Another big blow to Manning!
October 25, 2023 Accura (AKA - Manning Plaza) closes its doors
BUT based on the town's history and the people of the past who made it into the community it is today, I firmly believe that the younger generations taking over now and who are currently in charge will follow in the footsteps of Manning's Pioneers.

At times like this I like to emphasize to these younger Manning folks that if they want to maintain the "quality of life" we have right now in town that they will have to step up MORE - volunteer more, get involved more, donate more, put on their thinking caps more, and keep plugging away to help figure out a use for the building and lot it sits on and also other businesses that may be getting closer to the end of their existence - also getting a grocery store back in town.
We DON'T need any more "green spaces," parks, or trails!!!
I realize that most of these younger folks right now aren't thinking about a place to live when they get older or how to get groceries when they are old and can't travel out of town.
Even though these recent changes won't directly affect them right now - in time they will discover how important the present is and how it will affect their future - they need to think long-term and how it might affect them down the road.

When the buildings were torn down in 1964 to make room for the Plaza, I'm sure several of the proprietors of those businesses and the employees they hired wondered what was going to happen to their world. One of the owners moved their business to a building across the street and others found different employment.
So the end of something doesn't have to be the end of the world and someone usually comes up with a new idea to fill that void - based on our history, I'm hopeful that someone will come up with an idea on how to utilize the existing structure or replace it with something new and not thought of at this point in time...I prefer the former rather than the latter to raze the structure but we definitely need to start thinking about where this next episode in time will take us.

I remember hearing about the big controversy when it was announced that the Plaza would be built along Main Street.
Some business people and other citizens were dead-set against it being built there. They said property tax valuations would go down - it would be too noisy for the residents along Main Street, parking space for businesses would be used up, and so on.
But once the dust settled, most everyone agreed later on that it was the best location: the residents could sit on the big porch and watch parades, visit with people as they walk by - the large bay windows allowed the residents to sit and look out to watch the cars and people go by...and for years, the porch is where the Easter Bunny came to give the kiddies some goodies.

April 8, 2023

The Plaza was also right next to the hospital, so it was very close to take emergency patients to quickly.

Now a lot of people are upset that the doors are closing.

These Plaza pictures were taken by Orval Fink, who served on the Housing Board and many other boards in Manning...just ONE of hundreds of volunteers I remember who gave us this great community to live in. Fortunately, I was able to scan some of Orval's collection after he (1988) and his wife, Vera (2001), passed away.

April 1964
Left to right: Gambles, Robert Kuhl Tavern, various eating establishments, Ral-Mars (Ralph & Martha Hagedorn), Manning Library (2nd story) and Fire Station (lower level).

November 1964

I'm still sad that the Wyatt Hospital had to be torn down, but this is how change progresses - good & bad.

April 1966

January 1966

Yes, there were winters in the past when very little, if any, snow fell...

July 1966

Remember the 2 wonderful water fountains?

April 1965

The owner of the construction company flew in to inspect the job site.

December 1965 businesses in the background

From left to right: Monitor, next business I'm not sure about right now, then Chub's Place, Ral-Mars, Crystal Theater, and then the original part of the First National Bank.
The Monitor owner was Ron Colling, the next business I'm not sure for this time period but I think it was Iowa Liquor Store, then Linus "Chub" Heithoff had "Chub's Place," Ralph & Martha Hagedorn had moved Ral-Mars from the east side of Main Street when the buildings were torn down to make room for the Plaza. Before it closed I believe the Crystal Theater was operated by Gib & Bernie Peters, and the last building on the north is the First National Bank which is still owned by the same family today.

December 1965

Most of the time what's in the background of the picture is more important historically to me for my extensive research. In the picture just above you can see the Hoffmann Lumber Company, which was a MAJOR business in Manning since the early 1880s. Manning had several lumber companies during its early history. Joyce Lumber Company was located where the city park is now. The Greenbay Lumber Company was located along Third Street west of Main Street, and Hoffmann Lumber was located where the city hall is today.
There was also Town & Country Lumber owned and operated by Charles Fielweber. Charles purchased the business from Adolph Hinz who ran the "Hinz Building and Supply Company" previously. Before the Hinz business, the Manning Bottling Works operated there, and was owned and operated by Joseph Feldmann and his son, Emil. Emil then sold the business to Adolph Hinz who was married to Antonia Feldmann, sister of Emil, and then Hinz turned that site into a lumber yard.

After the Plaza was opened, 4 years later in 1970, several houses were torn down along Center Street and the Terrace Apartments were built. My mother (Dorothy Kusel) was the first director so I have lots of memories about her work there. At first there were alarm bells and strobe type light on top of the apartments that would go off when a resident pulled a string in an emergency.
Since mother had the master key she was on-call at night and many times I would go with her so she could let the police and ambulance crew into the apartment.
One big advantage in being around mother and her work at the apartments is I was always around old folks and while I never had problems communicating with them, it helped me tremendously when I started working on Manning and family history shortly after that time.
Even though I was decades younger than those old timers I could easily carry on a conversation with them for hours and even though I didn't personally know a lot of the people they talked about, I knew about them from all of the stories I listened to and family histories I worked on.

Over the decades I would also go in to visit with the various Plaza residents to get old Manning pictures identified and pick their brains about Manning's I will no longer have that ability here in Manning to visit with the older residents about Manning's past.

1970 construction of Terrace Apartments

Looking northeast

The home to the right belonged to Hugo & Ola Ress - this home was later torn down when the east wing of the Plaza was built.


For the last 20 to 30 years, Manning has gradually become a much younger community - which is great for the life-blood of the town moving forward.
Before that it became a retirement town, where farmers would retire and move to Manning, Manning business people would sell their business and retire in Manning, also former residents would move back to their old stomping grounds to live near their parents, relatives, friends, and schoolmates - this was before people started moving/living in the southern states, so today most Manningites no longer retire and move back to Manning or stay in Manning after they retire.
All of these changes have effected how the rural retirement and assisted living homes exist today, with many of them downsizing or closing altogether.

The saddest part (maybe devastating is a more fitting description) is for the Plaza residents who have been living here and have direct Manning connections: Carol Schroeder, Janice Monson, Russell Hansen, Rita (Nissen) Saunders, Virginia (Dammann) Johnson, and local employees such as Kathy Vollstedt & DeEtte Grabill.
I spent an hour today (October 27, 2023) visiting with these residents - no tears were shed but I'm guessing some tears popped out when they were told the Plaza (Accura) was closing.
Then there are the local pastors who will now have to travel to Carroll, where most of the residents are planning to move to in a different Accura facility.
I'm sure the local volunteers who came in and assisted with entertainment and other activities will also miss the interaction with the residents.
So many things that are/were a part of a local retirement home that most people don't think about or even realize that go on.

I decided to search my extensive and very unique and one-of-a-kind database for Plaza pix - here are just a few of the hundreds I have on this topic...

July 1999 new addition to the east

April 25, 2017 making bird food

September 13, 2016 - 50th anniversary party - Carol Schroeder getting a wagon ride

Carol is a deaf-mute and she and her family grew up in Aspinwall, also where my mother was born/raised so our 2 families have been friends all of these years.
Carol's brother, Wallace Schroeder, was taught by my mother in the Aspinwall School.
To keep herself occupied, Carol has put together countless puzzles over the decades and proudly gives them to friends and relatives.

She was thinking ahead and wrapped this Christmas present to the Kusel family.
I'll guess it is a puzzle she made.

May 2, 2012 - DeEttee reading the Manning Monitor to the residents
Arlene (Lohmeier) Musfeldt on right

December 19, 2011 school students singing Christmas Carols for the residents

July 20, 2008 volunteers brought in farm animals for the residents to see and touch
Here Laverne "Butch" Meier is having a wonderful time with his mother, Anna


Pastor Vogel of Zion December 10, 2003

Now be many of you who live/lived in Manning had no idea all of these activities occurred in the Plaza???
And I've only scratched the surface of events over the decades and ONLY captured just a small amount of them myself.
I could post more pix/events but have to get back to all of my other Manning historical projects.

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