This development project involves the long-term lease and historic renovation of sixteen historic buildings - eleven residential buildings, and five detached garage buildings - that have been a part of veteran services on the Leavenworth VA campus, and are part of a 38-building historic rehabilitation project known as Eisenhower Ridge. All sixteen structures were structurally sound, but were in need of significant rehabilitation, and have been converted into 45 affordable apartment units know as Eisenhower Ridge Apartments.
Through the renovation process, those who live in these apartments now can enjoy modern amenities in award-winning, wonderfully renovated, historic buildings plus access to lots of green space and paved walking paths; bike racks; picnic tables; space available for gardens; access to the internet; a library; community room; exercise equipment; plus storage in some of the other garage stalls.
These residential and garage buildings converted into apartments are on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the historic district named, "Western Branch, National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers." The District qualified for historic listing because of its architectural and historical significance, with additional emphasis on the District's landscape design.
The Leavenworth VA campus began construction in 1885, to serve disabled volunteer soldiers of the Civil War, west of the Mississippi River. By 1890, approximately 40 buildings were erected including barracks, mess hall and kitchen, staff housing, chapel, an administration and library building, hospital, amusement halls, quarters, shops, laundry, stable, greenhouses, agricultural buildings, and other facilities. In 1930, the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers was incorporated into the newly created Veterans Administration, and this property was designated a VA Medical Center. Since that change, medical programs predominated, rather than home programs.
In 1995, a new domiciliary building was built on the Leavenworth campus, and a majority of the old barracks, mess hall, and other supporting facilities were vacated. With the vacated buildings no longer used to support the medical center’s mission, they became available for adaptive reuse and redevelopment to serve new purposes.
THE NAME - EISENHOWER RIDGE
“Eisenhower Ridge” has been chosen as the name, to designate the dignity and character of this redevelopment. The Leavenworth VA campus is named the Dwight D. Eisenhower VA Medical Center. Known for his leadership and courage, serving as the commanding general of allied forces in World War II, and later as the 34th President of the United States, Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower is a native son of Kansas who has earned the respect of the world. We decided to combine the dignity of the Eisenhower name with the word “Ridge,” which describes some of the natural and historic character of this development. According to the documents successfully nominating this property for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, the original landscape architect focused the design on accentuating the ridge.