of the North Manchester Historical Society, Inc.

Volume XXVI   Number 4   November 2009


Russ Reahard pilots the high-wheeling DEWITT CAR in the 2009 FUNFEST parade. Enjoying the ride in a four-passenger replica of a vehicle once manufactured in North Manchester are Bill Eberly and his wife Eloise. Bill is currently serving as President of the North Manchester Historical Society. He offers a year-end review and update in the following article. The Indiana Historical Society has announced that our Historical Society is to receive the 2009 Outstanding Historical Organization Award. Our next issue will highlight this award!


North Manchester Historical Society

The North Manchester Historical Society began in 1972 with twelve members. In just two years the membership had grown to a hundred and twenty-five. The first major project was to have a rededication of the covered bridge in North Manchester, which was built in 1872. Since this is the most northerly covered bridge in Indiana, this was a significant event.

The Society began publishing a quarterly Newsletter in 1984, which continues to this day. Each issue is sixteen pages and is usually illustrated with pertinent photographs. That's about 1600 pages of mostly original articles and notes.

Thomas R. Marshall, Governor of Indiana 1909-1913 and Vice-President of the United States under Wilson 1913-1921, was born in North Manchester in 1854. The house still survives even though Marshall does not! The house was moved twice. About 1992 the last owners decided to either sell or raze the house. The Historical Society bought it and moved it in 1994 to a fourth location on town property adjacent to the Public Library. Efforts were made to restore the house to its original 1850 condition and to locate some furnishings of the 1850s. It was dedicated August 12, 2005. A historical marker from the Indiana Historical Bureau was installed and dedicated August 10, 2007.

In 1909 a small factory along the railroad at the west end of town began manufacturing an automobile, the DeWitt. It was a high-wheel buggy type of car. Various labor problems and a major fire closed the factory in 1910. It was never rebuilt. Two young men in North Manchester built a replica of the DeWitt that would actually run on the open road. This they did, and their car was presented to the Historical Society in 1973. These same two men produced about fifteen additional replicas, many of which were sold to theme parks, theater groups, etc. A few models were battery-powered for use indoors. There is only one original, unrestored DeWitt in the world, and we hope to have it on display at our museum, some time. We want to promote the DeWitt as one of the key icons of North Manchester.

The Society began collecting artifacts relating to North Manchester and early pioneer life in the area. We had never had a very good location to display this collection. Finally, in 2001, we bought the old Oppenheim store building on Main Street to develop as a museum. This was one of the best known stores in Northern Indiana for a century or more. There is a display area on the first floor of ca. 11,000 sq. ft., plus additional space on the top floor and basement of 18,000 sq. ft.

When we moved into the "new" old building, we had about 2,000 catalogued artifacts. Much work on the infrastructure of the building was needed. Implementing a system for accessioning and storing artifacts delayed the development of the public viewing space on the main floor. After we had a grand opening of the museum display hall in 2007, we began to receive many more items. Just recently our Office Manager said we now have over 19,000 accessioned items. We also have many items yet to be processed.

We are now in the process of setting up a web site for the Historical Society at We publish a short historical essay every month or so in the local News Journal. About fifteen such articles have appeared so far.

From the beginning the Historical Society had monthly dinner meetings followed by a program. After a number of years, interest and attendance dropped to a few dozen or so. For the past two years, there has been a significant increase in numbers attending our programs. We are averaging now about 80-100 at our programs; once we had about 220 and another time 140 in attendance. Many people come to hear the program who do not share in the dinner.

The museum has been closed for the past two winters, though when there are requests we gladly open it to special groups and other visitors. At the official reopening, usually in March, we have been having a special program event for children. It was called a Bunny Hop or Hop Into Spring. Co-sponsored with the Chamber of Commerce and numerous organizations and businesses, there are live animals present for the children to pet (chickens, ducks, rabbits, lambs), art contests with prizes, a photographer to take pictures of the children with a giant bunny rabbit (in costume), planting seeds to take home, etc.

We are fortunate in having the elementary school (representing two townships) close, even within walking distance. We have scheduled several kinds of events and activities with the children. This year the fourth grade students came by classes (there were five classes of 4th graders) and were given special tours of the museum. Docents led small groups (6-7 students) through the exhibits.

Also this year, in cooperation with a planning committee of teachers, we provided a series of interactive work stations (about 15 or so stations) for the third grade students. These centers featured historical and practical activities, such as paper modeling, how to set a table, how to sew on a button, how to pound nails and drill holes (carpentering), playing marbles and jacks, etc. Each student worked out a ticket to get involved in five activities, so at any one time there were only two to five or six at one place at any one time. They would spend about five to ten minutes at a station. Surprisingly, this event was a great success with these third graders. Though they did not come to see the museum exhibits, they did look around. More importantly, they did have a real good time "at the museum" and enthusiastically expressed interest in returning. We also hosted the second graders to some special activities in the museum.

In 2007, fourth grade students around the state were challenged to study a significant building in their community and construct a model of that building, which would then be entered into competition with other student projects. One of our local fourth grade teachers picked up on that idea. His class studied the history of the Thomas Marshall birth house, already mentioned above. Various members of the Historical Society assisted them in that study. The class then picked a committee of five students who constructed an actual model of the Marshall house. In the state competition at Indianapolis, their exhibit placed third. They gave their exhibit to the Museum (where it is now on display) and also donated their prize money to the support of the Museum.

In 1938, the Tri-Kappa Sorority sponsored a film production titled "See Yourself in the Movies". It was taken at various places about town, showing many people, businesses and random footage during special town events. Several Society members are planning to repeat this kind of filming now about 70 years later. Both of the two films will then be recorded on a DVD for sale by the Society.

An affiliate of the Historical Society, the Manchester Historic Homes Preservation Group, has purchased several significant historic houses that were in danger of destruction and has restored them with the help of Historic Landmarks. They are now beginning to work on a third building in North Manchester downtown, the very visible Cigar Factory.

The Manchester College Art Department has agreed to provide an intern who will spend about 15 hours a week assisting in a variety of tasks at the museum. These students will be taking a course in museum management of which the internship is a vital part. The student will be exposed to all facets of museum work. The work is monitored by the Art Professor and the student is supervised directly by the staff at the museum. We had one intern in the fall semester of 2008 and another in the spring of 2009. They made valuable contributions to our museum program.

We are also cooperating with another program at Manchester College. A biology professor has received a large grant ($1,000,000) to study erosion and pollution of the Eel River as it flows through and near North Manchester. Our part is to serve as an educational center for various aspects of the study. The first part of the museum display will be a 3-dimensional model of the entire Eel River Valley. In real life, the Eel River is about 100 miles long and drains about 815 sq. mi. The model is 8 feet long and the carving of the valley is taken directly from USGS topographic maps. This project is being carried out by the Art Professor mentioned in the above paragraph. We are now waiting on a wheeled cabinet or base for this display.

We have been assisted by a number of local merchants and businesses. One special gift should be noted. The local bindery and book conservator (originally the Heckman Bindery and now owned by the HFGroup) set aside $5,000 for our use of their services over a five year period. We now have an extremely rare map of Wabash County being restored by their experts.

We cooperate with a number of civic and service organizations in town. We are especially close to the Chamber of Commerce. Each year the Chamber sponsors a great festival, called the FunFest. This year the theme was "Under the Big Top". We invited Mr. Tom Dunwoody, the Executive Director of the International Circus Hall of Fame at Peru, Indiana, to speak before our regular meeting on July 13, 2009. Our display windows at the Museum were filled with Circus models and memorabilia. We had a Big Bake Sale. We had two DeWitt replicas on display, one a two-seater, four passenger electric model. And, of course, we had the museum open during the entire festival.

A local committee (including some Historical Society members) helped prepare North Manchester for participation in the America in Bloom competition in 2008. We were entered in the 5,000 to 10,000 population category. North Manchester was awarded first place (in the nation, among those towns that entered the competition). We were awarded a plaque and trophy for this honor.

North Manchester received a "Special Recognition" for its Historic Preservation. Out of a total of 125 points in this section, we received a score of 115. To quote the local News Journal, the Judge said "the heritage of North Manchester is one of its strongest areas. She applauded the hard work of the Historical Society in the creation of its museum. She commented on the well-maintained collection of historical archives and beautifully constructed displays in the museum. She also extolled the efforts of the ongoing Thomas Marshall Birthplace Home project, citing it as an `important piece of history worthy of its ongoing preservation efforts'. National AIB spokesperson Laura Kunkle explained further why North Manchester was given special recognition for its Historical preservation: Few towns of this size can boast a 29,000 sq. ft. museum with more than 16,000 artifacts. The Historical Society uses state-of-the-art techniques to document and preserve this town's rich heritage. Displays and vignettes have been created by volunteers and feature excellent interpretation."

We were more than pleased by these glowing commendations from a national organization.

Most recently, in fact the first of October, the Indiana Historical Society announced that they had selected the North Manchester Historical Society to receive the 2009 Outstanding Historical Organization Award. This award is made annually to a local or county historical society, organization, or site in Indiana which has demonstrated remarkable public services and programs to its community. The award will be presented at the Founders Day Dinner at Indianapolis on Monday, December 7, 2009. This is quite an honor for our Society and our Town.

As mentioned before all of our work is done by unpaid volunteers except for the recent addition of a worker supported by the National Able Network SCSEP program. Two of our volunteer workers must be named. Nancy Reed serves as the Director of the Museum and is in charge of the exhibits and program. She spends countless hours each week in this role. Joyce Joy is the Office Manager and takes care of receiving, cleaning, accessioning and storing all artifacts as they come to the Museum.. In addition, there are several dozen volunteers who help in a multitude of ways. Some help in the office, some serve as docents during the open hours, some do carpentry and other physical tasks.

A museum committee was established in 2001 to plan for the development of the Center for History. The committee included Mary Chrastil, chair; Art Gilbert; David Grandstaff; Steven Hammer; Bonnie Ingraham; Ralph Naragon; Phil Orpurt; Tim Taylor; David Tranter; and Robin Lahman. Jeanne Andersen was employed as project manager, later Director of the Center. She served in this capacity until 2007. The Board also employed Bill Firstenberger of Winona Lake, Indiana, a professional museum planner, as a consultant. Prior to the move to the Oppenheim building, Phil Orpurt had served as curator of the collection for a number of years.

From the beginning, the following have served as president of the Historical Society: Max and Sally Allen; Al and Ruth Anne Schlitt; Steve Batzka; Robert Nelson; Gene Graham; Duane Martin; Keith Ross; Ramona Miller; Max Kester; Nancy Reed; Ferne Baldwin; and Bill Eberly.

We have a Board of twelve elected members plus three ad hoc members. The present Board of Directors includes Bob Amiss; A. Ferne Baldwin, v.president; Darlene Bucher; Mary Chrastil; Bill Eberly, president; Art Gilbert; John Knarr; Mike McKee; Karl Merritt, secretary; Viv Simmons; Tim Taylor; Joe Vogel; Nancy Reed, director; Joyce Joy, office manager and custodian of artifacts; Ralph Naragon, treasurer. Many volunteers work at various tasks in creating and building displays, hosting visitors, and planning and leading program events.

A museum committee was established in 2001 to plan for the development of the Center for History. The committee included Mary Chrastil, chair; Art Gilbert; David Grandstaff; Steven Hammer; Bonnie Ingraham; Ralph Naragon; Phil Orpurt; Tim Taylor; David Tranter; and Robin Lahman. Jeanne Andersen was employed as project manager, later Director of the Center. She served in this capacity until 2007. The Board also employed Bill Firstenberger of Winona Lake, Indiana, a professional museum planner, as a consultant. Prior to the move to the Oppenheim building, Phil Orpurt had served as curator of the collection for a number of years.

From the beginning, the following have served as president of the Historical Society: Max and Sally Allen; Al and Ruth Anne Schlitt; Steve Batzka; Robert Nelson; Gene Graham; Duane Martin; Keith Ross; Ramona Miller; Max Kester; Nancy Reed; Ferne Baldwin; and Bill Eberly.

We have a Board of twelve elected members plus three ad hoc members. The present Board of Directors includes Bob Amiss; A. Ferne Baldwin, v.president; Darlene Bucher; Mary Chrastil; Bill Eberly, president; Art Gilbert; John Knarr; Mike McKee; Karl Merritt, secretary; Viv Simmons; Tim Taylor; Joe Vogel; Nancy Reed, director; Joyce Joy, office manager and custodian of artifacts; Ralph Naragon, treasurer. Many volunteers work at various tasks in creating and building displays, hosting visitors, and planning and leading program events.



Have you seen the two different replica models of the DeWitt automobile at the Center for History?




By Robert A. Weimer

Bicycles were an important part of my growing up in North Manchester, Indiana, as was true for all youths in that small town of 3,500 souls. There was no public transportation, no school bus, no way of getting around town except by foot, bicycle or auto. And bicycles were of increasing importance to our parents as well during World War II days with limited use of autos due to rationing of gasoline and lack of new tires and tubes.

I must have been seven or eight years old when my grandparents bought a junior sized bicycle for all of us grandkids to practice on and ride around their home at the end of West Main Street. I can see in memory Mom and Dad or Uncle Al running along side of me with a helping hand as I attempted to stay upright, pedal and steer a reasonably straight path. And I seem to still feel the bruises resulting from the numerous falls that followed. But after many attempts, my skill increased until I could ride that little bike with confidence around my grandparents' home and down the street to Uncle Al's house and back.

Having mastered that small bike, I was eager to grow a bit taller and graduate to a full sized bicycle. It was probably the summer of 1939 when I was nine years old that my parents acquired a used one, blue in color with a wire basket attached to the handle bars. Before long, I was big enough to reach the pedals and learning began anew. I remember well Mom or Dad along side as I attempted to stay upright, so high off the ground on that big bike. But after many weeks of practice, I could ride that bike around our neighborhood with complete assurance.

And what a difference in my life! I could now ride that bicycle with my books in the basket to Tommy R as we all called Thomas R. Marshall Elementary School, and join my chums in riding around the neighborhood after school. I could run errands for Mom, usually riding three blocks to Ramsey's Grocery, one of our neighborhood groceries, to pick up some last minute item needed to complete our meal then in preparation. Gradually my horizon expanded; I was allowed to ride farther from home on my own, even all the way downtown, a long 12 blocks away. I could join classmates at the soda fountain in Marks Drugstore, owned by the parents of my schoolmate, Harold Marks, Jr. And best of all, just up Main Street in the next block from Marks Drugstore were the Ritz and Marshall Movie Theaters.

Every Saturday afternoon the Marshall Theater had a double bill, one film invariably a western. There was always a cartoon, before the first feature as I remember it. Both the Ritz and Marshall played ads for local stores and newsreels but I don't think they were a part of the Marshall's Saturday matinee for kids. However, sandwiched between the two features was this week's episode of The Serial! Last Saturday's episode had left the hero in dire straits with his survival in serious doubt. We could hardly wait to see if somehow our hero could survive and again cross up the bad guys. I believe that every kid in town must have been there each Saturday since the theater was always filled. And most of us rode our bikes. So many did so that finding a place to leave a bike was a major problem.

The Marshall Theater was only three buildings west from the corner of Walnut and Main Streets. Landis Drugs was on the corner with a long, blank brick wall along Walnut Street broken only by a wide, iron stair that extended from the sidewalk up to rooms above. There was a rear entrance to Landis Drugs off a short alley that extended on to the emergency exits at the rear of the two theaters. There was a bicycle rack in the alley at the rear entrance to Landis Drugs that must have held six or eight bikes. But the flood of bicycles on Saturday afternoons demanded many more parking spaces. Bikes were stacked three or four deep along the drug store wall under the iron stairs but could not extend into the sidewalk much past the stairs without causing a problem with the town marshal. Bikes were also parked two or three deep along both sides of the rear alley, but this was a bit trickier. The marshal insisted on keeping most of the alley open to those emergency exits and would occasionally remove bicycles that he felt were obstructing too much of the right-of-way. So if you came late to that Saturday afternoon matinee, it was always a tough call as to whether your bike could safely be added to the many already there. To be safe, you could use other bicycle racks around the downtown area, but most of these were a block or more away and would make you even later to the movie.

After the end of the second feature, there was a mass exodus through the two rear exits as well as the front doors to find our bicycles. Despite the mass of bikes, I rarely had a problem in finding my own. My bike was a cherished family member with its own characteristics, much like the faces of my brother and sister. With our bikes in hand, several of my chums and I moved down Main Street to the soda fountain at Marks Drug Store. After spending ten cents for admission to the movies and five cents for a bag of popcorn or a box of Milk Duds, I had ten cents left of my Saturday allowance for a milk shake. Sitting at the counter with my friends, I slowly sipped my tall, cold shake and perused a comic book from the rack next to the door. This was permitted by Mrs. Marks as long as the comic book could be returned to the rack in pristine condition. If Mrs. Marks was not at the counter, we made sure that Harold Marks Jr. was in our group. Otherwise, Mr. Marks would likely come up from the back of the store, frown at us and say, "buy them or put them back."

My brother Charles was two years younger than me but almost as big. So he learned to ride soon after I did and then there was fierce competition as to which of us would get to use the family bike. At first Charles was often willing to sit on the frame as I pedaled. Those times became less frequent and we began to agitate for bikes of our own. As Christmas of 1941 approached, we both suggested more than once that a new bicycle would be a perfect gift. But Christmas came and went with no bikes. A few months later, however, in early spring of 1942 Ralph Bagott, a family friend and manager of the Western Auto Store, called my father. He told Dad that war time restrictions would prevent his receiving any more shipments of bicycles and his existing stock would soon be gone. He urged quick action if Dad was interested in getting bikes for Charles and me. And so we visited the Western Auto Store the next day.

Ralph had four or five bicycles in stock as I remember. A red Columbia Flyer took my fancy and a dark blue bike was claimed by my brother. After Dad agreed that these would do, the real work began—how to accessorize these new bikes. Kick-stands were a must as were baskets. Charles chose the traditional, large wire basket mounted above the front fender and attached to the handlebars. But I chose something different, wire saddlebags. These were two large rectangular wire baskets that fit on each side of the rear wheel. At the bottom they were attached by brackets to the rear axle and the tops were secured to the rack over the rear fender. After Dad had agreed to include these essentials, it was time for Charles and me to dip into our savings to continue adding to our bikes.

I'm not sure what all Charles added but for me a larger rear reflector replaced the tiny one that came with the bike as well as double-sided reflectors attached to the spokes of the wheels to make my bike and me more visible from the sides. A bell was attached to the right handlebar to give warning when overtaking someone from the rear and a rear view mirror was clamped onto the left handlebar. Finally, a headlamp was needed to allow riding at night. The normal choice would have been a battery-powered lamp on the front of the bike or even a flashlight in a bracket on a handlebar. But thanks to a cash gift from my grandparents, I splurged on a generator headlamp.

The generator was attached to the right front fork so that when released, it would drop down into contact with the front tire. The motion of the tire would generate electricity which powered the lamp that was attached to the front frame. When moving at a brisk pace, a powerful beam of light was produced, brighter than any battery-powered lamp and no replacement batteries were necessary. The downside, of course, was that at slow speeds the light was rather fitful and ceased when I stopped.

One thing we didn't consider was some kind of lock. I'm not sure that bicycle locks even existed then and certainly not in North Manchester. We left our bikes all over town in racks, standing upright on the kick stand, propped against a wall or even flat on the grass, certain that it would be there when we returned. Oh yes, occasionally a bike would disappear but it would usually soon be found not too far away, borrowed for a short spin. In a small town like North Manchester, everyone knew nearly everyone else, and a stolen bicycle was hard to keep and use unnoticed.

As 1942 continued and turned into 1943, our whole family largely converted to bicycle travel. The family auto was driven regularly to church on Sunday and then on to visit my grandparents at the west end of town. There was also a weekly trip downtown for groceries and other items. But Dad and Mom attempted to save as much of the weekly gas ration as possible to use for special trips. Charles and I now had our own bikes, Dad used that old blue bike that had been in the family for several years, and Mom somewhere found a used woman's bike that she now rode and carried my baby sister along. Manchester College where Dad taught was only six blocks away and Dad usually walked to class. But when his briefcase was especially heavy, he would put it in the basket of that old bike and pedal off to his 7:30 a.m. freshmen chemistry lecture.

Ours was not the only family to make increased use of bicycles during those war-time years. Among the many people then on bikes around town, I especially remember the Beauchamps who lived three blocks south of us. George Jr. was a classmate, and we often rode to his house to play. His father was also a professor at the college and often rode his bicycle to class. We kids were not overly concerned with the brand names of our bikes since they were essentially all the same with heavy frames, big balloon tires and coaster brakes. But Mr. and Mrs. Beauchamp rode imported English Raleigh bicycles. These were special—lighter in weight with three speeds and hand brakes. They were the only such bicycles in town. During visits to their home to play with George Jr., I was allowed to try them out and, indeed, they were special.

In the spring of 1943 I was thirteen years old and joined the Boy Scouts for which a bicycle was almost mandatory. Troop 22 was sponsored by the Kiwanis Club and the Rotary Club sponsored Troop 65, the other troop in town. Dad was a member of Kiwanis so naturally I joined Troop 22. Neither organization had facilities for troop meetings, so our meeting places often moved around the town. That first spring and summer we met out of doors in a clearing on the south side of the Eel River just west of the Wabash Road Bridge. Later, during the winter, and for several years thereafter, we met at the town waterworks building at the east end of Main Street where it stopped at the river. I also remember meeting during several summers in a clearing in Frantz's woods just west of Manchester College. We all rode our bikes to weekly troop meetings at these and other forgotten locations as well as to the many special meetings and events that Troop 22 was involved with during those years.

Bicycles enabled us to earn our spending money. Charles and I rode our bikes the two miles to our grandparents' home nearly every day during the summer months when their canning factory behind the house was in operation. There were jobs that we could do, of increasing importance as we grew older, that kept us in spending money and allowed the purchase of saving stamps and war bonds. One job we did in the spring and fall as well as in the summer was to mow the lawns --the lawn around the house, the two lawns on either side of the house, and the two side yards of the canning factory. Grandpa had three push mowers for our use—no gas powered mowers at that time. The three front lawns were surrounded by privet hedges that needed trimming several times a year. And Grandma often required help with her flower beds.

I made a more direct use of my bike to earn money when classmate Tom Wetzel asked me to share his paper route in 1944. Tom had the delivery rights in North Manchester for the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette and it took two of us to cover the town. Six afternoons each week, two or three bundles of papers were dropped off at the curb near Tom's house in the center of town. As soon as school was out, we would pedal to the drop point and fold the papers into thirds with the loose edge tucked in to make a compact bundle that could easily be tossed into a yard or onto a porch. We each had a canvas news-boy bag which was packed with folded papers and placed over the front fender of our bikes (no front basket on either bike) with the shoulder straps wrapped around the handlebars. The bags rarely held all of the papers and Tom would have to leave some of his behind for a second run as he covered the west side of town. But I had those saddlebag baskets! I could load all of the papers for the north side of town onto my bike and make a single, long run.

The Journal-Gazette was not published on Sunday and included special sections in Saturday's paper. The result was a paper so thick that it could be folded into thirds only with great difficulty. But with much pressing and pounding, we always managed. The size of the Saturday paper also challenged me to get all of my papers onto my bike. I always managed but on a few occasions I had to stack some papers on the rear rack and tie them fast. Saturday morning was also the time for collecting the subscription cost. Every fourth Saturday I would get from Tom the collection book for my share of the route, visit each customer, collect the amount due and turn the money over to Tom, who then paid me the agreed upon amount for each customer I served. Occasionally I would earn an extra sum by also doing Tom's route. This was usually on Saturday which was no big deal since I could start as soon as the papers were dropped off in mid afternoon. But on the rare weekday after school when Tom could not do his route, it made for a long evening, finishing in the dark during much of the year and running his entire route in the dark during winter time.

Summertime with school out provided new opportunities for bicycle use. There were ball games and picnics to ride to. The beach at Long Lake was open during the summer and nearly every sunny afternoon there was a line of bicycles headed west along State Route 114 to the lake three miles distant and a return stream later in the day. Auto traffic was light and slow during those wartime years and never caused problems for us bicyclists. A lazy Sunday afternoon was a great time to just enjoy being out on your bike. I remember agreeing with friends at church to meet after lunch for a ride. One favorite eight- mile circuit was to head north from town and then east to Liberty Mills where we crossed over the Eel River. We then continued south on a country road along the east side of the river until we were back to North Manchester and crossed over the Second Street bridge to the town.

World War II ended in 1945 and life began to change, ever so slowly at first. I was sixteen and got my drivers license in 1946 but had limited use for it. New autos did become available in 1946 but were in short supply. There were long waiting lists at all of the town's auto dealerships. Dad finally got a new 1948 Chevy in the spring of 1949 and kept our old 1938 Chevy for use as a second car. I had graduated from Central High School the previous spring and was now attending Manchester College. While I still rode my bicycle to classes, trips downtown or to my grandparents' home were now more likely by auto. The end of my active bicycling days came in 1951 when I acquired my first auto, a 1941 Nash. I no longer needed a bicycle and that trusty old, red Columbia Flyer was sold to one of the Brookins twins who lived around the corner from my parents.

The sale of my childhood bike ended my bicycle days for the time being. But before too many years had gone by, I had children of my own, each enjoying their own bicycle. Their love for riding rekindled my own enthusiasm, and I was soon borrowing or renting a bike to ride along with them. I well remember several vacations when the entire family rented bicycles to explore new areas at a leisurely pace. It wasn't long before I purchased a new lightweight bicycle of my own with skinny tires, hand brakes and twenty-one gears. I still enjoy riding that bike today and take special pleasure in riding along the Baltimore County Bicycle Trail on a sunny Saturday morning with my daughter and granddaughters. Pedaling along, memories of the many good times bicycles have brought me flash by and I remember again how it all started some seventy years ago in North Manchester, Indiana with a red Columbia Flyer with wire saddlebags.