NMHS Newsletter, February 2018


North Manchester Historical Society
Activities in 2017

By Mary Chrastil, President

 Hidden Highlights

 Every year, I try to relate key events of the past year to our members and friends. 2017 was a memorable year. The main new accomplishments this year were in areas that people may not notice.

 New Museum Lighting System. The biggest accomplishment for the Historical Society this year was replacing the lighting system throughout the Center for History. We replaced fluorescent lights that give off damaging UV rays with LED lighting. UV rays cause any organic materials—wood, cloth, paper, etc.—to deteriorate slowly but surely. We were fortunate to receive a $50,000 Heritage Support Grant from the Indiana Historical Society through a program funded by the Lilly Foundation. It required a $7,500 match, which the Community Foundation of Wabash County graciously provided. Wabash Electric Supply, Inc. helped tremendously with a $5,000 pledge. Wabash Electric also applied for over $5,300 in rebates for us from the Duke Energy Smart Saver Rebate Program that encourages the purchase and installation of high-efficiency lighting. With all this support and with some careful planning, we completed the project at no additional cost to the Historical Society.

 When we got the grant, we knew we’d help preserve our artifacts better and that we’d save on electricity. But what surprised us was how the new lighting absolutely transformed our museum. Rather than relying on general lighting that treated all areas equally, we’ve been able to focus attention on important displays that had sometimes been overlooked in the past. Areas that had been in shadow are now easy to see, with labels that are easy to read. The “traffic flow” pattern in the museum has improved. Safety has been enhanced. Staff and volunteers have been inspired to update and improve exhibits.

 Additional thanks go to Wabash Electric Supply for designing the systems and handling all the orders and deliveries, to Riverbridge Electric for installing the new lighting, and to SRKM Architects who helped with the initial planning. Center for History staff Paula Dee and Joyce Joy were heavily involved at all stages of the project. Mary Chrastil secured the funding. And super volunteer Jeanne Andersen oversaw the project for the Historical Society. She did everything—from planning, making sure that the work was done correctly, and even climbing on very tall ladders to position spotlights and floodlights for the greatest effect.

 Everyone notices the change. One enthusiastic visitor told us we look so much more professional now, “like a real museum.” If you haven’t visited the Center for History since last summer, please come and see the new lighting system, and enjoy new and enhanced exhibits. The project turned out even better than we had imagined it would.

 Roof Repairs. Besides the new lighting system, we completed several projects that are even less noticeable but are crucial to our functioning as a museum. We were able to repair a leaking roof over our barn exhibit area, again with the help of grants from Indiana Historical Society and the Community Foundation of Wabash County. As part of the roof repair, we added thick layers of new insulation, which we expect to result in significant energy savings.

 Environmental Monitoring. Heat and humidity fluctuations are key causes of harm to artifacts, along with ultraviolet light rays. As part of our mission to collect and manage artifacts reflecting local history, we need to ensure that artifacts are held within a specific range of heat and humidity. To help us create an optimal environment, we purchased 15 heat and humidity monitors that were placed throughout the building in areas where artifacts are displayed and stored. We take readings several times each week. Based on this monitoring, we expect to improve our heat/humidity environment even more in 2018.

 Administrative Reorganization. When an organization moves from a startup mode to a more established operation, different skills are needed to thrive. This is most important in an organization like the Historical Society, which relies mostly on volunteer involvement. To expand our skill set and develop our human resources, we have been strengthening several existing committees and creating new ones.

 This year, we strengthened committees on Programming, Nominating and Building Maintenance. Thank you to members of the Programming Committee that plan and implement the monthly programs at Timbercrest: Barb Amiss, Tom Brown, Mary Chrastil, RuthAnn Angle, Joyce Mills and David Waas. Thank you to Jack Schuler, Al Schlitt, Dave Randall, Tim Taylor, Bernie Ferringer and Joe Vogel who volunteer on the Building Maintenance Committee, and Tim Taylor, Tom Brown and Mary Chrastil on the Nominating Committee.

 We also established committees on Finance and on Planning. Thank you to Matt Mize, Nancy Schuler, and Tim Taylor on the Finance Committee, who are reviewing and documenting our financial procedures, and Tom Brown, Debbie Chinworth, Paula Dee, Jim Myer, Kathy Prater and Joe Vogel on the Planning Committee. In the coming year we expect to establish an Audit Committee and a Communications Committee.

 Finances. 2017 has been a challenging year as we re-established our financial reporting system, disrupted by the loss of treasurer Ralph Naragon, who handled our finances for about 25 years. New treasurer Matt Mize has filled that position admirably, working with President Mary Chrastil to rebuild and streamline our financial reports. We ended the year on solid financial footing, making up some of the shortfall caused by the façade restoration last year. We sold the house we owned on behalf of the Historic Homes Preservation Group and dissolved that relationship. With the help of our loyal members and donors, we feel confident that we will replenish our reserve funds over the next several years.

 The grants mentioned earlier helped our bottom line, along with being one of the recipients of the Wabash Cannon Ball Chili for Charity Cookout. Grants, memberships, our annual fund donor response, and careful management of expenses allowed us to make considerable improvements in our building while still fulfilling our core activities.

 North Manchester Documentary and Oral History Archive

 The title of the video is A Sense of Place, taken from the name of an important local history written by Ladoska Bunker in 2000. The project began as an update to See Yourself in the Movies, the movie documentary on North Manchester created in 1938. Besides updating the earlier documentary, A Sense of Place explores how the town has been represented in visual media in the past. It also has an expanded section on early North Manchester history so it can be used as a teaching tool for Indiana History students.

 More than 30 town residents were interviewed over a period of several years for the documentary. The interviews provided much more material than could be used in one video. The Historical Society is delighted that the full interviews will be added to its collection to provide a contemporary oral history of North Manchester. For years to come, scholars will be able to tap this valuable resource to learn about the strengths and challenges of our town.

 The film was shown at the Historical Society’s Annual Meeting in January, 2018, and will have a “Premier Party” later this spring. Thank you to James R.C. Adams, who recorded the interviews, culled through hours of tape to distill the most appropriate selections, edited the copy, and contributed to the script; to Charles Boebel who researched and wrote the script and led the interviews; to Joyce Joy who contributed to the research; and to Mary Chrastil, who organized the project and participated in the interviews.

On-Going Projects

 Museum Operations. In 2017, the Historical Society and the Center for History continued with activities that we perform every year. We operated the Thomas Marshall House Museum, with visiting hours on the first Saturday of the month from March through November and on special occasions like Funfest and Harvest Festival. We also extended free admission to both museums and planned special activities during town festivals, to the delight of hundreds of visitors from near and far. Besides our regular Center for History hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, we participated in several special Saturday openings to support Manchester Main Street and Chamber of Commerce promotions.

 School Programs. We continue to host second and third grade students from the Manchester Community Schools. We get high marks from teachers and parent chaperones for our school programs. Students had fun and learn a bit about their town as they rotated through learning stations throughout the Center. Many later bring in their parents and grandparents to show them what they learned.

 Collections. Our collection of local history artifacts continued to grow, reaching over 29,000 items. We receive about 1,000 artifacts each year. About one third are photographs, one third documents, and one third three dimensional.  All artifacts are managed using the professional museum standards.

 Educational Programs. Our public programs are held at Timbercrest Retirement Community on the second Monday of each month and continue to attract an average of 100 people every month. Programs  in 2017 ranged from an interpreter appearing as Thomas Lincoln, to the stories of Liberty Mills founder John Comstock, early pioneer women of Huntington County, a trio of lesser known First Ladies, and Indiana pioneer diaries written during their emigration to California in the 19th century. Programs also featured the work of the Indiana Landmarks organization, the Indiana War Memorial in Indianapolis, the history of the Indiana Dunes, the Potawatomi Trail of Death, and the history of Manchester University’s interactions with the town of North Manchester.

 Community Outreach. The historical society continued its quarterly newsletter with scholarly articles and news of coming events. We also have a robust presence on Facebook and frequent visitors to our website. We continue to make our presence known in the community with speaking engagements; this year we hosted a Trolley Tour of North Manchester arranged by Visit Wabash County! The Historical Society participates in the Manchester Main Street Preservation and Design Committee, and works collaboratively with community organizations like the North Manchester Public Library, Chamber of Commerce, Visit Wabash County!, Shepherd’s Center, Manchester University and the Manchester Community Schools.

 Excursions. This year, the Historical Society organized two trips in partnership with Manchester Shepherd’s Center. In June, the group traveled to Stratford, Ontario, to attend the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, enjoying four Festival plays and a dinner theater production. Shopping and visiting local attractions during Canada’s 150th Anniversary celebration completed the tour.

 In December we led a tour to the Purdue Christmas Show, a trip we arrange every other year, and ended the evening with dinner in Kokomo. In June, 2018, a tour to Door County, Wisconsin, is planned. At this writing, a very limited number of spaces is available if you wish to join this trip.

 Thank you to Bernie Ferringer for leading the trips and to Vicki for helping out!

A Total of 1136 Visitors to the Center for History Signed Our Guest Register:


Alstead NH



Belton SC

Belton TX

Birmingham AL

Canton GA

Chicago IL

Cincinnati OH


Cottontown TN

Dayton OH

Donovan IL

Durham NC

Edwardsburg MI

Florissant MO


Germantown OH


Frostproof FL

Glendale Arizona

Granville OH

Hazard KY

Hazelwood MO

Huntsville AL




Kalamazoo MI

Lake Mary FL

Lansing Ill

Locust NJ

Largo FL


McConnellsburg PA


Minneapolis MN

Mission Viejo CA

Missouri City TX

North Port FL

North Carolina


Orlando FL


Port Orchard WA

Sarasota FL

Shorewood IL

Sturgis MI


Three Rivers MI

Troy OH


White House TN






Yantai China

British Columbia















Columbia City





Etna Green



Fort Wayne






La Porte








Liberty Mills








New Haven

North Manchester











Silver Lake

South Bend

South Whitley

Terre Haute





Winona Lake


2017 Contributors


Thank you to the people who supported the North Manchester Historical Society and the North Manchester Center for History with cash gifts made in 2017 to our Annual Fund or special gifts to help retire our Façade Restoration debt. Endowment Gifts and In-Kind, Memorial and Honorary Gifts are also listed. . The Annual Fund pays our on-going operating expenses each year. Façade Restoration gifts helped us with remaining expenses for our facade project, and Endowment gifts are invested to provide perpetual returns. We appreciate this assistance, because as a not-for-profit with no regular governmental support we need your help to serve our community with museums, educational programs, research, and artifact collecting.

We are sorry if there are any errors in this list. Please let us know if there are any corrections to be made, and we will be happy to make them. And thank you again for your support!


2017 Annual Fund Gifts

Thomas Marshall Circle $1,000+

Kathy Prater

Tom and Eloise Brown

Mary Chrastil

Eloise Eberly

Art and Ellen Gilbert

Bob and Sally Krouse

Wabash Electric Supply, Inc.


Benefactor $500+

Darlene Bucher

Richard and Sheila Eisenstein

Visit Wabash County!

Joe and Mary Vogel

Rolf Westman

Wetzel Insurance

History Sponsor $250+

Beacon Credit Union

Bernie and Vicki Ferringer

John and Bea Knarr

Bonnie Dee Merritt

Gregory Miller

Warren Garner


Patron $100+

Kay Batdorf

Steve Batzka

Michael and Angie Beauchamp

Leland and Angilee Beery

Don and Sandra Billmaier

Crossroads Bank

Charles and Dagny Boebel

Bob and Martha Bowman

Drs. J.R. and Barbara Damron

Arlene Deardorff

Paula Dee

Vikki Epstein

First Financial Bank

Judith Glasgow

H F Group, LLC

Charles P. Heeter, Jr.

Tim Hoffman

Bob and Stephanie Jones

Pete and Susie Jones

Joyce Joy

Donn Kesler

Lois Lemna

Manchester Veterinary Clinic

Mary Miller

Jim and Shirley Mishler

Roger and Jill Morphew

Jim Myer

Daniel and Tracy Myers

North Manchester Fine Arts Club

Joe and Vivian Ogden

Roger and Kathy Presl

Gary and Karen Runkel

Jack and Nancy Schuler

Mitch and Magreta Schutz

Nancy Sensibaugh

Bob and Robin Shepherd

Viv Simmons

Dan and Barbara Speicher

Bill and Becky Steele

Barbara Stewart

Tri-Kappa, Gamma Kappa Chapter

Tri-Oaks Realty

Douglas and Joan Trusner

Tim and Jenny Taylor

Carolyn Underwood

Doretta Urschel

David and Becky Waas

Bob Weimer

Roland Young and Mona Harley


Donor $50+

Meryl Beachley

Judy Boyer

Daniel and Marsha Croner

Diane Dewey-Norvell

Loren Finnell

Michael and Marsha Flora

Ruth Hauser

Fred and Carol Haw

Pam Higgins and Steve Naragon

Melba Holmgren

Sam and Carol Leckrone

Scott and Deb Manges

Earl and Janet McKinley

Allen and Melody Miracle

Jim and Shirley Mishler

Matthew and Teresa Mize

Donald Olinger

Robert and Sandra Orn

Phil Orpurt

Ron and Pam Penrod

Cheri Rieman

James and Sharon Ross

Jo Ann Schall

Tri-Kappa Associates

Nancy Sensibaugh

Cynthia Thies

Dorothy Weldy

Janice and Eddie Wood



Ruthann Angle

Jane Bellinger

Sandy Bendsen

Mary Lou Brown

Bart Corricelli

Ida Cripe

Pat Egolf

Stewart and Ruth Hawley

Butch and Diana Iden

Elaine Leonhard

Laketon Lions Club

Main View Inn

Donna McKee

Irene Migliorini

Ron and Bev Petry

Dave Randall

David and Shirley Rogers

Barbara Shoemaker

Marjorie Sincroft

Jack and Deb Vineyard

Helga Walsh


2017 Façade Restoration Debt Retirement

 (includes paver sponsors)

Benefactor 500+

Tom and Eloise Brown

Mary Chrastil

Dave and Renee McFadden


History Sponsor 250+

Jim and Amy Brumbaugh-Smith

McKee Mortuary

Loree Pritchard

Manchester Shepherd’s Center

Dorotha Williams


Patron $100+

Charles and Dagny Boebel

Kenneth Burch

Dennis and Rosemary Butler

Vikki Epstein

Charles P. Heeter, Jr.

John and Bea Knarr

Metzger Landscaping and Design

Jim and Shirley Mishler

Roger and Kathy Presl

David and Karen Runkel

David and Becky Waas


Donor $50+

Myrl Beachley

Daniel and Marsha Croner

Drs. J.R. and Barbara Damron

Judith Glasgow

Phil Orpurt

Steve and Sharon Reiff

Nancy Sensibaugh

Viv Simmons


Judy Boyer

Mary Lou Brown

Cathy French

Laketon Lions Club

Main View Inn

Donna McKee

Robert and Sandra Orn



Community Foundation of Wabash County

Indiana Historical Society Heritage Support Grants

Chili for Charity Cookoff


Honorary Gifts

In Honor of Evelyn Niswander’s 100th Birthday

Mary Chrastil


Memorial Gifts

In Memory of Philip Brown:

Tom and Eloise Brown

Jim Myer


In Memory of Roberta Hoffman:

Tim Hoffman


In Memory of Grace Kester:

Mary Chrastil


In Memory of Jean Renschler:

Rex and Alice Schilling

In-Kind Gifts

In-Kind Gifts are non-cash goods or services provided to the Historical Society in lieu of payment or other obligations.

Ron Eberly


Endowment Fund Contributors

Gifts to our endowment funds at the Community Foundation of Wabash County are invested to provide perpetual income for the Center for History, Historical Society, and Thomas Marshall House.


Estate of Ferne Baldwin

David and Patty Grant

Esther Rupel

Rex and Alice Schilling

Jim and Shirley Mishler


It’s Not Too Late to Renew Your Membership in the NMHS!

 Over the years, we’ve become a trusted institution, one that loves telling the story of our town, why we are here, and how we got to be who we are. It is the support of members like you that has helped us thrive and become a benefit to our friends and neighbors. All of our funding comes from donations and memberships like yours. Your support helps us pay our bills, keep the doors open, offer programs for students and adults, collect artifacts that tell our story, and provide research assistance.

 Last year, in an effort to provide even better service to our community, our Board of Trustees voted to stop charging admission to the Center for History and Thomas Marshall House. Although the admission charge was minimal, we felt it might keep some of our friends from visiting us, especially those with large families. And free admission will help promote businesses and tourism in our town, something good for everyone.

 We’d also like to encourage the school children who visit us with their classes each year to return with their parents and grandparents (many already do! The kids love to show their families what they learned here). We believe that free admission will be very popular with Wabash County residents and visitors!