The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Kansas (#atozchallenge)







English: Welcome sign outside Manhattan, Nevada
Welcome sign outside Manhattan, Nevada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Manhattan Bar, Manhattan NV
 Manhattan Bar, Manhattan NV (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Sidetracking from the Big Apple

         If you're driving I-90 between Bozeman and Butte, Montana you'll pass through Manhattan and likely never even notice.  I've been that way many times and not until looking it up on Google did I realize there was a town named Manhattan in that location.  It's such a tiny place you'd probably have no reason to stop there.  This blip on the map is but one of a handful of places in the United States named Manhattan.

        Have an interest in ghost towns?   Then you might find a reason to visit Manhattan, Nevada.  Otherwise it's a bit off the beaten path just to be dropping casually by.  There's a couple of bars and a motel there so you could stay a while if you were so inclined to do so.  It's definitely a place to get away from the hubbub of urban life.   However make sure you're there at the right time of year as during the winter things can be cold and miserable.

        Or maybe you'd prefer to be closer to the big city life while having the feel of a small town.  If that's the case you might want to try Manhattan, Illinois.  This small town is about 50 miles from downtown Chicago and there's a Metra station where you can catch a train to the heart of The Windy City of Chicago.  During my junior high school years my family lived just a short distance from this town, but I had absolutely no idea that there was such a town as Manhattan, Illinois.  Well, now you and I both know.  Actually it doesn't sound like too bad of a place for someone who wanted to settle into a Main Street USA existence with easy access to urban conveniences.

        These days I live not too far from Manhattan Beach, California.  Though I've certainly been there a few times, I can't say that I'm especially familiar with the town.  It's a nice place to visit and probably a very nice place to live if you could afford to live there.  Housing ain't cheap there, but if you've got the money to live there and you have children, rest assured that the schools in Manhattan Beach are among the most highly rated in the state.

        At this point you might be wondering why this post is called "Kansas".   I'll tell you if you didn't know already or haven't guessed it.  There is a Manhattan, Kansas.   This is a small city, but population wise it's the largest city named Manhattan behind the much larger New York metropolis.  In fact, the city bears the nickname "The Little Apple".

        Manhattan, Kansas has quite an extensive history going back to times before the settlement of European-Americans.  The land was held by Native American tribes long before the settlers arrived.  Now the city is home to numerous business and industries.  The primary employers are the nearby  Fort Riley army base and Kansas State University.

          When I was touring with a theatrical group during the 1980's we frequently played Manhattan, Kansas and stayed there as well.   Actually I don't remember much about the town since it was but one of a couple hundred towns we played each year.  They all start running together after a while and few actually stand out in any big way.

           One of the shows we presented every four years was based on the Wizard of Oz.  When playing Manhattan we could have easily said something like, "You're not in New York anymore, Toto, we're back in Kansas."   I never said it and never heard anyone else on the show say it, but writing this piece made me think about it.  We could have said it after all.

           Where are some "Manhattans" that you've visited?   Have you been to any of these places that I've mentioned here?    Which of the non-New York Manhattans would you like to visit the most?
       




58 comments:

  1. Most interesting Lee, so many places with the Manhatten name. Pleasure to read.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Yvonne, if I'd been discussing businesses or smaller communities with Manhattan in the name then the post would have been bigger than the big city of Manhattan.

      Lee

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  2. Hi Lee - fascinating how names travel .. Manhattan I'd never thought of in K for Kansas ... love the sign .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary, it's kind of like all of the place names in the United States and other places that originally came from places in England.

      Lee

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  3. I've never visited a place called Manhattan. I love your addition to the Wizard of Oz script :) Have a great day!

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    1. Nicola, I couldn't resist the Oz reference considering my first visit to Manhattan, KS was when I was touring with the "Oz" show.

      Lee

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  4. Afraid I've not been to any of them. The one in Kansas is an interesting mix - half base town, half college town.

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    1. Alex, bookshops, tattoo parlors, and strip clubs? I'm not sure but maybe. Most college students and most military recruits are about the same age.

      Lee

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  5. I'd love to visit that ghost town in Nevada!

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    1. JoJo, it would be an interesting place to check out.

      Lee

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  6. I think it's interesting when there are town names close to you that are the exact names of larger or more familiar towns. For example, I know there is a Milwaukie, Oregon. But I've never been there. Sure, it's spelled different, but sounds the same and close enough. Other duplicate Wisconsin names: London, Rome and Eden, just to name a few.

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    1. Jeffrey, when my wife and I are traveling I always call attention when we pass an exit for any town called "Knoxville". It's become kind of a standing joke with us.

      Lee

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  7. Daymon Runyon was born in Manhattan, Kansas.

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    1. Pop Tart, I wonder how it might have influenced his writing?

      Lee

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  8. Kansas gets a bad rap over its geography. But nothing like a sunset with nothing to obstruct your view.
    Stephanie Finnell
    @randallbychance from
    Katy Trail Creations
    Stephanies Stuff

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    1. Stephanie, until I started spending more time in Kansas I used to always say what a boring state it was. Later I realized that I hadn't been looking close enough as it is a pretty interesting place.

      Lee

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  9. When my mom lived in Manhattan, NY in the 1990s I remember mailing her a photo of the city limits sign for Manhattan, KS, with iconic cows lounging in the background.

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    1. Jaye, That sounds like a fun way to poke some fun with the city folk.

      Lee

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  10. Ah, a missed joke opportunity. Maybe you'll get the chance to use your funny there some day. I'd like to visit Manhattan Beach. I'd stop in Manhattan, MT on a motorcycle ride with the Biker Chef. Small towns, and their haunts, can be quite fun.
    Mary at Play off the Page

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    1. Mary, probably a missed joke opportunity unless I'm doing another "Oz" show. I'm fascinated by small towns and the life (or lack of life) there.

      Lee

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  11. I had so many connections to your Manhattan piece...LOVE ghost towns, just moved to Chicagoland, volunteered in a youth theatre as a photographer (Wizard of Oz)...lots of interesting tidbits to enjoy. Just popping in from A-Z... denisebennorth.blogspot.com

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    1. http://denisebennorth.blogspot.com/

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    2. Denise, I'm always on the look out for ghost towns but usually am in too big of a hurry to stop. Drop by my blog anytime!

      Lee

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  12. I've never visited US or heard about other places called Manhattan (besides the one in NYC). I've heard about Bozeman (while watching The Big Bang Theory sitcom) and I've known about Kanzas and the Wizard of Oz since I was a child - it still is one of the greatest stories for children (and us, little older ones). Best regards, thetrucktraveller.com

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    1. Zeljka, Bozeman is a great little Montana town. We used to play it on our national tours every year.

      Lee

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  13. I can imagine all the places named Paradise. I'm too close to Manhattan to maybe truly appreciate all these places by name, but...would love to explore a ghost town one day.

    Stu
    https://stuartnager.wordpress.com/

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    1. Stuart, I seem to recall driving through a place in Montana called Paradise and it was beautiful.

      Lee

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  14. very interesting a quirky - never knew that

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    1. David, part of my aim is to educate.

      Lee

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  15. Fascinating! I'd definitely check out the one in Nevada - you know me and ghost towns;-) I was hoping the link you provided would have more info, for instance who was the original founder? And was the 'big apple' already established or did someone pull that name out of their hat? Nice tie-in to the theme;-)

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    1. Diedre, I guess some further research would eventually provide some answers. I'm sure by the time the Nevada town was established Manhattan, NY was a big place. Maybe the founder came from NY?

      Lee

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    2. That's what I'm thinking too:-)

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  16. Always interesting. Love how there are many towns throughout the US with the same names.

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    1. Rebecca, some names probably appear in nearly every state.

      Lee

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  17. I've never been to any Manhattans that I know of, but I have found one that I want to visit, aside from the one you mention in Kansas and Montana. I want to visit Manhattan, Texas...or what would have been Manhattan, Texas. You can read about it here: https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hrmax I've been to Matagorda County on many occasions, but didn't know about this place. So, now it is on my list of nearby places to see. Thanks for the inspiration to look up other Manhattans. :)

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    1. Suzanne, since I was in Houston last week I was very close to this place. If I had known I might have considered going there. Maybe next time.

      Lee

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    2. I'm not sure when we're going to go, but if we go before you do, I'll let you know what we find there. It will be an adventure.

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  18. In 1980, my son was born in Manhattan, Kansas, where his father was a student at Kansas State University. I took some classes there, too. One was on medieval literature. I've never gotten Le Morte d'Arthur out of my mind. Manhattan was a nice little town. We visited once, years later. It had grown a lot and even had a mall.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Janie, you've known the town up close and even have a family history connected to it. For better or worse, a lot of small towns don't escape growth.

      Lee

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  19. I've never been to any other Manhattan but the big one but I would probably enjoy visiting "the Little Apple"...

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Michele, any of the Manhattans have something of interest that you'd probably enjoy.

      Lee

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  20. And, it has a song about it. That counts for something, right?

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    1. CW, I guess that does count for something.

      Lee

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  21. I have been to Manhattan Beach, but other than that, just the island in New York harbor.

    I once drank too many Manhattans....

    Larry

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    1. Larry, I still haven't tried a Manhattan drink. I wonder if there is a bar in Manhattan Beach where I could go get one.

      Lee

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  22. I never knew there were so many Manhattan's. I've been to the one everyone knows, NY, but that's it.

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    1. Pat, there are also Manhattan Lakes and other geographical locales with the name.

      Lee

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  23. I've only heard of the New York Manhattan.

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    1. Patricia, you and most other people.

      Lee

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  24. Very cool and interesting post. I have only been to Manhattan, NY as a kid as I said previously. I would love to visit the ghost town in NV.

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    1. Gregg, I guess a trip there might not be out of the question for you. I'd like to go, but I'm sure my wife has absolutely no interest.

      Lee

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  25. I will get my red boots on and pick Kansas! Sounds so, fun! Fascinating to learn there are so many Manhattans~

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    1. Ella, and while you're in Kansas you can visit the pancake memorial, Dorothy's house, and the Garden of Eden.

      Lee

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  26. I had no idea there were so many Manhattans! I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, as we don't seem, as a nation, to have been very creative in our city names.

    I've actually driven that stretch in Montana between Butte and Bozeman, and had no idea there was a Manhattan there too! A ghost town would be fun to visit.

    Happy a-to-z-ing!

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    1. Beth, Manhattan, MT is probably an exit you barely notice unless you need to get gas or something.

      Lee

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  27. I didn't know there are other Manhattans too. This post was informative for me. Though, I know about Ghost Towns a bit. Nice Post!
    cheers!

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  28. Interesting Arlee thank you. I live in Johannesburg SA and there's a Johannesburg somewhere in the States too. There're a few towns named Middelburg here in SA in completely different parts of our country (in the middle of nowhere) .

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  29. Having just read a K for Kansas City post, and discovered it's in Missouri, I now learn that Manhattan is in Kansas. What next? ;-)

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Lee