USP Leavenworth

Also known as: Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary, Big House, Big Top
1300 Metropolitan Ave, Leavenworth, KS 66048

Famous medium security federal prison, known for housing several notorious criminals


Overview Looking Northeast

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in May 2014



Street View 


USP Leavenworth is on federal land in Leavenworth, Kansas and is the oldest of three major prisons built in Leavenworth County. Although it is just west of the main entrance to US Army's Fort Leavenworth, the prison is not connected to the United States Disciplinary Military Barracks on Fort Leavenworth. The United States Disciplinary Barracks (USDB) is north of the subject facility, and is the sole maximum-security penal facility of the United States Military. United States Disciplinary Barracks prisoners were used as laborers to build this civilian penitentiary.

USP Leavenworth was downgraded from Maximum Security to Medium Security in 2005, but for 99 years, was the largest maximum security federal prison.

It was designed by Eames and Young of St. Louis, which also designed the United States Penitentiary, Atlanta. The prison's walls are 40 feet high, 40 feet deep (below grade), 3,030 feet long and encloses 22.8 acres. Its domed main building was nicknamed the "Big House."

Update Log 

  • August 10, 2016: New Street View added by Bill Eichelberger
  • September 5, 2014: Added by J.R. Manning


  • J.R. Manning - Lugnuts969 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Bill Eichelberger - wallyum [at] hotmail [dot] com