Fort Riley Journals

Finding a little history in Fort Riley, Kansas

A travel journal to Fort Riley by Casual Tourist

US Calvary Museum Photo, Fort Riley, Kansas More Photos
Quote: Here you will find descriptions and photos of some of the attractions at the historic Main Post at Fort Riley, Kansas. The Main Post buildings are wonderfully constructed of native limestone. The Post includes four museums, a buffalo corral and several other points of interest.

Finding a little history in Fort Riley, Kansas

Overview

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There is a marvelous, self-conducted walking tour of the historic area of the Main Post. A must see is the US Calvary Museum, located in the former Regiment Hall building.

If you plan to take the entire walking tour as well as visit the museums, I'd set aside an entire day for the adventure.

Quick Tips:

Best Way To Get Around:

A personal vehicle is strongly recommended. Even though the walking tour is a marvelous adventure, you may have enough of walking with the four museums.

US Calvary Museum

Attraction

US Calvary Museum Photo, Fort Riley, Kansas
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I really expected to be a bit bored in this museum, but was pleasantly surprised to find that the building itself and the displays were totally captivating. The building is of limestone and has been standing for 150 years now. Because the building was not originally designed to house a museum, the displays are arranged in average-sized rooms in the most unique fashion.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 23, 2000

US Calvary Museum
Old Post
Fort Riley, Kansas 66442-0325
(785) 784-5797

1st Infantry Division Museum

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Attraction

1st Infantry Division Museum Photo, Fort Riley, Kansas
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The tour of this museum is self-guided, aided by a brief brochure that can be found at the guest book table. There are six rooms of displays on the main floor and one on an upper level. An interesting addition to the usual museum displays were two rooms that actually took you into a setting from WWI and Vietnam. It was eerie walking through the simulated trench display in the WWI area. Because of the lighting and construction of the display, it felt as if you were really in a trench. All that was lacking was the mud. Walking through the simulated Vietnam era jungle was even more eerie for me as I have a clear recollection of news reports about that war. This museum can be seen in about 1/2 an h...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 26, 2000

1st Infantry Division Museum
Building 207
Fort Riley, Kansas

1st Territorial Capital of Kansas

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Story/Tip

Kansas Territorial Capital Photo, Fort Riley, Kansas
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As with many states, Kansas cities had their battles to secure the honor of capital for their very own. The now extinct city of Pawnee put it's bid in for this position and constructed a large meeting building that served for a short time as the territorial capital of Kansas. Now located within the confines of Ft. Riley, this building has been restored and is open for public display free of charge. I found the building to be mildly interesting, significant mostly for it's historical value. There were a few displays inside, but generally the interior of the building consisted of two large rooms, one on the main floor and one upstairs.
Fort Riley Photo, Fort Riley, Kansas
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Part of the fun of exploring the Old Main Post at Fort Riley is driving through the complex and viewing the limestone buildings.
Many of the limestone buildings at the Old Main Post were constructed in the 1850s. Graceful arches and castle-like spires adorn many of the structures, giving the place an old world charm. The rock is native to the area and allowed the planners and builders to create a permanent military post in central Kansas.
Functionality has changed throughout the years, but the beauty and solidity of these buildings has remained. Occasionally, later modifications and/or additions were made to the structures.
WWI Display Photo, Fort Riley, Kansas
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The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 4:00 p.m.

Donations are accepted, but no official charge is rendered for visiting the museum. It is noted in their flyer that the building is handicap accessible but I didn't notice any ramps, etc.

There is a research library on the second floor that can be accessed by appointment.

Outside the museums

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Story/Tip

Fort Riley Photo, Fort Riley, Kansas
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What would a military museum be without the usual tanks and artillery displays sitting around. My husband was fascinated by the size of the tank on the east side of the Calvalry Museum. To the north, in front of the museum is a marvelous statue of a horse. It was placed in 1997 to commemorate all the horses and mules that died during the Civil War. Paul Mellon was the artist.

US Calvary Museum - Range of displays

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Story/Tip

US Calvary Museum Photo, Fort Riley, Kansas
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The displays at the Calvary Museum include sculptures, murals, flags, paintings, clothing, and other calvary related articles.

Two stories worth of history are contained within the sandstone building. In one of the first rooms that I entered (I think I entered from a side door) was a rich display of dark sculptures. The room was dimly lit with spotlights on the displays. I was captivated immediately. What I thought might be a bit boring suddenly became quite interesting.

Downstairs, as well as up, the rooms were almost maze-like in their arrangement. All facets of calvary history in the US were covered, from the origin to current day.