Peabody Singing Tower

 North Manchester, Indiana

Recipient of Indiana Historical Society's Awards--"2013 Outstanding Project Award" &
"2009 Outstanding Historical Organization".  Welcome to our web site!  Enjoy using this Portal to Our Past!

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Newspaper Articles on NMHS Awards for 2009: IHS and Chamber of Commerce--

“Doing a lot with a little,” most accurately describes the accomplishments of the North Manchester Historical Society. The organization’s success at preserving the community’s ties to the past, providing residents with ongoing education and programming, and also looking to the future with a rapidly growing collection at the Center for History were all reasons why it was selected from among similar organizations statewide for a major award.
The Indiana Historical Society presented the “2009 Outstanding Historical Organization Award” to the North Manchester Historical Society (NMHS) at its annual Founders Day Dinner on December 7 in Indianapolis.
Accepting the award on behalf of the NMHS were Bill and Eloise Eberly and Nancy Reed. Bill Eberly said, “We felt quite honored to be there and to receive the award. It speaks to the wonderful work our volunteers devote to the Society and to the museum on Main Street.”
The award is given each year to “county or local historical societies, organizations or sites in Indiana that have demonstrated remarkable public service to the communities they serve.”
The NMHS was formed in 1972 with just twelve charter members. Growing by leaps and bounds over the past 37 years, the society accomplishes much despite relying solely on volunteer time and efforts for everything from its day-to-day operations to securing grants to preserve many parts of the area’s history.
It publishes a quarterly newsletter with original articles and notes and hosts regular programs that serve hundreds of local residents. The Society has undertaken many large tasks over the years, from the rededication of  the covered  bridge and purchase and restoration of Governor Thomas R. Marshall’s birth home to the collecting of artifacts and the opening of its museum.
At the Center for History, volunteers are currently remodeling a large back room to house large numbers of farm equipment and other historical artifacts donated by the Harold Miller family. The room is being remodeled to look like the interior of a barn so when it’s complete, the new exhibit will give visitors a “window” into North Manchester’s agricultural heritage. The Center for History also participates in numerous projects with several groups from the community, including students, teachers, civic groups, and service organizations. ...Through all that it does, the NMHS depends on volunteers and the financial support of the community. For more info, see its website at , email , or call 260-982-0672.

Photographs of Dec 7, 2009 IHS Awards Ceremony provided by Bill Eberly.

North Manchester News-Journal Feb 3, 2010

The North Manchester Historical Society was honored by the Chamber of Commerce as the winner of the 2009 Spirit of the Community Award at the 2010 annual dinner Thursday night, January 28.
2008 winner Debbie Chinworth, who was filling in for 2009 winner Rowena Greer, presented the North Manchester Historical Society the award.
“The Spirit of the Community Award is being presented to an organization for their innovation, their commitment, and their contributions, which have greatly impacted the character of our community,” Chinworth said.
The North Manchester Historical Society was founded in 1972 with the purpose of collecting and preserving artifacts, documents and photographs which tell the story of North Manchester’s history.
The founding 12 members have grown to nearly 200 members today.
They meet monthly and publish a quarterly newsletter.
In 1994, they purchased the Thomas Marshall house and moved it to its current location on Market Street.
An affiliate of the Historical Society, the Historic Home Preservation group, restored the Rice House, the Grant Street blue/red brick house, and is attempting to restore the exterior of the Cigar Factory.
“The most visible activity of the Historical Society in our town is at the Center For History on Main Street, our historical museum,” Chinworth said.
Chinworth explained the first historical museum was in the upper floor of the town hall, then moved to the Town Life Center. In 2001, the Oppenheim Department Store was purchased by the Historical Society. The large building provides approximately 11,000 square feet for the first floor exhibit space, and an additional 18,000 square feet for office space, a library, and work and storage areas. More than 19,000 items are part of a collection that began with 2,000 when the museum opened.
“Fascinating displays present memories and tell the history of North Manchester and nearby communities of the Eel River Valley,” Chinworth said.
The facility also serves as a center for educational programs, reunions, local family historical research and community events.
“The ever-changing window displays make our downtown alive and interesting,” Chinworth added.
One recent addition to the Center for History is the Barn Room. The Harold Miller family donated to the Historical Society a huge collection of farm equipment and other historical artifacts. They have been remodeling the large room in the back of the east side of the museum. Owen Summers, Bob Amiss, Robin Lahman, Steve Batzka  and others have worked to make the room look like a barn, with Dave Hippensteel installing new electric wiring for the room.
In 2008, the North Manchester Historical Society won special recognition from America In Bloom for its part in historic preservation.
In 2009, the Indiana Historical Society announced that the North Manchester Historical Society won the Outstanding Historical Organization Award.

Historical Society vice-president Ferne Baldwin accepted the Spirit of the Community Award on behalf of the Historical Society.


Photos provided by Bea Knarr. The entertaining theme for the Chamber's
66th Annual Dinner was "Pirateology." Hence, the unusual decorations.

“Soon after I came to North Manchester in 1952, I recognized that this was a very special town,” she said. She talked about the importance of historical preservation. “It is very easy for us to forget, in our busy lives, to preserve the history of our activities and our stories for our children and our grandchildren,” Baldwin said. “The purpose of the histocial society, when it comes down to the bare facts, is to preserve that history for all of us. Although we have been honored by many special recognitions this year, that purpose will continue, and we hope that you will contribute to that history by sharing with us your very special keepsakes, so we can keep those for all of us and for our children.”
Baldwin thanked all of the volunteers “who do an incredible amount of work”, and invited those in attendance to come see the Center For History when it re-opens Saturday, March 13.
Chinworth added, “We thank the North Manchester Historical Society for all the volunteer hours they give to restore and preserve our community’s story. Without your work and dedication, our stories would be gone forever.”
Historical Society board members are Bill Eberly-president, Ferne Baldwin, vice-president, Karl Merritt-secretary, Ralph Naragon-treasurer, Nancy Reed-Director of Center for History, Joyce Joy-Office Manager and Curator. Other members are Joe Vogel, Art Gilbert, Mary Chrastil, Darlene Bucher, John Knarr, Mike McKee, Tim Taylor, Bob Amiss, and Viv Simmons.

Group photo provided by Eric Christiansen. Pictured front l-r, Ferne Baldwin, Debbie Chinworth,
Mike McKee, Karl Merritt; back l-r, Joyce Joy, Darlene Bucher, Nancy J. Reed.