The story begins aboard a steamboat... which chugged to Kansas from Ohio, then ran aground on the Kansas River. The year was 1855. One hundred sixty years later, the same Downtown Manhattan area still stands and thrives with redevelopment. Manhattan Town Center is 30 years old, and still fits nicely at the end of Poyntz Avenue like a snugly-fitted boot.
Aggieville is the first shopping district in Kansas and continues to thrive as an entertainment district. Look how far the little establishment of Manhattan has come. All because of Steamboat Hartford!
It all starts aboard Steamboat
On April 27, 1855, the Cincinnati and Kansas Land Company departed Cincinnati, Ohio, on the steamboat Hartford, bound for north-central Kansas. The plan was to head west via the Ohio, Mississippi, Missouri and Kansas rivers, which led to founding a community in Kansas Territory. New York investors in the land company played a substantial role in naming Manhattan for the new town.
A new town of Boston was already established where the Hartford was grounded by a sandbar, and Bostonians liked the new arrivals. Once convinced to stay, the town became Manhattan at the newcomer's request.
The Little Apple
Manhattan NY, originally referred to as the Big Apple in early 1900s, made the nickname part of a 1970s tourism campaign. It was only natural for Manhattan KS, named after the borough, to follow suit. Only, MHK went with a different luminosity and become known as “The Little Apple®.” Manhattan KS was first called The Little Apple® way back in 1977. Other nicknames include Manhappenin' and Manhappy, and visitors quickly find the reason why: it's the friendly nature of "Manhattan-ites"!