History of Manley

Transcribed from "The History of Rock county"
By A. P. Rose
Published in 1911

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Manley, a village without a resident is the least of all the points entitled to a place on the map of Rock county. Located on the southeast quarter of section 35, in the fraction of Beaver Creek township, at the intersection of the Omaha with the Great Northern railway, it is has been town. At present it is not even distinguished as a railroad station, despite its favorable location. Its sole enterprise is a grain elevator, conducted during a certain portion of the years.
Time was when Manley occupied a more prominent position in affairs. The Sioux City & Northern railroad (later to become a part of the Great Northern system) building throughout the county in 1889, simultaneously located tow towns in Rock county, Hills and Manley (Originally known as Hornick). Both were placed at intersections of the new line with roads already in operation. Of the two towns the greater hopes for future prominence were centered in Manley. The turn of events proved the contrary. At the time the railroad was laying its course through the county substantial inducements were offered by the residents of both Beaver Creek and Valley Springs (SD) to include their respective towns on the route. But instead of accepting such offers, the town site promoters connected with the new road entertained visions of a small city at the junction of the Sioux City & Northern with the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha, a city that would reach out and absorb both Beaver Creek and Valley Springs.
A quarter section of land, for which was paid $4000, was bought of E. M. Percival in September, to be laid out into the town site of Hornick. The survey was made under the direction of L. K. Bowman. Ten blocks were included in the original plat, which was dedicated October 25, 1889, by E.W. Skinner, and recorded on November 7. The Sioux City & Northern erected a depot building early in November and laid out stock yards, and before the station was given a place on the company's time table, the name was changed from Hornick to Manley, in honor of W.P. Manley, who was cashier of the Security National Bank, of Sioux City, and one of the leading stockholders of the Sioux City & Northern company.
At this early stage of Manley's development an invitation was extended to both Beaver Creek and Valley Springs to join forces with the new town, before circumstances should force such a procedure. The boom that was expected to eventuate in 1890 did not materialize so fully as anticipated. In April an elevator was erected by C. N. Bell, of St. Paul, and F.C. Bell was placed in charge. After much bargaining, L. K. Lee was induced to build a roller mill at Manley. The enterprise was launched early in August. Late in July a post office was established and Miss Mary E. McCallen appointed post mistress. The office was housed in a small building erected for the purpose.
To encourage the development of the town the town site owners extensively advertised and held an auction sale of town lots that resulted successfully so far as their pockets were concerned. The sale was held on July 30, 1890. For the occasion a free excursion train was run from Sioux City, which carried prospective investors, the majority of whom were laboring men. It was reported that 588 persons were entertained by the company on the day of the sale and that seventy five lots were sold. The many promises of building projects that were made before the wholesale disposal of lots were not fulfilled. The activities of the year 1890 from the first of August may be summarized: A small bottling works was put in operation; several small residences, one by E. M. Percival and another by Mr. Sturtevant, were erected; the first and only store in the town was established by H.H. Loeffler in December; the firm of Rood Bros. engaged in the fuel business and stock buying; an ice house with a storage capacity of 160 tons was completed by Albert Johnson in December.
There were a few additions to Manley in 1891. John Butler erected a 24 X 50 feet grain warehouse in time for the fall season, and in December a blacksmith and wagon maker located in the town. The Manley mill was closed in March, 1892, and from that time the decline of the junction city was rapid, while Beaver Creek and Valley Springs continued to prosper. In the course of the next few years every industry in the town, with the exception of the grain elevators, were withdrawn.
The store building and the few residences remained unoccupied for a period and were eventually moved away. A fire on the morning of October 8, 1901, destroyed one of the two elevators, entailing a loss of $2500. In 1901 the station was closed but was later reopened for a period. No agent is maintained at Manley at the present time.