Manchester Historical Society
Manchester quiz. Can you answer these questions?

Who are these people? Approximately what year? Extra credit: Where was photo taken?

Scroll down for answers.
Requesting tavern photos
For a project, Society president, Jack Prior, asks for photos of Manchester taverns. Thanks to Bruce Anderson and family for this 1940s view of Hartford Road Café. Reply to this email with hi-res photo if available. Thanks!
Also requesting volunteers for: • Fundraising at a concert at the band shell on May 19, circulating among the audience with buckets to collect money for the Society, and • Monitoring our Heritage events on Saturday, June 5, and then Wednesday through Sunday, June 8 to June 12.
Then & Now exhibit
Lots of compliments on the exhibit at the History Center, 175 Pine Street. Let us know what your impressions are, by replying to this email. Then & Now showcases the history of Manchester from pre-Colonial times to the present. Free. Donations welcome. Open to the public Wednesday through Friday, from 10:00 to 2:00, and Saturday 12:00 noon to 4:00.
Old Manchester Museum, 126 Cedar Street
Open House
Saturday, May 7, from 10:00 2:00 p.m. -- Visit with hosts Art Pongratz and Bob Kanehl. Exhibits of photos and artifacts of our town's schools, industries, home entertainment, and the Manchester Sports Hall of Fame
At the 1785 Cheney Homestead, 106 Hartford Road
Open House
Sunday, May 8, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. -- For Mother's Day, special program on the Women of the Cheney family, featuring Electa Cheney, the mother of nine children: eight boys and one girl. "Electa" (portrayed by Bettylou Sandy) will be at the Homestead from 1:00 to 4:00 to answer any questions. At 2:30 "Electa" will give a 30-minute overview of her life, from the Woodbridge tavern, to the Cheney Homestead, and later years as a widow. Her daughter, also Electa (portrayed by Jamie Donahue) will also be on hand for questions. Tour the historical gardens and the 1785 Homestead. $5 suggested donation is appreciated. See below for photos of newly painted and arranged rooms. Photos by Bettylou Sandy, Homestead committee.
The Woodbridge Farmstead open houses' special 2022 schedule:
  • Open house on Sunday, May 15 from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m., celebrating the opening of our new Visitor Center. At 12:30, we'll have a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and a proclamation by Mayor Jay Moran. This is the only Woodbridge open house in May.
  • Special Connecticut Open House Day, Saturday, June 11, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Subsequently, our second and fourth Sunday open houses will run from June 26 through October 23.
The Farmstead is located at Manchester Green, 496 Middle Turnpike East. Parking available at the Manchester Senior Center, along the street in front of the farmstead, and off Woodbridge Street behind the barn and through the gate.
Our friends at the Cheney Brothers National Historic District Commission present a history walk at Center Memorial Park.
Sunday, May 15 at 1:00 p.m. Meet at the front steps of Town Hall, 41 Center Street for this FREE one-hour walk to visit the park on its 117th birthday. Town Historian Susan Barlow will provide commentary as we visit: the D.A.R. fountain, 101 years old; the Civil War monument, 145 years old: and the Dancing Bear fountain, 113 years old. The park is part of the Main Street Historic District, which was listed on the National Register in 1996. Park behind or on the side of the Town Hall. Rain or shine, so please bring an umbrella if needed. Photo of July 2021 walk by Paul Ofria.
All welcome to the presentation of Manchester’s 20th Annual Historic Preservation Awards
Wednesday, May 18, at 5:30 p.m., at Northwest Park, 448 Tolland Turnpike. (If inclement weather, event will be held at The History Center, 175 Pine Street.) The Cheney Brothers National Historic District Commission will present its annual preservation awards to Manchester property owners who have maintained their property in a manner that preserves its historic values and character.
Free concert at the Manchester Bicentennial Band Shell.
Thursday, May 19 at 7:00 p.m. (Rain Date: Thursday, June 9 at 7:00 p.m.) The Manchester Historical Society will present “Spring in Concert,” with music provided by the South Windsor Community Band. The Band Shell is located at 70 Bidwell Street, Manchester, on the MCC campus.
Click the image on the right to try the puzzle.
1923 photo of two notable Manchester educators: Mr. Verplanck and Miss Bennet. More about Miss Bennet.
Our friends at the Sculpture Project are fundraising for a bronze statue of Miss Bennet to be placed at Bennet Academy. They're sponsoring a fun Miniature Golf Tournament, on Saturday, June 11, starting at 10:00 a.m. $25 per adult, with great prizes. Lunch is included. Click here for details and how to reserve your spot.
45 years ago in The Manchester Evening Herald
Where to take mom for Mother's Day? See the May 6, 1977 edition, or to peruse all our Heralds, see: Index of Heralds. By the way, that Johnny Carson suit, at $150, would cost $711.64, adjusted for inflation.
State Historian's trivia quiz.
Try the trivia quiz by clicking the image on the right. You can also subscribe to "Today in Connecticut History" to receive daily emails.
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 and 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. For the current exhibit, it's open Wednesday through Friday from 10:00 to 2:00, and Saturday noon to 4:00. 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., staffed by hosts Art Pongratz and Bob Kanehl. The building 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 Raymond and Thelma Carr Woodbridge, who gave the property in 1998, reserving a life use. The farmstead is open for free tours and programs geenerally on the second and fourth Sundays of the warmer months, from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m., but this year, starting the twice-a-month schedule in mid-June.
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 is rented out, and isn't open to the public.
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: 240 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
Photo of Cheney Brothers silk mill officials and employees celebrating 40 to 50 years of service at the silk mills. It was taken May 13, 1924 at Cheney Hall.
A typewritten list of names was taped to the back of the picture. Click here to see a larger photo with individuals' names.
Employees' service anniversaries are also mentioned in the Cheney employee newsletters. At the time of these images, Frank Cheney, Jr., and Richard Mommers were both part of management. BONUS, click the image for a jigsaw puzzle.
Specialty newspapers published in Manchester

See The Highland News on our website.
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. .