A Tour of Infantry Barracks – Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

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.

IMG_5842

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.

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 9.09.12 PM

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).

FullSizeRender

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.

IMG_6322

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!

FullSizeRender 20

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).

FullSizeRender 21

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.
IMG_1730

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.

IMG_1731

View of the living room and dining room from the other side.

IMG_1716

Living room and sunroom while standing in the dining room.

IMG_1685

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.

IMG_1713

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.

IMG_1714

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.

IMG_1726

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.

IMG_1727

We did have to buy a microwave – they are not included in Infantry Barracks.

IMG_1710

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?

FullSizeRender 20

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.

IMG_1709

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!

IMG_1708

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.

IMG_1700

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.

Desktop301

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.

IMG_1688

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.

IMG_1691

The door leads to the bathroom pictured above and the office.

Desktop302

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!).

IMG_1664

Bedroom #3 and the largest of the four.

IMG_1660

Bedroom #4.

IMG_6309

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.

IMG_6761

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.

11535703_10153569047644663_4440097279574678873_n (1)

Our neighborhood was even featured in the Fort Leavenworth Lamp.

11143485_10101927626622848_2922684153856293772_n

You can see the old white wooden fire escapes…unsure of the date of this photo.

11745918_10101927626403288_3389889075867328596_n

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….

Advertisements

21 thoughts on “A Tour of Infantry Barracks – Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

  1. Our plan is to definitely live on post when we head to Leavenworth next year!! We have lived on post everywhere we have been except for Bliss and we always enjoy it.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing! This was a GREAT blog–and so funny too. It was nice to be able to see all of the pictures. You did a TERRIFIC job decorating too. One question–how did you hang curtains up?!

    1. Great question! We just nailed them with brads (super tiny nails) directly to the top of the moulding. I didn’t want to mess with anchoring rods on plaster walls!

      1. We did put rods up when we were in IB. It took my husband literally 90 minutes one day to hang curtains in our main living area and the kids rooms. No biggie!

      2. You had better luck than we did, Jill – plaster was flying everywhere when we attempted. Haha. I’ve seen some people attach the brackets directly to the moulding as well.

  3. I loved our old place in the Infantry Barracks. I do wish they painted the white walls an off-white, if anything just to accentuate the gorgeous molding. We had these cool french doors between our dining room and family room and they had the best molding around them that you couldn’t really see through all of the blinding white. I also loved the super high ceilings and HUGE windows/great light. It is an underrated place for sure IMO. (The only thing I didn’t love was the heat issues we had – there were a few VERY cold nights when we lived there because they heat was inadequate and not working).

    1. Thanks Victoria! I am actually a bit disappointed – I wish we had a more vibrant ghost. We’ve experienced a couple of weird things but nothing that points directly to GHOST.

  4. This is a great post! We’re PCSing there in a few months and there’s definitely something to be said for housing with character.

    1. Fort Leavenworth, Leavenworth, and Kansas City has a lot to offer….please don’t rule out historic housing! Keep an open mind and you will do just fine at Fort Leavenworth. Ha.

  5. You made really great use of your space, Karen. This is a great post. I know that many families will find it helpful.

    You certainly have an eye for decorating and furniture placement. I wish I had some of your talent — for any size space! 🙂

  6. Thanks for sharing your home, and encouraging others to be excited about coming to Ft. Leavenworth. As a teenager, my husband lived in Pope Doniphan, in the late 60’s – that what they called the area then and he has some fun stories to tell about that time. I grew up as a mil brat in the 70’s, in LV, but never lived on post. We still called the area Pope Doniphan. I now own a shop in downtown Leavenworth and several current customers, CGSC students, call it Infantry Barracks. I had to stop and think about it… Regardless of the name, the history of tenants, community, and military shine through.

    1. Such a great story – too funny about Pope Doniphan vs. Infantry Barracks. And I love your store and frequent it often. To all current and newcomer families to Leavenworth, be sure to check out The Pot Rack downtown. 🙂

  7. Your article is phenomenal!!! Thank you so much for writing it!!

    As incoming CGSC folks, we think we would love living in the Infantry Barracks! A couple of questions tho! Is the a/c already turned on now? I am very hot natured and kind of worried about how that works!

    Also, does the entire BAH go to housing for the Infantry Barracks? It’s only my husband and I and just curious about the BAH.

    THANKS AGAIN for this article!!!

    1. Thanks Chystie! The A/C is not turned on right now. However, it is still fairly cool in Kansas. On the ‘warmer’ days (70+ degrees), we just open the windows and let the Kansas breeze (errrr…wind) blow through the house. It should be turned on soon though!

      Our entire BAH does go to Infantry Barracks but we get $100 check each month as a ‘discount’ because we’re in the older housing. It covers most of our internet/cable bill (the only housing-related bill we have), so we can’t complain.

  8. We are in a hotel right now on the list and waiting for housing. My only worry with IB housing was the lack of outdoor space but you put that to rest. Thank you so much for posting!

Do you have something to say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s