The Planters Hotel
The Planters Hotel was an inn that opened for business in the December of 1856. When it opened, the Planters Hotel was a fine 4 story brick building consisting of 100 rooms. The hotel became a rather famous spot during the build up to the American Civil War, hosting members of both pro and anti slavery forces. The hotel even hosted President Abraham Lincoln, who also gave a speech on the steps of the hotel. The Planters Hotel enjoyed its status as a historical landmark until being declared unfit for occupancy in the 1950s, and the hotel was subsequently torn down. Although the building itself no longer stand, the history can still be felt to this day
Backstory and Context
The hotel's most guest however would be future US President Abraham Lincoln, who visited the Planters Hotel after his famous debates with Stephen Douglas, and during his campaign for the Republican Party's bid for the upcoming presidential election. Lincoln stayed in the Planters Hotel during his tour and after seeing the violence caused by the fighting during "Bloody Kansas", he decided to make an impromptu speech on the steps of the hotel on December 5th 1859. During his speech, Lincoln urged the people of Leavenworth if not the people of Kansas in general to not use violence, instead using the ballot box to voice their opinions on whether or not slavery should be in Kansas.
The hotel also came into discussion when a black man named Charles Fisher, who was working for the hotel as a barber at the time, was kidnapped under the pretenses that Fisher was a fugitive slave, or that he was in violation of the Fugitive Slave Act by sheltering escaped slaves. After being arrested at gunpoint, Fisher was taken by his kidnappers into the slave state Missouri, but he quickly escaped and made his way back to Leavenworth. Fisher's kidnappers were soon arrested themselves and brought to trial, where Fisher was subpoenaed as a material witness despite the prohibitions of a black man testifying against white people in court.
The Planters Hotel was torn down in the 1950s after the building caught fire, and while the site is now home to an empty lot today, the city of Leavenworth has lain a historical marker on the site of the hotel and has even made a recreation of the hotel steps where Lincoln gave his speech.