Historical Society Has New Website (NM News-Journal, Dec 1, 2010)
When winter strikes and icy winds are blowing through the streets of North Manchester, you can learn about the history of our community from the comfort of your own home.
Just turn on your computer, go online, and google the North Manchester Historical Society or type in nmanchesterhistory.org.
Once you arrive at the website, after a couple of mouse clicks, you're in for a treat. Your virtual tour will tell you about current exhibits at the North Manchester Center for History and activities of the Historical Society, and above all, it will open a window into the past of our community.
What makes the website especially exciting is its emphasis on people. Some were founders of the community; some lived more recently. Beginning at the Home Page, you will find a list of more than twenty links, including "Early Settlers" and "Biographies."
Chosen from a list of more than 30 names, a sampler might include Bryant Fannin, among early settlers, and Sadie Wampler, among biographies. You could learn that Fannin was a Virginian who preached the first sermon in N. Manchester and that he was a conductor on the underground railway. You could learn that Wampler taught at Manchester College from 1905 to 1952 and that she was a devoted and demanding teacher of drama and a skilled director of plays.
You'll find many other intriguing names, connected by links and joined to a Google search engine embedded in the site. The search function is found on the left side of the Home Page. Firing up the engine and following these human stories from link to link affords much the same pleasure as browsing among the book shelves of a library.
A student with a definite research goal will find the collection of Historical Society newsletters especially useful. With some gaps, these quarterly publications begin in February 1984 and run through May 2009. A main goal in the development of the site is to fill in the blanks. The newsletters for 2010 will be posted at the end of the year.
This well-stocked website came into existence when, in spring 2009, the Historical Society Board of Directors asked John Knarr to develop the site. Since Knarr is a member of the board, editor of the Newsletter, and an active researcher in the history of North Manchester, and since he has a background in computers, he is ideally suited for the job.
At the beginning, Knarr says, the site was built upon work done by Susan Weller and Jeanne Andersen, who had placed articles from newsletters on the computer of Manchester Community Schools. After these articles had been uploaded to the historical society website, more articles were added, along with graphics, such as photographs and maps, and short essays on North Manchester people and events.
Knarr says that the organizing concept is to make the website like a collection of encyclopedias. Links at the top of the homepage are individual volumes. When you click on a term, such as Businesses, you are taken to an article in that volume, with a table of contents listed at the side of the page. In this case, chapters deal with businesses such as Beery Orchards, Blackmore Cigars, DeWitt Auto, Heckman Bindery and over forty more. This volume of the "encyclopedia" provides an opportunity to wander down the Main Street of the past as well as through the highways and byways of Wabash County.
Knarr is quick to say that he is a volunteer, not a professional website designer; this site, he says, is "a work in progress." But as webmaster, with access to statistical information, he has noted increased activity, and it's interesting that servers from Australia, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands have recently looked in on North Manchester history.
The Historical Society is committed to improving the website and adding information as it becomes available. For instance, Knarr's most recent historical research has focused on Peter Ogan, a founder of North Manchester. He made a presentation on Ogan on November 8, at the last meeting of the Historical Society, and that information will soon appear on the website.
By now you may be convinced that browsing the Historical Society's website could be a pleasant way to while away a snowy winter evening. This is an especially good option since the Center for History will be closed from December 15 through March 1. However, if you would like to have the Center opened just for you or your organization, chances are a tour can be arranged. Just call 982-0672 or email, email@example.com. The good folks of the North Manchester Historical Society will be happy to consider your request.
Source: NMHS Newsletter, Feb 2010--
NMHS WEB SITE
By John Knarr