Peabody Singing Tower

 North Manchester, Indiana

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North Manchester

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Source: NMHS Newsletter Nov 2002

Street Paving in North Manchester

Began Summer of 1903

The project of paving Main Street began in the summer of 1903. Ralph Liggett told later that he, Roy Abbott and Charles Girard of Liberty Mills community got jobs working on the street. The pay was 15 cents an hour, $1.00. for a ten hour day and that was above average pay. Mr. Liggett recalled that they boarded with Mr. and Mrs. Lyman Phillips for $1.75 a week and Mrs. Phillips put up lunches for them because it was too far to walk for lunch to the Phillips home at the East end of College Avenue. All the labor on the street was done by hand, shoveling, mixing concrete, etc., and the grading, material hauling and such was done with horse or mule teams. It was customary then for a man and team to be paid double the wage paid for a man, so the going wage was $3. a day for man and team.

Main and the one block of Walnut were the first streets paved in North Manchester and the brick stood the test of time better than any street or road surface built until near the end of the 1900s. Seemingly the brick withstood the weight of vehicles with little wear as the section of Walnut Street remained smooth and showed comparatively little wear after 63 years when the last block of brick pavement was covered with hot-mix asphalt on June 24, 1966, The brick pavement on Main Street between Mill and Beckley Streets was surfaced with blacktop shortly after World War II and was resurfaced before 1966.

When Main and Walnut Streets were paved the town board also required that sidewalks be built out to the curb to replace the old wooden sidewalks. That was part of the paving contract. The old hitching racks also disappeared from the business section. A lot for hitching horses was provided on the vacant lot, the former site of the old Bee Hive later the site of Harting Furniture on the south side of Main Street east of the Legion. When business buildings were later built on the site, livery stables and so-called tie barns did a lively business for a few years until the Horseless carriage superseded the horse drawn vehicles.

It was a major step forward from the dusty highway of Main Street in summers and the mud and ruts of winter and spring.