Fort Riley, Kansas

Fort Riley, Kansas

In an 1843 expedition, Captain John C. Fremont, "The Pathfinder," camped at the junction of the Smoky Hill and Republican Rivers. He reported great numbers of elk, antelope and Indians. Most of the Indian tribes were friendly at the time, because settlers had not yet moved into the area.

Within a few years, however, the "Great Migration" along the Oregon Trail and trade along the Santa Fe Trail brought thousands of pioneers through the "Indian Territory," as Kansas was known back then.

Indian war parties began raiding wagon trains as they traveled through the bluffs of eastern Kansas. It became evident that military protection was needed for these pioneers. Thus began the chain of events leading to the founding of Fort Riley in 1852. At the time it was named Fort Center - because it was believed to be the geographical center of the country. In 1853, the post was renamed after Major General Bennett Riley.

Fort Riley stood as the major horse cavalry training school in our country and boasted a position as one of the best cavalry training schools in the world. The famous 7th Cavalry was put through harsh and difficult training before leaving for campaigns against Indians. From the gates of Fort Riley, the cavalry rode to such famous campaigns as: Beecher's Island, the Washita River Fight, and Battle of the Little Big Horn.

The First Infantry Division, more commonly known as the "Big Red One" - the "Fighting First" - came to Fort Riley from Germany in 1955 and remained in Kansas until 1995. Today Fort Riley is known as home of America's Army.

Attractions and Upcoming Events

Polk Hall

Known in its early years as West Riding Hall, this building was completed in 1908 and served until after World War II as one of two indoor riding halls.

Fort Riley, KS Historic Buildings

Wainwright Hall - Fort Riley

Wainwright Hall is named for General Jonathan Wainwright who served as the assistant commandant of the Cavalry School during the 1930s. The building was constructed in 1889

Fort Riley, KS Museums

U. S. Cavalry Museum

The U.S. Cavalry Museum building was constructed in 1854 and used for nearly thirty years as the Post Hospital. In 1889, as Fort Riley'

Fort Riley, KS Museums

Territorial Capitol

In 1855, the nation wept for "Bleeding Kansas"

Fort Riley, KS Historic Buildings

Post Cemetery

Beyond the Ogden Monument is the Post Cemetery. In the area nearest the Ogden Monument are mass graves of persons who died in two cholera epidemics which struck the post in 1855 and 1867

Fort Riley, KS Cemeteries

Things to do near Fort Riley, KS

Earl Wright Gallery

The Brown Center on the Cowley College campus houses the Earle Wright Gallery. The campus itself is worth visiting just to se...