VILLAGE HISTORY

    The village of Manito, Illinois was entered into the county records of February 19th, 1858 and was just like dozens of other villages in the state of Illinois in the mid 1800's.  Towns like Manito were created for the express purpose of serving the RR.  The standard operating procedure was for settlers to only choose areas with an abundance of trees to provide fuel and building materials and reject mostly Prairie land like Manito and the area adjoining.   Although the town was established along the designated RR route, the October 1858 Chief Engineer's report shows that  the RR crews had not yet made it to Manito to prepare the road bed for tracks.  After overcoming a flooded Mackinaw River, a fire that destroyed the construction locomotive, and a shortage of rails, the crew from Pekin was able to connect Manito and Pekin by March of 1860.  Passenger trains ran between Manito and Pekin every Monday and Thursday.  By September 1860 the train began regular trips from Pekin to Virginia.  
    In 1859 J. P. Cranwill built a grain platform near State and Broadway and began Manito's continuing connection to the area's grain business.  The loading platform which required grain to be loaded in bags lasted for several years until a bulk storage elevator was built nearby in 1870.
    Manito's success with the RR doomed both Egypt Station and the Village of Spring Lake. The Engineer's report estimated to the RR trustees that in the mid 1850's, the Illinois River was only navigable for 6 months of the year. Egypt Station closed its last business when Berestresser Store in Egypt sold out to a Manito Business and all goods were moved on a flat car into Manito.  The closing of this store also closed the local post office causing a petition to be filed to make Manito the Official Post Office. The petition was accepted and Manito became the local postmark in 1861.  The owners of Egypt Station filed a "Vacation Order" removing the land's "village" designation and property descriptions returning the area to its original property description.  Egypt Station then ceased to exist.
        The first school building inside the village limits was built in 1858 on State Street just west of Adam's Street.  The location was "just south of the Old Log Schoolhouse."  The new building served as a school, public meeting site and as church for various denominations.  In 1861 the school was doubled in size and by 1867 the Methodist built their own building just east of the School.  In 1879 another new school building was built to meet the rise in population.
    The land on the north and east of Manito was swampland.  Heavy rains caused most streets on the east side of the RR to flood causing most of the first houses to be built on the "higher ground" west of the RR.  Houses on the east side were often flooded until a effective drainage system allowed the Pollard Addition to be laid out in 1899 and causing the east side of town to develop.
    The original village hall was located at the site of the current Manito Township Hall.  Two times fires caused all the existing records to be destroyed.  The first charter of the village didn't occur until 1866 and was modeled after state charters previously issued to Springfield and Quincy when charters were individually affirmed in the legislature.  In 1875 the village charter was surrendered and the village reorganized under then current state laws.  This charter is still in effect today.
    In 2008 Manito celebrated its 150th anniversary with a series of events lasting the entire year.
    
    

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