Volume XXX, No. 3, August 2013

Nancy Reed Resigns;
Search Underway for Museum Director

By Mary Chrastil, President

 After 6 years of service, Nancy Reed has resigned as Director of the NM Center for History.  Nancy joined the museum staff in 2007.  However, she has given many past years of service to the NM Historical Society, serving as past president, vice president, secretary and treasurer.  Nancy was deeply involved in helping purchase the Thomas Marshall House and moving it to its present location. 

 At the Center for History, Nancy has been responsible for securing, training and assisting docents, staffing the front desk when volunteers are not available, creating exhibits, creating popular displays in our front windows, managing our gift shop, arranging programs for elementary school students, and managing the NM Center for History building.  She has presented programs for the Historical Society and the Peabody Retirement Home anniversary and assisted numerous individuals with historical research. 

 Nancy has been involved in all museum planning and operations during her time on the job, including public programs and tours.  As Director, she was an ex officio member of the NM Historical Society Board and the Facilities Committee.  Her knowledge of North Manchester history and her knowledge of the community were great assets in making the Center for History a success.  She has been a dedicated and enthusiastic part of the NM Center for History.  Nancy indicates that she is willing to serve as a volunteer docent and work on research and other projects, and we are so grateful that she will continue to be involved.

 Debbie Stolzfus assumed some of Nancy’s responsibilities in the interim during the month of August.  Many of our readers know Debbie through her previous position as Administrative Assistant in the Manchester University Alumni Office.  In accepting yet a different position at Manchester University, Debbie ended her responsibilities at the Center at the end of August.


Thank you and best wishes, Nancy and Debbie. A new search is now underway for a museum director to replace Nancy and Debbie.

 Traveling Exhibits  By Mary Chrastil

  As it does every year, the Center for History has continued to take advantage of the wonderful traveling historical exhibits program offered by the Indiana Historical Society.

  This year we are featuring exhibits tied to the Civil War, which is in the middle of its 150th anniversary, and American freedoms.  In April and May, 2013, we hosted Faces of the Civil War, the story of many Hoosiers whose lives were touched by the Civil War.  The exhibit was originally created as part of the Indiana History Train. 

 From July 24 through August 29, coinciding with FunFest, The Faces of Lincoln was on display.  This exhibit tracked early images of Lincoln, how his public image developed, and how Lincoln was idealized after this death.  Our final traveling exhibit of the year is October 16 through November 19.  Freedom, a History of the United States includes reproductions of The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Emancipation Proclamation, and manuscripts and letters from George Washington through FDR and Martin Luther King, Jr.   This exhibit toured nationally in 2003 and was underwritten by the GE corporation.

 Last year the Center for History brought to North Manchester exhibits on Who Do You Think You Are?, a history of immigration in Indiana; Indiana Cartoons and Cartoonists; and Endangered Heritage, which highlighted the challenges faced by museums as they try to preserve objects and documents for future generation.

  The IHS gives not-for-profits the opportunity to display exhibits on topics of interest in Indiana History.  We would like the community to recognize the Center for History as the place where these professionally mounted exhibits are available to them on a regular basis.  You don’t have to travel to Indianapolis to see them!

 “See Yourself in the Movies, 2013”  By Mary Chrastil

 Many of you have seen the movie filmed in 1938 called See Yourself in the Movies.  This silent film featured scores of North Manchester residents at work, shopping, at play, and during town gatherings.  The film was a novelty back in 1938; now it is an important resource showing what life was like then.  The North Manchester Historical Society has spent many years identifying people, places and events that were filmed, information that was not gathered then but which is important now.  Jim Adams is especially to be thanked for several remasterings of the film (from film to tape to Dvd and Blu-ray), cleaning up the pacing and making the best print possible.  Charles Boebel wrote and recorded several versions of a narrative to accompany the movie.  Thank you, too, to the many volunteers who viewed the movie and identified people.

The NM Historical Society decided to celebrate the 75th anniversary of that movie by creating an updated version.  In March, we received a grant of $2,000, the maximum amount, from Indiana Humanities, one of 12 awarded in Indiana this year.  Indiana Humanities’ mission is to “support nonprofits that are creating enriching, humanities-based programs in order to create a stronger, more vibrant and more engaged state.”  Tentatively titled A Sense of Place, the 2013 film has two parts.  The first is a depiction of early North Manchester history.  Early history video information has been specifically requested by elementary school teachers so it can be used in their classrooms when they teach Indiana history.  The second part will document today’s events, concerns and distinctive qualities, at times referencing 1938 counterparts.

 Jim Adams and Charles Boebel are again heading the project.  You may see them as they film public events later this year and early next year.  You may be asked to participate in interviews about key town features.  We hope you will join us if asked. The completed film is scheduled to be completed in August, 2014.  It will be shown in several public viewings at that time.  It will also be on sale at the Center for History, along with copies of the 1938 movie.

Historic Homes Preservation Update By Mary Chrastil

 The North Manchester Historic Homes Preservation Group (HHPG) has had a productive year.  The group sold restored houses in July 2012, February 2013, and has a closing scheduled for September, 2013.  The HHPG has been active in North Manchester for over 6 years.  In that time, it has rescued six properties from being demolished or made into rental units, including the historic Cigar Factory and houses on Grant, Mill, and South Streets.  HHPG purchases endangered houses, uses its capital to restore the properties, transforms them into tax-paying community assets, and then sells them to cover expenses.  Every property has been sold after renovation.  The group is delighted that several of the properties have been purchased by first-time homeowners who had not thought it possible to own their own homes. 

 The latest property to be restored is a home at 512 W. Third Street.  Work being done is all new HVAC; new kitchen, bathrooms and flooring; new roof, removal of insulbrick siding and restoration of exterior wood siding; window repairs; exterior painting; insulation.   The restoration of this house was assisted by a $40,000 loan from Indiana Landmarks.  Once the house sale is completed, the loan will be repaid. 

 Groups Tour the Center for History By Mary Chrastil

 The Center for History and Thomas Marshall House became the focus of several group tours recently.  On July 20, twenty members of the Indiana Covered Bridge Society visited both the Center for History and the Thomas Marshall House.  After lunch downtown, the group visited our covered bridge (they were not at all deterred by the fact that the bridge is currently being renovated), the Roann covered bridge, and Stockdale Mill.  Group members were very complimentary about both the Center for History and Marshall House.

 On August 28, a group from the Wabash First United Methodist Church toured the Center and Marshall House; approximately 15 people were expected.  On September 26, 25 residents of Peabody Retirement Community will tour the Center for History.

 The NMHS is happy to arrange group tours during regular museum hours or by special arrangement on weekends, evenings, or during our winter hiatus.  Call the Center for History at 260-982-0672 for more information.

 Making a Name for the Center By Mary Chrastil

 The NMHS was asked recently to participate in a pilot program run by the Indiana Historical Society.  We agreed to help them develop surveys that can be taken at special events so that museums and other organizations can be systematic in learning how to serve our communities better by determining what the public wants, needs, and would like to have from our organizations.  To date we have administered the survey at our annual preservation month program, at one of our monthly dinner/lecture programs, and at Funfest.

 Based on our participation in the pilot program, Stacy Klingler of the Local History Services staff of IHS asked Mary Chrastil to participate in a webinar hosted by the Association of State and Local History, a national historical organization, on August 22.  The webinar was “attended” by 29 individuals from all over the United States and Canada.  Mary joined Stacy, Connie Graft of Connie Graft Research and Evaluation, and Matt Schuld of the Elkhart County Museum in relating how we administered and adapted the survey, questions that were most and least helpful, and what surprised us in the results.  Stacy was particularly keen on my telling how we recruited a high school volunteer to compile the survey results.  Thank you to Hanna Thomas for working on the surveys for us!

 On September 9, Mary will again join a panel on the survey at the Association of Indiana Museums convention in Indianapolis.  The presentation and questions will be similar to those in the webinar.  Panelists include Stacy, Mary, and representatives of the Brown County Historical Society, Johnson County Museum, and the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum.

 In all, the NM Historical Society has been building its reputation state-wide and nationally.  Besides the AASLH and AIM programs, in the past year we have received a nationally competitive Collections Assessment Program (CAP) Grant, a $40,000 loan from Indiana Landmarks for the Historic Homes Preservation Group, and an Indiana Humanities grant for our North Manchester movie documentary.

Our Volunteers are the Best! By Mary Chrastil

 Sixty volunteers to the North Manchester Historical Society and North Manchester Center for History were honored at the reception at the Center for History on April 23, 2013.  The volunteers have served as docents, researchers, program committee members, board members, and in many other capacities.  Those present were honored for their work in 2012.

 The Volunteer of the Year award was given to Steve Batzka.  He is the chief person responsible for furnishings and wall treatments for the Thomas Marshall Birth House on Market Street.  The house was constructed in the early 1850s, and has been restored to its original condition.  Batzka also serves as a docent there. Special recognition was also given to Ferne Baldwin, Evelyn Niswander, and Karl Merritt. Each received recognition for Lifetime Volunteer Service to the Historical Society.  Merritt has arranged excursions twice a year for Historical Society and Shepherd Center members for approximately 20 years.  Baldwin served as President of the Society for many years, edited its newsletter for 11 years, and continues to serve on its board.  She and Niswander have arranged the monthly dinner meetings of the Society for decades; Niswander also served on the Board and as Secretary.  Mary Chrastil, current Historical Society President, thanked them all for laying the foundation for what the Society has become today.

 Volunteers who have accumulated 100 hours of service received a polo shirt with the North Manchester Center for History logo.  Those achieving this milestone this year were:  Gladys Airgood, Eloise Eberly, Joan Fahs, David Hippensteel, Mike McKee, Loree Pritchard, Dave Randall, Carolyn Reed, Nancy Schuler, and Sally Welborn.

 Chrastil, noted that in 2012 the volunteer hours increased to 8,894, more than double the previous year.  One reason for the increase is that the Center for History increased its open hours in 2012 from eight per week to thirty-three hours per week.  Another increase in volunteer hours has been from the opening of the Thomas Marshall House. 

 Chrastil quoted figures from the Independent Sector, an organization that tracks volunteerism nationally.  Using their guidelines for the value of volunteer hours, she noted that volunteers gave the equivalent of $88,000 to help the Historical Society in 2011; in 2012 that value translated into $194,000.  Without volunteers, the North Manchester Historical Society would simply not exist.  We have interesting and worthwhile ways you can help—research, exhibits, serving at the front desk, transcribing documents, construction, genealogy, planning our dinner programs, working with school children, even light cleaning!  If you can give a few hours each month, or if you would be interested in a one-time project, call Mary or Joyce at the Center for History, 260-982-0672, to become part of our family and part of an organization that is well regarded as a top community asset.

 Recent Center for History Accessions

By Joyce Joy


Some of the acquisitions we’ve received this year include:


>  A Ledger belonging to Maurice Place, when he lived in Richmond, Ind., later moving here where he operated a Quaker school and was a conductor in the Underground Railroad.


> We have journals from William Comstock, John’s son, who became a Methodist minister, after going to the Seminary in Lima, New York.


> A hand painted hinged wooden box found in the Ulrey Building


> An album full of photo postcards of North Manchester Buildings and scenes.


> A Western Auto Catalog from the 1950s.


> Dr. C. E. Cook’s hat and gun holster from World War II


> Several albums of school children who were taught by Helen and Ray Hardman


> A laundry bag, compliments of C. E. Brady Clothing, for Manchester College


> Dresses from the late 1800s


> Two books of James Whitcomb Riley’s poems and seven books by Gene Stratton Porter


> A very large collection of children’s toys, doll cradle and bed, rocking horse, child’s wicker cradle, dolls, dollhouse, service station, and much more from Ed & Martha Miller, some of which will be on display in the window.


The following articles and updates were submitted by Nancy Reed:



The Thomas Marshall birthplace house is once again open to the public  on a regular basis.  Stop by to visit on the first Saturday of each month, between the hours of 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.   This living history museum is open from April 1st through December 7th.   

 In 2012, the N. Manchester Historical Society completed a 17 year endeavor to restore this home to the 1850s era. Thomas Marshall was born here in 1854 to Dr. Daniel and Martha (Patterson) Marshall. The Daniel Marshall family moved to Illinois in 1856 and later to Missouri when Tom was still a youngster. In 1860, on the eve of the Civil War, the Marshall family returned once again to Indiana, settling in Pierceton and later in Columbia City.

 The Marshall home, originally built right on Main Street in the center of town, has been moved three times before reaching its current location  just north of the Manchester Public Library on Market Street.  The  last move was documented on video, including a documentary of how the home was restored to its original look by a professional restorationist and many volunteers. 

 A fee of $1.00 will be charged as admission and you will be guided through the home by knowledgeable staff who can tell you the stories of the time period when the Marshalls resided there.  Special group tours may be arranged by calling the N. Manchester Center for History at 260-982-0672.



During the last weeks of school, 150 second and third grade students and their teachers and escorts, participated in their annual tour of the Center for History.  This year the second graders learned about the history of our covered bridge, the State seal and symbols while coloring the State flag, Manchester College while making a pennant, early industries and how they helped the pioneer families to settle here.  They did a word/object match of farm equipment  in the Miller barn room, tried a word search while learning about our pioneer families, identified styles of lodgings while learning about the Potawatomi and Miami Indians, and took back to the classroom a large coloring book with the story of an early farming family and how they lived.

 Third graders did a more complicated word search while learning about our pioneer families. They also received pioneer paper dolls to color and take home.  As a part of studying our first industries, they received a small model of the covered bridge and Cigar Factory to color, cut and assemble later.  This group also studied the Indiana seal and symbols and learned about symbols in reading maps. They also got to learn to play marbles.  In the Miller barn they were busy trying to identify items with a game of “What is it?” What was the most popular exhibit for these students?  Answer: The eel (in a jar) from the Eel River.  Our students hear about what they got to see and do at the museum from their older siblings and are always enthused to get their turn.  They leave with excitement and promise to come back and bring their families; and they do! 



If you’ve been to N. Manchester, Indiana, recently, you can’t help but notice that the downtown has been spruced up a bit with new sidewalks, street lamps, stop lights, trees, banners and planters.  Begun in 2012 and completed in the spring of 2013, this work has rejuvenated the environment of the downtown shopping district.

It was during the excavation of the old coal cellars, storage rooms, manual elevators and below-level  business rooms  that were located under the sidewalks, that  many interesting artifacts were discovered.  Some of us still remember when barber shops, shoe repair businesses, etc.  were once accessible by way of stairways going into the basements of a few buildings.  No longer used or needed, these rooms became  catch-alls for the debris that no one wanted any more.   The Town Council decided to fill these spaces in with cement and to brick up the spaces where they opened into each building to make the replaced sidewalks more stable. 

As you can imagine, many interesting items were unearthed while in the process of closing up these underground rooms.  Several items were brought to the Center of History museum and are now on display.  There are interesting old bottles, advertisements for a Chautauqua appearance, sections of pilasters that were once on the Marshall Theater building,  old phone and electric wires, oil cloth sample books,  and business receipts.  Also on display are a scrapbook of pictures of this whole project from start to finish.  The biggest find is a double-sided, early electrical sign from the Burdge Building at the corner of Main and Walnut.  This building was later the home of Wible’s Shoe Store, and now AT&T.  


Peter Ogan -- It’s a name that should be remembered by those of us who have lived in North Manchester.  Peter Ogan was one of the first pioneers to this area of Indiana and Chester Township.  It was Peter Ogan who founded Manchester in 1836-7.

 In the years since the Center for History museum began, we have had the privilege of conducting annual elementary classes through our building and we’ve arranged for them to participate in special projects that are age appropriate and that meet the state standards for Indiana history.  Teachers asked us to co-ordinate our tours to help them meet state guidelines  in learning more about the history of their community, county, and state.  One of their requests was to know more about the original pioneers of this area.

 It was with that in mind that the Pioneer Families Exhibit was prepared.  This display contains an overview of the early pioneers and land investors, and how this area came to be developed after the Indian treaties.  Maps of the “original plat” of the town show the lots purchased by Peter Ogan, Jacob Neff, Joseph Harter and Allen Halderman in N. Manchester;  John Comstock, George Abbott, and Bryant Fannin in Liberty Mills; Jacob Neff in Laketon; and Israel Harter, John & Henry Aughinbaugh, and  Asa Brown  in Servia.

 We find that this is often the first time that our grade school children are learning about our Indian and Pioneer history.  They’ve never heard the word “Kenapocomoco,”  and don’t know that it is an Indian word for our Eel River.   Educators and keepers of past history; that’s what we’re all about. 


 In preparing to replace and update the Administration Building in the middle of campus, an auction was held at Manchester College, now Manchester University, to get rid of a lot of outdated furniture and equipment.  Three floors of desks, chairs, audio-visual equipment, filing cabinets,  computers, cameras, office supplies, and much, much more was auctioned off at extremely low prices and the building was rapidly cleaned out when satisfied buyers took home their purchases. 

Nancy Reed attended this auction on behalf of the N. Manchester Center for History and was able to procure some much-needed equipment, including a large movie screen and 2 projectors, 4 filing cabinets, an AV cart, and 4 computers, among other items helpful in operating the office.  Since that time the computers have been put on-line with our other 4 computers so that volunteers no longer have to wait for computer time.  Since the auction, the University has given us a couple more computers  that they were updating after the auction was over.  All of them have been programmed with our museum software, making it possible for anyone to have a computer to work on. 

 In the near future it is hoped that we can use some of them for our displays, making them more interactive with the public.  Also it is hoped that at least one screen might be used so that everyone can  view upcoming events and newsworthy items that we want to announce to the public.  We are also working to provide a computer  for public access and research of our collection. This equipment had been discussed and placed on our “WISH LIST” recently.  Never did we dream that it would  be acquired this quickly.  Volunteers and staff are so thankful for this windfall and now the services provided by  the Center for History can grow and become reality.  



 Another of N. Manchester’s much beloved citizens will be taking over where Karl Merritt left off.  Bernie Ferringer will be arranging and leading the tours on behalf of the Shepherd’s Center and the North Manchester Historical Society.  Bernie had been working with Karl  in anticipation of Karl’s retirement, and has already sold out the next trip which will be to the Purdue University Christmas show.   He is presently working on trips for next year, so watch our web site, or our Facebook page for announcements of future trips.  The Shepherd’s Center newsletter will also print details. 

 A first-timer for these tours does not have to be a member, but thereafter it is requested that they join either of the two organizations to be given priority.  Notices go out to an extensive mailing list and the local News-Journal frequently prints an article if the trip is not already booked full.  These trips usually fill up quite fast, so join now or call the Historical Society at 260-982-0672 to be placed on list.  

 Editor: Did you know that the NMHS has been publishing this newsletter for thirty consecutive years? A comprehensive Index to the Newsletter articles has now been uploaded to the website at  At the homepage, select “Newsletters”, then select “Name-Topic Index”. Thanks to Allan White and Gladys Airgood for this very large and useful compilation!