People from out of town are always amazed at what Manning has today, but if they knew what Manning also had in the past, they would be blown away in amazement.
MANNING DISTRICT FAIR
On January 20, 1883, J.W. Gardner organized what was called the "Manning Union Fair and Driving Park Association". This became an annual event featuring ten different horse racing events. These events included ladies driving, trotting double, three year old, three minute class, two minute 30 second class, pacing, trotting free for all, running a half mile, running mile and repeat, and the one mile dash.
In 1888, a featured event of the fair was a balloon ascension and a parachute leap. This event never took place because of the negligence of the aeronaut and an unfavorable wind.
There was an excellent display of stock and implements; ladies filled the floral hall with their beautiful flower arrangements.
Probably the greatest danger that threatened the success of the association was the freedom with which they permitted gambling, licensed shell games and fortune wheels, because where spirited speeding is made, gambling always follows. The last race meet of the Driving Park Association was held July 3 and 4, 1895.
This was one of the most successful meetings that the association ever held although it was the last. Over 3000 people attended.
In 1896, the grounds were sold to Samuel Bingham. This included an area of about 50 acres which he purchased for $1700. For a time there was some agitation of converting the grounds into a park, which lacked the proper amount of support at this time.
In 1898, a one-half mile race track was under advisement by H.D. Radeleff who contemplated placing it southwest of his artificial lake, now part of Sextro's Addition to Manning. The indications were that he expected to plant a park and turn it into a general pleasure resort, something that Manning was in great need of at this time.
The front and 2nd pages are badly damaged, but the rest of the booklet is in good shape.
While handling and scanning this old document can do more damage, I explained to the family that it is now or never to digitize it so it can be preserved.
If you wait many more years with old paper documents like this they will get to the point where they'll just crack into pieces and return to pulp dust - there will be no way to scan them at that point. The acid in the paper and exposure to light continues to deteriorate them.
So if you have old Manning pictures, documents, programs, etc. - get them to me so I can digitize them and preserve them in my database.
Just think how totally amazing this scene is!!! and I don't mean the what you see but what is going on in Manning at that time.
Three different railroad companies running through Manning hauling supplies and people in and out. The Milwaukee to the north is brand new, and the original 1881 Milwaukee tracks that ran just south of this view would still be there, but scheduled for removal - a major project itself.
2 different fairs in Manning
Now some people would think situations and time-frames like this in Manning's past would be a tough act to follow - well...if you are paying attention at all, you can see this is far from reality with the "honest & capitalist" hard working citizens of Manning today.