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The original item was published from 2/1/2023 11:34:38 AM to 5/1/2023 12:00:01 AM.

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Riley County Home Page

Posted on: February 1, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Black History Month: Celebrating Charles Alfred Howell

historic newsprint photo of men standing in front of stone entryway

The Flint Hills region is known for its beautiful limestone architecture. One of Manhattan’s most prolific early stone contractors was Charles Alfred Howell. 

Charles Howell was born in Knoxville, Tennessee on November 5, 1881. When he was three years old, he moved with his family to Manhattan, Kansas. The Howell family was well-known in Manhattan as Charles’ father, J.M.T. (Jerry) Howell, served as Constable in 1895 and also worked as a stonemason. Charles’ sister, Minnie Howell Champe, was the first female African American graduate of Kansas State Agricultural College in 1901 and later worked as the Director of the Douglass Center. 

Charles Howell’s numerous stonework projects can been found in our community today. They include:

  • Memorial Gateway at Sunset Cemetery (1917)
  • 1st Presbyterian Church (all stone quarried and cut by Howell) (1917)
  • Laying of vitrified brick sidewalks on Moro Street (1921)
  • Waters Hall, West Wing, Kansas State University (1923) 
  • Stonework on the Lyda-Jean Apartments at 5th and Houston Street (1930)
  • House at 1001 Colorado (Howell’s home, still standing today) (1936)
  • Quarried the stone used at Griffith Stadium (1936)
  • Willard Hall, Kansas State University (1939)
  • Stone fence around Sunset Cemetery (1940)
limestone archway at Sunset CemeterySunset Cemeteryexterior of brick apartment buildingLyda-Jean Apartment Building at 5th and Houston St.
brick sidewalkBrick sidewalk along Moro St.
historic newsprint of advertisement featuring Charles HowellMorning Chronicle ad from January 1, 1917


historic newsprint photo of men standing in front of stone entryway

Photo of Charles Alfred Howell from the Stone Cutters Journal, June 1923

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