Fort Riley Historic Homes

Project: Historic Homes on Fort Riley Main Post
Client: Corvias Military Living (formerly Picerne Military Housing)
Services by Spencer Preservation: Historic Reviews and applications for State Historic Tax Credits
Date: 2007 - Present

Picerne Military Housing took over management of the on-post housing at Fort Riley in 2006.  In addition to building new housing, Picerne began an ambitious program to upgrade the historic housing on Main Post to Army living standards. 

There are 39 different home styles totaling 253 living units.  Picerne became Corvias Military Living in 2012 and is nearing completion of the initial rehabilitation of the historic homes on Main Post.  The projects primarily involve upgrade of the home’s fixtures and finishes and alterations to bedrooms and bathrooms to meet army living standards.  Typical improvements include moving the laundry room to the first floor when possible, adding a first-floor bathroom, and creating a master suite with walk-in closet and master bath.

Fort Riley’s Main Post is a National Register Historic District with historic homes dating from the fort’s establishment in the 1850s to 1930s residences built through New Deal Programs.  In the role of Corvias’ historic consultant, Spencer Preservation reviewed the proposed improvements to the historic homes to insure the work meets the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and served as liaison with the Fort Riley Cultural Resources staff and Kansas State Historical Society to garner historic approvals for the proposed improvements.  Following is a sampling of the residential rehabilitations at Fort Riley. 

Quarters 123 is one of only four remaining structures built during the post’s initial construction period in the 1850s.  Built originally as a parsonage for the Post Chaplin, the building was also used as a hospital during a cholera outbreak.  Through the 1880s, it served as the residence of the Post Chaplain and then by other Non-Commissioned Officers.  It continues to serve as office quarters and underwent rehabilitation to upgrade fixtures and finishes. 

Quarters 88 is one of ten duplicate Duplex Officers’ Quarters along Forsyth Avenue and Schofield Circle built from 1887-1897.  Constructed in 1897, Quarters 88 is located on Schofield Circle which is a semicircular street that faces the Artillery Parade Field.  The home belongs to the Cavalry and Artillery thematic group within the Main Post Historic District.  The construction of these quarters coincided with the establishment of the Horse Cavalry and Light Artillery Schools, marking the start of a boom period at Fort Riley in which the post gained recognition as the center of advanced military training.  Quarters 88, along with the others on Schofield Circle and Forsyth Avenue, was built exclusively as officer quarters.  Local contractors and laborers, many of whom lived in Junction City, erected the buildings.  Limestone was provided from local quarries.   It is Romanesque in style characterized by its arched stone openings and Queen Anne tripartite windows.  The cross-shaped plan features an enclosed porch entrance from the street with a one-story garage bay at the basement level.  The front of the building is distinguished by a one-story wrap-around screened-in porch.  The duplex is divided vertically with two-story living units on the north and south sides that are a mirror image of each other.

Quarters 4 is a single-family structure built in 1903.  Fronting Barry Avenue, the residence is oriented in the direction of the Cavalry Parade Field and was tactically located near the Company Grade Officer Quarters.  Building 4 is located across the street from St. Mary’s Chapel and forms one of the cornerstones of the officers’ quarters’ triangle created by Forsyth and Sheridan Avenue.

The 2-1/2 story limestone structure has a cross-shaped plan with an intersecting gable roof than features gabled dormers and returned eaves.  The Queen Anne style reflects popular architectural motifs of the 1880s and the limestone construction reflects the Romanesque Revival style, also popular in the 1880s.  The residence is indicative of the Officers quarters built at Fort Riley in the late 1880s through the turn of the century.  Quarters 4 is an important example of the three similar single-family units built for the Field Grade Officers between 1889-1990.  The plan was later used for Quarters 2, 19, and 26 in 1889, Quarters 4 in 1903, and for Buildings 5 and 98 in 1904, with slight modifications.

Quarters 114 is one of two similar Office Quarters built along Scott Place.  Quarters 114 was constructed during the massive building program that began in 1887 after Fort Riley was chosen as the location for the Cavalry and Light Artillery Schools.   It was built in 1910 at a cost of $30,101.66 from standardized plan (No. 237-A) from the Quartermaster General’s Office in Washington, D.C.   The building is a four-plex with one-story units on the ground floor of the east and west sides of the building, and two-story units on the upper floors. 

Quarters 784 is a single-family structure built in 1934, one of five identical homes, built in a straight line along Ray Road at Marshall Army Airfield, separate from the Main Post area.  These homes are distinguished by their construction in blond brick with a concrete foundation, and the Colonial Revival style.  Standard plans, designed by the Office of the Quartermaster General in Washington D.C. were used in the construction of these residential quarters and could be modified to the local site and region styles. 

The building belongs to the 1927-1940 thematic group and contributes to the understanding of the twentieth century development of Fort Riley.  The group is made up of permanent buildings constructed at Fort Riley during the Army building program initiated in the late 1920s.  The goal of this program was to replace dilapidated temporary WWI housing with permanent structures.  Starting in 1933, funds from President Roosevelt’s public works programs were allocated to the War Department allowing the Army to continue the building program until 1940.  Funds from the Public Works Administration, as well as, funds and laborers from the Civil Works Administration were utilized in the construction of these homes. 

Links:

http://www.1id.army.mil/Documents/PAO.CRDocuments/110720094703.pdf
http://articles.dailypress.com/1989-02-26/entertainment/8902230203_1_gen-bennett-c-riley-fort-riley-george-armstrong-custer

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