NEWSLETTER of the North Manchester Historical Society, Inc.



Peabody Retirement Community

Peabody Chapel was constructed in 1937 as a memorial to James and Estelle Peabody by their son Thomas Peabody.

(Frances Kipp, Peabody Historian, wrote the first history of Peabody for the 50th Anniversary. An updated edition honors the 65th Anniversary. Much of the material for this article comes from the 65th Anniversary booklet entitled PEABODY RETIREMENT COMMUNITY - THE ENDURING COMMITMENT. The editor thanks the author and the administration at Peabody.)

James Peabody came to North Manchester in 1902 with his son

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Thomas to start a business. James was born in 1859 in Allen County and spent his boyhood years there. His father, John L. Peabody ran the Pioneer Sawmill at Arcola and James B. and his brother, S. J. followed in the sawmill business at Columbia City until 1881. At that time, James B. went his own way, buying tracts of trees near Peabody, Indiana, manufacturing buggies in Fostoria, Ohio and, later, spending four years traveling in the Western States.

In July, 1899, he returned to the sawmill business, purchased 500 acres of woodland in Wabash and Grant counties, built a large band-mill at Lafontaine and sold lumber on domestic and foreign markets. In April, 1901, the company purchased the Hardwood Lumber Company in Wabash.

South House was the original building constructed in 1931 and transferred to the ownership of the Presbyterian Synod of Indiana.
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North House was built in 1938 to provide space for additional residents.

On April 6, 1931 a transfer of property (a residence built on the former North Manchester fairground) was made to the Presbyterian Church Synod of Indiana after the Trustees accepted the Peabody gift. This is the building known as the South House. The Reverend Edmund Lindsay became the Superintendent. Construction of buildings has expanded the facilities continually through the years since that time. By 1933, Superintendent Alexander Sharp was reporting to the Trustees that the Home was filled and a waiting list existed. A bequest from Simon Peabody, the brother of James, made an addition possible in 1934 which doubled the size and included an infirmary and a hospital.

After the death of James Peabody, Thomas constructed the Chapel and the Memorial Tower which were dedicated in 1937 as a memorial to his parents. The Tower is constructed of Indiana limestone and granite. It features bronze ornamental grillwork at the top and a beautiful bronze door. The Tower was rebuilt in 1994. It is the mausoleum for Estelle, James, Thomas, Mary and Mary K. Peabody.

The North House, a mirror image of the first building, was completed in 1938 to provide room for the increasing number of

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applicants. In 1939, Dr. Hugh Ronald became Superintendent and Mr. Peabody erected a home for him and his large family on the grounds. It was occupied by the family by Christmas, 1940.

In the beginning the Chapel was located on the second floor of the South House, along with the dietary staff and the administrative offices, while the residents lived on the first floor. Long ago residents moved into furnished rooms and shared a community bathroom located in the hallway. Now the structure of the Home has changed and residents enjoy the more personal touch of having their own furniture and a private bath.

The increased longevity of members in the Home made a nursing wing necessary. This wing was dedicated October 27, 1951 to Mary and Thomas Peabody. Another wing was added in 1960, and the Luse

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Wing was added in 1970. The Visser Wing dedicated in 1978 added 40 beds to the Health Care program. It also provided temporary housing for residents, making possible the complete renovation of South and North Houses. The renovation made two rooms where there had previously been three, reducing the occupany level.

This remodeling took four years. A new color scheme was chosen and the furniture was reupholstered to match. This preserved the antique furniture and the general feel of the rooms. Remodeling included the dining room. The formal square tables were replaced by more gracious round tables which made for easier conversation. In the past, a bell would signal residents that it was time to dine. Now there is no bell ringing and residents can come within an hour of the announced time.

In 1987, a central nurses station was built in the Health Center by Don and Billie Grubb Strauss as a memorial to their parents.

With a developing demand for independent living units, a series of garden homes were constructed from 1984 to 1993. Lindsay Place


has 22 two-bedroom homes with connected garages. During 1989 to 1992, additional renovation brought the resident houses to modern standards, making some deluxe suites. New elevators were also installed. In 1991, construction began on a series of one and two-bedroom apartments. In 1994, the last of 35 units was filled with new residents of the Village of Peabody. The Director's Home became the "Craig House", the hospitality house for residents and families, as well as providing facilities for guests.

On August 21, 1994, Don and Billie Strauss and Joanne Strauss Crown, participated in the dedication of the Strauss Center built in memory of Daniel Arden and Eileen Mills Strauss. Now Peabody Retirement Community has a new entrance center which includes offices, a library, meeting rooms with audio and visual aids, a bank and centralized planning and administrative services. The Strauss Center has made it easier for both Houses to get together for activities. The aviaries in the Center donated by Ray DeLancey give joy to both residents and visitors alike.

The Strauss family's involvement with Peabody Retirement Community dates to the initial construction days and Don Strauss remem

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bers as a youngster crawling under the subflooring of the still-under-construction Chapel in search of youthful adventure. "I'm probably one of the only residents of North Manchester who has been all the way to the top of the tower, right to the limestone escarpments," reminisces Don. Joanne Strauss Crown says "As a young girl I can remember visiting my mother's aunt, Nora Brown, and my father's uncle, Frank Strauss, who were Peabody residents." Later her father became a resident of the Health Care Center.

Many special services have been added over the years as Peabody developed. In 1940 the Circle in Oaklawn Cemetery was purchased for burial of Peabody Home members who chose that as a last resting place. A beauty shop began operation in 1957, and creative and physical therapy was initiated in 1964. The first van, purchased in 1972, increased capacity for transportation to stores, medical appointments and other trips. The fleet now consists of one van, two station wagons, two cars and one bus equipped for wheelchairs. Air consitioning was completed in the spring of 1987 just in

An aviary was built as part of the Eden Way alternative care concept.
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time for a very hot summer.

Programs and activities abounded through the years. Sunday Chapel services and weekly Bible study have been offered since the Home was built. Musical programs using the organ and pianos are given by members and by visitors. A variety of concerts and other programs are presented by many community, church, school and club groups. Gardens have always been around the Home, from the first experimental vegetable garden, to the individual plots faithfully tended by the members.

Crafts of all kinds have been important and bazaars were often part of dedication programs and became annual affairs after 1953. Now auctions are more popular. In March 1979, a gift shop was opened so that handiwork of members could be purchased at any time. For many years, members received and dressed old dolls gathered by the Salvation Army of Ft. Wane, so that needy children might have Christmas gifts. Eleanor Steele Blocher endowed a fund so that each year Peabody residents and staff can buy and wrap Christmas toys for some children of North Manchester.

The Eden Way of Peabody is an alternative care concept implemented in December, 1995. It seeks to create an environment in which people can live and spiritually flourish, creating a fertile soil for the human spirit to grow. The Eden goal is to combat feelings of loneliness, helplessness and boredom for nursing home residents by surrounding them with pets, plants and children. Children from the schools in the county have been interacting with the residents for many years. The children from Blessed Beginnings day care, just off the campus, are bi-weekly visitors. The Adopt-A-Plant program helps to bring the gardens indoors.


Finances are always a major responsibility. After the original gifts and bequests of the Peabody family, large additions to the endowment fund were rare. The annual contribution of the Presbyterian Church Synod was based on a percentage of the Synod's Benevolent Fund. This was divided between operational expenses and a "Worthy Presbyterian Fund.". established in 1947 to provide assistance to Presbyterians who could not meet the entrance fee.

The Trustees released the Synod from on-going obligations to the

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Home in 1968 but the Presbyterian Church Synod remains committed to the Home because, "the Synod still has an obligation to support the Home in light of the original gift." Since 1957 the Smock Foundation in Fort Wayne have given support and made contributions toward construction projects.

The Trustees reluctantly changed the entrance policies to meet the continual increase in costs of operation and life care has not been offered since 1979. Entrance fees are now computed on an actuarial basis, a "Pay as you Stay" plan.

The day to day operation and care of residents has always depended on the employees of the home. In 1931 Peabody opened with a total of six employees. Today there are more than two hundred dedicated workers. An Indiana State Nursing Home license was received in 1958. Medical Service was contracted with Manchester Clinic in 1977 and there are now consultants in Pharmacy, podiatry and optometry.

The Peabody Retirement Community Mission Statement summarizes the story well: We provide gracious service for older adults and selected services to others with compassion and respect for the dignity of individuals, their families and the communities we serve, in the name of Jesus Christ.


Tom Peabody, Traveler

In 1902, Thomas Peabody drove into Indiana with the first automobile for this section of the state. Thomas, who was an automobile enthusiast, enjoyed motoring about North Manchester in his Oldsmobile "one-lunger." This was back in the days when all the horses one met on the road would either get up on their rear legs and paw the air, or even worse, turn from side to side and upset the buggy and its passengers.

In later years, he discovered an almost duplicate model of his car. Pleased with himself for restoring the new car into good running condition, he occasionally dressed in a linen duster and goggles, which were the style of the time and drove the new model 1903 Oldsmobile about the town. (That duster and the goggles, along with

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Thomas's gloves and gold-headed cane are all in the local museum.)

The 1903 Oldsmobile was willed to the Smithsonian Institution following Thomas's death in 1944. The car, which is in very good condition, is on permanent display as a part of the Road Transportation Home. "There are still quite a few of these cars in existence, but not as many as the Model-T, which was made in greater numbers," said Roger White, Division of Transportation of the Smithsonian. "The car, when bought brand new in 1903, retailed at $650."

The Thomas Peabodys were also global travelers and made many voyages. So many, in fact that when they returned to their home, Mary would mail out cards announcing they were at the "Journey's End." This was their name for the homestead in North Manchester.

One of Thomas's earliest foreign tours was to the old world. On this trip he visited Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, Germany, Belgium and the British Isles. While this four-month journey was primarily for pleasure, Thomas also devoted some of his time to the interests of the Peabody desk factory. (Our local Historical Society Museum also holds one of the steamer trunks used on his overseas voyages)

The next voyage that Thomas set out on was a tour around the world. For this trip, he and five hundred others chartered the steamship 'Cleveland' and set out to visit Gibraltar, Italy, Egypt, India and various other points of interest. While in Egypt he saw many interesting sights, among them the Sphinx and the pyramids. Perhaps the most interesting to him, however, was the mummy of Rameses II. "This trip was made for recreation and education," Thomas commented in 1909. The steamer concluded the circumnavigation of the world in San Francisco, after being at sea for nearly four months.

Yet another voyage was made for their honeymoon, as a young Thomas and Mary traveled to New York by Manhattan Flyer and left for South America on the steamship "Laurentic.' On this trip in 1912, they first visited Havana, Cuba, then traveled to points in the West Indies, the Isthmus of Panama and other regions, expecting to be gone for at least five weeks. The couple saw the newly installed Panama Canal and reported that it was a gigantic project and quite a sight to

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see. They also visited the ruins of Mt. Pelee on Martinique Island, which had erupted a few years before in a great volcanic explosion. The family also made seasonal trips to Los Angeles, California, (January to April or May) and to Walloon Lake, Michigan (June through August). They enjoyed their winter months basking in the brilliant California sunshine with James and Estelle Peabody, Thomas's parents. Walloon Lake, Michigan, is where the family stayed in their lake-front cabin for summer vacation..

On one particular trip through Southern California, a hair raising incident occurred in the auto. Thomas logged the event in his travel journal as follows:

"Before reaching San Luis Obispo, we crossed four mountain ranges, each of most wonderful scenery. There were scarcely two straight roads in one place, a constant turning of sharp curves with a mountain on one side and a steep precipice on the other. The road was scarcely wide enough for one auto, with only two feet of space on either side of the wheels. Another auto met us as we were coming down grade and they were coming up.

I was going to take no risk, but put my right front wheel within two feet of the edge, and cleared him in the front, but raked him with my rear fender. My fender was in bad shape and I lost my rear hub cap, but this, I thought, was better than going down the bank. As neither of us stopped, I do not know what I did to his car, but, as my Rambler resembles a battleship in weight, it is safe to guess that he got what was coming to him."

(Much of this article comes from PEABODY RETIREMENT COMMUNITY, The Enduring Commitment by permission of Peabody)


I Remember

By Merlin C. Finnell

>From the News Journal, 1986 written for the 150th anniversary of North Manchester

Will you wander down Main Street with me? Of course, we will visit it during the 1920s and '30s. Not much change at the corner of Mill and Main Street the Monument Company is still there in the

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same location on the north side of the street. The Petry family lived in the apartment above Mother, Dad, Wendell, Eunice and Zelma. For a time I had a boyish crush on Eunice, but never got around to tell her about it. We affectionally called her the "Brickyard Blond"I belive she became Mrs. Rex Cook and was so known for many years.

Next door was the O. H. Bolinger & Co., dealers in hardware and farm implements. A few steps and you were at the E.P. Paul Funeral Director, Furniture and Ambulance Service the Pauls came to our town from Pyrmont in Carroll county, in the middle 20s and lived across from us on N. Sycamore. The family consisted of the parents and Thomas, Gladys, Galen and John. Johnny, later called "Hot" because of his basketball shooting ability, and I became friends. After school we sat on his front porch and studied history and drilled on the multiplication tables we were in the fifth grade at the time and our teacher, at the Central building, was Miss Carrie Bard, who lived on 3rd street with a Mrs. Sara Smith.

Back to Main Street J.W. Strauss & Son (Arden) took up the next few rooms. They dealt in ice, feed and coal and had the same number, 93, for both phones yes, at that time there were two such companies in our area: the Eel River and Rex. I now ponder just how two existed in such a small area. We kids were intrigued with the Strauss ice wagons in the hot summers at each stop we were able to salvage slivers of ice as the larger cakes were cut into proper sizes to satisfy the demand as shown on the yellow and black signs in the windows of customers. I remember a John Moser and later a friend, Bob Clark, who drove these wagons.

Next to the alley was one of the many grocery stories Wonderly & Reiff. Those were the days when you could order what you needed and free delivery was made from the store. Most had a credit privilege pay up each week. Close by was a dream store for kids The Morris 5 & 10 cent store. It even had a basement to explore and decide on the most satisfying way to spend a nickel. Our neighbor Marie Baker, clerked there after her graduation from high school.

Dan Sheller's Grocery and Bakery holds many memories for me. On Wednesdays during the Band Concerts and also on Saturday afternoons and evenings, I operated the popcorn machine out on the

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sidewalk in front of the store. From this we sold popcorn, ice-cold pop (my favorite was Nehi Grape in such tall bottles and only 5 cents) gum and candy bars. When I was a bit older both my brother, Casey, and I helped in the bakery. Charles Gilbert was the baker and we kept the oven fire going, cleaned pans and bowls and made the most of 'disposing' of all the goodies that were trimmed off the cakes before they were iced and we were paid for this.

The Band Concerts were just great. They were held from 8 to 9 p.m., but people from all over the area came early and stayed late. Many of the stores stayed open until 10:30, as they also did on Saturdays. While working the popcorn concession I could see all who came to town there was a constant stream of boys and girls passing by. The 'old folks' came early to park their cars on the main drag just to sit and visit with any who came along. It was so wonderful to be part of a small town.


Old Central Teacher Resigns, 1932

U.R. Young has resigned as history teacher at the Central school and is retiring after a teaching career of 43 years much of which was in North Manchester. His work will be absorbed by several of the other teachers and there will be no other teacher employed. Mr. Young resigned voluntarily, feeling he had reached an age when he had earned a rest.

He commenced teaching in 1884 at the Badsky school three miles east of Roann. It was a new building and he was the first teacher. He taught school and attended college at intervals for a number of years, attending at Mt. Morris Illinois, graduated from Indiana state normal in 1895, later attended Indiana university and spent about two years at Manchester college.

He has spent 19 years in the city schools, four years as principal at West Ward, six as principal at Central, nine as head of the history department. He voluntarily retired as principal.

During recent years he has had 75 students teachers in history under his direction. Mr. Young was familiarly known as "Pappy" by the children, and it was a term not used in derision, but rather because of the fatherly affection he had for them. It is with great regret the students will learn of his retiring, but it is to his credit that he made the

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decision himself and stepped out when he felt his work was done.

(Died October 21, 1941)


News Journal, 1893

More than a hundred years ago in 1893 the NORTH MANCHESTER JOURNAL was under the publication of S.V.Hopkins. It came out every Thursday. There were no photographs, the paper consisted of four pages, and the headlines were no larger than the rest of the type on the page.

The big news for Thursday, March 30, 1893, consisted of plans for a complete water works for the town, as well as the local Republican "convention", chaired by R.A.Schoolcraft, to nominate candidates to town positions. The water work plans called for the sale of bonds, the installation of 64 fire hydrants, and the construction of the stand pipe, 110 feet tall, to stand at Market and Fourth.

"The plans and specifications are very complete in the minutest detail and provide for a first-class system of water works of the very best material and construction throughout and which will certainly be a credit to the town and an improvement of lasting benefit and pleasure," states the writer.

"The Board has very wisely incorporated in the specifications that the party getting the contract for the pipe laying shall employ home labor," the article also states.

This anecdote is also recorded:

"The night operator of the Big Four depot tells of a somewhat amusing experience a few mights ago. Late in the night a tramp came along and demanded admittance and on being refused used some language more forcible than elegant. The operator started out after the fellow and he disappeared. Sometime afterward a rat made its appearance in the office and started for his lunch basket. The operator got his revolver and after watching for the rat a while got a shot at it. Just as he shot he got a sight of a face peering in at the window and heard a blood-curdling scream that would do credit to an Apache Indian. The tramp had apparently returned and thought the operator was shooting at him. He left that time in a hurry and did not bother the depot again."

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The Journal for that week also had some news about Manchester College which was asking for some help to pay off an indebtedness of $l,900. The Journal quotes a circular distributed around town asking for support noting that the circular gives "the following not surprising information: The attendance is about 100 each term and the average cost is about $40 a term or about $20,000 a year (the total for the entire enrollment) which amount is distributed among our merchants and business men."

Advertisers in this issue included Owens and Hardman, agents for Star Windmills; W.H. Webers, Propritors of fruit, nuts and oysters; Laketon Nurseries; Dr. W. H. Shaffer, a dentist advertising gold and porcelain crowns. For $2.50 you could get a combined subscription for both the New York Weekly Tribune And the North Manchester Journal.

Forty years later "The News-Journal" was being published in North Manchester by W. F. Billings. It came out on Mondays and Thursdays, and consisted of eight pages. There were still no photographs, but the headlines were slightly larger than the type, in bold face, and still one column wide.

The big news on March 30, 1933 was the demise of Sunday train service via the Big Four. This had the effect of cutting off all Sunday mail service to and from the town, as well as Sunday passenger service to Chicago.

Harting Furniture company carried a full page ad announcing its opening. "Let's get acquainted... You'll like us, we'll like you," the ad stated. A living room suite, made in Markle, could be had for between $46.50 and $99. Oppenheims was advertising men's dress shirts for 49 cents.

The News-Journal also reported that issue on the number of "Hoboes" in the local jail. The headline for the article, on the back page, read "853 Hoboes So Far This Season." The article stated that March was the busiest month for hoboes, with 189 locked up that month and 853 jailed since October, costing the town $26 to feed them breakfast before sending them on their way. "That is a cost of about 3 1/3 cents a feed and is much cheaper than to allow these transients to wander about town begging food and money." declared the paper.

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