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

Is this house on the National Register of Historic Places? It's located at 244 Porter Street. Its house marker identifies it as built in 1780 for a member of the Pitkin family.
Scroll down for answers.
Welcome to all.
Our Then & Now exhibit
History Center, 175 Pine Street.
Open Wednesday through Friday 10:00 to 2:00, and Saturdays 12:00 noon to 4:00. The exhibit tells the story of Manchester's past as it relates to the future. Photos, artifacts, stories!
Free commemorative event
145th anniversary of Manchester's Civil War monument
Saturday, September 17, starting at 1:00 p.m., a visit to our Civil War monument, hosted by our friends at the Cheney Brothers National Historic District Commission. The statue of a young soldier, by Carl (a.k.a. Charles) Conrads, will be the focus of this event, on the 145th anniversary of its unveiling. The actual historic unveiling took place on the 15th anniversary of the Battle of Antietem, which took place on September 17, 1862. We will also visit other memorials in the park, walking at a moderate pace. Meet at the front steps of Town Hall, 41 Center Street, Manchester. Plenty of parking in the lot behind the building. Town Historian and CBNHLD commissioner, Susan Barlow, will lead the walk and comment on the sculptor, the significant effort to erect such statues throughout New England, and the beauty of the statue itself. Extreme weather cancels, but the walk will be held if light rain. Free. More about Veteran memorials in Manchester.
If you are interested in this event, phone the History Center today between 10:00 and 2:00 to see if there are still openings 860-647-9983.
Exploring archeology at Pitkin Glass Works
Saturday, September 17 at the site, corner of Parker and Putnam Streets, Manchester, sponsored by our Pitkin friends. Scott Brady, an advocational archaeologist with the Friends of the State Archeologist, will discuss the process and goals of archaeology, as well as the history of the Pitkin Glass Works. Guests will then have some supervised “hands on” archeological experience on the site. There will be two sessions: • 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, and • 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., with a maximum per session of 15 individuals aged 13 and above. The fee is $25 per person. Registration is required; print or copy this form or pick one up at the History Center, 175 Pine Street, Manchester 06040, and drop off with your check, or mail in your registration. Image above left: Vintage postcard of Pitkin Glass Works.
Postcard of Great Lawn.
Click on the image at left to try your hand at the puzzle. Read more about the Great Lawn here. By the way, the mansion at the right of the postcard, the Clifford Cheney house, will be open during the fundraising house tour, Saturday, October 15. Details: house tour.
Open House at the Old Manchester Museum at 126 Cedar Street, Manchester, Saturday, October 1 -- the first Saturday of the month -- from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., staffed by hosts Art Pongratz and Bob Kanehl. Yes, the building is air conditioned! Drop by for a short chat or stay for a few hours. More: Old Manchester Museum.
Open House at the Cheney Homestead
Sunday, October 9 from 1:00 to 4:00. Experience Early American lifestyle -- the 1751 schoolhouse and 1785 homestead are alive in period furnishings as the people experienced life at the time. The house is staged, on the first floor, in 1818. The second floor is 1840, with two new exhibit rooms: • "Women of the Cheney Family," and • "Ingenuity and Industry" of the Cheney family. The Homestead is located at 106 Hartford Road. $5 suggested donation.
Homestead from across the lawn. Come visit for a few minutes or stay longer.
Part of "Cheney Women" exhibit.
Coming this fall to the Homestead, 106 Hartford Road
Rug-braiding workshop
Thursday & Friday, October 20 & 21 from 9:30 to 4:30, Teri Stratton will teach us how to create an heirloom braided rug that will last for generations. $190 plus materials. Register: Heirloom rug.
Note that there will be no open house on Sept. 25 so that our volunteers can attend the Society's annual meeting at the History Center
Open house at Woodbridge Farmstead
Sunday, October 9
Open noon to 2:00 p.m. Visit for 10 minutes or two hours. Tours of the 1830 farmhouse at 12:15 and 1:00 p.m. Check out our Visitor Center’s displays showing some of the history of the Manchester Green area. Take a self-guided tour through our late 18th century barn and the grounds of the Farmstead. 495 East Middle Turnpike, with parking in front of the house or at the nearby Senior Center. Free. The Farmstead is open the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month through October.
Free and informative genealogy help
Ancestors Road Show at Manchester's Town Hall.
Saturday, September 24, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., free and helpful as you learn how to do genealogical research. Register in advance, 860-647-3037, for a free 25-minute private consultation with one of the six professional genealogists from the Connecticut Professional Genealogists Council -- they are volunteering their time to provide one-on-one consultations on any genealogical question. Participants will complete a questionnaire so they can be assigned to the most appropriate consultant to help them trace their roots or answer other questions. All are welcome -- beginners, advanced, non-residents, and residents. The Darryl Thames and the Town Clerk's office are sponsoring this event. Come and meet experts in the field. The Town Hall is located at 41 Center Street, with plenty of free parking behind the building.
September television show
The Historical Society television show airs at noon and 8:00 p.m. on Saturdays throughout this month; during August, watch "Art in Manchester,” a 50-minute television program with examples of gifted artists who worked in Manchester: artists, architects, educators, and organizers. The show airs at 12:00 noon and 8:00 p.m. on Cox cable channel 15 on Saturdays, and runs 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. The television show is produced by Susan Barlow and directed by Kathryn Wilson, volunteers of the Manchester Historical Society. Some previous local-history shows can be borrowed at Mary Cheney Library. You can watch this month's show on the Public Access website "Art in Manchester" 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.
Note: That's a Russell Cheney painting, above right.
80 years ago in The Manchester Saturday Herald
The September 16, 1942 Herald was full of war news --both overseas and at home (shortages of consumer goods, etc.). See the whole edition: September 16, 1942 Herald, or to peruse all our Heralds, see: Index of Heralds.
Below, Large ad about the new Princess Restaurant, Downtown at the corner of Main and Pearl Streets. Subsequent restaurants have come and gone there since 1942.
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: 107 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.
Answer to quiz
This beautiful shingled house on Porter Street is not listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Manchester has 10 listings on the Register, but this isn't one of them. Still, the Pitkin house is historic, and if this area of Porter Street ever becomes a national historic district, this house would be included. See our listings on the National Register. To find out more about this house, see the Vision Appraisal listing.
The e-newsletter editor continues to invite your ideas for a mystery question. Reply to this email with your idea(s).
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. Weather permitting, the farmstead is open for free tours and programs generally 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 is rented out, and isn't open to the public.
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. .