The History of 29 South Mill Street
The Location Was Once a Mule Stable
In 1908, Thomas Finley Coffey and Joseph William Rigby built a large wooden stable on 27 and 29 South Mill Street. The Coffey-Rigby stables were built to house mules, which were, at the time, an essential part of the economy. In that era, most every household owned at least one mule.
The Construction of the Building
The wooden building was replaced some time before 1912 with a two-sectioned commercial brick building. In 1915, a tornado gusted through Manning almost totally destroying the building and killing a horse and mule. The second story was originally a hayloft and was renovated after the tornado.
The Building Was Also Used to Sell Cars and Soda
The Coffey-Rigby Livery Stables and carriage repository operated in this location until 1926, eventually expanding their business to automobile sales. There was even room in the Coffey-Rigby Livery Stables for another business – Candy Cola. Candy Cola was a local concoction of lemon-lime and grape flavors. The sweet concoction was brewed on the second story and siphoned through metal tubing to the first floor where it was bottled for distribution.
The History and Decline of the Stables
Saturday was a busy time in downtown Manning. Citizens would travel by mule and buggy to town for shopping and socializing. An artesian well located in the back of the stables provided water to horses and mules that were tethered at the stable while their owners enjoyed all that downtown had to offer. While the horses and mules drank from wooden troughs, men gathered on the buggy benches in the yard of the stable to exchange stories (gossip). One of these benches has been preserved and is in the waiting room of the law office.
In 1926, the Stables closed as the business in housing mules and horses was dwindling. In 1929, a Polish immigrant, Sam Richman began renting the building and operating a stable. In addition to the stables, Mr. Richman sold furs and operated a mortgage business from the building. Mr. Richman purchased the building in 1953 and continued renting and selling mules and farm implements to farmers until 1962. Having been unoccupied for so many years, the livery stable’s roofs had collapsed by the 1980s and the interior had trees growing inside.
Renovation & Evolution of the Building
In 1985, John and Marie Land purchased the building and began extensive renovations for a law firm office building. Exterior walls were repaired, a roof structure was recreated and wooden windows were replaced with reproductions of the originals. Segmental arches surround each of the original entrances on the first floor. It is the front quintuple order Roman arch that serves as a logo for the firm.
To make the community a part of the renovation, they hosted “before” and “after” parties. The firm’s courtyard was the venue of the “Taste of Clarendon” for over a decade and many receptions.
More Interesting Facts About Our Building
Visitors may notice a sign in the arched opening that reads “No Drinking Allowed on These Premises – $10 fine”. This sign has hung in that location for over 65 years -placed in this location when Mr. Richman operated a liquor store in a small part of the building.
The office building also served as a location for driver’s license tests to be administered. The officer would come from St. George to administer the test, which only required that you be able to drive around the courthouse block safely -unaccompanied by the officer.
The waiting area which has bead board ceilings and a large fireplace is filled with antiques and relics associated with the livery stable industry. Clients and citizens have been very generous over the years sharing their stories and artifacts from that era.
We Welcome You to Visit Our Unique Building!
The law firm welcomed the streetscape renovations in 2008 and other business owners who have invested in Manning’s downtown buildings. The building has been part of several historical tours over the years. The building is also on the Register of Historic Places. The firm welcomes you to stop by to experience the historical uniqueness of our building.