Part of the Cheney Silk Mill village in South Manchester is the former Ribbon Mill at 150 Pine Street. Built in two phases between 1907 and 1909, it housed the first turbine engine in Manchester. Beginning in 1936, Manchester Modes, makers of ladies’ fashions, rented and later purchased the mill. Today the building is Ribbon Mill Apartments. Read the rest of this entry »
The former Hall of Records building, at 66 Center Street in Manchester, was built of amber brick in the Colonial Revival style in 1896. Land for the building was donated by Frank Cheney (1817-1904). The building was designed by the Hartford architectural firm of Hapgood and Hapgood and built by Charles R. Treat. The Hall of Records contained the Probate Court and the Town Clerk’s office until a new Town Hall was built in 1926. 66 Center Street was then the home of home of the Manchester Police Department until 1954 and was used for various town offices thereafter. It was refurbished and rededicated as the Probate Court building in 1982.
In 1908 the Salvation Army constructed a Military Gothic-style Corps (church) building, known as the Citadel, at 661 Main Street in Manchester. The Salvation Army ministry in Manchester had been established in 1887. In 2001 the church planned to demolish the building and construct a new one. There were objections from local preservationists, who did not want to see the building, unique in the state, destroyed. The Salvation Army then came up with a new plan that would renovate the existing Citadel and attach a modern addition for a chapel. The cost was doubled, but the Citadel was saved. The new chapel was opened in 2003.
The first Catholic Mass in Manchester was was celebrated in 1848, by Rev. John Brady of Hartford, in the house of mill worker John Kennedy. As described in a history of “The Church in Manchester,” that appeared in The Sacred Heart Review (No. 14, April 3, 1897):
Next morning Mr. Kennedy was discharged by the foreman of the mill in which he was employed; but the mill-owner, Mr. Buell, hearing of this action, discharged the bigot and reinstated Mr. Kennedy. Fr. Brady came at intervals until 1850, when Rev. James Smyth began visiting Manchester at stated times, saying Mass in the house of James Duffy, on Union street.
As related in the history of the Diocese of Hartford by Rev. James H. O’Donnell in vol. 2 of the History of the Catholic Church in the New England States (1899):
When Rev. Peter Egan assumed charge of the Catholics of [St. Bernard parish,] Rockville in 1854, their co-religionists of Manchester passed under his jurisdiction. His pastorate was marked by the purchase of a church lot from Mr. E. Weaver, at a cost of £200. This site was one of the most eligible and commanding in the neighborhood. The Rev. Bernard Tully, who succeeded Father Egan in December, 1856, set about to carry out the designs of his predecessor. On Tuesday, October 19, 1858, the frame of the new church was raised in the presence of a large congregation, most of them Irish-Americans. The Cheney Brothers stopped their mills in order to render all the assistance possible. The dedication occurred on Decembers, 1858; 500 persons were present in the church on the occasion. The celebrant of the Mass was the Rev. Father O’Dwyer of Collinsville, and an appropriate discourse was delivered by Rev. Thomas Quinn of Meriden. Thenceforth to 1869, St. Bridget’s church was served from Rockville
St. Bridget parish was established in 1869 and Father James Campbell became the town’s first resident Catholic pastor. By the turn of the century the parish required a larger church. The cornerstone for a new church was blessed on January 25, 1896. and Bishop Michael A. Tierney blessed the completed St. Bridget Church, located at 80 Main Street, on November 26, 1903.
The Glastonbury Knitting Company (begun as the Glastenbury Knitting Company in 1855) later expanded to Manchester with a mill at Manchester Green. A mill was first built on the site in 1851 and rebuilt after a fire in 1861. The mill produced men’s long woolen underwear. An interesting item that appeared in the September 2, 1911 issue of Fibre and Fabric: The American Textile Trade Review (Vol. 54, No. 1382) stated that:
The Glastonbury Knitting Co. shut down their mill at the Green last Saturday for a week. So many of the employees desired a vacation that the managers decided to shut down. The company is fairly busy, and at the present time gives employment to about 70 hands.
The mill was expanded over the years (did it reach its current form in 1901?), but closed in the 1920s (although the company’s mill in Glastonbury was in operation until 1936). Since that time the old mill building (501 Middle Turnpike East) has been used as an antique store, drug store, bar, a printer’s shop, a shoe store, a warehouse, a bookshop and two different furniture stores. Read the rest of this entry »
The Johnson Block is a retail and apartment building built in 1910 at 705-713 Main Street in Manchester. Recently the Johnson Block was purchased by new owners with plans to make much-needed repairs to the building.
Orange Hall, at 72 East Center Street in Manchester, was built in 1902. It has a meeting hall above first floor commercial establishments. It was built by the Loyal Orange Lodge, an Irish Protestant fraternal organization. In the early twentieth century, Orange Hall was a meeting place for seven different fraternal organizations. Read the rest of this entry »