Monthly Archives: June 2014

Victorian Herb Garden Vic Herb Garden Herb & heirloom garden

Victorian Rose, Herb & Heirloom Gardens at the Carroll Mansion Museum


Many local residents have probably toured the Carroll Mansion Museum at 1128 Fifth Avenue and taken a step back in time to the Victorian era of Leavenworth. But, how many have thought to walk about the spacious lawn of this historic property and discover another treasure lovingly cared for on the grounds?                                                                           

Tucked back in the northwest corner of the museum grounds, the inquisitive visitor will be rewarded with the delightful sight of the Herb & Heirloom Gardens, constructed by the Leavenworth County Master Gardeners. Planned in 1997, the gardens were completed in 2008 and received the 2009 “Search for Excellence” state award from the Kansas State University Research and Extension office.

Featuring kitchen herbs as well as heirloom flowers and vegetables, the garden resembles the spokes of a wagon wheel, reminiscent of the wagons that once rolled through Leavenworth on their way westward. Paths here are then outlined with 4,436 bricks recycled from the streets of Leavenworth. Specialty gardens within the spaces between the wheel spokes contain kitchen, cottage, salad, fragrance, tea, medicinal, butterfly, shade and heirloom plant varieties. Placed strategically throughout the garden are horticultural vignettes utilizing statues, garden art, arbors, benches, a water fountain, and an espalier apple tree.

The Ella Carroll Memorial Rose Garden is also tended by the Master Gardeners. Located in the oval center of the circular brick driveway on the south side of the museum beside the peony garden, memorial rose bushes can be purchased in the memory of a loved one.

Master gardeners have devoted countless hours in nurturing these lovely gardens. This past weekend they opened the gardens for viewing but due to the downpour Saturday morning, not many ventured out to take advantage of their guided tour and plant sale. Before the heat of the summer takes its toll, why not take a little time out from your busy day and drop by to see for yourself. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm for tours and the gardens are free for viewing. Come sit on one of the benches and revel in the magnificence of these Victorian gardens!


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June 8, 2014 · 8:57 pm

History Mystery Solved!

history mystery003On the evening of May 19, 1960, a tornado leveled the home of George & Gladys Stein of rural Leavenworth, leaving the couple without their home furnishings including a collection of family photos. George was the caretaker of the Mt. Zion Jewish Cemetery for 48 years, taking up the work from his father, Otto Stein, a son of German immigrant pioneers of Leavenworth County. Use of the home and adjoining 40 acres of land was essentially his payment. Stein had also been clerk of Kickapoo Township, held office as road overseer, was appointed a special deputy sheriff for Kickapoo as well as being named game warden.  He had married Gladys, a daughter of Agnes Bonskowski Cook Stanley (1892-1965) in 1930.

The Steins were the parents of five children. A son, Joseph Charles Stein and his wife Sharon, currently reside in rurual Leavenworth County. Both are now retired after being employed at Fort Leavenworth and are faithful readers of the Leavenworth Times. When Joseph finishes reading the paper, he passes it to Sharon. So, imagine Sharon’s surprise when she recognized a “History Mystery” photo, submitted by the Leavenworth County Historical Society, to be her husband’s grandparents, exclaiming to Joe: “Here’s a picture of NaNa and Punsa!” Joe had not recognized the couple pictured as Agnes M. Bonskowski and Joseph Charles Stanley, his namesake, but Sharon remembered the flower on the dress of Agnes from another photo she had seen in an album of photos gathered by family members following the 1960 tornado. Sharon called Joe’s only living sibling, Florence Rodgers, also a Times subscriber, who resides on the Stein Family Farm, and she readily agreed. The photo had been taken on the wedding day of Agnes to Joseph Charles Stanley, a Sergeant in the U.S. Army at Fort Leavenworth, on January 29, 1928.

As fate would have it however, another Times subscriber, Robert Holt, now a resident of Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada, thought he recognized his great-grandmother in the “History Mystery” photo and contacted the museum. Robert’s mother, Agnes Marie “Sissy” Stein Holt (1938-1990), was a daughter of George & Gladys Stein, and therefore a granddaughter of Agnes Bonskowsky Stanley, her namesake. Yet another interesting connection is that Robert Holt was the administrator for the Carroll Mansion Museum, home of the historical society, for ten years in the 1990s and was instrumental in obtaining the Everhard Glass Plate Negative Collection for the museum. The collection is comprised of nearly 30,000 portraits, taken by early day photographers of residents in the first 100 years of Leavenworth’s existence.

With the solving of this particular “History Mystery”, a little piece of Leavenworth history has been saved for not only future generations of historians and researchers but also for a Leavenworth County pioneer family.   Watch the Times for more “History Mystery” photos that remain unidentified in the photo collections of the Leavenworth County Historical Society at the Carroll Mansion Museum, 1128 Fifth Ave. The Society celebrates its 60th year of service in the discovery and preservation of the rich history we enjoy here in Leavenworth County. For more information, contact the museum at 682-7759, email: or visit their website:

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