I saw a video clip on TV about Dallas County, Iowa, as the fastest growing area in Iowa and more specifically in Waukee, Iowa.
Now that is great, and good for them, but when I saw one of the highlighted areas in Waukee, I thought - HA! Manning not only has trails but it also still has the railroad, and all they
can do in Waukee is to promote and celebrate their Milwaukee railroad HISTORY, which once was part of the GREAT rail system in the US and still goes through Manning.
I'd rather have an active railroad system that connects the towns of the area (as opposed to being connected by a trail system like the Raccoon trail claim to fame) and then have the trails as a secondary aspect of life, like we do here in Manning.
Fortunately Manning had people such as Orland Fara and Ivan Opperman years ago who formed a consortium with businessmen in area towns who were served by the Milwaukee RR.
They purchased part of the Milwaukee from Bayard and back this way to Manning and on south to Council Bluffs...Orland invested $50.000 of his own money into the consortium.
The Fara & Kusel families go way back to when the Fara family moved to Manning after purchasing the Manning Mill in 1966...my dad, Amos, and Orland became instant friends and over the years
dad helped Orland with renovation and other projects.
At one time after concerns the Northwestern would abandon the tracks through Manning, Orland approached us about purchasing some of our farm land so he could build a spur from the lower level and up to the Milwaukee tracks.
Then when the Milwaukee RR declared bankruptcy, one thought Orland had was to purchase the trestle bridge and then use it as an unloading area overhead and down to trucks or the tracks below...Orland was an amazing person who was always working toward the future for both his business and the Manning community.
2019 view where you can now see part of the new trail system.
In the 2012 view above you can still see the Manning Ag Center facility. I wonder if someday we'll have wished we had tried a lot harder to save this grain handling business?
I've always said that if Dean Fara had not passed away so young that he would have carried on the business after his parents retired from it...but this is all "water under the trestle bridge" now...
Fortunately, because of Orland and the consortium's insight years ago, the current BNSF rail is able to serve the AGP soybean processing plant in Manning.
Then as we go east the BNSF serves the Templeton Coop.
The Raccoon River Valley Trail which the old Milwaukee RR right of way was converted to ends at Herndon on the west end and then heads
back east to Waukee and eventually into Des Moines.
These next two images show the west edge of the trail at Herndon and the second image in Waukee.
Waukee, Iowa, where the subject of this story began.
Waukee Railroad Pergola
Will our rail service in Manning survive?
OR will it be turned into another TRAIL system???
There are a lot of environmental and political individuals and groups who want to curb and even end a number of aspects with agriculture.
You've probably heard of the ludicrous methane argument about cattle...I won't go into why I say this because way too many people have made up their unscientific minds, BUT I want to voice my concerns with these groups and individuals and their endless attacks on rural America and the farmer.
Ever hear of PETA and the Vegan movement?
Then a number of politicians want to drastically curb and then end the use of fossil fuels...What is going to happen to the ethanol plants???
If much of the livestock industry is ended what is going to happen to our Soybean processing plant?
If the ethanol plant in Coon Rapids closes and AGP closes in Manning, what do you think is going to happen to the area economies?
What is going to happen to the railroad?
What about the farmers? What is their future?
Some people will just poo poo my comments or just ignore them as nutty.
I've lived long enough to know that when politicians say they are going to take away something from us or force something on us, they mean it...and
when enough radicals gain more power over time they'll do their best to destroy our society.
Rural America is quickly becoming outnumbered in population...it pretty much is already here.
Sit back and do nothing and keep voting for those who want to control us from cradle to grave and if that is what you want, you'll probably get your wish.
It sure won't be the America our ancestors lived in - who worked hard and died for to create, and defend against so many enemies both foreign and domestic.
Remember: Manning had 3 railroads service the community, the Northwestern, Milwaukee, and Great Western...now we are down to one railroad, so losing our infrastructure is much easier than adding to it.
I ran across this picture postcard about 20 years ago, before I realized that I need to make folders with the names of the sources of where I got historical stuff to scan.
Sadly, more than likely, whoever had this postcard has passed away and this historical image was thrown away by those who inherited their stuff...I'd sure like to get this postcard to rescan it in super high resolution - maybe someday I'll run across another one or someone will come foward with one and let me scan it.
Art Rix told me during one of my many conversations I had with him that he was coming back home from college at Iowa for the weekend when he saw the bright lights & smoke in the distance so he drove to the scene and watched the elevator burn to the ground.
Hiawatha passenger train in the distance. It sped through Manning at nearly 100 MPH!
You can see the underpass on West Street that has since been filled in and traffic crosses the tracks today.
Scanned from the Dick Dammann collection.
2016 view of the AGP soybean plant to the northwest.
2020 - tanker cars full of soybean oil
November 30, 2020, box cars loaded with soybean meal in the distance.
So many amazing and unique events have occurred in Manning, especially because of its rail service.
In 1975, Manning had the unique honor of having the US Bicentennial Freedom Train travel through town and across the famous and very historically important trestle bridge...a bridge that carried troop and military trains during WWI & WWII, and was considered so important that it could be a possible target by Japanese or German enemies, so it was guarded during WWII.
Melvin Kusel waving his hat.
I rode with my Uncle Melvin to the sidetracks to watch the train go by.
Before it got here he gave me a penny to place on the tracks to get smashed - a way to remember this event.
I still have this smashed penny.