Manning Street: Hillsdale’s Off-Campus Hub

By Cal McNellie

Off-campus living is an important part of many Hillsdale College students’ experiences. After two or three years in the dormitories, older students often decide to spread their wings and take on the more independent lifestyle that comes with off-campus living. Luckily for them, there are many properties around the Hillsdale Campus that are rented to students. The best properties, in my opinion, can be found on Manning Street, the center of off-campus life.

Manning Street is notable for the great variety of building architecture, as well as the quirky names of its houses. On a journey up Manning Street, the average pedestrian will pass houses that vary in size, shape, and structure. Some houses seem to stretch a whole block. Others have a second-level porch. One house has a log cabin front. One can even find housing in an old factory! This parade of old, new, and quirky architecture is only possible in an older, historic town like Hillsdale. More interesting still, most of the houses have  names that compliment their exterior? If you ask Hillsdale students, most will know exactly where “Zoo,” “Riverside,” or “Waffle House” are, and will refer to them by their names instead of their addresses. 

The various houses that make up Manning Street are actually symbolic of the many types of students who live on the street. Athletes, Greeks, and music students all call Manning home. Future doctors live with tomorrow’s financial analysts, and across the street from young journalists. Manning Street houses are an apt representation of the talented people who attend Hillsdale College: diverse in background, but united in the climb toward knowledge and self-growth they find in their classes up the hill.  

When talking to students about their Manning Street experience, I found that many expressed fond memories associated with this special street. Senior politics major, Allison Schuster, remembers the prank war that rocked all the houses in the fall. It was coordinated by a special group chat that only students on Manning Street are allowed in. The tight-knit nature of Manning Street allows these types of hijinks, and special interactions to occur. The makeup of Schuster’s house is also interesting, as she, a Greek, lives with athletes and independents. Despite their varied schedules, the girls make it work. Allison cherishes the moments “when all of us are gathered in the kitchen, eating dinner or hanging out on the weekends.” She says, “It’s really natural and fun. The variety of personalities complement each other well.” 

Junior Lauren Hearne also spoke of the great times she and her friends have shared on Manning. At the end of the fall semester, Hearne and her housemates spread Christmas cheer by caroling at the houses on Manning. The girls were often invited inside for cocoa, and Hearne describes the whole experience as “pure and wholesome.” For Hearne, living on Manning Street creates a perfect “work-life balance.” She feels totally involved with what is going on up the hill, while maintaining a close relationship with her housemates. 

The clock tower of Central Hall dominates the skyline as students from all parts of campus ascend the Manning Street sidewalks. I wave to my friends across the street as they sip coffee and prepare for their day. I take comfort in the fact that whatever happens with my studies during the day, I can return to a warm home full of friends who love me. This is the Manning Street experience. 

Calvin McNellie, ’21, studies finance and politics. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio. A member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity and the Hillsdale College football team, Calvin’s interests include politics, fitness, woodworking, and jean shorts. He considers himself extremely blessed to be a student at Hillsdale College and a citizen of the greatest nation in the world.

Published in May 2021