From the Ewoldt collection
Herb Schroeder in wagon (father of Cleone & Wayne)
Wayne Schroeder pitching bundles
I've worked on Manning history for over 40 years and even though I have a fairly good grasp of our local history in general, I'm always amazed when I start looking at a specific subject in detail.
Recently I came upon a number of Dultmeier advertising sheets.
Dultmeier is before my time, but I do remember a lot about MJM that followed, then when Orland Fara purchased much of the property, and now Gene & Sherri Steffes are the owners.
The thing that amazes me the most is the ingenuity the Dultmeiers had back in the early 1900s and then the creativity continued through MJM, and another important entrepreneur who moved to Manning in the late 1960s, and now followed by one of the hardest working and ingenious fellows we have in Manning.
Now I realize there were/are other Manning area men/women who fit into this category but for now I'm concentrating on the history surrounding the Dultmeier building.
"When I worked for Manning Heating And Sheet Metal, Dultmeier Manufacturing was then called MJM.
When it was a little slow at Manning Heating And Sheet Metal, we would make those hoppers in our sheet metal shop.
There were two patterns we traced on a 4' x 8' piece of sheet metal and cut them out. The sides of the hopper was one piece and the end was another.
Then we would bend the piece that made the sides on our metal brake. We then had to put the two pieces together by bending flanges with a mallet to make the completed hopper.
They were then sent to MJM.
Those were the days. :>)
Peter Hansen, Walter Hansen, Theodore Hansen, John R. Hansen
The company, known for many years as Dultmeier Manufacturing, is owned by Ralph McGrath, president; Albert Musfeldt, secretary-treasurer; and Clifford M. Johnson, vice-president and sales manager.
The three, all former employees of the firm, were offered a chance to buy it in 1962 from John R. Hansen, former Iowa Highway Commissioner and widely-known political figure.
In addition to the mahogany teeth for hay sweeps, the firm also manufactures wag-on boxes, grain augers, grain gates for wagons and trucks and other farm-oriented items.
The line has changed since the firm was founded in the early 1920s to conform with the changes in farming methods.
Dultmeier Manufacturing was formed after Frank Dultmeier invented an adjustable wagon hound. For the uninitiated, a wagon hound is the pair of braces that allow the wagon tongue to be affixed to the wagon.
In early days, neither wagons nor hounds were standard, and a hound from one manufacturer wouldn't fit the wagon of another.
Dultmeier's adjustable hound solved the problem until the parts were standardized.
"Dultmeier was a very clever individual," commented Johnson. "But Hansen had the marketing know-how and ingenuity for a larger-scale operation and he bought out Frank Dultmeier and his brother Henry about 1922-23."
The three current owners, who have varied backgrounds, operate the plant in a co-operative manner.
McGrath, the president, has the longest period of service with the firm - joining it just out of high school and working his way up to production manager.
Johnson was originally in the shoe business in Manning - a business which he didn't particularly like. Hansen, a good friend, needed someone in his office and asked Johnson in 1954 to work for a few months. He remained.
Musfeldt farmed in the Manning area originally and gave it up in 1954 for health reasons to also join the Dultmeier Company. He was serving as purchasing agent under the former owners.
MJM products are shipped over a wide area, depending on size. Wagon boxes, for instance, are limited to a six-state area surrounding Iowa because of heavy freight rates.
Grain augers are sold as far east as Ohio and Indiana, and also into the surrounding states. They are a big item in Indiana.
Both augers and wagon boxes are sold through distributors.
The grain gates go to all 48 continental states and are purchased by a number of truck body manufacturers, who buy direct. The item is not patented, so sales have to depend on quality and dependability.
The mahogany or "apitong" sweep rake teeth are sold in all hay-growing states and orders are taken in advance so that the mahogany can be ordered from the Philippines. The mahogany is preferred because of its straight grain and fewer knots than any other type of wood, Johnson said.
It is ordered a railroad carload at a time, six months in advance. Johnson recently completed a sales trip on sweep rakes and they will be made throughout the winter months for spring delivery.
The company delivers up to 80 per cent of all merchandise sold, with other lots going by common carrier and some picked up at the plant here by purchasers.
A good portion of the manufactured items are sold through chain stores which buy in volume lots for shipment to their various outlets.
The varied line of manufactured items allows production to be evened out during the year and provide steady work for 20 regular employs. The payroll is supplemented by high school and college students during summer months.
Now keep in mind that there once were 2 railroads that served this business on this grade: the Great Western and the North Western. Dultmeiers probably also had shipments of
supplies brought in and shipped out finished products on the Milwaukee which was on the upper grade.
One of the main reasons why this business is in the flood plain was to have direct rail access with 2 of the railroads which followed the Nishnabotna in the flat bottoms so they didn't have to dig through the large hills in this area.
The reason why the span of the concrete columns is wider in this area is because the Nishnabotna originally flowed between them. Then when the Great Western came through, they straightened a lot of the creek to reduce the number of bridges.
You can still see the original meander of the Nishnabotna on the north side of the Milwaukee and west side of
the Great Western tracks.
This deadend oxbow was named "Canary Island" by the kids because of all of the Gold Finches that lived in this area.
You can see a lane heading out north from under the Milwaukee and over a bridge on the Nishnabotna (you can still see some of the pilings
yet today down in the creek) - I know this because we own the property on both sides of this area of the creek.
The road led up to a farm place where later on Emil, Lucille, and Janice Ress lived. Their lane then continued north and connected to the main road on the north - now 300th Street which is the northern edge of Manning city limits.
You can see the old Dultmeier buildings in the middle front and many of the MJM buildings on the left side of the picture.
I wrote about flooding in this area. Here is a view from the 1950 flood and one from the 1996 flood.
1950 view from 141.
You can see part of the Manning Creamery in the back right and part of MJM to the north.
1996 view of MJM from Front Street
Now I bring you forward to 2020 when Gene & Sherri Steffes owns the Dultmeier building where he has a very successful pallet business.
More than likely, if Gene had not purchased this part of the property that was previously owned by Orland Fara (MAC), it would probably have been torn down and now made into a park and trails.
While it is nice to have park and trail space, we also need taxpayers with businesses to support those parks and trails and the city in general...something a number of people in Manning do not think about or appreciate.
February 2007 view of Manning Ag Center sale
You can see the Dultmeier building way in the distance.
Orland had a successful seed oats fanning and bagging business on the south end of the Dultmeier building.
Gene sold this cleaning system
Here is an inside view of the huge warehouse of the Dultmeier building.
When applicable I try to add my family connections to these feature stories. John R. Hansen, mentioned in the Register article is my grandmother, Ida (Grau) Kusel's first cousin...Ida's mother was Mary Hansen.
In some cases, I have more pictures of different families I'm not related to, than I have for my own branches of my family tree.
John R. Hansen, Congressman
John R. Hansen for congress
Below are some pictures of the 3 men who started MJM - McGrath, Johnson, Musfeldt.
While I will have a picture of many Manning people in my database, for most of them it may be a baby picture, or some other snapshot but most of the time I won't have a picture that fits the historical perspective such as a military picture for a Veteran, or a picture of a person involved with their business.
The McGrath family is just one of many families I have very little if any pictures. I have none for Ralph McGrath or his brother Robert who both served during WWII.
Sometimes there are images of people in the history books I can scan, but anyone who follows my web page will often read that I want to scan original pictures...the only way to get a good digital scan.
Another interesting factoid is that the vast majority of pictures I have of individuals came from a non-relative's collection I scanned. MOST family collections have a lot of Non-family pictures.
"Bud" Clifford Manning Johnson 1926 in front of his dad Chris Johnson's shoe store on Main Street
Bud along Main Street - Corner Cafe in the background.
Letha (Boysen) Johnson - wife of Bud
Letha - high school teacher many of you will remember
The only scan I have from an original photo of Ralph McGrath.
Marie (Moser) McGrath holding Ralph Harding McGrath 1 year 23 days - Christmas 1916
This picture came from the Verna & Karl Schmidt collection sent to me from out of town in 2008
Below - image I scanned from the 1981 Manning Centennial - family section.
Ralph & Lorane (Kahler) McGrath
I am looking for military pictures and information for both Ralph and his brother Robert.
As I worked on this feature story, I kept coming back to why was Manning basically self-sufficient for the first 80 years of its existence and then slowly one business after another that provided us services and products closed their doors...the creamery, hatcheries, slaughter house/meat locker, grain elevators, farm equipment stores, grocery stores, clothing and shoe stores, furniture stores, and on and on.
I have many ideas why, and I know other people have ideas, but I think one of the main reasons is more and more people started buying out of town.
You can argue the many reasons that made this come about but no matter what the reasoning or justification in people's minds, buying from businesses out of town, when we had one or similar ones here, killed many of the hundreds of businesses we once had in Manning.
Now let's think about this situation on a national level...
In the 1970s and 80s Japan started taking over the electronic industry and again for many reasons the US population started purchasing from Japan and not companies that made the same/similar products right here in the US.
So again, "buying out of town or in this case out of country" killed a lot of US businesses. I think a big factor was people didn't want to pay the higher prices here, and Japan was able to make things cheaper over there.
Take this out to the end results - less US businesses, less jobs, less taxes paid here and on and on...VERY similar to what happened in Manning.
Now come forward to the 2020 Pandemic.
Japan kind of faded away, where once it appeared they would take over the world with their electronic industry, but then along comes China.
Along with it came greedy and corrupt politicians and large US companies that became multi-national who also did not have the best interest in the US - the country where they made it big and became wealthy.
Now I'm not an isolationist and we need to work with the people/countries of the world but we definitely lost our way over the last several decades and forgot to look out for Number ONE -
the United States of America.
Other countries for the most part did look out for themselves - and took advantage of the generosity of the US and its many stupid politicians and large corporations.
Now why do I write about this, realizing that many and probably most people won't care in the least what I have to say or agree with it?
I hope once this Pandemic passes we'll put things into high gear and start buying "Made in the US" and bring back more companies from outside this country - with even more emphasis and urgency than President Trump has since the beginning of his candidacy. We may pay more in the short term but in the long-term it will make our country even stronger.
And after hearing a fairly positive sounding rumor about Manning getting a grocery store again, sometime later this year - I hope that the people who previously said they wouldn't support the store locally because they could get things cheaper in other towns will rethink what they have done to hurt our community by NOT buying local.
I would guess right now, some of them are scared to death to drive to larger towns and stores and are buying things at our local Dollar General store.
Once this Pandemic passes I hope they'll realize the importance of having a local grocery store and supporting all of our businesses and institutions like the hospital, retirement homes, hospital, senior center, churches, schools, etc.
If you know of anyone or company who doesn't like the large populated areas of big cities and overpopulated states and they are looking for office space that will have brand new and expanded fiber optics service - let them know about this building in Manning.
Underground containers for fiber optics junctions.
Flexible conduit for the fiber project.