Historic Surveys

Here you will find information on the different historic surveys conducted by the City of Manhattan since 2003. All surveys were partially funded through the State of Kansas' Historic Preservation Fund grant program. Resources for conducting historic surveys and research can be found at the bottom of this page.

2017: Sunset Area Historic Resources Survey

In May 2017, the City of Manhattan was awarded a grant from the State of Kansas to study the history of the city-owned land in the Sunset area and assess the historic significance of historic resources throughout it. The study area includes Sunset Cemetery, Sunset Zoo, Girl Scout Park, and Sunset Neighborhood Park. Historic Resources Group of Lincoln, Nebraska began conducting the research and documentation of historic resources in the area in October 2017. A public meeting was held in March 2018 where preliminary findings were presented. View the presentation here. The final findings and recommendations concerning the history and preservation of the area will be published by Fall 2018. 

2010: African American Cultural Resources Survey

The City of Manhattan sponsored a survey of Manhattan’s African-American cultural resources in 2010 and produced a Multiple Property Documentation Form (MPDF) for African-American Resources in Manhattan. The survey identifies the types of properties that have significant ties to the African-American community and that may be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The project was funded through a Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) grant from the Kansas State Historical Society.

Among the significant African-American resources that remain intact in the community are the Bethel A.M.E. and Pilgrim Baptist Churches and the Douglass School building, which were early centers for social, educational and political support to the community. The project highlights and documents a significant part of Manhattan’s history about which there is limited community-wide awareness.

The consulting firm of Three Gables Preservation carried out the project. The MPDF was approved for the National Register on May 30, 2012. The Bethel A.M.E. Church and Pilgrim Baptist Church were also listed on the National Register as part of this project.

If you have questions about the project, contact Long-Range Planner Ben Chmiel at 785-587-2438. 

Results

2008: Manhattan Archaeological Survey

The city contracted with the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work at Kansas State University (KSU) to complete an archaeological inventory and survey of the Manhattan urban area to identify and evaluate archaeological resources in areas of impending development. The first two phases of the Manhattan Archaeological Survey were completed summer 2009.

Archaeological Sites

Prior to the survey, 98 archaeological sites or places of past human activity had been recorded in the project area. The survey added to the inventory of archaeological sites in the project area. Twenty-two previously unreported archaeological sites were identified and many of the previously reported sites were also revisited. These include sites ranging in age from approximately 6,000 years ago to less than 100 years old. The majority is prehistoric or relates to native inhabitants who left no written records of their way of life and date more than 200 years old.

Results

The Manhattan Archaeological Survey is only a sample of the archaeological record of Manhattan. However, the project confirms the richness of past evidence and extensive time depth of human use of this area. The survey is a starting point for recognizing potentially valuable archaeological remains in the Manhattan urban area.

2003: Cultural Resources Survey of Wards 1 & 2 of Downtown

In 2003, the City of Manhattan was awarded a grant from the Kansas State Historical Society for the purpose of completing a reconnaissance-level historic resources survey of Wards 1 and 2 of the original city plat, an area generally bounded by Juliette Avenue to the west, Pottawatomie Avenue to the south, Third Street to the east, and Bluemont Avenue to the north.

Performing the Survey

The City of Manhattan contracted with Historic Preservation Services, LLC, of Kansas City, Mo., to perform the survey. The goal of the survey was to identify and evaluate architectural and historic cultural resources in the survey area and its immediate vicinity and to ascertain any individual properties and/or groups of properties that may be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

Cultural Resources Survey Report

One final product of the survey is the Cultural Resources Survey Report. Generally, the report gives a number of ways to protect historic resources in the study area, whether it is through outright nomination of an individual property to the National Register of Historic Places, the nomination of historic districts to the national register, Multiple Property Submissions (MPS), or the creation of local conservation districts. The report recognizes that although the focus was on Wards 1 and 2, the historic resources of Manhattan continue beyond those boundaries and many of the recommendations would apply in other areas of the community as well.

Report Sections

The Cultural Resources Survey document consists of a summary of the project methodology; a historic contexts chapter, which includes an overview of the development of Manhattan and the role various architects in the design of structures in the city; survey results; and recommendations.

Other Resources


Conducting Historic Surveys and Research

Nominating an area to the Local, State, or National Register as a district often requires survey's similar to those described above. Individual building nominations also require some research and documentation. See how to nominate a property or district through the registering properties page. The Riley County Historical Museum maintains many resources to assist you in researching properties. The Kansas Historical Society also maintains a list of historic preservation consultants to help with documentation projects such as historic resource surveys and nomination of properties and districts to the local, state or national register.

City-Owned Structures

In 2016, the city finalized an inventory of all city-owned structures more than 50 years old, complete with recommendations from the Historic Resources Board for their treatment and designation in the future. View the City Owned Structures: Historic Inventory and Guide for more information.