Junction City, Ogden, Manhattan

The nearest towns to Fort Riley are Junction City, Ogden, and Manhattan.

“Junction City” is an ugly name for a town, and the actual place is not much prettier than its name.  Devoid of charms or claims, only its lack of pretension is endearing.  Many residents work on Fort Riley.  Others work on a strip just outside post that caters to soldiers.  This street is lined with bars, check cashing joints, barber shops, used car lots, and rental furniture outlets that cater to soldiers.  The only new buildings in downtown Junction City–a few blocks farther on–are a few government offices.  The houses in town all appear to be at least fifty-years old.  Most of them are small and nondescript.  A couple of new subdivisions lie on Junction City’s southwest edge.  On a stretch of road out there, lined up in a row, sit a number of newly-built churches.  Near the Interstate 70 exits, you can find the standard array of gas, food, and lodging establishments.  A large number of city residents appear to be African-Americans.  The percentage of Korean residents also seems greater than you might expect to find in Kansas.  Many shops, churches, and restaurants feature Hangul signs or other traces of Korean ownership.

Ogden, just outside the gate on the east side of Fort Riley, is a one-horse town even less imposing than Junction City.  On weekends, the fire department parks its truck in the middle of the road, stops all traffic in both directions, and solicits donations for charities.  To bring back a word from the 80s, that’s “bogus”!! 

 Much more attractive is Manhattan, which sits about five miles down the road from Ogden. It’s hard to imagine a city more economically–and pleasantly–laid out.  Three sides of town are bordered bycommercial strips with all the usual stores and restaurants.  Connecting two sides of town is a road called first Anderson and then Bluemont.  In good traffic it takes ten minutes to get from one side to the other, but a lot of nice stuff is packed in-between.  In the center of town is K-State, or Kansas State University.  Next to K-State is “Aggieville,” the college shopping district.  Aggieville must feature as many bars per block as any college town in America.  Bookstores?  Not so many, but enough to suffice.  Surrounding K-State and Aggieville are tree-filled parks and neighborhoods.  

Watched a football game here

Watched a football game here

Outside Manhattan is Konza Wildlife Preserve, a large expanse of native tall-grass prairie.  This morning two friends and I walked a six-mile loop up and around the prairie bluffs and bottoms.

 

Sunflowers are still in bloom in the Konza

Sunflowers are still in bloom in the Konza

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4 Responses to “Junction City, Ogden, Manhattan”

  1. Chris Brown Says:

    Hey Pete,

    May the rest of your tour of duty be as idyllic as that which you have described here! Stay safe in the sunflowers! Snatch-and-grab as many as you can!

    Best,
    Chris

  2. jon blandford Says:

    Hey Pete,

    Since you’ve been in hanging out in Manhattan (non Big-Apple variety), I thought I’d take the opportunity to boast about my beloved UofL Cardinals, who just last week put the smackdown on the K-State Wildcats. You must have put the hex on the home team. Now get back to your snatchin’ and grabbin’.

    Jon

  3. Brian M Says:

    Pete:
    Keep your head down once you get to Gardez.
    It’s comforting knowing you’re finally able to sprinkle some dust on those low quarters.

    Brian

  4. Peter Molin Says:

    Thanks, friends!

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