Mary Post Cole and Ron Hunt at the MRA 50th anniversary. In the past, each worked hard for all things Mantorville. Mary chaired Marigold Days for many years and was a long time MRA member and officer. Ron Hunt shared a wonderful story about launching the theatre company. When it came to getting things accomplished in Mantorville, "We didn't know it couldn't be done," he said. "That was the secret."
Mantorville has been blessed with a group of people from the area for the last 50 or so years who have been dedicated to the work of preserving and restoring some of the historic buildings and sites in and near Mantorville. A number of area people, including Tom and Helen Ferry, who live in Mantorville, were part of the group who proposed the formation of the Mantorville Restoration Association (MRA) in 1963.
The MRA owns and manages a number of properties in town, including the Mantorville Opera House, the Restoration House, the Log House, the limestone Carriage House and the Greek Revival House. Each of the properties were purchased and restored with money raised by the MRA and donations from people interested in Mantorville's history. The restoration continues on the properties each year with the help of MRA members and other volunteers from Mantorville and the surrounding area.
The 1856 Restoration House is open for touring from May through mid -October and this year a number of people have decorated the house for Christmas, each choosing a room or two to decorate; reminiscent of the late 1800's. Barb Alberts coordinated the Christmas decorating with the help of Klaus Alberts and other volunteers for tours during Mantorville's Old Fashion Christmas. The house was open three weekends in December with Barb Loquai, JoAnn Roth, Joy Nelson, and Nancy Naatz serving as volunteer tour guides.
The Log House was built in the 1850s and is just east of the Restoration House and was open for tours during the summer months. It also has been a part of the Halloween Haunted House tour for a number of years which includes the tour of the original jail that is located in the limestone basement under the Restoration House.
The Mantorville Opera House has featured the Mantorville Theatre Company for many years with their summer productions of melodramas, plus fall mystery dinner theater, winter and spring plays during the rest of the year. Also, gospel and other music groups perform there each year.
Other uses of the Opera House include the quilt show during Marigold Days, the Welcome Center's Merry Hour in November and of course, Santa Claus was there for the children during Old Fashion Christmas, held the first Saturday in December. K-M high school theater group has used the stage to perform their one-act play. The opera house facility has even been used for weddings and receptions.
If you are interested in keeping the history of Mantorville alive, come to the MRA's Annual Meeting, Tuesday, January 8, at 7 p.m. at the historic Opera House and consider becoming a member. Membership is open to everyone (not only those who live in or near Mantorville). We would enjoy meeting you and invite you to help preserve Mantorville's history.