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Army City, Kansas

Camp Funston, circa 1917"Kellyville Is No More," the newspaper article announced. The prospective town just north of the national army cantonment site on the Fort Riley military reservation was sold to H. P. Powers. This transaction occurred in 1917 shortly after the building of Camp Funston. Powers changed the name to Army City and proceeded to auction off lots to enterprising businessmen for the establishment of stores, shops, and theaters.

Army City was a boom town built in 1917 primarily to satisfy the needs of Camp Funston. The town offered closer business and recreation facilities than did either Manhattan or Junction City. There were organizations such as the YMCA, YWCA, and the church which held regular Sunday Services. Other forms of recreation included large theaters, the Orpheum and Hippodorome. Both had an unusually large seating capacity to accommodate the movie-going population of both Army City and Camp Funston.

A.D. Jellison, of the Jellison Trust Company, was largely responsible for the financing and general layout plan of Army City. He named streets using military titles and names of famous soldiers and statesmen; such as, Major and Captain streets, General Allen street and Lincoln Avenue. At one point, Army City had a population of 3,000. It was composed largely of the businessmen and their families; temporarily employed men, working either in Army City or Camp Funston; and families of officers and enlisted men.

Five years after the town was established the headlines read "Taps Has Sounded for Army City." In September 1922 six of the remaining eight residents voted to surrender the town charter. Solely dependent upon the soldiers of World War I, the town lost much of its clientele after 1918, and soon had little reason to continue.

Entry: Army City, Kansas

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: June 2003

Date Modified: February 2011

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.