I find it interesting anymore at the level of bombastic opinions spoken on the national news by nearly everyone.
I have nothing to do with the social media sites which to me are not much more than a telephone party line I grew up with, but it is world-wide gossip now.
Way too many people, who never had a venue to be blow-hards world-wide, now have the Internet, and the news media is nothing more than opinion talking heads.
I realize that I too am posting my opinions on various topics, but since I pay for my website, I can choose what I want to write about and feature, as long as I follow the rules of my web domain provider.
I guess I'm too basic minded to be able to solve national and world problems, so I just try to learn about local issues by studying our history and hopefully show things that might help our community in the future and show things from the past that did not work and why they eventually failed.

The first thing to do is read what some Manning leaders and businessmen/women of years ago said, and what they did to help the community.
Erwin Hansen is one example. He was my grandmother Kusel's first cousin.

Another important fact about Erwin is after he passed away, he left a sizable sum of money to the community. The "Hansen Halle" at the Heritage Park is named after him.
One of Erwin's sisters also left a tidy sum of money to the Heritage Park.
These are the important facts that need to be documented and then repeated in the future to honor them and to remind people what they did for our community.

Erwin Hansen Reflections Of Manning - 1999
Erwin was the son of Herman and Laura (Karstens) Hansen, grew up with four brothers and two sisters. They lived in a house on the corner of Third and Center Street, where Plastico, Ltd. and T&C Company is now located. He said his dad was always taking part in community affairs, and very active in the volunteer fire department. His dad also had an interest in politics, which "rubbed off" on his oldest brother John, who served in Congress for the United States of America.
Hansen graduated from Manning High School in 1924, and went to work at a local business, and then he thought "I wanted to be a lawyer."
Hansen moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, attending the University of Nebraska. He was enrolled in the six-year program, earning his Bachelor of Art degree in 1930. After two more years, he received his Bachelor of Law degree.
He graduated in 1932, and passed the Iowa Bar Exam. He said the "three-day jaunt" involved answering exam questions.
Hansen was recalling the stock market crash of 1929, and said "the country was broke." The country's conditions were the same in 1932 after college graduation. He was venturing throughout Iowa seeking a job, "and there was none."
Hansen decided to open the Erwin Hansen Law Office on Main Street.
Although the odds were against him, Hansen said he had some connections in Manning. Plus, the two lawyers already established in town were nearing retirement.
"I think the reason I succeeded was that the conditions were ripe for a young guy to come in and start taking over."
His business was going well, but our country was in turmoil. Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese in 1941, drawing the United States into World War II. Hansen was drafted into the war in 1943, when he was 35 years old.
So how did Hansen feel about serving his country?
"I had no choice, the bullets were flying."
Serving our country was a common occurrence in those days, he said, and there were no 18 to 20-year-old men in sight when walking down Main Street.
"You must remember that during World War II there were 20 million men and women in uniform," and those not serving were a part of the war effort in other ways. The farmers were producing food, and factories were manufacturing parts for war.
Hansen was given three months to temporarily close his business, and went to Ft. Snelling in Minnesota for basic training. After basic, he went to Omaha, Nebraska, where he was processed as an intelligence agent. He said he was one of few young men at that time with a college education, which was required for the Intelligence Branch.
Anyone in the military with access to classified information had to be checked out, which was Hansen's job. He was checking records and background information throughout South Dakota and Nebraska, making sure these young men were trustworthy, law-abiding citizens. "There were all kinds of records that had to be checked."
Hansen went to small towns for other reasons as well. He said the military had correspondence with the newspaper in every town, where "there was a strict censorship." They were exchanging information. The newspaper would let them know of anything new they had picked up, while the military kept the newspaper informed for their knowledge only - not for the public.
Hansen said the war stretched further than Europe, and he knew of foreign tactics that were hidden from the public. It was "one of the best kept secrets of World War II."
"People around here didn't know how close the war was to their hometown."
Hansen was also serving as a protector during the war. He went to the United Nations Conference in San Francisco, looking out for the safety of the delegates. He said all of the countries in the world were there, except Germany, Italy, and Japan - the "enemy." The United Nations was developing a mechanism for peacekeeping, and wrote a charter.
After the war, Hansen returned to Manning, reopening his law office in 1945.
The United States had changed directions from a money scrunching, war focused mind set to a peace time economy. He said there was a "feeling of confidence for the future."
Houses were going up, the prices of crops and livestock were good, and the cost of farmland was increasing in price. Hansen said the highway systems of the state of Iowa were also developed and expanding.
Hansen also served the community in other ways. He was the city attorney, representing Manning in Washington D.C., where he appealed to the Federal Power Commission to bring natural gas into town.
Hansen has been in Manning for nearly 90 years, and remembers quite a bit about this town. He said the drought of 1936 is one thing that sticks out in his mind. He said the farmers had to figure out some way to survive, because they only got about two or three bushels out of their harvest. "There was practically no corn...just a few nubbins."
The flood of 1947 is another natural disaster flowing from his mind. The damage to the businesses was great, he said, in fact, it was so bad "one person had a loss of $100,000."
Hansen has been around for quite a while, and has seen "the transition from the horse and carriage to the automobile."
He said Manning is different from lots of other small communities around here. He said the rural water facility, the hospital, and low rent housing are just a few of the things that make Manning special. What other small towns around here have their own Rec Center, he asked, and five churches?
So how does Manning do so well?
"My observation is that the community has always responded." The town has always made sure it "did whatever needed to be done to maintain itself."
"It has always been able to keep up with the trends and the times."
So what does the future hold for Manning?
"We're an agricultural community, and that will determine" how well we do in the future. "You can always look further backwards than you can forward."

So what was his greatest achievement through all of these years?
He shyly smiles, joking about how he has been able to stay out of jail.

Manning always has/had many unique qualities. It originally had 3 different railroads, listed in the order of appearance in Manning starting around 1880: Northwestern, Greatwestern, & Milwaukee.
Today we are down to one, but what happened to the other two?
Here is why the original Northwestern tracks disappeared and shows how change is constant - not all change is good, but the communities that will survive are the ones who have the Pioneer vision and determination - which I argue Manning always had and carries on today...

Northwestern Will Abandon Track July 9, 1931
In conversation with our section foreman of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway Company we were informed that said company has abandoned its line to Harlan and will run its trains over the Chicago Great Western tracks. In the recent heavy rains miles of track on the Northwestern were washed out or made unsafe which the company does not intend to rebuild for permanent use at the present.
A working crew of considerable strength is now engaged in the construction of side tracks and switches from the Great Western to the North Western in Manning, Botna, Irwin, Kirkman and Harlan, to connect the two railways.
This conventional form of agreement between the two railroads is probably due to the slack in transportation business. The railroads are entwined in the business conditions of the country and are the most faithful reflex. If this abandonment should be permanent, it will do away with three section crews: it will save the railroad about twenty thousand dollars in taxes annually, not mentioning repair material etc.
A great many people wholly mistake the railroad situation. The railroads are dependent on the crop situations and general conditions of the country at large. They do not produce or create, but rely on the support of the territory through which they laid their rails and established their quarters for the purpose of benefiting the people and pioneers that followed them in their wake to establish their homes. But at this time they have met with competition in the transportation of freight and passenger service and are now forced to meet this competition in lowering their over head and find a way out of the skirmish. It is all well and good, but these section men are thrown out of work and the taxes have to be made up by other real estate and property owners.

This 1905 flood shows the Greatwestern tracks on the right washed out and the Northwestern tracks under water on the left.

Eventually the Northwestern purchased the Greatwestern trackage and then around 1981 or 1982, the Northwestern abandoned this track through Manning.
Why does Manning still have a railroad system?
It basically comes down to several area businessmen who were visionaries and believed in their communities.
Two Manning men who I know worked hard to save the railroad through Manning and one of them specifically put a lot of his own business' money in the consortium to buy the Milwaukee were Orland Fara and Ivan Opperman
This article explains some of the details...

Operation Extended to May 31, 1979 - Calamity Seen if Railroad Halted
"Utter calamity" is the result one area businessman foresees from a shutdown of Milwaukee Road service. Other businessmen affected by the closing predict severe economic and social implications if rail service to the area were to shut down.
Milwaukee Road trustees requested permission to discontinue, beginning Tuesday, all but 350 of its 1,500 miles of tracks in Iowa. But Friday a federal judge ordered the railroad company to operate at least until May 31.
Service to grain elevators in Bayard, Coon Rapids, Dedham, Templeton and Manning would be discontinued by the embargo.
Alternatives to Milwaukee Road service are an eight-month emergency service by other railroads at a guaranteed 6 percent profit, purchasing the track by other companies, and no rail service at all, according to Ian MacGillivray, planning director of the state Department of Transportation.
MacGillivray said the DOT is responsible for determining transportation alternatives to the Milwaukee Road.
Steve Garst of the Garst Co. in Coon Rapids says the shutdown would cause "utter calamity."
"They're asking us to go out of business," he said.
Trucking would cost an additional 5 to 6 cents a bushel to ship grain, Garst said, and his company sends out about 365 car-loads of grain and fertilizer each year.
Railroad cars hold about 3,500 bushels of grain, he said. A small truck would hold between 250 and 280 bushels, and a semi-truck would carry about 700 bushels, Garst said.
"They're asking us to use gas and diesel fuel, and there isn't enough right now," he said. "Our highways already are overburdened with construction costs, and this would add to the burden, he said.
Eugene Meiners of Templeton Farmer's Cooperative said trucking seems to be the Coop's only alternative to rail. This would result in the farmers making less money, he said. The shutdown also would curtail the Coop's expansion plans, he added.
Dick Bryant, manager of Continental Soya, Corp. of Manning said the railroad's unprecedented move is the greatest economic crisis in Iowa's history.
Bryant said he can't begin to envision the adverse effect the shutdown would have on the company and the community. He said trucking is not viable because of its added costs.
Bryant said Con Soy has sent a three-part petition to the state DOT. The petition says that (1) Con Soy does not protest the Milwaukee Road shutdown if the immediate eight-month emergency provisions resumes, and if (2) the Interstate Commerce Commission, federal Railroad Administration and federal Department of Transportation work to insure the service beyond the eight months, and if not, (3) Con Soy will voice a violent protest to the railroad shutdown.
Con Soy sends out about 3,000 carloads by rail each year, he said. The company is the largest employer in Manning with about 75 workers.

The social implications from loss of rail service would be just as severe, according to the businessmen.
Garst said job layoffs and population shifts may result. Business & industries could move to a few large cities that are served by rail.
Garst said the railroad company is worth twice its $400 million debt. He said the company's problem is that it didn't put its fixed assets into cash.
He said he hopes the railroad at least will be given a minimum of 90 days to sell viable portions of the track to other companies.
Other railroads in the state include Rock Island, Union Pacific, and Chicago and North Western.
"It is in the public interest that the Milwaukee Road not be allowed to do what they're asking," Garst said.
Rep. Tom Harkin reiterated the social implications in a recent news release, and said "the Milwaukee isn't going to get away with this without a fight."
Harkin: Fight the Closing
The plans by the "Milwaukee Railroad" to abandon nearly all their track in Iowa present serious problems.
First, there's the problems caused along the proposed-for-abandonment routes.
*A major seed corn supplier in Coon Rapids counts on the Milwaukee to move its seed corn throughout the Midwest.
*A proposed 650 megawatt power plant near Panora was planned on the assumption the Milwaukee would be able to deliver 110 train carloads of coal every 72 hours.
*Over 100 grain elevators along these tracks depend on the Milwaukee to move Iowa's corn harvest to market.
*Because of higher transportation costs without the railroad, many farmers will lose 5-10 cents a bushel when they sell this year's grain harvest.
*Many businesses simply won't be able to operate at their present locations.
Clearly, millions of dollars and thousands of jobs are at stake here.
And there are other serious problems, affecting every town in Iowa - not just those along the route.
As energy efficient rail transportation becomes less available, energy supplies will become further strained as other, less efficient forms of transportation try to pick up the slack.
Perhaps most serious of all, is this: The Milwaukee is trying to end service - practically overnight - on main lines thought to be safe from abandonment. If they're successful, no line will be thought safe, outside of major metropolitan areas. That's going to have a very chilling effect on our ability to continue to attract industry to smaller communities in the state.
For these reasons and more, the Milwaukee isn't going to get away with this, "without a fight."
WHAT WE CAN & CAN'T DO: Our options are limited. The railroad's lawyers are smart. They took their case to bankruptcy court. The main consideration there is whether the line is making money or losing it. While the interests of shippers and communities along the route may be considered, the interests of creditors and stockholders usually come first.
We can try to get the question moved out of the courts and into the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). The public interest is given much more consideration there. I've written the ICC asking them to take the legal steps needed to do this.
We can require the Milwaukee to continue service for 90 days, to give us time to make plans for alternate service. I've cosponsored a bill in Congress to do this.
After the 90 days, the ICC can issue a "directed service" order, in effect, directing other rail lines to serve these routes where a clear need exists. I've asked the ICC to do this, if necessary, and that the Milwaukee be required to make some of their equipment available to other carriers serving their lines.
Finally, we can ask the ICC to find out how this whole situation happened in the first place. How does a line with good, steady customers who are willing to help pay for track repairs find itself without operating funds?
I suspect bad management and investment policies provide most of the answers. I suspect their parent holding company preferred more lucrative investments to the investments needed to keep a railroad running.
As their equipment wore out and service declined, it's no wonder financial difficulties grew.
The Milwaukee has accepted millions of dollars in subsidies from the federal government, the state of Iowa, and local shippers along the route. First, it was free land as an incentive to build the railroad back in the 1800s. More recently it has been millions of dollars in aid from the state of Iowa and local shippers to help pay for track repairs.
They have a moral obligation to use their resources to provide rail service, and not just run off to the nearest investment broker.

So today, when you see the Burlington Northern train sitting on the trestle or backing rail cars into the AGP soybean processing plant, remember why the rail system is still here, and just as important, why the soybean plant is here - which started as ConSoy and is now bigger than ever today.

This plat map, from the original abstracts of our farm, shows the Greatwestern & the Northwestern tracks heading north out of Manning through our farm. The Milwaukee RR would be at the bottom of this map.
Some people ask me why I like to work on Manning history and why it is so special to me...one of the reasons is because the Kusel side of my family owns land inside the city limits and all three railroads traversed or were adjacent to our property...and since my mother's side has been in this area since 1873, my Kusel side since 1874, and the Grau side came in 1875 - Manning's history is my history.
I have lived just north of Manning all of my life and my dad grew up about a mile east of our present farm.
Then in 1946, my dad & mom purchased the farm where we live now.
The original Northwestern right-of-way was still there in this property, so dad hauled the cinders up to the farm yard to use for gravel. For years you could see the blackish look of the cinders but they have since been covered up by bins and lawn.
It is hard to see the cinders in this 1969 picture because over the years we had added gravel on top but in the background before the grass you can see the darker black areas of cinder.

Many of the younger people of Manning today and the new comers are probably not aware that Manning had an airport.
Here is a brief history about the airport that was included in the 1981 Manning Centennial book.

On January 4, 1945 the Chamber of Commerce requested the Council to investigate a proposed airport. January 27, 1945 they submitted a proposition to levy annual special tax not to exceed 1 1/4 mills per annum on taxable property for a period of not more than 20 years and not exceeding $17,000 for acquiring and equipping a municipal airport, according to chapter 303.1 code of Iowa. An election on February 23, 1945 proved favorable.

I hated to see the Manning airport closed down, but understandable with changing technology and ways of transportation.
But I think it is important to know what the community had at one time so that we realize that something being debated in the future is not automatically stopped and we look back to realize that the Manning community can have pretty much anything it wants if the leaders and citizens decide to achieve a goal.

No Change in Airport, Survey Recommends May 10, 1979
Manning should not expect financial aid from the state or federal governments to expand or further develop its Municipal Airport, members of the City Council were told Monday evening. Therefore, and because of its location and usage, it was recommended that the present facility should remain as is.
Don DeWild, of DeWild Grant Reckert & Associates Engineering firm, was present to explain the airport development survey undertaken during the past year.
Manning is located within 30 minutes of four paved airports (at Carroll, Denison, Audubon and Harlan), making it ineligible for aid under the Airport Development Aid Program, he said.
DeWild said one aircraft was based at the Manning airport at the time of the survey. Another aircraft is a regular user of the airport, transporting a surgeon and anesthetist from Storm Lake to the Manning General Hospital when needed.
Questionnaires circulated to Manning businesses showed that about 950 flights are used annually by their firms. "All of the reporting businesses that generate aircraft operations also stated they find it necessary to meet other flights at Denison, Carroll or Audubon Airports," the study said. "This is because of soft field conditions at Manning, or because the Manning airport cannot physically accommodate the aircraft being used."
It is not predicted that aircraft usage at Manning would be increased much during the next 20 years, according to figures presented in the survey.
"Since an airport is an aid to commerce and not necessarily the cause thereof, the forecasts discussed are viewed as the aviation activity generated by the Manning community, the survey concludes." "This activity will utilize neighboring airports if local facilities are inadequate because it represents a demonstrated transportation need."
DeWild said his firm recommended that Manning remain a "basic utility airport" for use by light single-engine and twin-engine aircraft.

Several views of the old airport

1990 flood

This view is just north of the dike and airport - 1950 flood.

This was a farm field at that time and I don't know who was farming it, and interesting they were still using a Farmall and what appears to be a steel wheel D or GP John Deere which were from the 1920s up to mid 1930s.

Do you remember the 1973-74 Arab Oil Embargo?
I was a junior in high school and all of the schools in Iowa had to find ways to conserve energy. In Manning, the auditorium was closed and study hall was moved to the cafeteria.
During Christmas break, the gyms were closed down to basketball practice.
To get around this, my teammates and I used our quonset that had a single basket and concrete floor to practice on. We heated it with a kerosene heater which really wasn't the best for our breathing...our coach, John Morey, was not allowed to participate, but we had a number of practices in our quonset. I wonder if much energy was really saved trying to heat a metal building with no insulation???

From the Internet:
The Second Arab Oil Embargo, which lasted from October 1973 to March 1974, posed a major threat to the U.S. economy.

During the October 1973 Arab-Israeli War, the Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) announced an embargo against the United States in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military during the war. Arab oil producers also extended the embargo to other countries that supported Israel. The embargo both banned petroleum exports to the targeted nations and introduced cuts in oil production. Several years of negotiations between oil producing nations and oil companies had already destabilized a decades-old system of oil pricing, and thus the Arab oil embargo was particularly effective.
Implementation of the embargo, and the changing nature of oil contracts, set off an upward spiral in oil prices that had global implications. The price of oil per barrel doubled, then quadrupled, leading to increased costs for consumers world-wide and to the potential for budgetary collapse in less stable economies. Since the embargo coincided with a devaluation of the dollar, a global recession appeared imminent. U.S. allies in Europe and Japan had stockpiled oil supplies and thus had a short term cushion, but the longer term possibility of high oil prices and recession created a strong rift within the Atlantic alliance. European nations and Japan sought to disassociate themselves from the U.S. Middle East policy. The United States, which faced growing oil consumption and dwindling domestic reserves and was more reliant on imported oil than ever before, had to negotiate an end to the embargo from a weaker international position. To complicate the situation, Arab oil producers had linked an end to the embargo to successful U.S. efforts to create peace in the Middle East.
To address these developments the United States announced Project Independence to promote domestic energy independence. It also engaged in intensive diplomatic efforts among its allies, promoting a consumers' union that would provide strategic depth and a consumers' cartel to control oil pricing. Both of these efforts were only partially successful.
The Nixon Administration also began a parallel set of negotiations with Arab oil producers to end the embargo, and with Egypt, Syria, and Israel to arrange an Israeli pull-back from the Sinai and the Golan Heights. By January 18, 1974 Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had negotiated an Israeli troop withdrawal from parts of the Sinai. The promise of a negotiated settlement between Israel and Syria was sufficient to convince Arab oil producers to lift the embargo in March 1974. By May, Israel agreed to withdraw from the Golan Heights.

Then in 1979, another energy crisis arose.

Taken from the Internet: The 1979 (or second) oil crisis or oil shock occurred in the world due to decreased oil output in the wake of the Iranian Revolution. Despite the fact that global oil supply decreased by only 4%, widespread panic resulted, driving the price far higher. The price of crude oil more than doubled to $39.50 per barrel over the next 12 months, and long lines once again appeared at gas stations, as they had in the 1973 oil crisis.
In 1980, following the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq War, oil production in Iran nearly stopped, and Iraq's oil production was severely cut as well. Economic recessions were triggered in the United States and other countries. Oil prices did not subside to pre-crisis levels until the mid-1980s.

Gas Shortages Start May 10, 1979
Operators of Manning's six service stations have not yet felt the gas shortage pinch, but most are making plans on how to deal with the situation.
Two of the stations, Rix Brothers Standard and Stein's Service, have announced a cut-back in their opening hours as a means of controlling their gas supplies. Both stations will close at noon on Sundays, and will be reducing their evening hours.
Presently, no change in hours have been made at Rohe's 66, Manning Oil Company, Ed's Service and Casey's.
Clarence Edmunds, owner of Ed's Service, reported that he will receive 75 per cent of the unleaded gas he ordered Tuesday. "They told me they were glad I wasn't ordering any regular gas, because they could give me none," he said.
Dave Rohe said his gas supply is not yet in danger, due to the fact that his Phillips Station is now being served by two suppliers. He would now be running short, he added, if he had to rely strictly on Phillips.
At Manning Oil Company, allocations this month were 83 per cent of the amount received a year ago. The station has been aided by the introduction of gasohol, which has not yet undergone any cut-backs.
Lynn Stein said allocations to his Champlin Station have been reduced about 20 per cent. He said he has not yet noticed any effect, and would be closing only about an hour earlier evenings.
Also facing a 20 per cent cut-back is Rix Brothers Standard. Owner Allen Rix said the station over-exceeded its allocation last month, which is beginning to be noticed this month. He will be closing about 6 p.m. evenings to counteract the short supply.
"If we can't hold down somewhere, eventually the shortage will catch up with us and we'll simply run out of gas," Rix said.
Edmunds said he does not plan to change his hours. "When we run out, we run out, and there's not much we can do about it," he said.
Casey's manager, Judy Musfeldt said as of yet her station is receiving 100% of its gas supply. The Casey chain had planned to build 200 new stores this summer, but have dropped those plans due to the gas situation, she added.

Where is Manning headed in the future?
Only time will tell and I hope I'm able to document those changes for a long time

If you haven't visited my "Quick Tour of Manning" linked on the left then you should which will show you some of the highlights of the town, including some aerial photos.

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