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Junction City was named from its location at the junction of the Republican and Smoky Hill Rivers. The city is home to Fort Riley, a U.S. Army post located south of Junction City on US Highway 56, which has been in operation since 1853 and is currently one of the largest military installations in North America with over 50,000 soldiers stationed there as well as an active Military Training Center (MTC). It is also home to two colleges: Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus (formerly known as Kansas State University Salina), a branch campus established by KSU that offers technical degrees; and Newman University College of Nursing & Health Sciences-Junction City Campus which offers nursing education for students who are seeking careers in health care fields such as nursing or physical therapy assistant programs . The first permanent settlement at Junction City was made ca. 1854 by Joseph Heney Walker who built his cabin along what became Broadway Street near where it intersected with First Street West/Main St., now known locally simply as "the square.