The building at 945 Main Street in Manchester was built in 1909 to replace the Oak Hill Building that had stood on the site but was destroyed in a fire in 1909. Since 1897, that building had contained the dry goods store of Edwin E. House and Justus W. Hale, who quickly hired architect Isaac A. Allen, Jr. to design a replacement structure. The new House & Hale Building would be larger than its predecessor and a two-story wooden building (could it be this one?), next to the adjacent Cheney Block, was moved to the rear to make way for the structure. House & Hale, who had begun with two separate stores (begun in 1853 and 1875 respectively), soon evolved their joint businesses into a full department store which, by 1920, also had a self-serve grocery store in the basement. The department store was in business until January, 1980. The building was then converted into rental office space and is now called “One Heritage Place.”
A German immigrant who arrived in the United States in 1874, Bernard C. Apel established a furniture and undertaking business at Depot Square in North Manchester. In 1888 he erected the large brick commercial building that stands at the corner of Apel Place and Oakland Street (35 Oakland Street). The basement contained the undertaking establishment and above it was his mercantile showroom, which he had expanded to include a wide variety of products, from carpets, wall paper and curtains, to crockery, lamps, clocks, stoves and pianos. The upper floors of the building housed a large community hall/theater called Apel’s Opera House. A fire gutted the opera house in 1899. Apel rebuilt, but did not reconstruct the original audience gallery. Serving as a warehouse and salesroom in later years, the building was acquired by the Central Connecticut Cooperative Farmers Association in 1977. The Co-op, which had been located on Apel Place since 1942, was a major supplier of livestock feed to farmers and had a retail store and farm stand in the former Opera House. The Co-op closed in the summer of 2016 due to current economic conditions and the decline in the number of farms.
The building at the corner of Myrtle and Linden Streets (63 Linden Street) in Manchester was built in 1940 by Temple Beth Shalom. The synagogue added a school wing in 1946. The Temple later moved to a larger building at 400 Middle Turnpike East and in 2009 merged with Temple B’nai Israel of Rockville to form Beth Shalom B’nai Isreal, which is one of the largest Conservative Jewish congregations east of the Connecticut River. The former Temple Beth Shalom building was purchased by the Town of Manchester in 1965 and was remodeled to become the Manchester Senior Center. Today it houses the Manchester Youth Service Bureau.
This is my 50th post for Manchester! The Queen Anne house at 134 Oakland Street in Manchester was built c. 1890 by Frank Hall on land he had acquired in 1887. The house is currently owned by artist Hans Weiss who has his studio next door.
The John Wesley Pentecostal Church was founded in Manchester in 1897. In the fall of 1907 (“Holiness Meeting in Manchester; In Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene,” Hartford Courant, April 10, 1908) the church became part of the Church of the Nazarene, a national evangelical denomination that formed in 1907-1908 through a series of mergers between various holiness churches and denominations, with the western-based Church of the Nazarene merging with the eastern-based Association of Pentecostal Churches of America. In 1958, the Manchester Church of the Nazarene moved from their original 1898 church at 466 Main Street to a new church at 236 Main Street. It was the culmination of a five-year building plan that included construction of a youth center (1954) and a parsonage (1957). The church’s pastor, Clarence E. Winslow, designed the buildings and prepared landscaping plans, personally clearing the land with the help of volunteers. Groundbreaking for the church occurred in the summer of 1957 and the following April (“Steeplejack Chore Planned by Pastor,” Hartford Courant, April 21, 1958) Rev. Winslow was lifted 90 feet by a giant crane to place a cross on the newly raised steeple. Rev. Winslow later moved to Florida where, in the 1970s, he led supporters of Creationism against the teaching of Evolution in Florida schools.
The Church of the Nazarene opened the Cornerstone Christian School in 1981. A new church building was erected at 218 Main Street in 1989, with Rev. Phillip Chatto this time attaching the cross at the top of the steeple (“Crowning touch installed at Manchester church,” by Randy Burgess, Hartford Courant, March 29, 1989). The previous church, now called the McLain Building, became part of the Cornerstone Christian School, housing the junior and senior high schools, and the former sanctuary was converted into a fellowship hall and gymnasium.
The American-Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Manchester was organized in 1952. Nine years later, in 1961, the congregation purchased a church at the corner of Garden and Winter Streets from Concordia Evangelical Lutheran Church, a German Lutheran congregation, which had just relocated to a new building on Pitkin Street. The first German Lutheran church in Manchester was Zion Church, organized in 1890. In 1893, just months before the dedication of their new church on Cooper Street, the congregation split over the issue of church members also being members of secret fraternal organizations. Those who objected to denying church membership to members of these organizations formed the new Concordia Church. In 1896 the Concordia congregation built the church at 21 Garden Street that is now home to the American-Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church.