Manhattan/Riley County, 1921-1930

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




-         School population:  2,168 (as given by the Manhattan Tribune Newspaper)

-          White 2,058

-          Colored 77

-          Mexican 33



-         Manhattan 10,477



-         KSAC fall semester: 3,017





-         (April) Suspension of City Schools and a ban on all public meetings due to scarlet fever ordered by the City Commission and Health Officials.

-         (May) Woman murdered in Gillett Hotel by two Ft. Riley Soldiers.

-         (May) Meeting of six or eight hundred members of the Grand Army of the Republic.
Parade. Rev. Knipe, veteran of the Mexican War as well as the Civil War, marched.

-         (July) Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Post no. 271 disbands, only four members remain (Pollard Carnahan, I.S. Smith, J.N. Caldwell, and W.B. Rhodes.)

-         (July) Funston Abandoned. All frame buildings except those to be used by the Calvary at Ft. Riley will be salvaged. The heating plant and waterworks will be maintained for a future emergency. (December 1922) The rest of the Funston barracks were sold.

-         (September) Citizens State Bank closes after a run on the bank precipitated by the forced retirement of S.J. Pratt and an assessment of 10 percent by stockholders to cover a shortage in the bank funds. S.J. Pratt acquitted of one charge in April 1922, convicted of two counts of embezzlement in September. (December 1923) petition with 2,050 signatures on it asking for parole for S.J. Pratt fails. Governor refuses pardon. (January 1925) Governor Davis gives S.J. Pratt a full pardon.

-         (Sept) Liberty Milling and Ice Co. fails.



-         (March) Kiwanis Club organized.Dr. J.W. Evans Chair.

-         (March) Stevenson Clothing Co. of Salina buys out Knostman’s Clothing Company, founded in 1867.

-         (May) Chamber of Commerce to have office in the Community Building. (Note: In 1925 the Chamber is noted as moving from “the Poyntz Ave office” to the Community House, so it is unclear if they actually moved into the Community House in 1922 or in 1925.)

-         (May) Two women killed at a railroad wreck at Keats.

-         (May) Rotarians to build camp for Boy Scouts and Camp Fire Girls at the Huse farm on McDowell.

-         (August) Prospect Lodge no. 676 I.O.O.F. organized.

-         (April) Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) will mark the original college site with a large red boulder at the corner of College and Claflin. (September 1926) A marker to commemorate the site of the original building of the old Bluemont college is soon to be placed by the local chapter of the DAR. (November) Dedicate the marker.

-         (July) Street Car Company struggling. They have experimented with operating gasoline cars, but it has not helped. (August) Manhattan City and Interurban Railway Co. in receivership. (August) public sale of the line to be held in September. First mortgage bond holders bought it. The Brown interests (United Power) bought the Manhattan City and Interurban Railway Co. and will run the line. The gasoline cars (green bugs) were sent to Abilene and the line will go back to electric cars.

-         (August) Organizer for the Ku Klux Klan holds an organizational meeting in Manhattan.

-         (August) Army City Corporation dissolved, territory returned to the control of the Township.

-         (September) Manhattan gets a new fire truck with a 46 gallon chemical attachment.

-         (Sept.) Light added(The extension of the white way) to the Rock Island depot.

-         (October) Two Post Office workers arrested for opening Ku Klux Klan letters.

-         (November) The Reserve Officers of Manhattan met and formed a temporary organization, Col. George Frank, President.



-         (February) Mill stone from Mitchell’s Mill placed outside the pioneer log cabin. The original Mill, on Clark’s Creek near Ogden, was built in 1855. The mill was equipped with burrs for grinding corn only. In 1860 Mr. Mitchell heard of two stone burrs at Council Grove for grinding wheat. It is not known how they came to be at Council Grove but it is assumed they were brought on the Santa Fe Trail to that place. Bringing the burrs back to Clark’s Creek, they were caught in a terrible blizzard and one of the party froze to death. The Mill went out of operation in the 1890’s.

-         (February) Last year there were 3500 motor licenses taken out in Riley County. This year is over 700 behind.

-         (March) Charter granted for new bank, to be in Aggieville.

-         (April) The City Commission decides to pave Anderson Ave this summer. When competed that section of town south of the College, the newest part of town, will be all paved to the City limits.

-         (August) A test well for oil was drilled on the Thierer farm and in other places in the Eureka Valley.

-         (September) local Red Cross and Chamber of Commerce appeal for relief for the Nipponese earthquake sufferers.

-         (October) Ku Klux Klan meeting held in City park. In an attempt to block the meeting 1,460 automobiles were parked on the streets adjoining the park. The City cut off the electricity for a time.

-         (October) It is reported that one of the Penney chain stores is to be located in Manhattan.

-         (December) A good many Manhattan folks heard Coolidge deliver his message over radio.

-         (December) County Commission redistricted the County into three districts that are fairly equal in population. (Manhattan Tribune says it is not the best division that could have been made but it is good enough.)

-         (December) Bank bandits blew up the bank at Keats. They secured about $250.00 in money and three or four thousand dollars in bonds, only about a thousand of which were not registered. No casualties.



-         (January) Utility merger: The Manhattan Gas and Electric, The Rocky Ford Power and Milling, and the United Traction Co. The new concern is capitalized at $9,000,000 under the name of United Power and Light Company.

-         (February) Local Council of Royal and Select Master Masons granted a charter by the Grand Council.

-         (March) Country Club votes to extend the land of the club. The course is enlarged to 18 holes.

-         (March) College making another effort to develop a water plant on the campus separate from the City.

-         (April) The Supreme Court (Kansas?) has decided that the City cannot sell the market squares under the law that was passed. A sale is only possible under a different enabling law.

-         (May) The Golden Belt highway is to be paved as far as the City limits.

-         (June) A Ku Klux Klan orator spoke in the park. A large crowd assembled. (June 25, 1924) A big meeting of the K.K.K. was held on Bluemont. From Third to Tenth and From Thurston north were packed with cars. On the hill a flag was flying and a cross was by its side. Later in the evening this was fired and blazed for a long time. There was a lecture and after visitors were dismissed, the Klan had a meeting.

-         (June) Canteen and barber shop run on campus discontinued this summer. There has always been an objection by some down town interests against anyone having “inside” privileges.

-         (June) Dancing pavilion at the foot of Bluemont burned.

-         (July) New sidewalk flags are flying (July 3).

-         (August) KSAC College of the Air may not be able to open up in September on the home grounds on account of delay in filling orders for material for the broadcasting plant. The college will be KSAC. (November) The KSAC broadcasting station is complete and will be dedicated December 1, 1924.

-         (February) (Feb. 11, 1924) three faculty members planned and presented what is believed to be the first college broadcast of the nation over the new station at Milford. (Note: The Milford station was Dr. Brinkley’s station.)

-         (September) The Manhattan Business College fails.

-         (October) Randolph suffered a $40,000 fire. Garage, Auto Supply House, Bank, destroyed.



-         (January) the Manhattan Book Store has again changed hands. Its name has been Fox’s, Varney’s, Brewer’s, and now Endacotts. The Fox Book Store was established in 1868.

-         (January) Kiwani Queens

-         (February) Dr. William Jardine, President of KSAC, selected by President Coolidge to
be Secretary of Agriculture. Appointment confirmed in the Senate. Dean F.D. Farrell appointed acting President of KSAC.

-         (March) Keats grade school burned.

-         (April) By passing the ten thousand mark in population, the salaries of the City Commissioners are automatically increased from $900 to $1,200 and the salary of the Mayor is increased from $1,000 to $1,200.

-         (May) The Bala oil well of the Empire Gas and Oil Co. has been abandoned. They are still drilling on the Thierer well above Eureka Lake.

-         (April) The street dept. is putting curb and gutter in the park.

-         (April) The City Commission is draining the old channel of the Blue east of town so that water will not stand there any more.

-         (April) The old Blue Valley Mill (210 Leavenworth) burned. Originally built to house a paper mill, this business never got started as the machinery was shipped but there was no money to pay the freight, so it was sent back. G.W. Higinbotham bought the building and opened the Blue Valley Mills, which operated as a grist mill for a number of years. For a time in the latter 1870’s the mill was vacant and was used to house the exodites, the African Americans that left the south in mass in 1879 coming to Kansas to try to find a better life. After G.W. Higinbotham’s death in 1899, his son, S.N. Higinbotham continued the business and then sold to the Long – Barner Milling Co. who manufactured Purity flour. Then it was converted to an Alfalfa Mill and the property was sold to Albert W. Floersch. Operation ceased and the property was foreclosed by J.B. Floersch and the Union National Bank. The Liberty Milling Company was organized and took over the property and put in new machinery for making flour. The plant included a flour mill, an ice plant and the alfalfa mill but was not paying and was sold by auction. A wrecking company bought it and Mr. Huse bought it from them. In April 1925 fire destroyed the Huse Ice and Fuel Company.

-         (August) Telephone cables on 4th street removed from poles and placed underground.
Mercury says that this gives Manhattan the air of the up–to–date city.

-         (September) The City has bought a repairing plant for the asphalt streets at a cost of $3,400 and it is proposed to keep the streets in condition at all times.

-         (September) An order for 2,748 telephones to be installed locally has been placed. New automatic phones have been ordered for the new building at a cost of forty thousand dollars.

-         (November) Traffic regulations requiring motor car and other vehicles to stop before entering Poyntz at 3rd, 4th, and 5th streets formally went into effect today (November 11) when the new traffic signs made their appearance at these intersections.

-         (December) John Phillip Sousa visits and gives concert.



-         (January) Joyland, the pavilion just outside the City limits southwest of town was burned.

-         (January) Dial telephones are being installed in Manhattan. With the completion of the new telephone building an automatic switchboard will be installed. (May) The cut over from the old system to the dial system to be made at midnight May 29 by the United Telephone Co.

-         (March) Atkins hardware store sold to Currie and Blakslee. The Adkins hardware store was started in the 1860’s by A.J. Whitford, sold to J.C. Jones, who sold to Mr. Dudley Atkins in 1909.

-         (March) The Mercury and Chronicle have arranged for a leased wire for telegraphic news. The MANHATTAN NATIONALIST newspaper was sold to Fay N. Seaton. It is to be combined with the Mercury, the paper to be known as the Mercury and Daily Nationalist. The merger will delete one evening paper and one morning paper, bringing the daily papers in the City to one evening paper with a Sunday morning edition.

-         (April) W. E. Sheffer of Concordia elected superintendent of Manhattan Schools, succeeding E.B. Gift.

-         (April) The Y.M.C.A. building is sold to the Parkview Hospital Association on assumption of a $3,500 mortgage, other consideration, and promise to provide for a contagion ward. (August) the staff, equipment and patients of the Parkview Hospital have been moved to their new building, the remodeled Y.M.C.A building.

-         (May) County Commission to pave a little over a mile of the Victory Highway west of Manhattan. This is the first mile of paving on the Victory Highway in Riley County. The contract does not include the new bridge across the Wildcat. Work is being started to widen the subway on the Rock Island on the Victory Highway southwest of town. (September 1926) the new paved road across the Wildcat is open and is a source of delight.

-         (September) The Ringling Barnum and Bailey Circus is in City Park.

-         (November) A branch of the Eugene University of Eugene Oregon is being established in Manhattan. (note: Manhattan Christian College) The corner of 14th and Anderson facing the college campus has been purchased for $15,000 and a building to cost a hundred thousand dollars will be erected to house the school. It will be under the auspices of the Christian Church.



-         (January) Twenty veterans of the Civil War yet reside in Manhattan.

-         (January) Purcell block burns (southwest corner 3rd and Poyntz) occupied by Farmers Union, Frisco Market, the Richards Paint Shop.

-         (February) To grade Stagg Hill.



-         (February) Farmers and Stockman’s State Bank closes. (September 1929) all depositors are paid in full.

-         (July) With the installation of a full time fire chief in the person of P.L. Noble, a definite fire protective program will be followed in Manhattan.

-         (October) The Rural Parent-Teachers Association Council of Riley County was organized. Representatives of 15 Rural PTA’s attended. Nine of the group have been organized in the past year.

-         (October) Street Cars ambling up and down Manhattan streets will soon exist only in memory for yellow busses carrying from 16 to 20 passengers are to be substituted for passenger service over a much wider area of the city. (November 18) The last of this week Manhattan residents will have a bus system instead of the street cars now in use.
(December 1928) Beginning December 20 the Houston and Fourteenth street bus route will be discontinued and the bus will operate along street car lines from Second to Poyntz to Seventeenth and Anderson.

-         (October) This morning (October 29) at about 10o’clock natural gas was turned into the mains at Manhattan and housewives, who prepared a noon meal on their gas stoves, had the natural rather than the artificial to use. (December) The first bills for the use of natural gas in Manhattan were mailed December 1. Because the meters were read about November 20, the first bill covered only 20 days of gas. The minimum bill for this period is 67 cents, or two-thirds of the regular minimum charge of $1.00.

-         (November) Street Commissioner W. A. Pittman has completed the work of filling in the old channel of the Blue where the bridge from the end of Poyntz crossed to the other side.

-         (November) the Geary County portion of Chauncy Dewey’s huge ranch was sold yesterday to the Providence Institution for Savings, Providence, R.I. For $87,684.18 The Riley County part had been sold the day before in Manhattan.

-         (December) Tear gas effectively routed robbers who tried to gain access Saturday night to the money and postage left in the vault at the Manhattan Post Office.

-         (December) State Engineer and State Auditor’s office representatives in Manhattan for the sale of the old river channel. Of the 850 acres to be sold 160 have been disposed of.



-         (March) The talkies are coming to Manhattan. After tonight’s shows (March 2) the Marshall Theater will be closed until March 25 during which time complete Vitaphone and Movietone equipment of the latest design will be installed at a cost of $18,000.
(March 24) Providing for three afternoon and two evening performances, the management of the Marshall theater, newly provided with sound equipment was today already to care for capacity audiences. A record attendance was expected at all shows to witness the first showing of Vitaphone and Movietome pictures of the Houston street playhouse. (March 25) It was a new sensation for those of us in Manhattan who had not attended a Vitaphone picture before, to see and hear Thomas A. Edison, President Hoove, and even Mrs. Calvin Coolidge.

-         (June) Pottawatomie County Commissioners conferred in Manhattan today with the Riley County Commissioners, officials of the United Power and Light, and interested land owners in the matter of directing the Blue river into a new channel, a short distance north of the Rocky Ford dam.

-         (July) The new currency, one third smaller than the old, will replace the paper money which has been in circulation since 1861.

-         (August) King’s Drug store, one of the oldest in Manhattan founded in the 1880’s by Dr. C.F. Little and Dr. Jeff Robinson, and owned since 1913 by A.H. King, has installed a soda fountain. It is the last drug store in Manhattan to do so.

-         (September) Montgomery Ward and Co. opens a store in the Ulrich Building.

-         (November) Champion farmer cornhuskers from 29 Kansas Counties will compete at the Juniata Ranch owned by Dan D. Casement.(November 6, 1929) Husking 1,804.5 pounds or 25 bushels and 54 pounds of Reid’s Yellow Dent corn in the allotted period of 80 minutes, William Lutz, Riley County, defended his Kansas Cornhusking championship in the state contest at Juniata ranch of Dan Casement. His record was better by nearly two bushels than last year’s mark.

-         (December) Charles O. Dailey, 823 Colorado, in charge of organizing a local Veterans of Foreign Wars post. Completion expected in 3 or 4 months.



-         (May) Prepare to build the S on Mt. Prospect. Dedicate new S on May 10.

-         (May) Kansas Editorial Association meet in Manhattan.

-         (May) Kenneth Davis won 1st prize in the National Editorial Writing Contest sponsored by Quill and Scroll. (Davis was then a Senior at Manhattan High School.)





-         New Catholic Church built.

-         Central and West portions of Engineering hall erected at KSU.

-         Cleburne Methodists build new church.

-         Mr. Purcell erecting a frame store building on the S. side of Houston.

-         (August) At Rocky Ford the Rocky Ford Power Company has just completed a swimming pool 50 feet by 150 ft. and the water is heated in condensing steam.

-         (August) New standpipe to be erected on Sunset Hill in the circle s. of the cemetery.

-         (October) The Manhattan Telephone Company to have a new home. (September 1925) Workmen today broke ground for the new telephone exchange and office on North 4th street. (January 1926) The new building expected to be complete by May or June. With the installation of an automatic switchboard, dial telephones are being installed in Manhattan.



-         (January) City lets contract for new filtration water plant. (Sept.) The iron sediment to be removed from Manhattan water pipes. The new softening and settling plant nears completion. (January 1923) Water plant almost complete.

-         (March) Drive started to build a College Stadium. (July) work on the new stadium underway. (March 1924) General James G. Harbord donates his bonus check of over $800.00 to the Memorial Stadium at KSAC. (August 1924) The KSAC Stadium is about complete as far as present work is concerned. (The east wing of the stadium was completed in 1924.)

-         (April) Long Oil Co. is building a filling station on the corner of Moro and Manhattan, site leased from H.P. Wareham.

-         (June) New Masonic Hall dedicated. Begun in 1920, cornerstone in 1921.

-         Thompson Hall erected on Campus. (September) College cafeteria opened.

-         (July) Swimming pool being built. The Manhattan Tribune says the dirt that has to be moved for the swimming pool and out of the ditches dug for intake and drain pipe, that dirt the diggers dug into Tuesday was the meanest, toughest dirt, that hand of man has yet uncovered. About three hundred men and a hundred women participated in the days fun and work. The girls served the dinner and the men served in the trenches. (August) the pool will have concrete sides and an asphalt bottom.

-         (October) Gillett Hotel to be enlarged and another elevator added. (April 1923) Revised plans for the rebuilding of the Gillett Hotel call for the construction of a fourth story.

-         (October) Juvenile Building dedicated at the I.O.O.F. home. (now Job Corps)

-         (October) School bonds carry. To build three new schools (note: Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and the Junior High, current Manhattan High School East,) (December 1923) Contract for school building to replace old Central School (Woodrow Wilson) let in January 1924.(January 1924) Roosevelt School occupied.



-         Veterinary Clinics building, west wing of Waters Hall, residence of KSU President built.

-         (February) L.W. Johnsmeyer plans the erection of a $4,000 bakery at 610 N. 12th to be completed by June 1st.

-         Evangelical Lutheran Church to build a building at 530 Osage.

-         (March) Excavation for the new building for the Mercury is under way. The building is north of Spot Cash Store. It will be a two-story building with two rooms below, on of which will be for rent, and with offices above.

-         (May) Clarence Johnson gets the contract for the College State Bank of Aggieville bank building. The second floor will be fitted up for Club rooms. (August) Bank opened at the corner of 12th and Moro even though the building is not finished.

-         (August) The Ulrich Block (southeast corner 4th and Poyntz) to be remodeled and office entrance placed on the Fourth street side.

-         Roosevelt School built (see 1922.)



-         (February) Central School razed and new school (Woodrow Wilson) built. Name is in dispute, some want it named for recently deceased Amanda Arnold.

-         (March) The contract for the new high school building (Jr. High, current Manhattan High School East) to be let in May. Mr. Williamson, architect of the Roosevelt and Arnold (Woodrow Wilson) buildings has been employed to draw the plans. (June) Mont Green Contractor of new high school building.

-         (July) Handsome offices built at the corner of 3rd and Houston. A.W. Long, Long Oil Co. has moved his offices here.

-         the Swedish Lutheran Church has purchased two lots across from the High School at 10th and Poyntz and plans to build.


-         (April) Keats votes to build a new school to replace the grade school destroyed by fire. (June) Ground broken for the new Keats school.

-         (May) The foundation walls of the new Methodist Church are being laid. (July) Corner stone laid. (September 1926) The new Methodist Church is complete costing above a hundred thousand dollars. (October 10, 1926) Methodist Church dedication.

-         (August) Contract for the new dormitory for girls to be let. (Van Zile Hall) the building will be located in the northeast corner of the campus where the sheep now hold forth, and across the road from the chickens. (1926) Van Zile Hall competed and occupied. (August) The beautiful new dormitory for girls on the KSAC campus is completed and ready to be turned over to the college authorities. It will accommodate from 125 to 150 girls.

-         (September) Progress at a rapid rate on the Wareham building. Heavy steel beams and girders are handled with ease by the big crane and the steel skeleton is taking shape rapidly. (October 1926) The exterior of the new Wareham Building is complete except for the windows. It will be finished by spring and fitted for a hotel with 150 rooms. Back of the hotel, across the alley, Mr. Wareham will build a large storage garage to go with the building for the special use of its patrons.

-         Telephone exchange built. (Now Riley County Office building east annex) (January 1926) to be finished in May/June 1926.



-         (February) New College Library constructed.

-         (March) The Elks have purchased the old Dr. Roberts property on Houston street and expect to build a lodge hall.

-         C.L. Kipp began excavating yesterday (March10) for his new $6,500 residence at 1712 Houston.

-         (April) Harry Wareham to build new four room store building immediately east of the Long Oil station.



-         The new Cleburne High School dedicated.

-         KSAC Library completed, sheep barn erected, greenhouses erected.



-         (December) Government Engineer Guinn was in Manhattan inspecting the bridge that is being constructed across the Blue river.



-         (September) Willard Hall, Kansas State College new physical science building scene of an open house.



-         B – (April) Dedicate the new Riley High School building. Riley Rural High was organized in 1919.



-         (June 1920) Wilson Wreath, 82, was killed in front of his home at 1318 Yuma by a street car.

-         1922, Mayor J.C. Barber

-         Rev. William Knipe, d. May 1921. Rev. Knipe was a veteran of the Mexican and Civil Wars.

-         (November 1922) Major General James G. Harbord, one of the most distinguished soldiers of the World War and only second to General Pershing in the American Army has resigned from the Army to accept the head of the National Radio Corporation. Harbord is an alumnus of KSAC and his mother and sister live in Manhattan.

-         (April 1923) George D. Rathbun has rented a part of the old Liberty Milling property and will open a wholesale fruit and vegetable house. George Rathbun wrote the Rathbun Speller, used in Kansas schools for a generation.

-         Amanda Arnold, teacher, early settler, died.

-         (August 1924) Nellie Rhodes McMillan elected National President of the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic in Boston.

-         (December 1924) E. B. Purcell died, one week later Mrs. E. B. Purcell December 19, 1924 died.

-         (April 1925) Clarence Johnson voted Mayor of Manhattan.

-         (September 30, 1929) Dr. John D. Walters died. He was connected with KSAC 52 years.