1866 and 1867 Lieutenant
George Armstrong Custer was stationed at the fort. Wild Bill Hickok was a scout for Fort Riley starting in 1867. On
January 1, 1893, Fort Riley became the site of the Cavalry and Light
Artillery School, which continued until 1943, when the Cavalry was
disbanded. Several times throughout the years, the famous 9th and 10th
Cavalry Regiments of all-black soldiers, referred to as Buffalo
were stationed at the fort.
Through both world wars and up until today, the post has remained active.
The military reservation now covers more than 100,000 acres and has a
daytime population of nearly 25,000, which includes the 1st Infantry
Division, nicknamed the Big Red One.
Fort Riley is located on the north bank of the
Kansas River three miles north of Junction City.
Fort Riley Museum Division
Artillery Parade Field
– It is said that a woman wrapped in chains has often been seen walking
across the field on clear nights. Who this woman was and what she might
have done wrong in order to wind up in chains has never been known.
Camp Funston - Camp Funston was the
largest of sixteen divisional cantonment (temporary or semi-permanent military quarters) training camps constructed during World
War I. Designated to be located at Fort Riley due to its central
location in the nation, construction began on July 1, 1917 and the camp
was completed on December 1st of the same year. With a capacity of over
50,000, it drew trainees from all over the Great Plains states. However,
not long after the camp was completed and filled with soldiers, the 1918
flu epidemic, called the "Influenza Pandemic of 1918" hit the camp.
Worldwide, this fatal flu virus, cited as the most devastating epidemic in
recorded world history, killed more people than did World War I, an
estimated 20 to 40 million people, including some 675,000 Americans. A
global disaster, the flu took its toll on Camp Funston and Fort Riley,
like it did the rest of the world.
Camp Funston in 1918. This image available for
photographic prints and downloads
When the war was over in 1918, the camp, as well as the
Army shrunk and by 1922, Camp Funston officially ceased to exist. Today,
its many buildings now serve as temporary housing.
Though those WWI
soldiers-in-training are long gone; seemingly, at least one of them has
chosen to stay. First reported in the late 1960's, a ghostly
World War I uniform has been seen in the area, continuing his patrol. The
tale alleges that a Public Works employee first spied the ghostly figure
while repairing downed electrical lines. In the midst of a snow storm, he
noticed a soldier, in a heavy wool overcoat and rifle over his shoulder,
pacing back and forth near the site of the old world War I era gymnasium.
After repairing the lines, he decided to share his thermos of hot coffee
with the young man; however, when he approached the area where he had
spied him, the
soldier was gone. More perplexing, was the snow-covered
ground showed no sign of footprints. Many believe that this long forgotten
soldier is one of those who died during the 1918 flu pandemic.