Riley County/Manhattan Timeline 1811-2009

Below is a timeline of Riley County and Manhattan, ranging from 1811 to 2009.  This was prepared on November 23, 2009 by the staff of the Riley County Historical Museum, with the assistance of Lowell Jack. 

Any additions and corrections to this timeline will be appreciated.

1811 - 1913

1811Major George Sibley visits the Kanza Blue Earth Village, located between the Kansas and Blue Rivers about four miles east of Manhattan.
1819Artist Samuel Seymour, part of Major Long's expedition, makes a sketch of the interior of a Kanza lodge at the Kanza Blue Earth Village.  This is the earliest surviving picture known of Kansas.
1825, 6/3The Kanza Nation cedes twenty million acres of land and settles in a defined area centered by their Blue Earth Village.
1827-1830Kanza Nation departs from the Blue Earth Village
1842John C. Fremont visits the vicinity of what becomes Manhattan.
1853Samuel Dyer runs government ferry at Juniata.
1853Camp Center renamed Fort Riley.
1854. 5/30Kansas Nebraska Act becomes law, creating the Territory of Kansas and officially opening the Territory to legal settlement.
1854George S. Park establishes Poliska.
1854S.D. Houson, J.M. Russell, S.W. Johnson and E.M. Thurston establish Canton at base of Bluemont Hill.
1854Pawnee, first Territorial Capital built.
1854First house in Riley County built by Thomas Reynolds.
1854First settlers in Zeandale Township take claims.

1855, 3/24Isaac Goodnow and party arrive.
1855, 4/6Town of Boston formed from Poliska, Canton and Goodnow's New England Emigrant Aid Society group.
1855, 4/22Ashland colony established south of Manhattan.
1855, 6/1Steamboat Hartford (Cincinnati and Kansas Land Co.) runs aground near Boston settlement.
1855, 7/4Hartford group joins Boston settlement, town renamed Manhattan.
1855, 8/25Riley County organized.
1855, 9/7First Manhattan settler death.  G.W. Barnes died from typhoid fever.
1855, 9/17First birth to Manhattan settlers, Irving Roscoe Lovejoy to Charles and Julia Lovejoy.
1856, JanuaryFirst marriage in county:  Thomas Platt and Sally Pipher.
1856, 2/26Government bridge at Juniata swept by flood.
1856Blue River established as border between Riley and Pottawatomie Counties.
1856, 3/20Ogden Post Office established.
1856, 4/2Riley County divided into four townships:  Ogden, Dyer, Pierce, Manhattan.
1856, 4/28Arrival of Beecher Bible and Rifle Company at Wabaunsee.
1856, 8/6First recorded deed in Riley County, land sold by W.M. Shain to Lewis Johnson.
1856, 8/8Randolph Post Office established.  It closed on /29/1960 and reopened in 1964.
1856, 9/4Manhattan Post Office Established.
1857, 2/10Ogden Town Company incorporated.
1857, 2/14Manhattan becomes a Third Class City.
1857, 2/14Manhattan Institute incorporated.
1857Zeandale Post Office established.
1857First school building erected at 9th and Poyntz.
1857First church erected in the county, the Methodist Episcopal at Juliete and Pierre.
1857Amanda Arnold employed to teach spring school term.
1857, 5/30First Manhattan city officers elected:  A.J. Mead, mayor and ten member city council.
1858Bacheller (later called Milford) incorporated in Riley County.
1858, 1/20 (30?)Manhattan becomes county seat after a disputed election.
1858, 2/9Bluemont Central College incorporated by Kansas legislature, signed by Governor Denver.  Baker University and Highland College were also incorporated at the same time.
1859, 2/7City of Ogden incorporated.
1859, 5/10Bluemont College cornerstone laid.
1859, 5/15Tornado hits Manhattan, takes roof off the newly constructed Congregational Church and damages homes and businesses.
1859, 5/21Manhattan's first newspaper The Kansas Express is published by Charles Francis De Vivaldi.  The first paper was printed in Wyandotte, KS.
1859, 5/26Horace Greeley visits Manhattan.
1859, 10/6The federal land office at Ogden is moved into Junction City.
1859Manhattan is a stop on the Leavenworth and Pikes Peak Express Company route to the Colorado gold fields.
1859Manhattan House Hotel is built.
1860, 1/9Bluemont Central College opened.  Joseph Denison is the first President.
1860Drought in Kansas.
1860Manhattan passes ordinance prohibiting swine from running at large.
1860Thirty-five acres purchased from C.J. Lewis for Manhattan cemetery.  Juliette Lovejoy Whitehorn is the first interment.
1861Manhattan boundaries defined by state act.
1861First Kansas Calvary organized.
1861S.D. Houston elected first state senator from Riley County.
1862Morrill Act passes making land grant for colleges possible.
1862Isaac Goodnow elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
1863, 9/2First term of Bluemont College begins.
1863, FallLast buffalo in area killed in Ogden.
1864, NovemberPresidential election: 220 Republicans, 51 Democrats vote
1866, AugustKansas Pacific Railroad completed to Blue River east bank.
1866Pontoon bridge built at the foot of Poyntz.
1866Riley Countian Nehemiah Green elected Lieutenant Governor.
1867, 4/24Earthquake shakes area.  The earthquake was between Wamego and Manhattan and was the largest in Kansas recorded history (as of 2007).  It registered between 5.2 and 5.5.
1867, SeptemberSusan B. Anthony speaks in Manhattan.
1868Milford Township organized.
1868Bacheller name changed to Milford.
1868Nehemiah Green becomes governor following Governor S.J. Crawford's resignation.
1868James M. Harvey, Riley County, elected governor.
1868Riley County population 5,104; Manhattan 1,173.
1870Grant Township organized.
1871Zeandale Township transferred from Wabaunsee to Riley County.
1871South Milford Township organized.
1871Bridges over Blue and Kansas Rivers completed.
1871Mayday Township organized.
1872Work starts on the Manhattan and Northwestern Railroad.
1872Name of Milford Township changed to Bala Township.
1872Presidential election:  1,055 Republicans and 338 Liberals vote.
1873John A. Anderson becomes second president of Kansas State Agricultural College.
1873Ashland Township transferred from Davis to Riley County.
1874James M. Harvey chosen U.S. Senator.
1874, AugustHuge grasshopper invasion.
1875Population of Riley County, 7,066.
1875Earthquake strikes area.
1876, NovemberPresidential election:  1,133 Republican, 223 Democrat, 65 Greenback vote.
1877Professor William Kedzie built first telephone system at college.
1878John A. Anderson elected to Congress.
1879Great cyclone hits northern part of Riley County.
1879Swede Creek Township organized.
1879Fancy Creek Township organized.
1880Manhattan becomes a City of Second Class.
1880, 10/10New Methodist Episcopal Church in Manhattan dedicated.
1880Presidential election:  1,484 Republican, 376 Democrat and 347 Greenback.  1,178 for the Prohibition Amendment, 828 opposed. John A. Anderson re-elected to Congress.
1880Riley County population, 10,476;  Manhattan 2,104.
1880Right of way secured for Burlingame, Alma and Manhattan Railroad.
1881, 2/15Alembic Post Office established.
1881, 9/8No child under age 7 allowed to attend Manhattan schools due to over crowding.
1882, 6/28Leonardville Post Office established.
1887Fairmont Addition develops.
1888Riley County population 15,000; Manhattan 4,500.
1888First Manhattan Water Works Built, 3rd and Ratone.
1889, MaySecretary of War visits Fort Riley.
1890, 1/1Incandescent electric lights turned on in downtown Manhattan streets.
1894Wareham and Wood awarded telephone exchange contract.
1895, 10/31Two earthquakes hit area.
1900, 4/30A hundred businessmen form a Commercial Club.
1900Population of city is 3,438; Kansas State Agricultural College enrollment is 1,321.
1901City houses were numbered and street names posted so door to door mail delivery could begin.
1901City water switches from Blue River to wells.
1901C.P. Dewey's Manhattan Beach/Eureka Lake Resort opened.
1902, AprilFirst automobile in Manhattan hits the streets, a delivery wagon.
1902Union Pacific depot built.
1902First golf course built in Manhattan in City Park.
1903Theodore Roosevelt visits Manhattan.
1903, 5/29Early June brings a major flood.
1903New city hall/fire station opened on North 3rd Street near Humboldt.
1904Andrew Carnegie gives $10,000 to start library.
1906Riley County Courthouse built at cost of $50,000; Citizens contribute $1,000 for tower clock.
1906, 1/7Earthquake hits Manhattan.
1906, 2/21Independent Order of Odd Fellows/Rebekah buys the Eureka Lake Manhattan Beach Resort and the first resident in the Old Folks Building (the former Manhattan Beach Hotel) is admitted.
1906, 3/1Prairie fire swept over 2,000 acres of the Fort Riley reservation.  Adjoining farms saved by backfires.
1906, 4/26The Rebekah state assembly and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows dedicate their home for orphans at Eureka Lake near Manhattan.
1906, 5/26The first annual college track meet in Kansas held at the Topeka fairgrounds.  Kansas State Agricultural College wins first place with 58 points.  Other schools entered:  Emporia Normal, College of Emporia, Fairmont, Cooper, St. Mary's and Washburn.
1906, 7/4The Populist party state convention at Topeka nominates their ticket, including Robert Hauserman, Riley County, Secretary of State.
1906, 10/24James W. Forsyth, major general of the U.S. Army dies at Columbus, Ohio.  He was commandant at Fort Riley several years and was called the "military pet of the Sunflower state".  He left Kansas in 1894.
1907, 2/9The Supreme Court dismisses the Dewey-Berry case which had been postponed through five successive terms of the Norton County district court.  Chauncey Dewey and two of his men had killed three members of the Berry family in a fight over a water tank.  Feeling was strong against the Deweys who had foreclosed mortgages and bought up tax titles, thus acquiring an 80,000 acre ranch in Northwest Kansas.
1907, AprilNew Parkview Hospital built and occupied.
1907, 10/5Olive-drab uniforms issued at Fort Riley.  They were "destined to do away with the old blue uniforms throughout the army".
1907, 10/17Fort Riley selected as the site for a $42,000 army balloon plant.
1907, 11/25John G. Haskell, State Architect from 1866-1874, who designed the State House, dies at his home in Lawrence.  Haskell designed a number of buildings in Manhattan.
1908, JuneFlood.
1908Rocky Ford Dam and Power Plant built.
1909First trolley car runs made from Union Pacific depot to campus.
1910Brick factory opens to produce up to 20,000 bricks daily for sidewalks and homes.
1910Poyntz Avenue paved from Blue River to Courthouse.
1910Population of Manhattan 6,300.
1910Manhattan has 60 miles of paved streets.
1910Marshall Theatre opens downtown.
1911Nichols Gymnasium built on the Kansas State Agricultural College campus.
1912Trolley service to Eureka Lake Electric Park, Fort Riley and Junction City begins.
1913Manhattan population 7,000; Kansas State Agricultural College has 3,000 students.

1913 - 1981

1913New sanitary sewer built at cost of $87,000 and outhouses begin to disappear as 10-12 houses hook on daily.
1913New high school built at cost of $90,000 at Poyntz and 10th.
1914, 10/13Dedication of the new fire proof Juvenile Building at the Rebekah-Odd Fellows Home of Kansas at Eureka Lake.
1915Flood makes changes in Blue River; moves from east end of Poyntz to current juncture with Kansas River
1915Aggieville Club formed by 23 business owners.
1916, 11/26Fire destroys the Old Peoples' building at the Rebekah-Odd Fellows Home of Kansas at Eureka Lake.  This was the former Manhattan Beach Hotel at the Manhattan Beach Resort.  There was one death.
1917Manhattan Country Club formed on Bluemont Hill.
1917, AprilNew York Giants play the Detroit Tigers on the College field.  Notables such as John McGraw stay at the Gillett Hotel.
1917, 6/8First Division United States Army established.
1917Delta Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma founded at Kansas State Agricultural College.  This is the first chapter of Phi Beta Sigma (which was founded at Howard University in 1914) established on a racially mixed campus west of the Mississippi River.  Delta Chapter closed in 1930.
1918, FebruaryOgden City gets electricity.
1918, AprilSt. Louis Cardinals and Chicago White Sox play exhibition baseball games against the Camp Funston all stars at the baseball field in Army City.
1918, 7/14Community House dedicated as recreation building for the military.  Built with funds from Rotary Club and the city.
1918Sixty thousand men stationed at Cam Funston.
1918Manhattan adopts prohibition against sale or free distribution of cigarettes.
1918First community swimming pool, privately owned, opens at Pierre and 4th Street.
1919, 4/10Riley County Bar Association founded.
1919New Junior High School opened at Poyntz and 9th Street next to High School.
1919, 10/13New Old Peoples' Building dedicated at the Rebekah-Odd Fellows Home of Kansas at Eureka Lake.
1920Manhattan population 7,485;  Kansas State Agricultural College enrollment 3,017.
1921Huge K on Prospect Hill built by Kansas State Agricultural College engineering students.
1921, MaySpecial election passes for a water softening and purification plant.
19223,500 motor licenses sold in Riley County.
1923West wing of Kansas State Agricultural College Memorial Stadium built.
1924East wing of Memorial Stadium built.
1924Manhattan Business College closes its doors.
1925Telephone cables on 4th Street go from overhead to underground.
1925Work starts on telephone exchange building at 4th Street and Humboldt.  
1925J.L. Johns opens creamery on 3rd Street; produces first pasteurized milk in Manhattan.
1926150 room Wareham Hotel completed.
1926Eugene University of Eugene, Oregon (later becomes Manhattan Christian College) opens.
1928Manhattan trolley system discontinued.
1928, JulyFirst time Fire Chief installed in Manhattan.
1930, 9/18Local team plays the Kansas City Monarchs.
1930Concrete S added to Prospect Hill.
1930Junior Chamber of Commerce established.
1930Kansas State Agricultural College enrollment 4,800.
1930Manhattan has two railroads, 3 bus lines, two daily and two weekly newspapers, two hospitals, four theaters and 222 rooms in three hotels.
1931, 3/9Kansas State Agricultural College name changed to Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science (K.S.C.).
1931, MarchFirst Girl Scout troop established in Manhattan.
1933, JulySunset Zoo established.
1935, 6/4Flood water extends 13 blocks west from the rivers and surrounds a third of Manhattan homes.
1936Griffith Field built as Works Progress Administration project.
1936Charlotte Swift Hospital purchased by Sisters of St. Joseph.  Name changed to St. Mary Hospital.
1937Pillsbury Drive bridge taken out by 1935 flood.
1938New white way street lights downtown.
1938, November20,000 attend Kansas State College 75th Anniversary.
1939, 7/15Jesse Owens appeared at Griffith Field in Manhattan.
1939City Park and Douglass swimming pools built through Work Progression Administration projects.
1940, 11/22Airport is dedicated 110 acres.
1940Population Manhattan 11,659; Kansas State College enrollment 4,910.
1942Two community centers open for the military, known in 2007 as Douglass Center and the Community House.  The Douglass Center was for African American troops, the Community House for white troops.
1944Kansas State College student numbers drop to 3,786 because of World War II.
1944Community Chest of Manhattan established.
1946Housing units for veterans set up in Goodnow Park.
1946Viking Manufacturing plant built, 1635 Yuma.  Ag Press, as of 2007.
1949Riley County completes its first Zoning Master Plan.
1950, 2/19Tower for new radio station, KMAN, erected.  The station began broadcasting on June 4th.
1950, 7/1Hail storm with three to four inch stones causes significant damage to Riley County.
1950Airport runways expanded and lengthened.
1950Kansas State College enrollment is 6,867.
1950, 12/9New Kansas State College Wildcat Field House opened, later named Ahern Field House.  First basketball game played:  K-State 66, Utah 56.
1950Manhattan population 19,056; K-State enrollment 5,907.
1951Riley Count institutes first zoning outside of the City of Manhattan.
1951City government changes to City Manager/five member commission.
1951, JuneWorst flood in city's history covers 220 blocks and puts six feet of water downtown, causing $20 million in damage.
1951Luckey High School opened.
1952Airport runways lengthened and strengthened.
1952Construction begins on Tuttle Creek Dam.
1952Manhattan selected as All American City for recovery efforts after '51 flood.
1952Sears store built on southeast corner of 4th and Houston.
1953Scheduled airline service started by Continental.
1954, 6/10Riley County Hospital opens with 100 beds.
1954Kansas Farm Bureau opens new state office headquarters on Anderson Avenue.
1955Manhattan celebrates its Centennial.  Johnny Kaw legend invented by George Filinger.
1955Construction resumes on Tuttle Creek Damn after controversy stopped construction in 1953.
1955Present City Hall/Fire Station built; expansion in 1997-1998.
1955First Infantry Division (established in 1917) moves to Fort Riley.
1956The agency that became Pawnee Mental Health Services begins operation in Riley County.  Two agencies merged to form Pawnee Mental Health.
1957, 9/28University Heights housing addition established.
1957, 2/7Rogers addition to Manhattan established.
1957Flood control levee system completed; city's cost $169,000.
1958Community Chest of Manhattan becomes the United Fund of Manhattan.
1958, 2/7Irwin Army Hospital dedicated.
1959, 7/4Closure Ceremony at Tuttle Creek Dam site.  The course of the Blue River redirected through Tuttle Creek control tower outlet tubes.
1959Kansas State College becomes Kansas State University.
1960, 2/29Randolph Post Office closed for the building of Tuttle Creek.
1960Manhattan population 19,370; Kansas State University enrollment 7,500.
1961, 6/24St. Mary Hospital opens, 104 beds.
1962Riley County Hospital's name changed to Memorial Hospital.
1962Airport adds new runway.
1963, 6/1Tuttle Creek Dam dedicated.
1963, 12/19Manhattan Country Club fire destroys the clubhouse.
1963Westloop Shopping Center established.
1963Manhattan Medical Center established.
1963New Post Office built at 5th and Leavenworth.
1964Plans announced to add 49,500 acres to Fort Riley, nearly doubling its size.
1965Gillett Hotel, northwest corner of 4th and Houston, razed.
1965CiCo Park established by city, county and board of education.
1965, SummerFirst Infantry Division, Fort Riley, deployed to Viet Nam.
1966Sunrise Cemetery established.
1966New Kansas Power & Light building built on southwest corner of 5th and Poyntz.  Later, location of Chamber of Commerce offices.
1966, AprilManhattan Meals on Wheels established.
1966, 6/8Manhattan/Riley County tornado injured 58, did $8 million damage, 36 homes destroyed, 136 damaged.
1967Riley County Fire District organized.
1968City's first industrial park (195 acres) established; attracts McCall Pattern Company.
1968Kansas State University Football Stadium built.
1968Manhattan becomes a First Class City.
1968Riley County builds its first rural fire stations.
1969New public library built at Juliette and Poyntz; later expanded in 1981 and 1997-98.
1969Manhattan Country Club burns for the second time.
1970, AprilFirst Division returns to Fort Riley from Viet Nam, 3rd Brigade to Germany.
1970Manhattan population 27,575; K-State enrollment 13,204.
1971, AprilLast passenger train west makes final stop in Manhattan.
1974Manhattan Police Department and Riley County Sheriff become Riley County Law Enforcement Agency.
1974Riley County institutes first county wide subdivision zoning regulations.
1975, 6/29Fire at 301-307 Poyntz destroys half a city block.  Replaced by Burger King at corner of 3rd & Poyntz.
1976City adds 79.53 acres to industrial park.
1976Candlewood residential development begins.
1978City turns down request to build west side mall on the Johns tract on Seth Child Road.
1978United Fund of Manhattan becomes the United Way of Riley County.
1979City begins study for downtown redevelopment, eventually to culminate in construction of Manhattan Town Center.
1980Manhattan population 32,844.
1981Leonardville votes to build a new city offices, shop, fire station and community room.
1981Leonardville Senior Citizens group is organized.
1981, 4/7Northfield housing addition established.

1981 - 2009

1981, 8/20Knoxberry housing addition established.
1984Union Pacific Freight depot closes.
1986, 6/6Groundbreaking for Manhattan Town Center mall.
1986$2.7 million Quality of Life bond issue passed.  It included parks, linear trail, swimming pool and animal shelter.
1986, 4/27The Bala Park officially opened.  The Bala Park is privately owned by the Williams family and enjoyed by the public through their permission.
1986Luckey High School in Manhattan closes.
1987Riley County Comprehensive Land Use adopted.
1987, OctoberManhattan Town Center opened with over 40 shops and two anchors, J.C. Penney's and Dillard's.
1990Manhattan population 37,712.
1990City expanded from 6,290 acres to present 9,319 with annexation of Grand Mere, Colbert Hills, Sargent, Wyndham Heights and Meadowland additions.
1990Riley County Household Hazardous Waste program receives the first Household Hazardous Waste permit issued by the State of Kansas.
1993Flood damages east and southern edges of Manhattan, Hunters Island and Stagg Hill Golf Course.
1993Tuttle Creek spillway gates release record 60,000 cubic feet of water per second.
1993K-State football, under Coach Bill Snyder, winds nine games, including the Copper Bowl and goes on to "bowl" out the decade.
1994City of Manhattan annexes KSU Campus.
1994-96Expansion of railhead at Fort Riley increases capability to load 400 cars a day.
1996, 4/10First Division Headquarters moved to Germany from Fort Riley.
1996, OctoberMarianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art opens at K-State campus.
1996, 6/25Mercy Health Center established, merger of St. Mary and Memorial Hospitals.
1996New bridge built over the Kansas River to replace 1936 Pillsbury Drive viaduct.
1998Population of Manhattan 41,318.
1998, OctoberRevamped and enlarged City Hall opened.
1999, 6/5Fort Riley once again becomes a Division Headquarters with the reactivation of the 24th Infantry Division Mechanized.  The 24th Infantry Division Mechanized is the Headquarters for three enhanced Separate Brigades of the Army National Guard.
2005Twin Valley Telephone acquires 13 Sprint exchanges, including service in Leonardville, Riley, Bala and Randolph in Riley County.  Twin Valley is a family owned and locally operated company, since 1947.
2006, 1/23President George W. Bush is a Landon Lecturer.
2006, 4/18Vice President Dick Cheney visits Fort Riley.
2006, 8/11First Infantry Division headquarters returns to Fort Riley.  Major General Kenneth W. Hunzeker, Commander, with General Carter Ham to take charge as Post Commander soon thereafter.
2006, 8/26Kevin Ingram installed as the seventh President of Manhattan Christian College.
2006, 9/8John Hofmeister, President of Shell Oil and a K-State graduate, presents a Landon Lecture.
2006, 11/9Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield is a Landon Lecturer.
2006Downtown Redevelopment:  Fourth Street Redevelopment begun by Dial Corporation.  Best Buy opens.
2007, 7/31General Durbin becomes commanding General of Fort Riley.  He is also commander of the First Infantry Division.
2007, 11/6New headquarters for the First Infantry Division ribbon cutting.
2007, 11/11Dedication of the new Cemetery at Fort Riley.
2007, 12/10Ice storm knocks out power to much of Riley County, damages trees and utility lines.
2007New Riley County shops open at 6215 Tuttle Creek Boulevard, northwest of Manhattan.
2007Brad Schoen appointed Director of Riley County Police Department by the Riley County Law Board.  Steve French served as interim Director after the retirement of Mike Watson in June 2007.
2008, 6/2Softball-size hail falls in Riley County in a swath from Ogden to Manhattan, causing severe damage to property.
2008, 6/11Tornado destroys homes and businesses and damages many buildings, including some K-State buildings.
2009, 4/15Major General Vince Brooks becomes commanding General of Fort Riley.
2009, 6/15Kirk H. Schulz becomes President of Kansas State University.  Selected in February 2009 and inaugurated September 23, 2009.