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Where We Came From . . .
In October 1954, the Shamrock Tavern was purchased from owners and operators "Slim" and Marie Redecker. Later that same year, former K-State basketball and baseball player Keith "Kite" Thomas opened what would turn into a 40 year tradition for K-State students and alumni. During Keith's professional career he played for the Philadelphia Athletics, New York Yankees and Washington Senators. He was a Kansas City native and had just retired from professional baseball when he decided to open "Kite's Bar and Grille" which quickly became a second home for many K-State Fans.
In 1969 Kite's was purchased by Terry and Jan Ray from Keith "Kite" Thomas. The Rays kept the tradition alive for many years with expansions and new menu items.
For almost 40 years, Kite's only sold beer. That all changed in 1986. A young bartender by the name of Rusty (Does that name ring a bell?) served Kite's first hard liquor drink. It was a J&B Scotch and water that was served to a good friend, John Koch.
The business continued to thrive until we took a long deserved vacation when Kite's slipped away in 1994. Rusty purchased the name "Kite's" that same year when the business was liquidated. After hundreds and hundreds of requests, Rusty has decided to bring Kite's back to life.
We all know you can never duplicate the real thing, but we hope to give the next generation the same great memories and you just can't do that without a place in Aggieville called "Kite's." We hope you make Kite's your new tradition and follow the suggestion that has been in our logo for over 40 years. . . . MEET YOUR FRIENDS AT KITES!
A Little Bit about Aggieville . . .
Since 1889 Aggieville has served the K-State student body and the local residents as the place to visit when coming to Manhattan, Kansas. The oldest shopping district in Kansas, Aggieville's wide variety of Aggieville Fireworksbusinesses makes it a family-friendly environment during the day and a college hot spot at night! With annual events including the Mayor's Christmas Parade, Manhattan St. Patrick's Day Parade, K-State Homecoming Parade and Pep Rally, and the Little Apple New Year's Eve Celebration & Ball Drop "The 'Ville" attracts people from around the country.
In the 1800's, the area now known as Aggieville looked quite a bit different than it does today. Houses were sparsely scattered across open acres of fields, and dirt roads provided the main pathway to campus for the 514 Kansas State Agricultural College students. Before 1898, students at the KSAC had to inconveniently purchase their textbooks downtown (this was before roads and cars). A carriage ride from campus to downtown took over 30 minutes and the walk was often muddy and wet. The college decided to build a bookstore and dining facility closer to campus, but it was shut down in 1899. That September, a group of students started the Student Co-Operative Association. This bookstore on Moro St. became the foundation of Aggieville, drawing momentum toward business development, including the venerable Joseph "Guy" Varney, founder of Varney's Book Store.
After World War I, Aggieville experienced enormous growth. Trolly lines were built and later paved over during the car boom of the 1940s. Aggieville was home to massive celebrations following pivotal football game rivalries, and home of the 1998 celebration after K-State's first victory over Nebraska since 1969 which included the tearing down of the goal posts and dragging them, en masse, down to Aggieville, Placing them on the roof of a favorite night spot!