they’re really more of a flat, rather than a traditional US apartment). Each floor plan is slightly different and not one
apartment flat (it does sound more posh!) is the same, which I think just adds to the charm of the community. Built between 1902 and 1903, the buildings were converted to flats sometime before/during/after World War II.
There are some gorgeous pre-war features throughout the homes such as solid wood floors, 14-foot ceilings, crown-moulding, original light fixtures, original hardware, and gorgeous windows. Some downsides of living in such an old building include plaster walls (we need a wifi extender in order to outfit our entire place with the internet), finicky fixtures, and the occasional ghost (check out my post on Haunted Fort Leavenworth).
There are no thermostats – instead, there are units that are centrally switched over from heating to cooling on a date decided by a neighborhood vote. Every room has it’s own register that we control. Because of this, our power use is not monitored by housing so we don’t have to worry about paying for overage like some of the newer neighborhoods on post.
Last year, I found it frustrating that there weren’t many pictures of Infantry Barracks online so it was difficult to research the neighborhood from afar. Therefore, I am paying it forward and hopefully giving prospective CGSC families a peek inside Infantry Barracks…enjoy!
Despite the impression some people may have of Infantry Barracks, we do have a doorbell, a peephole, and a solid wood front door that is impossible to break through if you accidentally lock yourself out of your home (not that I speak from experience or anything).
I hope you like white walls because they will be featured extensively throughout this tour. Housing did inform us that we could paint the walls just as long as we paint the walls back to white upon the move-out inspection. But since by the time we leave we will have been here for the grand total of 11 months, we didn’t bother. The crown moulding and other details do help cut down on the starkness of the white though.
This is the living room as seen from the front door. As you see, the room is quite large and fits our sectional just fine (bonus points if you can spot our chocolate lab, Lucy, on the couch). On the far right is the sunroom, which we use as a playroom.
View of the living room and dining room from the other side.
Living room and sunroom while standing in the dining room.
The sunroom has such terrific light and is the perfect space for our playroom. From the windows, you see the playgrounds, baseball fields, and the golf course.
The dining room is huge (said in a Donald Trump voice) – just as big as our living room. We easily fit a harvest table, a buffet, a china cabinet, a piano, and a secretary in the room.
Another view of the dining room. The old radiators are purely decorative so you don’t have to worry about little ones burning themselves. The beige heating and cooling unit is to the left of the radiator – each room has one.
The kitchen is probably the most whomp whomp space in our place. But I can’t really complain because the space is very functional and has more cabinet space than our townhouse did in the Washington DC area.
We did have to buy a microwave – they are not included in Infantry Barracks.
View of the dining room again from the living room. The doorway on the right is the entrance to the kitchen and the doorway to the left is the entrance to the portion of the house with all of the bedrooms and bathrooms. So you can close off each side of the home from one another….it’s great for keeping your guests from using the bathrooms. I usually just direct them to neighbors when they need to go. Joking, of course. Or am I?
Yes, the hallway is extremely long. And yes, we have used it as a bowling alley once or twice (sorry downstairs neighbors!). The hallway is lined with closets. Regular closets, walk-in closets, laundry-room closets…it is pretty much a closet emporium in our hallway. I love it.
The laundry closet is nothing special but it gets the job done. The accordion bamboo doors aren’t my favorite but they are in great condition and work perfectly so I couldn’t justify taking them down and replacing them with something else. Again, we will have had only lived here for 11-months so accordion bamboo doors it is!
And look! The space in-between the washer and dryer is perfect for sitting with a glass of wine and hiding from your kids. Just kidding – that is what the fire escape is for.
Our place has four bedrooms. Four legit bedrooms. Since we only have two kids and having a room designated as a guest room seemed unnecessary (because – Kansas), we turned it into an office. It is bigger than shown here but since we’re in PCS-mode, the other half of the room is our staging area for the madness that will soon invade our very beings. I’m standing in the doorway to the room from the hallway and the door to the left leads to a little portico (how fancy!) that leads to a bathroom and the room we use as the master bedroom.
I’m not going to lie – the bathrooms are small. If you are one of those people who needs a double sink in order to face the day or the type who would say while appearing on House Hunters “I will literally die if I have to use this as my master bathroom because ew – I am not sharing a sink with the person who lives with me”, then you’re probably not going to like it. You are warned. But it works for us. Could it be bigger? Sure. Could the Electoral College use a massive overhaul? Yes.
I feel like this is the part on MTV Cribs where I would say something about the magic happening here. Speaking of which – my favorite MTV Cribs episode was the one with Redman (I think it may be everyone’s favorite) because he kept it real and forwent excess. Anyways, this room is large and easily fits our bedroom suite.
The door leads to the bathroom pictured above and the office.
The second bathroom. If you thought that it couldn’t possibly get worse than the first bathroom I shared, you’re in for a treat. This bathroom is even smaller and in worse condition. So we made it the kid’s bathroom (W & V – Mommy and Daddy really do love you, I promise!).
Bedroom #3 and the largest of the four.
View from our back door. Each home has a fire escape but only about a third of the homes have porches. From my understanding, the porch homes have three bedrooms plus a small butler’s room that could work as a bedroom, if needed. Everybody has a storage unit in the basement (we have a couch, coffee table, kitchen table, lawn mower, treadmill, and all of our garage boxes down there so our storage unit has a lot of room) plus a lot of common space that can be used for storage. Each home has a carport as well. We use ours to store our bikes, jogging stroller, etc…and only put our car in carport if hail is forecasted.
We do not regret choosing to live in Infantry Barracks for our year at Fort Leavenworth. Sure – the buildings are a bit quirky and we have to call maintenance every so often but the neighborhood is wonderful. When the weather is nice, children and parents alike are outside enjoying each other. My husband is able to walk or bike to the schoolhouse so we’ve used this year to go down to one car, which has been amazing. We do not have our own yards but there is so much common green space and access to playgrounds that we don’t miss our own yard too much. We have a dog and it hasn’t been a hassle to walk her down the stairs to go to outside when needed. Would I want to live in Infantry Barracks for three-to-four years? Probably not. But it has been perfect for CGSC and the quintessential Army experience. CGSC has the reputation of being ‘college with kids’ and Infantry Barracks certainly aids in the feeling.
Our neighborhood was even featured in the Fort Leavenworth Lamp.
You can see the old white wooden fire escapes…unsure of the date of this photo.
Fort Leavenworth is the oldest active military installation outside of Washington DC and is filled to the brim with both political and military history alike. So it just felt right to live in the historic CGSC-student housing. So many of the military’s leaders passed through this post and Infantry Barracks hosted many of them. It’s pretty cool to think about who may have lived in our home before us…we like to tell our son that Dwight D. Eisenhower may have walked our hall (he is currently obsessed with US Presidents).
Infantry Barracks isn’t for everyone but if you’re on the fence about whether or not to live here for the year, I say go for it. Life is an adventure and when else are you going to get the chance to live in historic government quarters with pre-war fixtures and ghosts?
Other blog posts about Fort Leavenworth….