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- Historic Surveys
Here you will find information on the different historic surveys conducted by the City of Manhattan since 2003. All surveys were partially funded through the State of Kansas’ Historic Preservation Fund grant program. Resources for conducting historic surveys and research can be found at the bottom of this page. If you’re looking for historic information on an individual property, it may be available in the Kansas Historic Resources Inventory, where you may search by address.
2020 Aggieville Historic Survey
In 2019, the City of Manhattan was awarded a grant from the Kansas State Historical Society to study the history of Aggieville and assess the historic significance buildings throughout it. A survey was conducted by Spencer Preservation of Wamego, Kansas. The study area included all property between 11th Street, 14th Street, Fremont Street, and Bluemont Avenue. The study concluded in summer 2020.
Results of the survey included a historic inventory of 90 buildings in the district, searchable on the Kansas Historic Resources Inventory website. The history and significance of these and the area in general is more broadly described in the Aggieville Historic Resources Inventory Survey Report, which describes the area's eligibility for the establishment of a historic district as well as pathways for individual buildings to be nominated to the State and National registers.
2018: Sunset Area Historic Resources Survey
In 2017, the City of Manhattan was awarded a grant from the Kansas State Historical Society to study the history of the city-owned land in the Sunset area and assess the historic significance of historic resources throughout it. A survey was conducted by Historic Resources Group of Lincoln, Nebraska. The study area included Sunset Cemetery, Sunset Zoo, Girl Scout Park, and Sunset Neighborhood Park. The study concluded in fall 2018.
Results of the survey included several PSIQs for several structures throughout the area, which can be used to list them on the State and National Register. The history and significance of these, other structures, and the area in general is described in the Sunset Area Historic Resources Survey Report, which recommends establishing a historic district in the area.
2010: African American Cultural Resources Survey
The City of Manhattan sponsored a survey of Manhattan’s African-American cultural resources in 2010 and produced a Multiple Property Documentation Form (MPDF) for African-American Resources in Manhattan. The survey identifies the types of properties that have significant ties to the African-American community and that may be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The project was funded through a Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) grant from the Kansas State Historical Society.
Among the African-American cultural resources that remain intact in the community are the Bethel A.M.E. and Pilgrim Baptist Churches and the Douglass School building, which were early centers for social, educational and political support to the community. The project highlights and documents a significant part of Manhattan’s history about which there is limited community-wide awareness.
The consulting firm of Three Gables Preservation carried out the project. The MPDF was approved for the National Register on May 30, 2012. The Bethel A.M.E. Church and Pilgrim Baptist Church were also listed on the National Register as part of this project.
2008: Manhattan Archaeological Survey
The city contracted with the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work at Kansas State University (KSU) to complete an archaeological inventory and survey of the Manhattan urban area to identify and evaluate archaeological resources in areas of impending development. The first two phases of the Manhattan Archaeological Survey were completed summer 2009.
Prior to the survey, 98 archaeological sites or places of past human activity had been recorded in the project area. The survey added to the inventory of archaeological sites in the project area. Twenty-two previously unreported archaeological sites were identified and many of the previously reported sites were also revisited. These include sites ranging in age from approximately 6,000 years ago to less than 100 years old. The majority is prehistoric or relates to native inhabitants who left no written records of their way of life and date more than 200 years old.
The Manhattan Archaeological Survey is only a sample of the archaeological record of Manhattan. However, the project confirms the richness of past evidence and extensive time depth of human use of this area. The survey is a starting point for recognizing potentially valuable archaeological remains in the Manhattan urban area.
2003: Cultural Resources Survey of Wards 1 & 2 of Downtown
In 2003, the City of Manhattan was awarded a grant from the Kansas State Historical Society for the purpose of completing a reconnaissance-level historic resources survey of Wards 1 and 2 of the original city plat, an area generally bounded by Juliette Avenue to the west, Pottawatomie Avenue to the south, Third Street to the east, and Bluemont Avenue to the north.
Performing the Survey
The City of Manhattan contracted with Historic Preservation Services, LLC, of Kansas City, Mo., to perform the survey. The goal of the survey was to identify and evaluate architectural and historic cultural resources in the survey area and its immediate vicinity and to ascertain any individual properties and/or groups of properties that may be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
Cultural Resources Survey Report
One final product of the survey is the Cultural Resources Survey Report. Generally, the report gives a number of ways to protect historic resources in the study area, whether it is through outright nomination of an individual property to the National Register of Historic Places, the nomination of historic districts to the national register, Multiple Property Submissions (MPS), or the creation of local conservation districts. The report recognizes that although the focus was on Wards 1 and 2, the historic resources of Manhattan continue beyond those boundaries and many of the recommendations would apply in other areas of the community as well.
The Cultural Resources Survey document consists of a summary of the project methodology; a historic contexts chapter, which includes an overview of the development of Manhattan and the role various architects in the design of structures in the city; survey results; and recommendations.
- Section 1: Preface, Introduction & Methodology
- Section 2: Historic Context - Development
- Section 3: Historic Context - Town Planning
- Section 4: Survey Results
- Section 5: Recommendations, Appendices
- Map 1: Periods of Construction
- Map 2: Historic Function
- Map 3: Architectural Style, Property Type
- Map 4: Historic Architectural Integrity
Conducting Historic Surveys and Research
Nominating an area to the Local, State, or National Register as a district often requires survey's similar to those described above. Individual building nominations also require some research and documentation. See how to nominate a property or district through the registering properties page. The Riley County Historical Museum maintains many resources to assist you in researching properties. The Kansas Historical Society also maintains a list of historic preservation consultants to help with documentation projects such as historic resource surveys and nomination of properties and districts to the local, state or national register.
City-Owned StructuresIn 2016, the city finalized an inventory of all city-owned structures more than 50 years old, complete with recommendations from the Historic Resources Board for their treatment and designation in the future. View the City Owned Structures: Historic Inventory and Guide for more information.