By Heather Lusk
The new president of the Zionsville Historical Society is taking over the role created by her grandmother 53 years ago.
“I’m proud to be carrying on that tradition,” said Lynne Manning, the newly inducted president.
Imo Dunn, Manning’s grandmother, was the first president of the Zionsville Historical Society, elected on March 11, 1962, when the organization was incorporated. Interest in a historical society began 10 years earlier during Zionsville’s centennial when a group of citizens wanted to continue to promote interest in the town’s history.
“The historical society is very small, and you don’t see us out there a lot, but the things that we’ve done are really pretty amazing,” Manning said.
Over the decades, the historical society has primarily been known for researching and erecting historical markers around town. They also initiated a Century Structures program recognizing homes at least 100 years old whose appearance has not been unreasonably altered during the time period.
Manning’s goal during her two-year term is to grow the membership of approximately 50 people and incorporate more live programming events, such as Abraham Lincoln reenactor Danny Russel, whose portrayal of the 16th president was part of the November meeting.
“We want people to come to the programming and do the business of the organization separate,” Manning said. “Everyone is welcome to be part of the organization. We want to have you. We want to get to know you.”
“This is a new direction in programming for us,” she said. “The Zionsville Historical Society is recognizing that our possible constituent base is not necessarily generational Zionsville residents. They come from other places.”
“We’re trying to create a feeling of, ‘Here’s what we’re proud of in our history,’ and, “Here’s what was happening globally, what happened in the world that really affected Zionsville,’” Manning said.
Manning’s Zionsville family history begins with her great-grandfather, who was president of the bank at the corner of what is today Main and Oak Streets. He lived two blocks away, at the corner of Second Street, so he could keep close watch on the bank.
Her grandfather, Frank Dunn, was also named bank president. Her grandparents were very active in the community, with Imo Dunn also elected the first president of Psi Iota Xi and a past president of the Zionsville Women’s Club. Manning’s mother was also involved in multiple organizations. Helping to organize the first Street Dance and Fall Festival, she was a Chamber of Commerce director.
Although Manning’s family lived in Zionsville, she grew up just over the Hamilton Co. line, attending school in Carmel.
Manning has always played an active role in the community; she’s been a member of the Zionsville Historical Society since the ’60s, when she and her brother were junior members. She has volunteered at the SullivanMunce Cultural Center, Maplelawn Farmstead, Off Main Street Players and is in her fifth year as drama club sponsor at Zionsville West Middle School.
“I think it’s a good example of a person’s longtime commitment,” outgoing Zionsville Historical Society President Ralph Stacy said. “I think it’s neat to have the new blood come in. Lynne has demonstrated her commitment to our community for decades.”
She recently came across a letter from her grandmother with her junior membership card from the historical society. Going through old boxes of items she realized that in the digital age, paper mementoes are becoming rare.
“These wonderful artifacts are going to be nonexistant,” she said. “We’ve got to have something to remember people by.”
“We are creating our history today,” Manning said. “We make history every day here in Zionsville with everything we do.”
About Lynne Manning
Family: spouse of 22 years – Roger, son Alec (heading to college)
Favorite restaurant: The Friendly
Favorite vacation spot: Lake Maxinkuckee in northern Indiana
Favorite pastime: knitting
Favorite book series: Harry Potter
Favorite movie: The Wizard of Oz