Manhattan/Riley County, 1911-1920

Population/Selected Events/Buildings/People/Items of Interest – selected from various source




-         1917 – 23rd in rank in Cities in Kansas, 6,811

-         1919 – 7,245

Riley County

-         1917 - 16,083

-         1918 - Ogden, 810

-         1919 - Army City, 64

            -     Ogden, 440

-         1920 - Army City, 55

-          Leonardville, 327

-          Manhattan, 7,485

-          Ogden, 618

-          Randolph, 376

-          Riley, 348

-          Riley County, 17,106




-         May 12, 1914, the Riley County Historical Society is organized. The first President is Eusebia Mudge Irish.



-         (October) The drilling for oil in the Zeandale neighborhood has been abandoned because of a granite mass said by a state geologist to be 300 feet thick.

-         (October) 11 killed, forty to fifty injured when the motor car on the Blue Valley went through the north approach of Fancy Creek Bridge near Randolph.

-         (October) Historical Pageant held.

-         (November) Manhattan opens Laramie street west of Manhattan Avenue.

-         (December) Fire at Riley destroyed four of the principal businesses of the town (Riley State Bank, Timmons Hardware, the Electric Theatre and Morris Store.)

-         (December) The Woolworth Company rented the building occupied by the Murphy Rackett, taking a ten year lease.



-         (February) Meeting held to organize a Country Club at Manhattan. The first 100 members joined and there is a waiting list. Land belonging to Mrs. Leicester on the Bluemont ridge selected as site. First tournament held July 4.

-         (February) Bridges across the Blue at Randolph and Stockdale gave way before an ice jam.

-         (February) Cole Bros. leases the Wharton Building for 10 years.

-         (March) Sewer bonds approved.

-         (May) Local Council of Knights of Columbus organized with 69 members

-         (October) Company I, which left Manhattan a few months ago bound for the border and war with Mexico has been mustered out and is now home. The boys have had some interesting experiences but what they think of Wilson does not sound well on paper.

-         (November) McConnell meetings held, 2,000 attend a sermon lecture on “A Happy Home and How to Make It.” During the month long meetings, 752 conversions were made.



-         KSAC calendar changed from three terms to semester plan.

-         (January) Ogden water and sewer system planned, built 1918.

-         (February) Fire at Leonardville, Davidson Dry Goods and S.W. Bardwell stores.

-         (March) $1,271.98 raised in Manhattan for the Belgian Relief fund.

-         April 9, 1917 people of Manhattan and Riley County attend “monster patriotic mass meeting” to establish a permanent Riley County Chapter of the Red Cross.

-         (May) Liberty Loan Bonds sold in Manhattan. Men recruited for war effort.

-         (June 5, 1917) Registration day, all men born between June 6, 1886 and June 1896 must be registered. In Manhattan unofficial figures were 606 men, and about 900 in the County outside Manhattan. Total for Riley County between ages 20 and 31, 1400.

-         (June) Preparations are under way at Ft. Riley for the accommodation of the national army of 70,000 men soon to be quartered there.

-         (August) Company I and Truck Company no. 11 (local guard units) mustered in to the U.S. Army.

-         (August) due to construction workers in area, rooms are scarce. The Manhattan Interurban Railway began hourly service between Manhattan and Junction City.

-         Health situation at Funston improved by December. Spinal Meningitis quarantine taken off.

-         Coal, fuel and sugar shortage in Manhattan.



-         (January) The Army City Bank (Funston branch of the National Reserve Bank of Kansas City) was robbed of $62,826.21 and two diamond rings. Four men murdered, one wounded. The robber, Captain Lewis J. Whistler, killed himself. The money was found in the wall of his quarters.

-         (February) Ogden gets street lights.

-         (March) The College authorities have selected the tracts of land that they will buy under the condemnation proceedings.

-         (March) Daylight savings bill was signed by President Wilson. It puts all clocks forward an hour on the last Sunday in March and turns them back again the last Sunday in October.

-         (April) A post office is established at Army City. W.D. Jellison appointed postmaster.

-         (April) meeting at Courthouse results in 31 men signing up to bear arms in a Home Guard company in Manhattan.

-         (April) Mr. E.L. Holton, Riley County Food Administrator gives list of substitutes for food. Grocers must sell a pound of these substitutes with every pound of flour they sell and the substitutes must be sold at the same time the flour is sold.

-         (April) Murderer of Marion Ross, the policeman killed some weeks ago, guilty of murder in the first degree. (according to the Manhattan Tribune News April 25, 1918 , he is the first man convicted of murder in the first degree in the history of Riley County.)

-         (May) Incorporate Army City, as a City of third class. Population of the City is 304.

-         (May) The Manhattan Home Guards met and elected officers.

-         (September) Riley County walnut logs are going to the war effort in France.

-         (October) The Student Army Training Corps was created at the college.

-         (October) The Spanish Influenza hits. In the space of a month nearly two percent of an army of a million men has been taken.

-         (December) Everything is closed (Church, College, school, picture show, all other public meeting places) due to influenza epidemic. (Note: It has been speculated that the epidemic started at Ft. Riley and spread around with world with the soldiers from there.)

-         (November 11) the largest crowd that the oldest inhabitant ever saw in Manhattan was the one that gathered Monday afternoon to celebrate the coming of peace and the burial of the Kaiser and Crown Prince and Von Hindenberg. The news came by A.P. service at three in the morning and was announced by blowing of whistles and ringing of bells. At nine o’clock the celebration started all over again.


-         (February) Manhattan Monitor (Mentor) newspaper started at the Manhattan High School.

-         (April) The members of the Riley County bar formed a local bar association and elected Charles Hughes President.

-         (May) Company I and the Truck Company of the 117th Ammunition Train of the Rainbow Division, come home.

-         (May) The Manhattan Box Factory, an enterprise of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, opened.

-         (June) Announce that the city schools will have kindergarten next year. Expect about 400 children.

-         (June) the old Rocky Ford Mill burned.

-         (August) the Farmers and Stockmen State Bank of Manhattan Chartered.

-         (September) Sugar shortage continues.

-         (September) H.P. Wareham buys a pipe organ for his theater ($15,000), to be installed by March.




-         Nichols Gymnasium built



-         The Riley County Historical Society is granted permission by the City to erect a cabin for use as a Museum. The Pioneer Log Cabin cornerstone was laid October 12, 1915 and the cabin was completed and opened in 1916. Dedicated October 5, 1916.



-         Varney’s to erect a two story brick building in Aggieville on the corner. (present Varney’s building corner of N. Manhattan.)

-         (November) Excavation work begins on new building of the Country Club.

-         (November) The Odd Fellows Home burns. One death (James Burns), thirty-six were saved.

-         (December) New Presbyterian Church completed.



-         (February) Keats High School building dedicated.

-         (March) Dedicate new stone school house at Ashland.

-         (May) School bonds carry in Ogden.

-         (June) new swimming pool on S. Fourth Street finished. The Marshall family built it.

-         (June) A big Army camp will be located at the Ogden flats, a great stretch of bottom land sweeping far to the south and east between Three Mile Creek and Ogden. The contract has been let for 2,000 buildings.These buildings will be erected around a parade ground a mile and a half long and a quarter mile wide. These buildings will cost about 5 million dollars. In July a new station on the Union Pacific at the Ogden Flats was named Funston by the officials of the Union Pacific. Sidings will be built by the fourth of July.
The Manhattan Interurban line must be relocated.

-         (September) the Fuller construction company received orders to build quarters for 30,000 more men at Funston. This will mean an army of 70,000 men besides those at Ft. Riley proper.

-         (July) Army City is selling lots rapidly. Building commences. Forty acres were in the first plat of Army City, a second plat of forty acres is being readied. The Parker Amusement Company has bought a block fronting the reservation south of the U.P. tracks and will fill it with attractions. The Rocky Ford Dam Company strings its wires to light the new town of Army City. A sewer system is installed. In October a water system is installed. By October Army City has two full business blocks and about as much under construction

-         (August) Rotarians will donate funds for a Soldier’s Community building to be erected at the corner of 4th and Humboldt. Manhattan voters pass a bond issue to supplement the project. After the war is over the building reverts to the City.

-         (October) Cornerstone for new building at Odd Fellows Home at Eureka Lake laid.

-         (December) Union Pacific R.R. completes double track from Manhattan to Junction City. Talk of taking double track to Topeka.



-         (February) Manhattan looking at new well.

-         (March) Contract for new school building at 17th and Leavenworth (Eugene Field) let to Clarence Johnson. (May 1919) Eugene Field formally opened. It cost about $38,000.

-         (June) The new Ogden sewer system is now complete.

-         (June) Decision is made to merge the Commercial Club with the Retailers Association to form a Chamber of Commerce. H.W. Brewer is the first President.

-         (July 4) Manhattan Community House dedicated. The Manhattan Tribune asserts that this is the first permanently constructed Community House in the U.S.

-         (June) Work on the new $20,000 High School building at Ogden has started.

-         (July) erect barracks on KSAC campus to accommodate five hundred soldier students who are coming this month.

-         (August) Road to Funston to be straightened. Chamber of Commerce paid the City share, Interurban paid its share.

-         (December) Manhattan will begin to burn coal gas. The Manhattan Gas Co. has completed a new $30,000 plant which will manufacture coal gas.



-         (January) Farmers Union opens store on Poyntz and builds an elevator on U.P. opposite Manhattan Mills. (July) the elevator replaces the first elevator built in Manhattan. It was powered by a Texas steer on a treadmill, later by a power sweep operated by a horse, or sometimes two horses.

-         (May) The beautiful new Junior High was opened by Supt. Gift and Principal Alder for inspection. Junior High cost about $45,000.

-         (July) the new Odd Fellows Home at Eureka Lake will be complete in August. Dedication held October 1919.

-         (September) General Leonard Wood and Gov. Henry J. Allen make address at Funston at the unveiling of the monument to the American men who passed through camp, some 200,000 of them.

-         (September) A section of the dam went out at Rocky Ford. An entirely new dam will be built below the old one. Electric production continues through work.




-         Mrs. George (Charlotte) Wilder died December 3, 1916. Long time community activist.

-         Mrs. Abbie Copeland Browning died. She was the first woman married in Riley County, November 29, 1855.

-         (Friday May 18, 1917, newspaper not identified) Jack Fay, a gunner on the Mongolia, fired the shot which sunk the German U boat in the first encounter between the United States and Germany, after a state of war was declared. Jack Fay is the son of Mrs. Anna Fay of 514 Colorado Street.

-         Dr. Henry Jackson Waters resigned to become managing editor of the Weekly Kansas City Star. (March) William Marion Jardine assumes duties as President of KSAC.

-         (Manhattan Tribune, June 12, 1919, in 30 years ago column Manhattan Tribune News June 9, 1949) Captain George Mallon, son of R.C. Mallon, was chosen by General Pershing as one of the 100 men whose deeds were the bravest of those boys in France.

-         (Manhattan Tribune, August 22, 1918) George Wingate was the first Riley County death in the war, followed by Henry Uhlenhop of Leonardville. George Wingate left a wife and a baby he never saw.