Peabody Singing Tower

 North Manchester, Indiana

Recipient of Indiana Historical Society's Awards--"2013 Outstanding Project Award" &
"2009 Outstanding Historical Organization".  Welcome to our web site!  Enjoy using this Portal to Our Past!

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Early 1880s
1890 Directory
1904 Advertisers
1920 Businesses
 Main St. 1923-1928
Beery Orchard
Blackmore Cigars
Cabinet Makers
Canning Factory

Cigar Factories
DeWitt Auto

DeWitt Building
Drug Stores
Excelsior Factory
Farm Implement
Flour Mill
Furniture Making
Grandstaff Rendering
Grove's Grocery
Hayes Motors
Heckman Bindery
Hotel Sheller
Howe Bait
Leedy Motor Co.
Louie's Candy

Mfg Industries
N.M. Airport
N.M. Foundry
Oppenheim-125 Yrs
Peabody Retirement
Peabody Seating
Planing Mill
Rex Windmill
Stickley Furniture
Telephone Cos.
Wagon Makers
Warner Brooder

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North Manchester
Historical Society
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Source: NMHS Newsletter Nov 2004

Early Furniture Making in Indiana

In the early years of settlement, Indiana was blessed with a good variety of trees and lumber suitable for the manufacture of furniture. Many of the early craftsmen bought lumber from the east with them also. The 1850 census listed 1872 men in the State with occupations of chairmaker or cabinetmaker. Of these, thirty-four were in Wabash county and eight in Chester township.

Tools were powered in several ways. Some were powered by a dog walking inside a wheel. A few were powered by water. Perhaps horse power was most common. The earliest furniture makers settled along the Ohio and the Wabash. Some were active before Indiana became a State in 1816. The list of articles which were made is impressive and could be summarized by saying they made everything used in the house and on the farm. Rolling pins were a common order from a housewife, or a cradle or a case for a clock. Chairs were the most common furniture need and some men only made chairs. Orders for coffins may have led to the custom of combining furniture making with undertaking.

A few craftsmen specialized in making handles using ash lumber. The Baldwin Handle company in North Manchester was active into the early 1900s when the local supply of ash was exhausted.

Some establishments experienced disastrous fires before the days of better fire control.

Some of this early furniture has no identifying marks; others have initials carved into the wood on the inside or back of the object. In general, the quality of craftsmanship compared favorably with that being done in eastern states and some shows the marks of excellent skills.