5. Fort Leavenworth Murals

Eric Bransby painting archway at Fort Leavenworth Reception Center (WWII). This mural no longer exists.

The museum currently displays three large murals painted by Eric Bransby – The First Dragoons: Fort Leavenworth; The Fork - The Oregon And Santa Fe Trail; and Keelboats on the Missouri Founding of Fort Leavenworth.

During the Great Depression, Bransby studied under Thomas Hart Benton in Kansas City. He continued painting even while enlisting in the Army. Mr. Bransby took his paints with him to Ft. Leavenworth in 1942 and the only place he could find at night to paint with any light was in the latrine. He became known as the latrine painter.

The post Chaplin asked him to paint inspirational murals on the walls of the Reception Center where the new recruits stood when they took their oath. Bransby could only paint during the night when the building was not in use. The Chaplin let him sleep on one of the pews in the back of the chapel during the day while he did the murals. Mr. Bransby stated that he chose a biblical theme to please the Chaplin. The image below is the completed mural in the Reception Center. 

Unfortunately these murals from the Reception did not survive.

Bransby's Mural The First Dragoons: Fort Leavenworth, Frontier Army Museum collection.
Bransby's Mural: Keel Boats on the Missouri Founding of Fort Leavenworth, Frontier Army Museum collection.
Bransby's Mural: Santa Fe and Oregon Trails, Frontier Army Museum collection.