Fort Riley Post Cemetery

Fort Riley Post Cemetery, like many military cemeteries before it, began with the fort that gives it its name. The site began in 1853, with the establishment of the fort in the plains of Kansas as a hub to protect the heavily trafficked westward trails that began in Kansas and Missouri. As the border conflicts between pro and anti-slavery factions grew in intensity, the fort found itself in the center, escalating into the outbreak of the Civil War. All the while, the cemetery grew in size to take in victims of major cholera outbreaks from both 1855 and 1867, as well as casualties of the war itself, including Confederate prisoners.

After Reconstruction, Fort Riley remained an important part of the Army’s infrastructure in the Midwest for decades to come. The famous African-American ‘Buffalo Soldier’ units, formed initially to fight against Native American unrest, were stationed at the fort during their early years. Training camps also became a mainstay during the World Wars, as well as the conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, with boxer Joe Louis, actor Mickey Rooney, and baseball legend Jackie Robinson all having been stationed at Fort Riley during their military careers. Today, the fort remains the home of the Army’s First Infantry division, who also take great pride in their work maintaining the cemetery.

The cemetery itself mixes the natural with the regimented, as circular paths surrounding larger monuments give way to orderly lines of headstones. Originally, these tombstones were far more uneven, due in part to their age and the landscape itself changing through natural processes. However, thanks to a 2017 restoration effort, crews of workers have managed to carefully raise and adjust every headstone into perfectly manicured rows by hand. Restoration work like this is concrete proof of the care and attention given to military cemeteries, both large and small.



191 Huebner Rd., Fort Riley, KS 66442