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Riley County

Riley County was named for Bennet Riley, who was a general in the Mexican-American War.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Washington County and Marshall County

E – Pottawatomie County and Wabaunsee County

S – Wabaunsee County and Geary County

W – Geary County and Clay County


Created:  August 25, 1855                     Map of Kansas highlighting Riley County

County Seat:

Ogden        1855 – 1858

Manhattan  1858 – present


County Courthouse – Manhattan 


Location:  100 Courthouse Plaza / Poyntz Avenue

Built:  1906 – 1907

Style:  Richardsonian Romanesque

Architect:  J C Holland and Company of Topeka and Frank C Squires

Contractor: Joseph  Benjamin  Betts Jr. of Topeka and Clarence Johnson of Manhattan


Description: The building faces south and is a four story stone and concrete structure. The rectangular shaped building is located on landscaped grounds of the Courthouse Plaza in center of Manhattan. The Courthouse Plaza is comprised of the Courthouse (1906), the Old Carnegie Library (1904) on the west side, the County Office Building (1984) on the north side and the Amanda Arnold Arch from the Old Central School. The building has a raised basement on the first story and is made of locally quarried rock-faced limestone. The south front has a large stone arch on the first story with recessed entrance. Above the entrance rises a high square stone clock tower with parapets and steep roof. The building has a hipped roof. In the interior is a grand staircase. There are two County District Court courtrooms on the second story and three courtrooms on the third story. The building houses the County District Court of the 21st Judicial District. The building was renovated in 1986. The architect was Ron Reid Associates / Gould Evans Partnership and the contractor as Cheney Construction Company.   


Note:  The contractor, J B Betts Jr. of Topeka, had the low bid of $41,874. He also constructed the courthouse in Leavenworth County and Marion County.


See:  The architect, J C Holland and Company of Topeka, designed courthouses in Clay County, Geary County and Mitchell County; and in Nebraska in Jefferson County. Holland and Son designed courthouses in Ness County and Rice County. With Frank C Squires, he designed courthouses in Thomas County. With Charles W Squires, he designed courthouses in Marion County and Osborne County.


See:  The architect, Frank C Squires of Topeka, designed courthouses in Rooks County and Thomas County.


See:  National Register of Historic Places – Riley County Courthouse


See:  The 21st Judicial District includes Clay County.


History: From 1855 to 1867, the court met at rented premises and private homes. The county seat was moved from Ogden to Manhattan in 1858. The first courthouse was part of the county jail erected in 1867. The second and present courthouse was constructed in 1906 to 1907 at a cost of $50,000..


County Office Building – Manhattan 



Location:  110 Courthouse Plaza / Poyntz Avenue

Built:  1983 – 1984

Style:  Modern

Architect:  Landmark Company and Villas, Cannon and Associates

Contractor: Abbott Construction Inc.


Description: The building faces west and is a three story rough stone, glass and concrete structure. The building is located in the center of Manhattan on the north side of the courthouse. The west front has a high portico with three high arches and a recessed glass entrance section. The building was the old Music Village building and is now named as the Riley County Office Building.


Old Carnegie Library Building – Manhattan 



Location:  105 Courthouse Plaza / Poyntz Avenue

Built:  1903 – 1904

Style:  Neo-Classical

Architect:  William Warren Rose of Kansas City

Contractor: P N Scanneman


Description: The building faces east and is a two story rusticated limestone and concrete structure. The rectangular shaped building is located on the west side of the courthouse in the center of Manhattan. The building was constructed as a Carnegie Library and the library moved in 1969. The east front has a central entrance with two high limestone Ionic columns and recessed entrance. The roof is hipped. The building was constructed as the Carnegie Libray. The building was renovated in 1986 to 1987 for use by the county. The architect was Ron Reid Associates and the contractor was Cheney Construction Inc.



County Courthouse – Manhattan





















County District Court courtroom











County District Court small courtroom















County Office Building – Manhattan





Old Carnegie Library Building – Manhattan



Amanda Arnold Arch – Manhattan



Photos taken 2009 and 2023