Riley County Historical Museum

(785) 565-6490
2309 Claflin, Manhattan, KS 66502
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The story of Manhattan's beginnings, as well as that of many of the surrounding communities of Riley County, involves the hopes and desires for freedom brought to the region by dedicated and idealistic pioneers. When founding father Isaac Goodnow stood on Bluemont Hill and discovered the perfect location for a new, abolitionist city in the Kansas Territory, he was looking forward to vibrant community and an America free from slavery. The story of how that community was carved from the tallgrass prairie at the confluence of the Kansas and Big Blue Rivers is yours to experience at the Riley County Historical Museum. Of course, not everyone shared those same values. Other communities in the region sought to defend the institution of slavery, which led to early struggles. To complicate the struggles, these same pioneers from the East also had to learn a new way of life in the unknown environment of the tallgrass prairie and the Kansas Flint Hills. At the Riley County Historical Museum, visitors can learn these and other stories of the past from this unique region. Visitors can walk through the Hartford House, a prefabricated home that was brought to Manhattan on the Hartford Steamboat. The Hartford was bringing more settlers to the region when it ran aground on a sand bar on nearby Kansas River. This region's story also includes the history of Kansas State University, once known as Blue Mont College, and how it became the country's first land-grant university in 1863. Celebrate the heritage and history of The Little Apple® at the Riley County Historical Society.

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