LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — A discovery under a downtown Leavenworth building taps into the past.
Some people think workers this week discovered a brewery cave that belonged to the first Kansas brewery.
Pam Matzeder is a former employee at a law firm at the Robert Beall office building on the corner of 6th and Delaware. She said they moved to this building in 2000.
“That’s when we discovered moving boxes in and storing boxes, under here that this tunnel existed,” Matzeder said.
She said the tunnel was all employees knew about what was under their building because it was sealed off. They said they had no idea what it led to.
That is, until this week, when plumbers working behind the building dug into what they thought was a sinkhole. Photographer Debra Bates-Lamborn, who has become somewhat of a local historian herself, crawled into that hole with the workers. She said it was at least six feet underground.
Bates-Lamborn describes the space as 8 ft. by 70 ft.
“Once I got in there I was amazed by the inside of that place. The structure and the stone and the masonry and really the craftsmanship that went into building that,” she said.
It didn’t take long for Bates-Lamborn to guess what they were standing in.
“I knew immediately it was a brewery,” she said.
But not just any. Bates-Lamborn said it is the first brewery in Kansas, called The Kansas Brewing Company. Research shows it was started by German immigrant, John Grund.
While there are arguments about whether it’s the first, there’s no denying Leavenworth was once a bustling brew city.
“Back in the 1850s we had a huge population of German people that came here and they wanted their beer and so they immediately started their breweries. In 1854 we started having breweries pop up all over town,” Bates-Lamborn said.
City spokeswoman Melissa Bower said the only thing the clerk’s office could find from the city directory was an advertisement from 1862 to’ 63. It cites Mr. Grund’s brewery on the corner of 6th and Delaware.
The property owners tell Fox 4 the hole to this discovery has since been sealed.
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