Last week, I presented my paper at the Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians (SESAH) Annual Conference in Manhattan, Kansas. As usual, I’m writing to let you know some interesting sites in this city. Local people call it “the Small Apple” – as we know Manhattan, New York as “the Big Apple”. In fact, the 19th
century European-American settlers in this area did come from the East Coast. Nowadays, the city is home to Kansas State University (our conference host) and the heart of Riley County, Kansas.
1. Riley County Historical Museum
This museum is administrated by the Riley County Historical Society (est. 1914). It hosts two large rooms of exhibitions on local history, especially on the agricultural production of this area, the American Indian traditions, early European-American settlers, as well as local arts and crafts. This is a great one-stop location to learn the history of Manhattan and its surrounding area.
2. Pioneer Log Cabin in the City Park
This is another historic site (est. 1915, early location of the above-mentioned museum) administrated by the Riley County Historical Society. Located in the middle of Manhattan City Park, this one-story cabin house was built by volunteers from donated materials, including locally grown walnut logs.
3. Union Pacific Train Depot
This 1902 train depot is located to the southeastern side of Manhattan’s historic downtown, nowadays along the State Highway 177. It has been restored and it’s not open to the public except special events, but visitors can still take a look at the historic train depot from its exterior.
4. World War I Memorial Stadium
The Memorial Stadium is located to the southern end of K-State campus. Constructed in early the early 1920s, the stadium paid tribute to K-State students who died in World War I. It was the home ground of K-State Wildcats football team from 1922 to 1967. Much of the seating bowl have been converted to gardens, but students still use the field in the middle for athletic events.
5. Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art at Kansas State University
“The Beach” is the art museum on K-State campus. Among the many exhibits on view, I especially like the landscape paintings and woodblock prints of the Midwest scenery by local artists.
6. Flint Hill Discovery Center
When we talk about Discovery Center we always talk about “kids’ zone”. However, this place is more of a natural history museum than a children’s museum. It offers a permanent exhibit on Flint Hill, the only Tallgrass Prairie ecosystem in the United States that includes Manhattan in its northern tip. There is also exhibits devoted to wildlife and wildlife conservation in the Midwest and other regions of the country, for example, two very informative exhibits on wolves and American bisons.
7. K-State Gardens and Insect Zoo
Fans of plants and insects will love to explore and play in the old Dairy Barn and K-State Gardens. The site is free, open to the public, and offers student-led guided tours throughout the day.
Mingqian is a PhD studen in the Department of Architecture