of the North Manchester Historical Society, Inc.

History of the North Manchester Public Library
by Davonne Rogers, Presented to the North Manchester Historical Society
October 11, 1993

I am pleased to tell you about the history of our library this evening, but first I will tell you a little about how I became connected to this library. I have always loved libraries and began working as a clerk in the Children's Department of this library in 1973 during my High School years for $.90 per hour. (Luckily, I make more than that currently!) I continued working part-time at the library while earning a B.A. in English from Manchester College graduating in 1978.

After graduation, I married and Brian and I moved away for a couple of years. I worked at the Warsaw library as a cataloguer for about 2 years, until we moved back to North Manchester in 1980. Then I began earning a Masters in Library Science from Ball State (they were accredited in Library Science at the time), and became the Children's Librarian at the Wabash Library from 1981 - 1984. I became the Director of the North Manchester Public Library in February of 1984...soon I will have been the Director for ten years, and I will have held that position the second longest! As most of you know, the Director here longest was Marie Creager who was here almost 50 years; a record I won't even try to break!

Upon researching information about the library's history, I came across a letter that Florence Freed sent to me in 1987 summarizing the connections between the Woman's Club and the beginnings of our library. Here is a quote from the letter:

The Woman's Club was formed in 1893 by "Mom" Mrs. H. B. Sheller in her parlor in the Sheller Hotel with her inviting ladies of many prominent merchants, educators, and professional men in the town. They studied Shakespeare, famous authors, inventors and learned people of a then growing America. Books of members and others in town were loaned and collected and placed in the parlor of a member, Mrs. T.C. Peugh. On certain days of the week ladies of The Woman's Club took turns serving as librarian and loaning out the books on hand. Soon the club members felt it would be great to have built our own library and they applied to Carnegie who had offered to local communities the funds for such a purpose. He granted their request providing they would provide the site and land. The club members soon launched a plan to raise funds.

They sponsored a community venture to raise funds by putting on a lyceum course bringing in such attractions as James Whitcomb Riley. Riley is said to have painted barns in the area by day and read his poems by night in the old Opera House on the second floor of the (later) Western Auto Store. In this way, the goal of the members of the Woman's Club happily provided the present Carnegie Library.

The Library began in the homes of members of the Woman's Club in the early 1900s. Later, rooms in the Town Hall were rented for library use, opening with a book shower of 100 donated books. The town officially began supporting the library through taxes in September of 1908 when a levy of $.05 per $100 of assessed valuation was set. In 1909 the first Library Board was appointed. The members were Laura Ginther, Leila Gingerick, Mary Peugh, Ida Martin, Nellie Wolfe, Rose Noftzger and Della Sheller. This Board, with the help of the Woman's Club applied to Andrew Carnegie for the library building.

Between the years 1901 - 1917, Andrew Carnegie gave 2,811 free library buildings to towns. One thousand nine hundred forty-six are in the United States and 164 are in Indiana, one of which is ours. Indiana received more Carnegie libraries than any other state.

The next step was to procure a site for the building. A Location committee was appointed: Isaac Oppenheim, W.W. Barnhart, and W. E. Billings were chosen. The Harter lot on Main Street was chosen; $1500 in private donations was raised, and the lot was purchased from Jacob Harter in June of 1910.

I spoke with Dr. Bunker about her memories of the new library building when the staff was preparing for the 80th Anniversary of the Carnegie Building. Dr. Bunker remembers the site as a large formal flower garden with rose beds toward the front.

A Building Committee was appointed: Isaac Oppenheim, Tom Peabody, A.C. Wolfe, and I. E. Gingerick. Patton and Miller, Architects from Chicago were chosen to design the library. They also designed three other libraries in Indiana - Linton, Eckhart Public Library in Auburn and the library in Kentland. Dr. Bunker says the Board requested $12,000 for the project, possibly including costs for furniture, but Carnegie gave $10,000 for the building only.

Ezra Frantz of the local Frantz Lumber Company was awarded the contract in the amount of $7225.00 The Frantz family continues to have an interest in the library as Ezra Frantz's great-grandson, Joe Frantz, currently serves on the Library Board of Trustees.

Our Carnegie building is not typical of most Carnegie libraries but a hybrid of different styles. This library building is listed in the 1983 edition of the "Historic American Buildings Survey in Indiana," and is described as "Unique among Carnegie libraries in the Midwest because of its eclectic style with medieval overtones." Shirley Glade, a member of the Library Board, has described the style of the building as "Dutch Baroque." The two ends of the building represent bookends, - appropriate for a library!

Typical Carnegie libraries were built in the Classic Greek style with marble columns, a large flight of steps leading to the entrance, and possibly a dome with stained blass. The Wabash Carnegie Public Library is representative of a typical Carnegie library.

The cornerstone for the North Manchester Public Library building was laid on July 13th, 1911, with a cavity containing the following items: 2 copies of the "Journal," 2 copies of the "News," views of the business district, a history of the library Association, a picture of the Woman's Club, and a roster of the businesses in the town.

An article in the July 12th, 1911 edition of the "Journal" highlighted the event.

"The corner stone is of white marble twenty by fourteen by twenty inches in size and will be laid at the southeast corner of the building. For this occasion the "Journal" man called upon Horace Smith, head mason, and sought to get him to wear a high collar and a swallow tailed coat when he spread the mortar for this stone,but this he positively refused to do, claiming that he had no swallow tailed coat, and that he would not work in a high collar until there was different weather, so that part of the celebration will have to be dispensed with."

The new building first opened on April 4th, 1912 with Constance Haugen as the first librarian. In honor of the new library, Dr. Bunker remembers people bringing plants, bouquets of flowers and loaning personal collections. Dr. Bunker and her sister brought a collection of moths for display at the library.

The staff found the first patron registry for the library, and listed among the names is that of Ladoska Bunker as well as many other well-known community leaders. In July of 1912, circulation of books was 674 and expenses for the month $4.75! Current monthly circulation is usually 10,000 -12,000 items and expenses around $10,000.

Our Carnegie building is unusual in that the second floor was originally built as an auditorium or assembly room with seating for 250 people Dr. Bunker remembers many programs that drew full seating in 1912, 1913 and 1914. She describes Shakespeare plays given by a single man, J. A. Browne, who acted out "Merchant of Venice," and "Julius Caesar," but not "Twelfth Night" which he considered to be too rowdy! She also remembers travelogues presented by Otho Winger as well as art displays and exhibits in the assembly room.

In the early years, several librarians came and went. Marie Creager was first employed as an assistant at the library in 1917, became librarian in 1919 and retired at the end of 1967. Marie Creager drove the book mobile which was purchased in 1923, and Dr. Bunker often accompanied her when they delivered books to Servia, Bippus and Liberty Mills.

About 1929-30 the Children's Department expanded to the second floor and the assembly room no longer existed. Also about the same time the new Central School was built with an auditorium large enough to serve the community.

Other changes over the years include:

1914 Fire escape built on the back of the building
1922 First telephone in the building
1923 Bookmobile purchased
1929-30 Children's Department moved to second floor
1953-54 New floors in both departments
1961 Telephone added upstairs
1966-67 Dr. Bunker served one term on the Library Board
1968 Air conditioner installed
Basement lighting added and opened to the public
1969 Reading room upstairs furnished and carpeted
Book drop and parking lot added
1970 Copy Machine acquired
1976 Mural of "Alice in Wonderland" painted in the Children's Department by Barbara Keller
1980 Building study conducted
1981 Library sign purchased with memorial funds for Sue Reiff, long-time employee
About 1982 Library purchased Central School lot
1985 Basement area carpeted
1986 Main stairs carpeted
1990 Co-location study conducted
1992 80th Anniversary of the Carnegie Building celebrated with an Authors Reception
1993 Homebound Program began with funds received from Library Services and Construction Act Grant. This helps the Library to meet some of the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Continue to work on plans for the future including a new building which would meet all requirements for all

In April of 1993 we were pleased to hear from Merlin C. Finnell, one of the authors honored at the Authors Reception in 1992. Here is an excerpt from his letter.

"It was in your library that I first had a library card - 1922. I was almost eight years old and Miss Marie Creager and her assistant Mrs. Fred Delk, allowed me to sign out six books a day. I would go to the library after school and spend time to read the current Boys Life, National Geographic and Popular Mechanics magazines.
"The highlight of my library experience came last year when you honored me, and many others by featuring us at a reception. In my retirement I have authored 17 books and in 1986 I had 'fun' writing nine "I Remember" columns for the News Journal."

So, you see, the Woman's Club had an enormously positive impact on North Manchester by making possible a library which houses 30,000 items, and provides programs and materials for all ages in an effort to enhance the recreational and educational opportunities for the whole community.

Do You Have a Story?
Do you have a story of life in and around North Manchester during earlier years? Other readers will enjoy sharing your recollections. They'll probably be inspired to remember some long forgotten story of their own. Take some time to write down your memories and either mail them to the editor of the Newsletter at P. O. Box 361, North Manchester, IN 46962.

North Manchester, Indiana
By Philip A. Orpurt

The Tree City USA award is a National recognition program which is co-sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation, the Association of State Foresters, the US League of Cities, and the Conference of Mayors.
A community must meet four requirements to become a Tree City USA. The requirements are:

l. A TREE BOARD or Department -
This group or individual must be legally defined by ordinance as the body responsible for the management of public trees.
This ordinance addresses care of trees on public property. It contains information on the selection, planting, maintenance, removal and pruning of these trees.
3. AN ANNUAL TREE BUDGET of $2 per Capita -
These dollars can come from any money spent on trees by any department within the community. Donations of in-kind labor can be part of the tree budget.
By proclamation and under the guidance or sponsorship of the Town.

North Manchester had fulfilled these requirements for 1996. So, on April 2nd of this year I had the privilege of delivering this plaque in recognition of the award, to Don Rinearson, President of the Town Council, and the Town Council, then in session. Earlier that day while attending the "Tree City USA" Conference at Ft. Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, Chris Garber, our Town Manager, Brian Wagner, Director of Parks and Recreation, and I, as Chair of the North Manchester Tree Commission accepted the award from Burnell Fischer, State Forester, which was presented by the "First Lady of Indiana", Mrs. Judy O'Bannon. Also, as a part of the recognition packet, we were given two aluminum signs for display at the entrances to the Town, as well as a large blue flag with the "Tree City USA" logo.

The plaque says:
National Arbor Day Foundation
North Manchester, Indiana

How did North Manchester receive this recognition? There have been numerous events and activities which contributed to the effort to obtain the status of Tree City and many people became involved in one way or another.

In an article entitled, "New Initiative Group Gets Greenlight for Town Planning" published in the NEWS JOURNAL November 3, 1989, a group referred to as the "Forum Initiative Committee" called for a community effort at strategic planning and revitalization. From this call to action the Town Forum was established. A Steering Committee brought into operation eight task forces which were given the responsibility of looking into various aspects of community life. Among those suggestions receiving attention was that of a deteriorating tree canopy. More detailed information can be found in "Feedback from the Town Forum" September, 1989, Draft Version of the Strategic Planning Document for North Manchester, Indiana.

A "Tree Advisory Board" consisting of Dick Miller (chair), Ralph Delk, Wilson Lutz, Mick Welborn, Jim Gratz, Lester Binnie, Fran Gratz, Harvey Underwood, Jim Taylor and Phil Orpurt met a number of times during the spring and summer of 1989 to give consideration to the problems relating to the Town's tree canopy and the disposal of leaves. It was apparent to this group that one of the first things to be done was to plan a preliminary survey of the tree-lawn trees. During July and August 1989 this survey was carried out by a group of volunteers consisting of Dick Miller (chair) Harvey Underwood, Dale Flora, Lester Binnie, Bob Frantz, Dave Hicks, Wilson Lutz and Phil Orpurt.

That portion of the town surveyed included the blocks bordered on the North by College Avenue, the Eel River on the East and the South and Beckley Street on the West. A total of 2159 trees were recorded. Out of 41 kinds, nearly 87% were maples. Forty three percent of the trees were soft maples and of the 247 dead, dying or poor trees 97% were maples. Furthermore, many of the maples were more than 2 1/2 feet in diameter and were 80 years old or older. Another interesting finding was that there were 1185 spaces where once there had been trees, but where the missing trees had not been replaced.

This information, plus the input from other sources favoring the idea that the Town Council should take steps to improve the tree canopy, resulted in the establishment of the "North Manchester Tree Advisory Commission" with the adoption of an Ordinance on July 5, 1990. Thus, the first requirement for the acquisition of the "Tree City USA" award had been accomplished.

The Commission consists of five persons appointed by the Town Council. The initial members of the Commission were Town Manager, Jim Taylor, ex-officio, Gaye Eckert, Bernie Ferringer, Ralph Delk, and Phil Orpurt. Fran Gratz also served on the Commission as an advisor. Later, Eldon Stoops replaced Ralph Delk and Bernie Ferringer was replaced by Jeff Hire. Glen Hawkins has acted in an advisory capacity at various times. Phil Orpurt was elected to serve as chair and Gaye Eckert as the secretary. The present membership of the Tree Commission is Jeff Hire, Dave Doudt (secretary), Jabin Burnworth, Chris Garber (Town Manager), and Phil Orpurt (chair). Brian Wagner, Director of Parks and Recreation, serves in an advisory capacity. Although not officially a member of the Commission, the Town Clerk, Nancy Reed, has through her experience and knowledge, made numerous contributions to whatever accomplishments are to be noted for the North Manchester Tree Program.

In 1992 a more detailed survey of the tree-lawn trees of the entire town provided information which became incorporated into a map that showed the location of each tree, the kind of tree, the size of the tree, and the condition of the tree (dead or dying, poor, good or excellent). Individuals who participated in this more detailed survey were Dick and Mary Miller, Harvey Underwood, Ralph Delk, Glenn Hawkins, Dave Hicks, Deb Huston, Wilson Lutz, Bob Frantz and Phil Orpurt. Such information became very useful in developing overall plans for the restoration and maintenance of the tree canopy.

During this time the Tree Commission began preparing a "Tree Plan and Guidelines Manual of Recommended Arboricultural Specifications and Standards of Practice for the Town of North Manchester, Indiana" The manual contains, "standards and instructions for the planting, maintenance and removal of trees, shrubs, and other plants. Design concepts and objectives presented in this document represent the recommended practices for the Town of North Manchester. Citizens are urged to give consideration to, and, insofar as it is possible, to follow the proposed street tree design in tree planting for both public and private projects."

A description of the Proposal for the Long Range North Manchester Tree Program as envisioned by the Tree Commission was mailed to all town utility customers in the form of a poster. The proposal is on the reverse while the front depicts an artist's conception of the "PROMENADE' as a densely landscaped "loop" that runs along Main Street north along Market Street to College Avenue, east on College to Wayne Street and then south on Wayne to Main Street. The total distance is approximately two miles. While a proposal at the time that the poster was distributed, 500 shade and ornamental trees, of 16 varieties have since been planted along the "Promenade".

The Town of North Manchester was fortunate to secure three matching grants to help carry out the various projects in the tree program. They were:
l) An Urban Forest Assistance Fund grant of $10,000 (20,000) in February, 1991 for the purpose of:
a. Consultation design work by Eric R. Kohne and Associates.
b. Poster printing and mailing.
c. The preparation and printing of the "Tree Plan and Guide lines Manual".
2) An Urban Forest Assistance Fund grant of $2,750 ($5,500) in December, 1991 for the purpose of: Conducting a more detailed inventory of the tree-lawn trees of the Town and the printing of a map.
3) A Small Business Administration grant of $20,000 (43,950) in February, 1992 for the purpose of: Planting of the ornamental and shade trees along the "Promenade".
(The amount in parenthesis indicates the total amount with matching funds.)

The requirement of $2.00 per capita budget can include in-kind labor and materials, and individual donations such as those made to the Tree Fund of the Community Foundation of Wabash County. So the "Walrod Tree Fund" has been valuable to the overall tree program in Town. That fund was established by Janice Walrod in 1980 in memory of her husband. The first trees planted using money from the fund were planted in 1981. Since that time nearly 500 trees have been planted in tree lawns thanks to Mrs. Walrod. Not only did the trees help to improve the tree canopy in town, but the expenditure has been cited as a part of our "match" for the grants.

Arbor Day celebrations have been held in the Town since April 22, 1990 when a combination of Arbor Day - Earth Day took place at the Town Life Center. An oak tree was planted in the front tree lawn as a part of that event. In 1996 the Arbor Day which contributed to the "Tree City USA" recognition took place at the Manchester Elementary School. It was organized by teacher, Dave Doudt. Poems and a skit by students, remarks by the Principal, Bonnie S. Larson and by the Town Manager, Chris Garber, plus the presence of a delegation of Officials and Civic leaders from China highlighted the occasion. During the week including May 3rd (Arbor Day), 20 classes of students and their teachers planted 24 trees on the school campus to mark the occasion.

With the adoption of the Tree Ordinance in January of this year all four requirements for recognition as a "Tree City USA" had been fulfilled and North Manchester received the award in April, 1997. One word of caution and a challenge: it is essential that the Town continue to undertake similar kinds of projects and programs each year to maintain the status as a "Tree City USA".

Acme School

It you drive out of North Manchester toward the west today on Highway 114 it is not far to the West Manchester Church of the Brethren on the south(left) side of the road. At the edge of the churchyard in the northeast corner very near the road is a small brick building. This is school number 6 or Acme school and much of the story-or should I say stories- of Acme school have been wonderfully preserved for us in pages written in 1926 and 1927 by E. E. Frantz who was a student at Acme and then a teacher there for many years. Ida Miller Winger, Alice King Eby, Bertha Miller Neher, and the Ebbinghouse Brothers were other well-known teachers or students there.

When Frantz was writing the story of Acme white settlement in the vicinity of North Manchester was not yet 100 years old. The first cabin within the present limits of North Manchester, erected in 1836 by Peter Ogan had just recently been torn down. An amazing percentage of the persons who came to Wabash county in those early days came here from Montgomery County, Ohio and many were of German heritage. The area in 1830 was heavily forested with walnut, poplar, oak and elm most common. Some Indians were in the area but many had moved to settlements south of the Wabash river.

Both the Wabash and Erie Canal and the National Road were important means of transportation. The National Road advanced across Indiana in the 1830s and the Canal reached Huntington in 1835. From those regular means of transportation some came further by foot or horseback and later by wagon through the mud to choose a place for their cabin.

E. E. Frantz tells the story of his grandfather, Christian E. Frantz coming to Indiana like this: "In 1839, he in company with one of his cousins, carrying axe, gun and knapsack, walked via the National road from near Springfield Ohio to Richmond Indiana; thence by Indian trails northward across Wayne, Randolph and into Jay County, where they found the head-waters of the Salamonie river, which they followed to the Wabash, at Lagro. They then came to Manchester (it was not North Manchester until later) and to a place three miles north of Acme where he purchased the land that became his home for sixty years. At this time he "deadened" a few acres of timber and returned to Ohio by the same route, married and in 1841 came with his bride and a little furniture via canal to Lagro, thence to the spot chosen for his homestead."

Alice King Eby wrote "Life among the Acme people was marked by moderation and conservatism in all the details of life. The people were neither very rich nor very poor. Nearly every one owned his own home, paid his debts, worked hard six days in the week, and spent one day in rest, worship and in good fellowship with his friends." Many were German Baptist Brethren, some were Lutheran. They tended to marry with their church fraternity. It was a united community strong in faith, morals, industrious and characterized by simple living.

Cemeteries Near Acme

In May 1845 a son of Adam Ohmart drowned in Eel river. Nicholas Frantz a neighbor, gave Mr. Ohmart permission to bury the son on the little knoll on his farm, and this was the beginning of what is known as the Frantz Cemetery, one mile west of Acme. More ground was later donated for burial purposes either by Nicholas Frantz or Isaac C. Cripe who came in possession of the farm. This was the main burying ground for the community until 1886

Pleasant Hill Cemetery
D.S.T Butterbaugh gives the following record in his secretary's books: At a meeting in August 1886 the German Baptist Church considered the necessity of a new cemetery and appointed Joseph Crill and Abraham Miller to look for a suitable location. The first ground was purchased from Joseph Crill and Marcus Cupp and was paid for by donations. This was the beginning of what was later named Pleasant Hill Cemetery. More ground has been added from time to time and at present (1927) (it) contains more than eight acres and is being laid out in lots as needed.
In 1925 the cemetery was incorporated in the name of the Pleasant Hill Cemetery Association and is controlled by five directors which are elected every two years.

Old Cripe Cemetery
This is a small cemetery containing a few more than a dozen graves and located one fourth mile east of Acme. With the exception of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Heeter and Franz Zimmerman, all buried here are members of the Cripe families that owned and lived on this section of land. It is now well fenced and cared for, and I believe is under the care of the township. Burials were between the years of 1845 and 1894.

The Old Brethren Cemetery
This cemetery was founded in the early years of 1880s, is located one mile east and one half mile north of Acme, near the church of the Old Brethren. It is located on ground donated by Jacob Cripe. Here are some of the Butterbaugh, Karns, Cripes, Mishlers, Metzgers and others of the church membership buried. It is owned and well kept by the church.

There was a time when...
A black bear was killed, about 1838, near the crossroads one mile east and one mile north of Acme.
The school yard was full of stumps, the old frame school house rested upon corner stones and the school boys crawled under the house.
An old log house stood near the center of the east half of the Pleasant Hill Cemetery.
William Rager operated a blacksmith shop east of Acme.
As Henry Cripe remembers: A man visiting the people then living just east of Acme. . . was accidently killed. The host with his guest were walking through the forest hunting dry timber for fuel. They came upon an old tottering snag that stood across the road . . . They shook the snag and walked away, but it fell, caught and killed the visitor.