Some of you may have noticed a new monument site by the Rec Center entryway.
There are 2 corner stones and 1 granite marker.
I've been chasing these particular items for several decades, because of my work on Manning's history.
Thanks to Ron Colling, the 1907 stone and its corresponding time-capsule still exist.
Thanks to Virgil Reid I found out where the 1907 and 1917 stones were stored.
I also kept bugging Brian Wall that if/when they remove the granite bulldog marker that I want to make sure we save it.
So here is a little history about our school and how the monument site came about at the Rec Center.

May 4, 2021 - let's go back 140 years and see where this all began.
Before the town of Manning existed there was a country school located where the grocery store now stands.
Information from 1876 from the Warren Township record book (Warren No. 4 country school) states that in 1881, when the city of Manning was organizing, a city school would be established.
At first only students of high school age would attend the town school, and eighth grade and under would continue at the Warren No. 4 country school.
On November 11, 1881, classes for the Manning students were held at the home of Paul Winter...with Benjamin Salinger, hired at $37.00 per month, as teacher.


Benjamin I. Salinger - Manning's first teacher

Recently I ran across an amazing collection of letters on E-bay written by the family of Benjamin Salinger, mostly to the parents and grandparents of Ben's wife, Lucy, who was a Boylan.
I was able to purchase most of the collection, but a few of the letters got away from me - I can't compete against the pocketbooks of collectors, who for the most part don't care about the history behind an item but they just want it for their specific collection.
I want to gather this history but for the MANNING collection.

More about Benjamin Salinger on the
History of Manning 1898 web page

Salinger's obituary
Memorial webpage


November 1883 - Benjamin teaches adults the English language

"Sunday night he (Benjamin) teaches some Germans that can't talk English, two hours a night and two nights a week for twenty dollars a month that's not partnership."

I was amazed at how many partners Ben had during his time here in Manning.
Here are snapshots...

1882 Hughes & Salinger

1883 Blazer & Salinger

1887 Salinger & Brigham

1892 Salinger & Lindsay

1896 Lock Box No. 76 Manning

Since Warren No. 4 was in the city limits it was eventually closed in 1883.
Since it was built in the bottom near the wetlands at that time, the kids called it "Frog Pond" school.
According to Roy Struve - after its closing, the building was then moved and became Warren No. 9 school house.

Now realize that what we call Ewoldt Township today, was at that time called Warren Township.
A very unique situation occurred back then in that the city limits of Manning would remain as Warren Township, and the rest of the area outside of Manning would be Ewoldt Township so Manning is in a township that is within another township.
On April 7, 1882, a city school board formed and they rented the Callison Hall on Main Street, to house all grades. Anyone in the at-large Warren Township area would be allowed to attend the city high school classes if they wished...

NOTE: that the Callison Hall, a wooden structure back then, is now the location of Soll's Service brick building.

Interesting...how there are always people against something - even when temporary...
April 13, 1882 Manning Matters - Manning Monitor

The school directors have rented C.T. Callison's Hall for school purposes for the next four months.
This will seriously interfere with the use of the hall for public meetings, the seating not being adapted to the latter.

On July 17, 1882, a vote was held to have the town of Manning become an independent school district.
On November 25, 1882, the school board voted to purchase land for $240.00 in north Manning to construct a new wooden two-story school building.

I'm always amazed at this picture where 2 boys have their feet hanging out of the window - today the "safety police" would have gone nuts with lawsuits and made a big ruckus over it...


New school building in 1883
Note: there are NO trees in this picture - remember that originally Iowa was Prairie with no trees except over on the northeast edge of the state.
The Prairie fires prevented the woody species from gaining a foothold and the bison and deer would have eaten small plants before they got established and deer would have rubbed the trees into the ground during the rut season.
So the trees were brought in by railroad or wagons, and introduced by the Pioneers.

On May 10, 1883, the board sought bids for construction of the new school, and on July 26, 1883, work began on the school house, where grades Kindergarten through Twelfth grade were held.

The 1883 and 1907 buildings stood on the north edge of the block between First & Second Streets.


New addition in 1898
As the population grew in Manning, a bond issue was voted on April 14, 1898, to add an addition on the north side of the existing school - 52 for and 49 against.
It was awarded to Hugo Grundmeier for $2193.00 to build a 36x32 two-story addition on the north side of the school.
On March 18, 1907, a special election was held and bond issue passed to construct a new three-story brick building on the same location as the existing wooden building.
Classes for school students would be temporarily held in the Nick Schilling building on Main Street.

1906 high school students: Peter Kuhl 2nd row 2nd from left


1907 brick school replaced the wooden structure.
The white arrow points to the cornerstone shown in this feature story.


1964-65 when the building was razed


Gustav Rober - of the Rober-Wehrmann store
Claus Reinholdt - of the Reinholdt Hardware store
Andrew Resner - 1895 - 1911 MD
John Lewis - of Lewis & Reinhold drug store
Albert Puck - I'm fairly sure this would be the Willis, Warren/Ken Puck family
Orrin Emmons - prominent lawyer in Manning prior to moving to Salem in 1926
Julius Brunnier, Sr. - businessman - brother to Henry Brunnier

Now this corner stone was almost lost during the 1965 demolition.
One day Ron Colling of the Monitor came to take some pictures and noticed the demolition crew on their knees looking through something, so he walked over to investigate.
While knocking down the wall they exposed a time capsule that was bricked in around the corner stone.
So Ron contacted one of the school board members about the corner stone and the time capsule which were then saved from the dump.
These August 2007 pictures show when Sonia Nulle discovered a tin box in the high school office cabinet which was the time capsule.
I grabbed Ron Colling to take a picture 42 years later after the original discovery.


Sonia Nulle & Ron Colling holding the 1907 time capsule
Now let's add more mystery to the story...
One day many years ago I was visiting with Virgil Reid after he had retired from the school. I forget exactly how the topic came up but somehow I brought up the corner stone of the old high school and was sad it wasn't kept...WELL, much to my surprise he told me he knew exactly where it was along with the 1907 corner stone.
So I immediately drove out to the school and found a janitor because I had to go down into the boiler room area.
As I told him the story, he told me that they were wanting to throw them away but didn't know how to get them up and out of the sunken room. SO, fortunately 2 items of history were saved because of their weight.
I told the school administration that I wanted to get them moved out and saved in the future and in 2015, the city crew came to the rescue to remove both corner stones.
At this same time they also helped the janitors remove the old high school flag pole and the granite Bulldog marker, so we were able to save the marker too.

Removing the 1907 corner stone from the boiler room


white arrow points to the corner stone

By 1917, the school became even more crowded, so on January 15, 1917, the school board issued bonds for $25,000 and not to exceed $35,000 to erect a new addition to the existing school, but it was decided to build a separate High School at the current location of today's Manning Rec Center...this school also included a small gymnasium and stage. Herb Hass and Thomas Reinhart of Manning were the general contractors.


Now the location of the water slide and splash pad.
The indoor swimming pool is where the school once stood.


1917 cornerstone - building was completed in 1918

Herman Hinz - prominent Manning leader
Phil Zerwas - Manning Telephone company
Chris Johnson - I'm fairly sure this was Clifford "Bud" Johnson's dad - Johnson Shoe store
Jens Sinn - Manning dentist
John Lewis - Lewis & Reinhold drug store
Peter Jones - school secretary for over 40 years


May 12, 1965, dedication of new flag pole and granite Bulldog marker - a project of the Student Council.
Raising flag: Darrell Weems (left), Darrel Baker.

The pole and marker were moved to the new high school in 1973 where they stood until 2015.


Removing the flag pole and Bulldog marker October 2015

I gave the Rec Center a donation to help offset the cost of the monument site for the cornerstones and granite marker.

May 6, 2021

So as you can see, it is very difficult to preserve our history and in a few minutes a part of our history can be lost or thrown away.

Here is another very neat historical item I found out about several years ago that was stored at the school.

I'd like to thank the school administration and personnel for helping save this wonderful historical "timepiece."
Also to the city crew for helping me get it moved to a temporary storage place for safe keeping.

I hope to eventually get it preserved in the new Manning library, once they move in and get things set up.

It is items like this that have been lost or thrown away over the years, so it is great to put this time clock on display for the public to enjoy and also appreciate the intricacies of the technology at the time.

This clock was purchased in 1933 and controlled the bells and clocks in each classroom of the old high school.
I e-mailed Chuck Brotherton about it and he provided quite a bit of information as to its location and operation in the old high school.

Notes from Charles Brotherton: This clock was mounted on the north wall of the principal's office just west of the door in the old high school on highway 141. It was programmable so all of the class change bells were controlled by this clock. It also controlled all of the clocks in each classroom to keep them synchronized. In 1964, when I assumed principal duties, it usually took me about 1-2 hours at the beginning of each semester to program the clock.
The principal's office was on the west end of the second floor, on the south side of the hallway. The superintendent's office was on the main floor straight in from the east entrance on the north side of the main building. The main gym entrance was further east of that on the north side.
The large dial on the clock had notches in it (a good deal like the automatic timers you would plug Christmas lights into), to program the bell system I would have to insert a "u" shaped clip on every notch that corresponded with a time which we would want a bell to ring (beginning and end of each class period, end of day, etc).

Backside of the clock

Note the interesting wiring patterns...

It is amazing this clock survived the demolition of the old school building. Someone at the school must have thought it was worth taking it off the wall and then moving it to the new school for storage back in 1975.
Unfortunately all of the janitors from that time are deceased, so I'll never be able to find out who we should credit and thank.

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