Small town -

An early picture of Aggieville taken in 1895 shows neatly fenced farm fields, bounded by dirt roads leading in the distance to Fairchild Hall, Anderson Hall, and the smokestack which still serves what then was called Kansas State Agricultural College. Very few trees were in evidence then, and only one house can be seen. About that time a couple of entrepreneurial KSAC students built a two-room house at the corner of Manhattan and Bluemont. In the front they sold small sundries such as pens, pencils and secondhand books and handled students’ laundry. They lived in the back. As the college grew, a group of students who felt town merchants were taking advantage of them put together a Student Co-Op to furnish food and supplies at close to cost. Eventually the Co-Op moved into a new brick building at the corner of Manhattan and Moro. Once the College Bookstore, it’s now the Dusty Bookshelf. Around the same time the Co-Op started, Guy Varney purchased two lots across the street from it and opened an ice cream and candy store. Over time he expanded his operation to include the college book store. Run now by Jon Levin, the enterprise is still known as Varney’s. Olson’s Shoe Store started in 1913, and is still operated by the same Olson family at 1214 Street B. Aggieville started on Moro instead of Bluemont because the land was cheaper there. It was known as swampland, unsuitable for farming. But during the 1951 flood that inundated downtown, not a drop of flood water reached Aggieville. Why is it called Aggieville? Pre- Wildcat days the sports teams were called the Aggies. All information on Aggieville comes from Dan Walter’s book, Aggieville 1889-1989: 100 Years of the Aggieville Tradition, which is available at Varney’s. Below: At Moro looking north on Manhattan Avenue in 1923.

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