Fort Riley, Kansas

 

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St. Mary’s

By Season Osterfeld | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | July 11, 2017

 When gold was found in the west in 1847 to 1857, settlers and gold miners were eager to start a new life. As they traveled down the Independence branch of the Oregon-California Trail, one of the final stops they made was at a small settlement later incorporated into the town of St. Mary’s in 1869.

 Through the decades, St. Mary’s has undergone a great deal of change, but the residents still honor the town’s role in history.

 Located about 45 miles northwest of Fort Riley on U.S. Highway 24, St. Mary’s has a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy and businesses to explore.

 The city of St. Mary’s, as well as the college there, are named after the Catholic Mission founded by the Jesuits in 1848 for the Pottawatomie Native Americans who were moved to the area, as explained on the historical marker for St. Mary’s. The marker sits at the intersection of East Bertrand Street and Grand Avenue, across the street from the college. On the college campus rests a boulder placed at the site of the first cathedral built between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains.

 In Union Pacific Park, visitors will find an informational marker explaining the history of the Pottawatomie Pay Station and St. Mary’s Mission. The marker gives the history of the Pottawatomie tribe, their clash with the U.S. government and their journey to St. Mary’s.

     Also in the park is the St. Mary’s Vietnam Memorial with the names of the fallen and those who served from the town. Visitors may also see the Old Fire and Curfew Bell mounted nearby.

     The Indian Pay Station and Museum features a variety of artifacts and historical lessons for visitors to take in. The oldest building in Pottawatomie County was built in 1857 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. The museum is open 1 to 4 p.m. through Labor Day.

     In Riverside Park, visitors may play on the tennis, volleyball or basketball courts, enjoy a game of baseball on the field, barbecue and play a few rounds of horseshoes or watch their children tackle the playground. The park also has a walking trail, two fitness stations, a gazebo, shelter houses and a recreational vehicle hook-up or primitive campsite area.

     The RV and campsites include electricity and water in their rental fee. Guests may not stay longer than five consecutive days without prior approval. Site rental is $10 per day with a $25 security deposit. For more information, call 785-437-2311.

     Inside Riverside Park is the St. Mary’s Municipal Swimming Pool that also has a bathhouse and wading pools. The pool is open daily until Aug. 12 from 1 to 7:30 p.m. Admission is $2.25 for ages 18 and up, $1.75 for ages 7 to 17, $1 for ages 3 to 6 and free for toddlers and infants 2 and under.

    Be sure to check out St. Mary’s for a weekend of history, play and relaxation.

 

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