Town Life Center History

The Town Life Center was built in 1929 and opened that fall as the Thomas Marshall Elementary School. The original building was constructed for under $40,000. School began with four classrooms for grades 1-6. Other rooms were used for various activities. The school was known for its large fish tank on both sides of the hallway. In 1967, the building was remodeled and enlarged. One of the improvements was the addition of a new multi-purpose room where weekly roller skating sessions took place on Saturdays. Classrooms were remodeled and carpeted and a new heating system and new wiring were installed.

In 1989, the students who attended Thomas Marshall were transferred to the new Manchester Elementary School and the building no longer functioned as a school. During the 1990s, discussions were held by various groups on how to best use the building going forward. The Manchester School Corporation transferred the title of the building and surrounding property to the Town of North Manchester. The land surrounding the Town Life Center is still maintained by the Town through its Park Department and the large open space east of the building is known as Thomas Marshall Park.

After a multi-year discernment process, the Town of North Manchester sold the old school building to the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana who, with the help of community leaders, developed a plan to rehabilitate the Thomas Marshall School to be consistent with its current use as well as plan for future uses. Historic Landmarks leased the operation of the building to Community Services of North Manchester, Inc. who oversaw the rehabilitation of the building from 2006 – 2008. Major improvements included installing an elevator to make the building handicap accessible, remodeling for accessible bathrooms, replacing the old boiler, adding air conditioning to rooms and tuck pointing the outside of the building.

In March, 2015, the Town of North Manchester assumed responsibility for building operations. The Town now holds the lease with Historical Landmarks of Indiana who remains the owner of the building. Many students who attended Thomas Marshall School have fond memories of their elementary school days there and roller skating on Saturday mornings.

The Thomas Marshall Town Life Center continues as an asset to the citizens of North Manchester by offering lease office space to a variety of businesses, both for profit and not-for-profit, who serve the community. It also has three facilities available for rent on an hourly or daily basis to both individuals and organizations.

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Town Life Center (more)
603 Bond St
North Manchester, IN 46962
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  • Phone: (260) 982-6115
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