Manchester Historical Society
NOTE TIMING: This week's e-newsletter is arriving one day early due to the New Year holiday (observed on Friday). The History Center, Town offices, etc., will be closed on Friday, December 31.

The Oak Grill advertisement at left appeared in the Tuesday, December 30, 1941 edition of the Manchester Herald.

Manchester quiz.
Can you answer these questions?

What is the MSHOF? Founded in 1979, over 40 yeas ago. Where can we find more information?

Scroll down for answers.
Due to Covid concerns, we're postponing the opening reception for our new exhibit
The Manchester Historical Society received a $4999 grant from Connecticut Humanities (CTH) to create a “Manchester Then and Now,” exhibit, showcasing the history of Manchester from pre-Colonial times to the present. “Manchester Then and Now” illustrates Manchester’s contributions to the arts and industry, and tells the story of how people from around the globe and from diverse backgrounds came to call Manchester home. The exhibit displays artifacts and images that connect Manchester’s past to its present through activities and experiences shared throughout the town’s history. The goal of this exhibit is to illustrate how Manchester’s past relates to the present day. Visitors will be invited to consider how today's choices can shape the future.
We'll let you know when the reception is re-scheduled!
Of interest, but not sponsored by the Historical Society:
  • Saturday, January 1, at 1:00 p.m., free Great Lawn tour, sponsored by the Cheney Brothers National Historic Landmark District. Details: New Year's Day walking tour.
  • Saturday, January 22, from 11:00 to 3:00, a fundraiser tea for the Manchester sculpture project to be held at the Charles Cheney mansion on the Great Lawn. $40 per person. Reservations required. Info: Birthday tea for Miss Bennet.
Today (Thursday) is the last day to shop this week. We'll be closed on Friday, New Year's Eve, 12/31/21
MUSEUM STORE -- shop for local history items.
The History Center welcomes visitors to its museum store, which has books, notecards, maps, Kage company plastic decorations ($3.00 each), copies of vintage maps, From Your Neighbor's Kitchen cookbooks, Pitkin Glass jewelry, coffee mugs, tree ornaments, etc. NEW in the store: The Bronze Sculpture Committee is selling notecards at $10 a packet of 6. The cards feature photos of the Joe McCluskey statue, on Highland Street across from the Highland Park Market. The Committee is fundraising for its next statue.
Herb and Mae Swanson's 1941 Christmas card

Another fun and artistic card from Herb and Mae Swanson, who lived at 233 South Main Street. Herb designed and printed these unique cards each year.
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 closed this Friday. 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.
80 years ago in The Manchester Evening Herald
The December 30, 1941, 23 days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, The Herald had alarming war news, but also more day-to-day news. See the whole edition: Herald 12/30/1941. To peruse all our Heralds, see: Index of Heralds.
Find us on Facebook!
For frequent photos and tidbits, check out our Facebook page.

Click the image on the left to try the puzzle.
Advertising promotion for 20 Mule Team Borax, 1918 John Knoll photo. Read more: Mule Team Comes to Town.
Counting down to Manchester's 200th anniversary year, which begins January 1, 2023: 366 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
The Manchester Sports Hall of Fame honors athletes, teams, coaches, sports-promoters, and unsung heroes. Find out more about the organization and its inductees on our website.View them alphabetically by last name, or by sport, or by year inducted in the Hall of Fame.

Sports -- an important part of Manchester! Above, a sports event in the athletic field known as Four Acres or the West Side Oval, located behind Washington School, circa 1920, photo by John Knoll. In the background, you can see the old Cheney School, now the Old Manchester Museum.
Above, Early Yost (1921-2005), a founder of the Sports Hall of Fame, who was himself inducted in 1987, honoring his work as a sportswriter. More about Earl Yost.
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.
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. .