Downtown Historic DistrictThe Downtown Manhattan Historic District was first established as a Certified Local Historic District in 1982 and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The district is just over 6 blocks in area, encompassing the concentration of extant historic commercial and civic buildings within the central building district (see map).
In July of 1855, the town-site of Manhattan was platted and the town founders named the east-west street that separated the two floats, “Poyntz,” after Colonel Poyntz, financier of the steamboat Hartford. The street south of Poyntz was named after Sam Houston, the first white settler in the Manhattan area.
Poyntz Avenue has been the commercial and civic center of town since the 1850s, and while no buildings remain from this period, there are a number of excellent buildings within the district from 1880 to the 1920s. The earliest existing structure is the Powers’ Residence, built in 1869. The 300 block of Poyntz Avenue, as it basically exists today, was established between 1879 and 1910. Also of importance is the "Wareham Block," constructed between 1884 and 1928 (a stone opera house was built in 1884 on the site of what was to become the Wareham Theater, which was constructed in 1909). Today, the Downtown Manhattan Historic District is comprised of 61 buildings and two outbuildings, combining for a total of 63. Of the total number of structures, 44 are contributing resources. Among the contributing buildings, three are individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places and one listed on the Kansas Register of Historic Places. Among the styles prevalent within the Downtown Historic District are Italianate, Vernacular Victorian, Richardsonian Romanesque, Queen Anne, Classical Revival and Moderne.
Downtown Manhattan was comprised, historically, of a wide range of uses including light industrial, agricultural, transportation-related, service and professional offices, and retail stores as well as civic, social and governmental uses. Housing also constituted a prominent use in the district, historically, including apartments above businesses, private residences, and at least five hotels. Today, the composition of the district continues to be a mix of uses, although the uses do vary from those historically. The district was listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places in 2007.
Houston-Pierre Street District The Houston & Pierre Streets Residential Historic District represents Manhattan’s residential development patterns during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Located just south of Poyntz Avenue (see map), this neighborhood evolved as a desirable location for Manhattan’s affluent middle class as the city flourished as a rural railroad market center, county seat, and college town. In the early 1900s, the area of Houston and Pierre Streets was the desired housing location of prominent businessmen, attorneys, and university faculty because it was within walking distance of the downtown commercial area and electric car-line stops, but removed from the associated traffic and noise.
Early residents included affluent widows, businessmen, lumberyard owners, cattlemen, developers, bankers, educators, college professors, the superintendent of schools, a veterinarian, a pharmacist, ministers, merchants, lawyers, and physicians.
The district is characterized by tree-lined streets and homes built between the late 19th and early 20th century, as well as significant portions of sidewalk that retain their historic brick paving. It includes the historic Courthouse Square, which is an undeveloped city block that was set aside as public and open space in the original plat of the City of Manhattan. The district retains a high degree of architectural integrity and includes 69 contributing buildings, of which 41 are single-family residences, 24 are outbuildings, 2 are church buildings, and 2 are apartment buildings. The brick sidewalks and the Courthouse Square are also contributing resources.
Homes within the district represent approximately 75 years of architectural history, dating from approximately 1866 to 1940, prior to the onset of World War II. Architectural styles within the district include:
- Mid-19th Century Gothic Revival and Greek Revival
- Late 19th and 20th Century Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, Queen Anne, Prairie Folk School, and Bungalow/Craftsman
- Late Victorian Italian Renaissance and Second Empire
- Natural Folk House Pyramidal, American Foursquare, and Gable-Front-and-Wing Forms
- Four-Family Flat
The district was listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places in 2008.
Wolf House Historic District
The Wolf House Historic district is the smallest in Manhattan. Located at the northeast corner of N. Juliette and Fremont, the Wolf House (1868), the Mansfield House (1868), the Moses House (1870) and the Wolf Photography Studio (1902) constitute the site in one of Manhattan’s oldest neighborhoods. The Mansfield and Wolf Houses are in their original location and are representatives of early permanent stone residences downtown. The Wolf House was one of the earliest boarding houses in Manhattan where, among others, numerous faculty and students at Kansas Agricultural College resided. The Mansfield House became home to local stone mason Nels Sandell in 1874. The Moses House and the Wolf Photography Studio were moved to the Wolf House site in 1957 when Riley County was looking for land to accommodate additional parking for the adjacent courthouse and Carnegie Library. The Wolf Photographic Studio was one of the longest continually-operated businesses in the city and the longest running photo business when it closed in 1956. In 1982 and 1993 the Wolf House and Mansfield House were respectively donated to the Riley County Historical Society who currently operate the site as the Wolf House Museum. The district was listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places in 2018.
Lee Elementary Neighborhood Historic District
The Lee Elementary Neighborhood Historic District, located along Hunting Avenue just three blocks west of the KSU campus (see map) tells a story of two, complementary threads in U.S. and Manhattan history. Built between 1950-1965, the district is a postwar development. Housing was in high demand and neighborhoods sprang up quickly in response. The Harris and Lee Additions making up this district reflect this demand for new family housing as well as Atomic Age planning and design, with relatively larger lots, deeper setbacks, and curvilinear streets. The homes in the proposed district were largely built or maintained by university professors and administrators, along with the Manhattan professionals needed for an expanding community of the time. Consisting of single-family homes and the Acacia fraternity house, the district captures the historic and contemporary social mix of many Manhattan neighborhoods near the university. The district is the first local historic district, being inducted into the Manhattan Register of Historic Places in 2021. See Ordinance No 7544.
Yuma Street Historic District
The Yuma Street Historic District is historically significant in the area of Ethnic Heritage and Social History for its role in the development of the African American community in Manhattan and local representation of the broader history of the fight for equality. This district’s location (see map) has been a center for the black community in Manhattan since the late 1870s when the first organizations and framed buildings started appearing. The churches have consistently been an integral institutional centerpiece that brought the black community together. The Yuma Street Historic District contains three such churches, several of them with origins of over 100 years ago, that have been an anchor of support for the local black community, as well as Douglass School, once an elementary school for black children during segregation, and a former United Service Organization building that was for black soldiers' recreation. The district was listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places in 2022.
Building or Structure
|Local Address||Year Built||Local Register||State Register||National Register|
919 Mid-Campus Dr
|Avalon Apartments||417 Fremont St.||1925||No||Yes||Yes|
|Bethel AME||401 Yuma St.||1927||No||Yes||Yes|
|Bluemont Youth Cabin||Goodnow Park||1938||No||Yes||Yes|
|Community House||120 N. 4th St.||1917||No||Yes||Yes|
|Coon's House||1922 Leavenworth St.||1930||Yes||No||No|
|Damon Runyon House||400 Osage St.||1880||No||Yes||Yes|
|Daniel & Maude Walters House||100 S. Delaware Ave.||1928||No||Yes||Yes|
|E.A. & Ura Wharton House||608 Houston St.||1897||No||Yes||Yes|
|First Congregational Church||700 Poyntz Ave.||1859||No||Yes||Yes|
|Floral Hall (The Roundhouse)||1101 Fremont St.||1875||No||Yes||No|
|Francis Byron "Barney" Kimble House||720 Poyntz Ave.||1912||No||Yes||Yes|
|Grimes House||203 N. Delaware Ave.||1916||No||Yes||Yes|
|Hartford House||2309 Claflin Road||1855||No||Yes||Yes|
|Henry & Elenora Strong House||1916 Beck St.||1867||No||Yes||No|
|Hulse-Daughters House||617 Colorado St.||1892||No||Yes||Yes|
|Jeremiah Platt House||2005 Claflin Rd.||1871||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Jessie Ingraham House||1724 Fairchild Ave.||1867||No||Yes||Yes|
|Isaac Goodnow House||2301 Claflin Rd.||1857||No||Yes||Yes|
|KSAC Radio Towers||Kansas State University||1924||No||Yes||Yes|
|Landmark Water Tower||Leavenworth & Sunset||1922||No||Yes||Yes|
|Leslie A. Fitz House||1014 Houston St.||1914||No||Yes||Yes|
|Lyda-Jean Apartments||501 Houston St.||1930||No||Yes||Yes|
|Manhattan Carnegie Library||530 Poyntz Ave.||1904||No||Yes||Yes|
|Manhattan State Bank||400 Poyntz Ave.||1906||No||Yes||No|
|Mattie M. Elliot House||600 Houston St.||1928||No||Yes||Yes|
|McFarlane-Wareham Residence||1906 Leavenworth St.||1928||No||Yes||Yes|
|Pioneer Log Cabin||City Park||1916||No||Yes||Yes|
|Riley County Courthouse||100 Courthouse Plaza||1906||No||Yes||Yes|
|Robert Ulrich House||121N. 8th St.||1868||No||Yes||Yes|
|Rocky Ford School||1967 Barnes Rd.||1927||No||Yes||Yes|
|Samuel Houston House||3624 Anderson Ave.||1857||No||Yes||Yes|
|Second (Pilgrim) Baptist Church||831 Yuma St.||1917||No||Yes||Yes|
|Seven Dolors Catholic Church||731 Pierre St.||1920||No||Yes||Yes|
|St. Mary's Hospital/Manhattan YMCA||1100 Fremont||1907||No||Yes||No|
|Strasser House||326 Laramie St.||1874||No||Yes||Yes|
|Union Pacific Depot||120 Ft. Riley Blvd.||1902||No||Yes||No|
|Washington Marlatt House & Barn||1600 College Ave.||1856||No||Yes||No|
|Women's Club House||900 Poyntz Ave.||1911||No||Yes||Yes|