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Riley County, KS

Riley CountyHistorically, Riley County was one of the first 36 counties organized by the first Kansas Territorial Legislature in 1855. Its boundaries have been changed many times, but since its1886 platte, it is distinctly noticeable as Kansas' most irregular shape having its long, eastern border defined by the Big Blue River. Its earliest colony was settled by the New England Emigrant Aid Society selecting the townsite of Manhattan in 1855. The county was named in honor of Major Bennett Riley who commanded the first military escort on the Santa Fe Trail in 1829. Fort Riley, established at the junction of the Republican and Smoky Rivers, was named in his honor in 1853.


Today, Riley County still carries the history of its earliest settlers in the amazing limestone buildings, homes, and churches throughout the county. It is the home of Kansas State University academic excellence and Big 12 athletics. Tuttle Creek Reservoir, the state's second largest reservoir offers endless outdoor recreation opportunities. Fort Riley Military Reservation occupies a vast number of acres in the western portion of the county where active military training is carried on daily as well as offering public availability to the historic buildings within the fort.

Explore Riley County

Randolph Jail

The Randolph Jail is a nineteenth century jail located on the grounds of the Riley County Historical Museum. It was relocated here from the old town of Randolph in northern Riley County when the old town location was moved with the creation of Tuttle Creek Reservoir.

Manhattan, KS Pioneer Life

Hartford House

The Hartford House that sets adjacent to the Historical Society Museum is a restoration of a prefabricated house that the early settlers brought to Manhattan in 1855

Manhattan, KS

Carnegie Library

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Carnegie Library was built in 1904 with the help of a $10,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie. The building is located just to the west of the Courthouse and now houses the county attorney's office.

Manhattan, KS Carnegie Libraries

First National Bank Building

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the First National Bank was at this location from 1887 to 1912.

This building and its twin building next door were built by J.N. Limbocker and are now part of the Manhattan Town Center structure.

Manhattan, KS Historic Buildings

Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art

The Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art offers an in-depth look at Kansas art and brings art and artists from around the world to the heart of Kansas. This 25,000 sq. ft. facility is home to KSU's permanent art collection. Since its establishment in 1928, this collection has grown to over 7,000

Manhattan, KS Museums

Sunset Zoo

The 52-acre Sunset Zoo is home to 13 endangered species as well as many other rare animals. It features the largest outdoor chimpanzee exhibit in Kansas - Chimpanzees of Tanganyika - along the lush African Forest Trail. Visit the Bald eagle's Aerie, BATS!

Manhattan, KS Zoos

Pioneer Log Cabin

The pioneer museum was built in 1915 as a home and displays agricultural tool exhibits.

Manhattan, KS Museums

Riley County Courthouse

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places the dominating limestone Courthouse was completed in 1906, built by Topeka contractor, J.B. Betts, and local contractor, Clarence Johnson. The citizens pledged $1,000 for the tower clock.

Manhattan, KS Historic Courthouses

Harold M. Freund American Museum of Baking

The American Museum of Baking housed in the Emerson Library of the American Institute of Baking, contains one of the world's largest collections of artifacts on baking history, including the "world's largest collection of baker statuettes and figurines,"

Manhattan, KS Museums

Konza Prairie

In the heart of the Flint Hills, the 8,616-acre Konza Prairie is a rare opportunity to experience the Prairie as the pioneers did during their trek westward. Once a part of the Dewey Ranch, Chicago Industrialist C.P. Dewey acquired the prairie piece by piece during the last quarter of the 1800s. <

Manhattan, KS Nature Preserves

Pottawatomie Lake #2

State Fishing Lake No. 2.is located about four miles northeast of Manhattan. Pottawatomie Lake #2 is a scenic lake of about 75 acres that holds nice populations of crappie, largemouth bass and bluegill. The lake also produces impressive strings of channel catfish and holds some very nice walleyes.

Manhattan, KS Recreation

Wolf Butterfield House Museum

The Wolf Butterfield House served as a way station for the Butterfield Stage Line started by David Butterfield in 1865. The limestone house contained dining and sleeping faciltities as well as a tavern for stage line patrons.

Manhattan, KS Museums

Explore Riley County