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City of Manhattan


Manhattan was founded by accident in 1855 by members of the Cincinnati Company and small groups of local settlers after the steamboat Hartford ran aground in the Kansas River about a mile up stream from the mouth of the Big Blue River. The first post office was established in 1856, and the city was incorporated February 14, 1857.

Today about 37,000 people live in Manhattan, officially nicknamed "The Little Apple" in 1977. The city, very near the geographic center of the United States, is located in the picturesque Flint Hills, named for their bands of chert or flint. Gravel from these flinty bands convinced many early settlers that the land was not suitable for cultivation, but some pioneers built farms in the sheltered valleys where water was available year-round and where their cattle could graze on the grassy uplands. Much of the Flint Hills region is still largely untouched by the plow and is the last large preserve of native tall grass prairie in the United States.


Manhattan Municipal Airport is located just four miles west of the city on Highway K-18. Scheduled daily flights are available to and from Kansas City and Wichita. Scheduled bus service is provided by Greyhound. Van service to and from Kansas City International Airport is also available.


Shopping in Manhattan is excellent. The Manhattan Town Center is an enclosed regional mall in the heart of downtown Manhattan. Other major shopping areas include Aggieville, which is just south east of the KSU campus; Manhattan Mainstreet down town; the Westloop and Village Plaza centers on Manhattan's west side; and the Towne East and WalMart centers on the east side of town.


Unified School District #383 serves the Manhattan area. The district operates eight elementary schools in Manhattan and one in the nearby city of Ogden. Two middle schools, one high school, and one technical college, all located in Manhattan, serve the entire district. A measure of the quality of the school system is the fact that 70 percent of its high school graduates go on to college.

The school district offers special education programs in the following areas: educable mentally handicapped, severely handicapped, trainable mentally handicapped, emotionally disturbed, learning disabled, hearing impaired, gifted, physically handicapped, and visually impaired.


Kansas has a typical continental climate with rather large changes in temperature between winter (January) and summer (July) and between daytime and nighttime. There are four distinct seasons of approximately equal length. Weather in the spring and fall is moderate and comfortable. In winter typical daily temperatures range from -15 C (4 F) to 11 C (51 F). Typical summer temperatures range from 16 C (61 F) to 37 C (99 F).

April through September is the period of greatest rainfall. Seventy-five percent of the annual precipitation occurs during that period. During the rest of the year precipitation is light and is frequently in the form of snow from December to March. The snow cover seldom lasts more than a few days. Mean annual precipitation in Manhattan is 835 mm (33 inches).