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Junction City is a strong prelude to Fort Riley

Junction City, Kansas
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The arch and the renovated Bartel Hotel are symbolic of Junction City, showcasing the mix of the military influence and tremendous architecture in town.

Junction City got its name because it is at the junction of the Republican and Smoky Hill rivers which together form the Kansas River.  The population is 23,353.  Additionally, Fort Riley is home to 10,000 soldiers.

Let's start with some tempting samples of the architecture.

The limestone fire station is connected to city hall at 700 N. Jefferson, one block west of downtown.

Completed in 1900, the courthouse architect was J.C. Holland and the limestone structure was designed with a Romanesque revival style.  Find it at 138 E. 8th Street.

You'll want to spend some time reading these upright panels on 6th, 7th, and 8th crossroads on Washington Street.  You can see each of the buildings described on the panel.  The original name/owner of many buildings can still be seen at the top of each.

A peaceful green spot in Junction City is Heritage Park, 6th and Washington.  Enter through the 1898 GAR Civil War Memorial arch to find one military memorial after another, plus a moving bronze statue tribute to local law enforcement officers. 

The big red number 1 is dedicated to the military personnel from Fort Riley who served in support of operation of Desert Storm.

The renovated C.L. Hoover Opera House is a majestic one.  Located at 135 W. 7th, it has been a downtown presence dating back to 1882.  Renovation was completed in 2008.

To experience the opera house, take in a show.

Colorful murals in the lobby feature characters history, and buildings in early Junction City.

The architecture and art is terrific, but there is more to this Junction City story.

The history is rich!

Buffalo soldiers played a significant role at Fort Riley. The Buffalo Soldier Memorial dedicated to the 9th and 10th Cavalry is located at 18th Street and Buffalo Soldier Drive, near the Grant Avenue fort entrance.  You'll notice houses nearby that look like they housed soldiers.  In fact, they are the last remaining quarters built to house the buffalo soldiers during segregation.  For more information about the buffalo soldier regiments visit the Cavalry Museum on post.

Located in the old high school built in 1903, the county historical museum is home at 530 N. Adams.  Open Tuesday-Sunday 1-4 p.m.

Museum displays show everything from hats and dresses to galleries including a print shop, school room, depot, main street, and Grandma's kitchen, as seen in this picture.

For a change of pace...

It's always so fun to go to a livestock sale barn!  The JC Livestock Sales, 301 E. 6th, started with the pig sale before they got to the cattle. 

As soon as we told them what we were doing, one of the animal handlers took us back into the pens.  WenDee got up close with some of the cute lil' snooters.

The sale is on Wednesday and usually starts by noon.

One of the customs here is that there are red cushions spread out over the bleachers.  See them? 

It's an awkward transition to the food part....but, you'll want to cleanse your mind to concentrate on these recommendations.

There are a grand variety of ethnic restaurants.  One we highly recommend is Pusan Korean Restaurant at 1634 N. Washington.  The amount of soldier traffic here tells us they like it, too.  The special of Bul-Go-Gi, beef fried rice, chicken wings, mandos and kim chee was terrific!  It's open Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

WenDee kept noticing the Stevie's Restaurant sign in a building across from Kite's (located in the historic Bartell Hotel).  Signage told us we were there a week before the grand opening but an open sign tempted us.  They were doing a soft opening -- our lucky day!  What a nice place.  A trendy bar on one side, tablecloth dining on the other.  Local boy Steve Burch has all sorts of local connections and will make this work.  He hired a local man to be his chef that went to culinary school in Las Vegas!

Stevie's Bar & Grill is located at 605 N. Washington.  785.375.1940.  Open Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday-Saturday until 2 a.m.

To top off our adventure in Junction City...

We had been driving by this unusual front yard for awhile now and just thought it was someone's idea of yard art.  Turns out, it's a business -- Pelican Pete's!  It's an institution in Junction City (103 S. Washington) for shaved ice.  It's just open during months that people would crave the cold treat.  The neon open sign will flash if they are open.  It's a fun experience with friendly owners.

This blog just features some of what you'll see when you come to this town which is rich in explorer value.  Have fun!

Wrtten by Marci Penner.  We're going to every town in the state to research for our next guidebook.  We want to share some information with you now.  This is a project of the Kansas Sampler Foundation.




You've noticed it forever -- now take the hike!

Junction City, Kansas

How many of us have driven past I-70 exit 301 at Junction City and seen the sign for Freedom Park?  We've all seen the cannon on the top of the hill to the south of I-70, right?

If you take the exit, there is a little parking area at the base of a trail head that leads you to the top of that hill. 

At the trailhead, a tarnished sign gives enough incentive to want to head upward.  It lets you know that the Atomic Cannon is only one of three still in existence; the other two are at Fort Still in Oklahoma.

Because the path is a mix of asphalt and dirt and rocks, it feels like a bit of an adventure.  It's not advisable to do this little jaunt in 100 degree temperatures.

On the way up you'll find a howitzer.

The range for the ammunition of the 1944 howitzer was 14,400 yards. 

Getting to the top feels like an accomplishment and it's interesting to be at the top side of the cannon you always see from the road.

Not only is it awesome to see this atomic cannon close up -- it's 42-feet in length, weighs 42,500 pounds and traveled 35 m.p.h., but you have to wonder how the cannon was placed up there in the first place?  The big gun, Atomic Annie, was activated in 1952 and deactivated in 1963. 

The projectile that was 11" in diameter could hit a target at 20 miles.

It's ironic that such a mighty cannon also was filled with graffiti promising forever love.

Wrtten by Marci Penner.  We're going to every town in the state to research for our next guidebook.  We want to share some information with you now.  This is a project of the Kansas Sampler Foundation.