Manhattan Township Historical Society

This week's Member Spotlight focuses on an organization that encourages residents to learn about the history of our town, while it continues to record current and future events for the next generation. 
The Manhattan Township Historical Society started with a committee for the Village’s Centennial Celebration in 1986 and became a state-recognized organization in 1987. A committee pieced together the Village’s past and published Memories with Progress, the first book devoted to Manhattan’s history. Selling pickles on a stick and hosting talent shows were early ways to support the group’s educational and preservation mission The group now has 501(c) 3 status.
In the spring of 1988, Janet Werner, president of the group, spearheaded the effort to secure a then defunct caboose for the town. With donated land, caboose, machinery and workers, she united the town to work together on this project. The caboose dedication was on October 27, 1990. 
Next the society published its photo collection in a hardbound book,Manhattan Memories in 2008. A revision of that book was published in 2017.
The Village leased the first floor of its former office building at 255 S. State Street to the Historical Society for a museum. An Open House and Ribbon Cutting followed on October 24, 2014. 
Without the support of the Village of Manhattan, the Park District, Manhattan-Elwood Library, Manhattan Fire Department, the Township, School District 114, the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, First Bank of Manhattan and the Threshermen, the society would not have been able to continue its goals. Having a functioning museum, a place to meet, work and store information was a twenty-seven year old dream of the society coming to fulfillment. 
The Museum is open the first and third Saturdays of each month from 10 am to 2:00 pm as well as on Cruise Nights and some holidays. Email or visit us on

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Manhattan Chamber of Commerce

P.O. Box 357

Manhattan, IL 60442