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 - Buffalo Bill Cody, Wild Bill Hickok, General George Armstrong Custer, General George S. Patton and General Lewis Armistead.
Today, Fort Riley is home to the 1st Infantry Division. The reservation covers more than 101,000 acres, spanning both Riley and Geary counties. Many historic points of interest on post are open to the public.
Custer House - Guides welcome you 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. The Custer House is also representative of frontier life on the Kansas prairie. The house is open mid-May to the end of September, Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday noon to 4 p.m. Building 24 on Sheridan Ave., 785-239-2737. Special appointments may be arranged by calling 785-239-6727.
U.S. Cavalry & 1st Infantry Division museums - Fort Riley houses two of the finest military museums in this region. Built in 1855 as the original hospital, the U.S. Cavalry Museum, Bldg. 205 on Henry Ave., has become the pride of Fort Riley after serving as the Post Headquarters and the Cavalry School Headquarters. The U.S. Cavalry Museum and 1st Infantry Division Museum are housed in separate buildings on the historic Main Post.
The 1st Infantry Division Museum has reopened in Bldg. 207. Currently, there are exhibits relating to the Big Red One's history from 1917 to the present. There are also exhibits on the U. S. Constabulary forces that served in Germany immediately following World War II.
Cavalry Museum hours are Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sundays, noon to 4:30 p.m. The 1st Infantry Division Museum hours of operation are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday. Both are closed on major holidays.
For more information on the museums, call 785-239-2737 or 785-239-2743, visit the Fort Riley Web site at http://www.riley.army.mil/Recreation/Museums.aspor write Museum Division, DPTMS, P.O. Box 2160, Fort Riley, KS 66442-5016.
If you do not have a military/civilian ID for accessing Fort Riley, you must first stop at the Marshall Field, Ogden Gate or Forsyth Gate to secure a visitors pass. When doing so, you must have the following:
1. Photo identification. (driver's license)
2. Proof of vehicle insurance
3. Vehicle registration
For additional Fort Riley information, contact Fort Riley information at 785-239-3911 or Fort Riley Public Affairs, 785-239-3358 or 785-239-2022 or visit www.riley.army.mil.