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A Brief History of our City

The City of Riley was founded in 1870 as the City of Union.

In 1887 the city name was changed to Riley Center. A final change was made in 1895, and today, we know this city as the City of Riley.

Over nearly 150 years of existence, the City of Riley has grown through agriculture, educational opportunity and excellence, thriving local businesses, and providing an overall family-friendly, small town community. Over the years, the City of Riley has been known as an agricultural trade center and as “the antiquing hub of Mid-America”.

Though the city has faced hardships over the years, the community has continued to grow and thrive. We are excited to see what the future holds for our community, and we are confident that our strong foundation will continue on for years to come.

History Timeline


The city of Riley is settled

Riley was first settled in 1855, when brothers selected land at the head of Wildcat Creek. Soon after, many other families began moving to the area and settling on large tracts of land to engage in agricultural production.


First school organized

The school district was organized and classes were held on March 14, 1863.


City Founded as Union

The town was surveyed, and a plat was filed with the Riley County Register of Deeds on May 10, 1870. The town plat indicated that the name of the town was Union because it was platted from united land comprised of the claims of three settlers.


Riley gets its present-day name

A new plat for the town was recorded with the Register of Deeds in July of 1887. The Rock Island Railroad Company, whose completion of tracks through town, named its station “Riley,” so it became the town’s official name. Another plat was later recorded in 1895, combining the plats of Union, Riley Center, and Riley to form the original town-site of the present-day City of Riley.


Riley County High School built


Reaching for the future

The city seeks to implement a multi-year plan to make itself a place where families want to come live, be part of the community, and grow steadily, while maintaining all of the great perks of small town living.

Connect With Us

222 S. Broadway
P.O. Box 314
Riley, KS 66531

Mon – Thurs: 7:00 am – 4:30 pm
Fri: 7:00 am – 11:00 am

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City News & Updates

The latest City Of Riley news, articles, and updates, sent straight to your inbox every month.

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