Every time I drive on post I'm kind of amazed that we actually get to be there as sightseers.  But, it's OK.  You just have to show your driver's license at the entrance gate.  You'll see soldiers walking around and have no idea what is going on in their world but it's pretty intriguing to be sharing space with them.

From the historic housing and buildings to all the plaques, museums and cemetery, it's an interesting glimpse into a world of which many of us know so little.

Fort Riley is named for Major General Bennett C. Riley who led the first military escort along the Santa Fe Trail in 1829.  The fort was established in 1853 as a military post to protect the movement of people and trade on the overland trails.

Since the end of World War II, various infantry divisions have been assigned to Fort Riley.  Most notably, from 1955-1996, the post was home to the famed Big Red One, the First Infantry Division.  Between 1999 and 2006, the post was headquarters to the 24th Infantry Division. In August 2006, the Big Red One relocated its headquarters to Fort Riley from Germany.

Erected in 1923, this monument of Brevet Major E.A. Ogden is one of the first you see as you come into the fort from the Grant Avenue entrance.

Major Edmund Ogden was the coordinator for the initial resources and the manpower to begin the fort's construction in 1853.  In 1855, Ogden died with 100 other people in the summer of a cholera epidemic.  There is a section in the post cemetery for the cholera victims.

The Custer House is the only remaining set of officers quarters from the fort's construction in the mid-1850s. The furniture and artifacts are replicas or time period items.  Though it's called the Custer House, George Custer actually occupied Quarters 21-A but that interior was destroyed by fire. 

Open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day Weekend Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday 1- 5p.m. 

This obelisk is one of the newest monuments and is a tribute to those who served in the global war on terrorism.  Names of those deployed from Fort Riley who were killed are listed.

A plaque honors the 9th Armored Division for capturing the bridge at Remagen on March 7, 1945 to become the first Allied troops to cross the Rhine.

The First Infantry Division Museum, constructed in 1905, is the place to learn about the full dimension of this fort's history.  The exhibits take you through all the wars in which Fort Riley soldiers have participated through present-day operations in the Middle East. It's open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday 1-4 p.m.

Whether you live on Brick Row or in the limestone homes depends on your rank.

The post cemetery provides the stark reality of war.  Spouses buried with their soldiers are listed on the other side of the stone.  German and Italian POWs are buried here, as are some Confederates. 

There are a couple of entrances to the cemetery.  Many plaques explain different areas of the burial grounds.

At the far end of Huebner Road, in what was once the town of Pawnee, is the First Territorial Capitol state historic site.  It was here in 1855 that the very first Kansas legislature meant.  When you go in and read the interpretive signs you'll see that it was a bogus legislature as many Missourians were brought over to be conveners.

Open March-October Friday-Sunday 1-5 p.m.

Historic Fort Riley was voted one of the top 8 Wonders of Kansas History.  A trip onto post will confirm that voters made a great choice!

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.