|Welcome sign outside Manhattan, Nevada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
|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?