Manchester Historical Society

Manchester quiz.
Can you answer these questions?

What is this building? Location? Hint: Manchester Community College was located here at one time.
Extra credit: What is the approximate date of the drawing?
Scroll down for answers.
Click the image on the left to try the puzzle.
Sylvian ("Sinch") Ofiara (1926-2012) took this photo of Educational Square around 1960. See more of Sinch's photos in this portfolio on our website. Click for a larger view. Educator and innovator Elisabeth Bennet had already passed away when this photo was taken. She was principal of Barnard School, the buildings around the quadrangle in the center of the picture. The Town Troubadour, Bill Ludwig, created a song about Miss Bennet.
85 years ago in The Manchester Evening Herald
The January 28, 1937 edition contained these events and the phone company ad. The country was still living through the Great Depression, but there were movies and events for young and old. Prohibition was over, and there were ads for whiskey and beer. See the whole edition: Herald 1/28/1937. To peruse all our Heralds, see: Index of Heralds.
Trivia quiz -- From the State Historian.
Here's a new Connecticut trivia quiz. You can also sign up for daily emails, "Today in Connecticut History."
National organization looking for volunteers. FamilySearch and the National Genealogical Society invite "genealogical societies and organizations to assist in making the 1950 US census easier to search. This crowdsourcing project, the largest census undertaking to date, will make the 150 million records of individuals searchable online." Find out more here. Manchester genealogist Dianne Lenti notes that FamilySearch is FREE for any genealogy data. More:
Special request to our subscribers! Please scan and share any interior or playground photos you may have of the old Hollister / Bentley School. We have had a request from a subscriber who went to the school in the mid 1950s. You can reply to this email. Thanks.
Our properties
The Homestead at 106 Hartford Road, Manchester, was donated to the Manchester Historical Society by the Cheney family in 1968 for use as a house museum. It's usually open to the public on the second Sunday of the month, but closed for the month of January 2022. It's open for special programs at other times throughout the year. For old photos and history of the Homestead, built in 1785, visit Cheney Homestead history. The replica Keeney Schoolhouse is on the grounds of the Homestead. Originally built in 1751, the schoolhouse had deteriorated so much that new materials had to be incorporated in the 1976 reconstruction.
The History Center at 175 Pine Street, Manchester, was purchased in 1999. Our offices and many collections are in this building, which is the former Cheney Brothers Machine Shop, a 40,000-square-foot building constructed in several phases beginning in 1895. It's usually open Tuesdays through Fridays from 10:00 to 2:00, but may be closed due to Covid concerns. Phone ahead to make sure we're open 860-647-9983. Visit: photo tour of lower level of History Center.
The Old Manchester Museum at 126 Cedar Street, Manchester, is owned by the Town of Manchester, and the Society has rented it since the 1980s. We store collections there, and open it to the public on the first Saturday of the month, May through December from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. It was formerly a school, built in 1859, and moved to this location in 1914. More: Old Manchester Museum.
Woodbridge Farmstead at 495 East Middle Turnpike, at Manchester Green, is a charming combination of vintage buildings and a bucolic landscape. The farmhouse dates from 1830. The Woodbridge Farm and Meadowbrook Dairy once encompassed many acres at Manchester Green. Today, the house and grounds are owned by the Manchester Historical Society – a gift from the late Ray and Thelma Carr Woodbridge, who gave the property in 1998, reserving a life use. The farmstead is open for free tours and programs on the second and fourth Sundays of the warmer months, from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m.
Silk Vault Building at 110 Elm Street, Manchester, was purchased by the Society in 2017. A unique building, constructed in 1920. More: Silk Vault. The vault has been opened to the public during special walking tours.
Find us on Facebook!
For frequent photos and tidbits, check out our Facebook page.
High school yearbooks
Enjoy the large collection of Somanhis (South Manchester High School) yearbooks on our website. In addition to photos of the graduating seniors, these books have ads for local businesses, photos of school activities, and sometimes poetry and prose by the students. Thanking our volunteers, especially Bob Gauthier, Noreen Cullen, Jim Hall, Joshua Pruden, Dick Jenkins, Susan Barlow.
Counting down to Manchester's 200th anniversary year, which begins January 1, 2023: 338 days.
The Manchester Historical Society is planning exciting activities for the Town's year-long bicentennial celebration. Check out the activities of the 1923 celebration, documented in this booklet on our website.
Answers to quiz
This view of the former Cheney Office building, 146 Hartford Road, is on the 1914 map of Manchester. Constructed in 1910, the building was quite new at the time. It replaced a former office building, which was wooden.
January TV show airs at noon and 8:00 p.m. Saturdays throughout this month --"Parachutist Adeline Gray and her Jump into Fame,” a 46-minute television show about Adeline Gray (1917-1975) presented by Jim Reuter, describing Adeline's life and times as well as parachute history. Adeline began parachute jumping in 1935, was Connecticut's first true skydiver, jumping from 8,000 to 10,000 feet, free-falling to 1500 feet before opening her parachute. Jim is an engineer who retired from Pioneer Parachute after 52 years. Adeline was nationally famous for being the first person to test-jump a parachute made from nylon rather than silk, which she did in June, 1942. Pioneer Parachute began in the Cheney mills in the 1930s when parachutes were made from silk. The show airs at 12:00 noon and at 8:00 p.m. on Cox cable channel 15 on all the Saturdays of the month. The show changes each month. This Channel 15 broadcasts in Manchester, Glastonbury, South Windsor, Wethersfield, Rocky Hill, and Newington. You can watch this month's show on the Public Access website "Parachutist Adeline Gray" show. You can watch some of our previous shows by selecting "Manchester Program Schedule" (the second tab) on the local Public Access website and on the next screen, type Historical into the search box.
Unfortunately, during the pandemic, the cable TV studio and equipment are unavailable to the public, so we will not be able to make new TV shows for a while.
Art classes
Kids and adults -- ongoing and new offerings. Info: art classes at the History Center. Questions may be directed to Trudy Mitchell.
Membership for yourself or --
Consider a gift membership for a friend or loved one. Why join a local historical society, even if you don't live in that town? Some reasons: • support education about the history of the town • support preservation of artifacts and vintage photos • join in advocating for preservation of historic buildings and parks that make Manchester charming.
Print this online donation form and mail to 175 Pine Street. Or drop by the History Center, Tuesdays through Fridays from 10:00 to 2:00. Direct questions to 860-647-9983.
Additional ways to donate: Employer matching gifts! Direct United Way donations to the Society. Sign in to Amazon via Amazon Smile and have a percentage of your purchases go to the Society. .