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Coordinates: 39°20′N 96°42′W / 39.333, -96.7

Riley County, Kansas
Riley (Kansas) County Courthouse 1.jpg
Riley County Courthouse in Manhattan
Map of Kansas highlighting Riley County
Location in the state of Kansas
Map of the U.S. highlighting Kansas
Kansas's location in the U.S.
Founded August 25, 1855
Seat Manhattan
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

622.11 sq mi (1,611 km²)
609.55 sq mi (1,579 km²)
12.55 sq mi (33 km²), 2.02%
Population
 - (2020)
 - Density

71,959
103.0/sq mi (39.8/km²)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website RileyCountyKS.gov

Riley County (standard abbreviation: RL) is a county located in the U.S. state of Kansas. The county's population was 71,959 for the 2020 census.[1] The largest city and county seat is Manhattan. The county is part of the Manhattan, Kansas, Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Riley County is home to two of Kansas' largest employers: Fort Riley and Kansas State University. Among notable current and former residents of Riley County are former Governor John W. Carlin, General Glen Edgerton and millionaire miner Horace A. W. Tabor.

History[]

Riley County, named for Mexican-American War general Bennet Riley, was on the western edge of the 33 original counties established by the Kansas Territorial Legislature in August 1855. For organizational purposes, Riley County initially had attached to it Geary County and all land west of Riley County, across Kansas Territory into present-day Colorado.

The first Territorial Capital of Kansas Territory was located in the boundaries of Riley County, in the former town of Pawnee. The site now falls within the boundaries of Fort Riley, a U.S. Army post.

Manhattan was selected as county seat in contentious fashion. In late 1857, an election was held to select the county seat, with Ogden prevailing. However, Manhattanites suspected election fraud, and were eventually able to prove that a number of votes were illegally cast. Sheriff David A. Butterfield was forced to secure the county's books and records for Manhattan, and Manhattan was finally officially declared the county seat in 1858.[2]

On May 30, 1879, the "Irving, Kansas Tornado" began in Riley County. This tornado is estimated to have been an F4 on the Fujita scale, with a damage path 800 yards (700 m) wide and 100 miles (200 km) long. Eighteen people were killed and sixty were injured.[3]

Government[]

Riley County is governed by three county commissioners, John Ford, Marvin Rodriguez, and Ron Wells.[4]

Presidential elections[]

United States presidential election results for Riley County, Kansas[5]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 11,610 46.12% 12,765 50.71% 796 3.16%
2016 10,107 46.00% 9,341 42.51% 2,526 11.50%
2012 11,507 54.53% 8,977 42.54% 617 2.92%
2008 12,111 52.43% 10,495 45.43% 494 2.14%
2004 12,672 60.60% 7,908 37.82% 331 1.58%
2000 10,672 58.47% 6,188 33.90% 1,393 7.63%
1996 11,113 56.68% 6,746 34.41% 1,748 8.92%
1992 8,394 38.51% 7,933 36.39% 5,470 25.10%
1988 9,507 55.90% 7,283 42.82% 217 1.28%
1984 11,308 64.77% 5,975 34.22% 175 1.00%
1980 8,904 52.94% 5,224 31.06% 2,690 15.99%
1976 9,518 57.45% 6,540 39.47% 510 3.08%
1972 11,120 66.16% 5,333 31.73% 356 2.12%
1968 8,296 62.17% 4,258 31.91% 791 5.93%
1964 6,396 52.70% 5,597 46.12% 144 1.19%
1960 9,068 71.97% 3,482 27.63% 50 0.40%
1956 9,385 76.84% 2,784 22.80% 44 0.36%
1952 9,799 80.31% 2,352 19.28% 50 0.41%
1948 9,227 68.01% 4,052 29.87% 288 2.12%
1944 6,511 70.43% 2,659 28.76% 74 0.80%
1940 7,420 68.59% 3,293 30.44% 105 0.97%
1936 6,077 59.11% 4,104 39.92% 99 0.96%
1932 5,337 54.65% 4,101 42.00% 327 3.35%
1928 6,592 77.91% 1,791 21.17% 78 0.92%
1924 5,455 70.03% 1,646 21.13% 689 8.84%
1920 4,875 73.57% 1,610 24.30% 141 2.13%
1916 3,320 52.34% 2,637 41.57% 386 6.09%
1912 425 11.14% 1,170 30.67% 2,220 58.19%
1908 2,276 61.71% 1,289 34.95% 123 3.34%
1904 2,251 75.26% 523 17.49% 217 7.26%
1900 2,119 61.69% 1,279 37.23% 37 1.08%
1896 1,890 55.87% 1,443 42.65% 50 1.48%
1892 1,574 51.67% 0 0.00% 1,472 48.33%
1888 1,856 62.49% 772 25.99% 342 11.52%
1884 1,686 64.33% 644 24.57% 291 11.10%
1880 1,484 67.21% 377 17.07% 347 15.72%



Owing to its history of Yankee anti-slavery settlement in “Bleeding Kansas” days, Riley County became rock-ribbed Republican following Kansas statehood, except when over half of its voters supported Progressive Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 who himself was a Republican who had broken away from the party in that election cycle. Being relatively resistant to the Democratic populism of William Jennings Bryan, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt, Riley County stood as the westernmost of thirty-eight US counties to have never voted Democratic for President since the Civil War. However, it was the only one whose status as “never Democratic” stood significantly threatened in 2016 and 2020: Hillary Clinton’s losing margin of only 3.5 percent was the second-closest any Democrat has come to claiming the county behind her husband in the divided 1992 election.

In the 2018 Gubernatorial Election in Kansas, Democratic candidate Laura Kelly won Riley County by a 24 point margin, and in the 2018 US House Election in KS-01, Republican candidate Roger Marshall lost Riley County by a 2 point margin.

2020 became a historical election for Riley County, as, even though he lost the state, Joe Biden won the county 50.7% to 46.1%, the first Democratic presidential win in Riley County's history.

Riley County is the only county in Kansas without an elected sheriff; the county police department handles all the Sheriff’s functions.[6]

Laws[]

Riley County was a prohibition, or "dry", county until the Kansas Constitution was amended in 1986 and voters approved the sale of alcoholic liquor by the individual drink with a 30 percent food sales requirement. The food sales requirement was removed with voter approval in 2004.[7]

2005 KDOT Map of Riley County (map legend)

Geography[]

According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 622.11 square miles (1,611.3 km2), of which 609.55 square miles (1,578.7 km2) (or 97.98%) is land and 12.55 square miles (32.5 km2) (or 2.02%) is water.[8]

Geographic features[]

The eastern border of the county follows the former course of the Big Blue River. The river was dammed in the 1960s and Tuttle Creek Lake was created as a result. The county falls within the Flint Hills region of the state.

Adjacent counties[]

Demographics[]

Age pyramid

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 1,224
1870 5,105 317.1%
1880 10,430 104.3%
1890 13,183 26.4%
1900 13,828 4.9%
1910 15,783 14.1%
1920 20,650 30.8%
1930 19,882 −3.7%
1940 20,617 3.7%
1950 33,405 62.0%
1960 41,914 25.5%
1970 56,788 35.5%
1980 63,505 11.8%
1990 67,139 5.7%
2000 62,843 −6.4%
2010 71,115 13.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 62,843 people, 22,137 households, and 12,263 families residing in the county. The population density was 103 people per square mile (40/km²). There were 23,397 housing units at an average density of 38 per square mile (15/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 84.78% White, 6.88% Black or African American, 0.63% Native American, 3.22% Asian, 0.17% Pacific Islander, 1.89% from other races, and 2.43% from two or more races. 4.57% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 22,137 households out of which 27.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.20% were married couples living together, 6.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.60% were non-families. 27.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the county the population was spread out with 18.80% under the age of 18, 34.50% from 18 to 24, 25.90% from 25 to 44, 13.30% from 45 to 64, and 7.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 24 years. For every 100 females there were 114.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 115.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $32,042, and the median income for a family was $46,489. Males had a median income of $26,856 versus $23,835 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,349. About 8.50% of families and 20.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.20% of those under age 18 and 6.70% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and towns[]

Incorporated cities[]

Name and population (2004 estimate):

  • Manhattan, 47,916 (county seat)
  • Ogden, 1,544
  • Riley, 760
  • Leonardville, 384
  • Randolph, 149

Unincorporated places[]

  • Ashland
  • Bala
  • Keats
  • Lasita
  • May Day
  • Rocky Ford
  • Zeandale

Former communities[]

These former places were flooded when Tuttle Creek Lake was created in the 1950s and 1960s. Randolph was also flooded, but moved a mile west of its original location.

  • Cleburn
  • Garrison Cross
  • Stockdale

Fort Riley[]

Located north of the junction of the Smoky Hill and Republican rivers in Geary County, Fort Riley Military Reservation covers 100,656 acres (407 km2) in Geary and Riley counties. The fort has a daytime population of nearly 25,000 and includes two census-designated places:

  • Fort Riley North
  • Fort Riley-Camp Whiteside (located only in Geary County)

Townships[]

Riley County is divided into fourteen townships. The city of Manhattan is considered governmentally independent and is excluded from the census figures for the townships. In the following table, the population center is the largest city (or cities) included in that township's population total, if it is of a significant size.

Sources: 2000 U.S. Gazetteer from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Township FIPS Population
center
Population Population
density
/km² (/sq mi)
Land area
km² (sq mi)
Water area
km² (sq mi)
Water % Geographic coordinates
Ashland 02725 150 2 (4) 89 (35) 1 (0) 0.75% 39°6′48″N 96°37′42″W / 39.11333, -96.62833
Bala 03825 Leonardville 762 7 (18) 108 (42) 0 (0) 0.12% 39°20′34″N 96°53′47″W / 39.34278, -96.89639
Center 12100 81 1 (3) 82 (32) 0 (0) 0.04% 39°29′22″N 96°52′54″W / 39.48944, -96.88167
Fancy Creek 22950 126 2 (4) 83 (32) 0 (0) 0.07% 39°24′55″N 96°53′14″W / 39.41528, -96.88722
Grant 28075 833 9 (23) 92 (35) 7 (3) 7.38% 39°17′52″N 96°41′31″W / 39.29778, -96.69194
Jackson 34900 Randolph 326 4 (10) 84 (32) 10 (4) 10.30% 39°26′43″N 96°45′1″W / 39.44528, -96.75028
Madison 44125 Fort Riley North CDP (part) 8,173 22 (58) 366 (141) 0 (0) 0.11% 39°15′32″N 96°50′26″W / 39.25889, -96.84056
Manhattan 44275 3,275 37 (95) 89 (35) 3 (1) 3.28% 39°12′45″N 96°35′46″W / 39.2125, -96.59611
May Day 45225 78 1 (2) 81 (31) 0 (0) 0.04% 39°32′39″N 96°53′41″W / 39.54417, -96.89472
Ogden 52300 Ogden 2,423 69 (178) 35 (14) 1 (0) 2.32% 39°7′6″N 96°41′54″W / 39.11833, -96.69833
Sherman 65075 524 7 (18) 76 (29) 5 (2) 6.06% 39°22′30″N 96°43′58″W / 39.375, -96.73278
Swede Creek 69650 157 1 (3) 125 (48) 4 (1) 3.00% 39°32′24″N 96°42′9″W / 39.54, -96.7025
Wildcat 79175 750 10 (25) 77 (30) 0 (0) 0.10% 39°13′26″N 96°42′28″W / 39.22389, -96.70778
Zeandale 80900 357 2 (6) 154 (60) 2 (1) 0.97% 39°7′39″N 96°27′19″W / 39.1275, -96.45528

Education[]

Colleges and universities[]

  • Kansas State University
  • Manhattan Christian College
  • Manhattan Area Technical College

Unified school districts[]

See also[]

  • Pillsbury Crossing
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Riley County, Kansas

Information on this and other counties in Kansas

Other information for Kansas


References[]

Further reading[]

External links[]

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This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Riley County, Kansas. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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