Fort Riley is a United States Army post located on the Kansas River between Junction City and Manhattan and covers over 100,000 acres in Geary and Riley counties. The post has a daytime population of nearly 25,000 (and counting).
Fort Riley is named in honor of Major General Bennett C. Riley, who led the first military escort along the Santa Fe Trail. The fort was established in 1853 as a military post to protect the movement of people and trade over the Oregon-California and Santa Fe trails.
It was also a base for skirmishes with Native Americans after the Civil War ended in 1865, during which time George Custer was stationed there. Fort Riley later became the site of the United States Army Cavalry School, until the Cavalry was disbanded in 1943.
The famous all-black 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments, the soldiers of which were called "Buffalo Soldiers," were also stationed at Fort Riley during various times in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
In World War I, it was home to 50,000 soldiers. Since the end of World War II, various infantry divisions have been assigned there. Most notably, it was home to the Big Red One from 1955-1996. The famous division recently returned in 2006.
Be sure to visit the First Capitol of the Kansas Territory, which is also located at the fort.