Only eight miles west of Manhattan on K-18 is the Home of the Big Red One, Fort Riley. Founded in 1852, the Fort Riley Army post was originally established to protect settlers on the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails. Many legendary and historic characters have been associated with Fort Riley over the past century. They include:
- General Lewis Armistead
- Buffalo Bill Cody
- General George Armstrong Custer
- Wild Bill Hickok
- General George S. Patton
Today, Fort Riley is home to the 1st Infantry Division. The reservation covers more than 100,000 acres and spans both Riley and Geary counties. Many historic points of interest on post are open to the public with possession of a visitors pass.
Guides welcome visitors to the beautifully restored Custer House. Built of native limestone in 1854, during the initial building phase at Fort Riley, these quarters stand as the only set of surviving officers' quarters from the fort's early history. Custer House is also representative of frontier life on the Kansas prairie (House open mid-May to end of September):
Custer House location: Building 24, Sheridan Avenue (785-239-2737).
To access Fort Riley
If you do not have a military/civilian ID to access Fort Riley, you must first stop at the Henry Gate at Marshall Field to secure a visitors pass. To do so, you must have the following:
- Photo identification
- Proof of vehicle insurance
- Vehicle registration
Fort Riley information (785-239-3911), Fort Riley Public Affairs (785-239-3358/785-239-2022), Fort Riley website.