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Manchester, Connecticut

Town of Manchester
Official seal of Town of Manchester
Nickname(s): Silk City
Motto: City of Village Charm
Location in Hartford County, Connecticut
Location in Hartford County, Connecticut
Country United States
State Connecticut
NECTA Hartford–West Hartford–East Hartford
Region Capitol Region
Founded 1672
Incorporated 1823
 • Type Council–manager
 • General Manager Scott Shanley
 • Board of Directors Leo V. Diana (D), Mayor
- Mark Tweedie (R)
- Susan Holmes (R)
- Lisa Paggioli O'Neill (D) Cheri Ann Pelletier (R)
- Rudy C. Kissmann (D)
- Steve Gates (D)
- John Topping (D)
- Jay Moran (D)
 • Total 27.7 sq mi (71.7 km2)
 • Land 27.3 sq mi (70.6 km2)
 • Water 0.4 sq mi (1.1 km2)
Elevation 272 ft ((at Town Hall)
82.9 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 58,241
 • Density 2,133/sq mi (825/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 06040–06043, 06045
Area code(s) 860
FIPS code 09-44700
GNIS feature ID 208693[2]
Website .org.townofmanchesterwww

Manchester is a town in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States. As of the 2010 census, the town had a total population of 58,241.[3] The urban center of the town is the Manchester census-designated place, with a population of 30,577 at the 2010 census.[4]


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Arts and culture 4
  • Sports 5
  • Government 6
  • Education 7
    • Public schools 7.1
    • Magnet schools 7.2
    • Private schools 7.3
    • Post-secondary education 7.4
  • Media 8
    • Newspaper 8.1
  • Infrastructure 9
    • Emergency services 9.1
      • Ambulance service 9.1.1
      • Fire departments 9.1.2
        • Manchester Fire-Rescue-EMS
        • Manchester Fire Department-Eighth Utilities District
      • Police department 9.1.3
    • Transportation 9.2
      • Roads 9.2.1
      • Public transportation 9.2.2
      • Rail 9.2.3
      • Airports 9.2.4
      • Bicycling 9.2.5
  • Notable people 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13


Cheney Brothers Mills, South Manchester, 1920
Child labor at Cheney Brothers Mills, 1924. Photo by Lewis Hine.

Manchester was settled by colonists around 1672 as a farming community, although at the time it was known just as Orford Parish (the name that can be found on the memorial to the Revolutionary soldiers from the town). The many rivers and brooks provided power for paper, lumber and textile industries, and the town quickly evolved into an industrial center. The town of Hartford once included the land now occupied by the towns of Manchester, East Hartford, and West Hartford. In 1783, East Hartford became a separate town, which included Manchester in its city limits until 1823.[5]

The Pitkin Glassworks operated from 1783-1830 as the first successful glassworks in Connecticut. The Pitkin Glassworks Ruin have been preserved by a historical society.

In 1838, the Cheney family started what became the world's largest silk mill. Eventually, Manchester became an ideal industrial community. The mills, houses of the owners, and homes of the workers are now part of the Cheney Brothers Historic District, a National Historic Landmark.

Also of note are the E.E. Hilliard Company Woolen Mills. Founded ca. 1780 by Aaron Buckland and later sold to the Hilliard family, The Hilliard Mills are the oldest woolen mill site in the country.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 27.7 square miles (71.7 km2), of which 27.4 square miles (71.0 km2) is land and 0.27 square miles (0.7 km2), or 1.00%, is water.[6] The Manchester census-designated place consists of the urban center of the town and has a total area of 6.5 square miles (16.8 km2), or about 23% of the town's total area. 6.4 square miles (16.7 km2) of the CDP is land, and 0.039 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.56%, is water.[4]


Historical population of
2000 54,740
2010 58,241

As of the census of 2000,[3] there were 54,740 people, 23,197 households, and 14,010 families residing in the town. The population density was 2,008.2 people per square mile (775.4/km²). There were 24,256 housing units at an average density of 889.9 per square mile (343.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 82.77% White, 8.42% African American, 0.20% Native American, 3.15% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 3.12% from other races, and 2.31% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.54% of the population.

There were 23,197 households out of which 28.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.8% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.6% were non-families. Of all households, 31.1% were made up of individuals and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the town the population was spread out with 22.8% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 33.0% from 25 to 44, 22.1% from 45 to 64, and 14.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 91.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $49,426, and the median income for a family was $58,769. Males had a median income of $41,893 versus $32,562 for females. The per capita income for the town was $25,989. About 6.0% of families and 8.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.1% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture

Main Street (looking south from Center Street)
Bissell Street (looking east of Main Street)

Manchester is known for The Shoppes at Buckland Hills, an enclosed shopping mall, The Plaza at Buckland Hills, and the nearby strip mall, Buckland Plaza. In the last decade, the area surrounding the mall, which extends into the town of South Windsor, has been blanketed with numerous big-box shopping outlets and plazas and has quickly transformed into a shopping hub for the state's residents.

Once a center of the silk industry in America from the late 19th through the mid-20th century, the Cheney Brothers Historic District[8] showcases mills refurbished as apartments and includes nearby museums.

The city has four museums:

The Fire Museum is housed in a restored 1901 firehouse building. The museum's firefighting equipment and memorabilia include leather fire buckets used in colonial times, a display showing the evolution of sprinkler systems, a horse-drawn hose wagon, a 1921 Ahrens-Fox fire pumper, and a 105-foot (32 m) 1911 water tower.[9]

The Lutz Children's Museum has participatory exhibits covering art, history, science, nature and ethnology. The museum's permanent collection includes small live animals.[10]

The Old Manchester Museum, focusing on local history, is operated by the Manchester Historical Society. Permanent exhibits include the Manchester Sports Hall of Fame, Cheney Textiles, Pitkin Glass Works, Christopher Spencer, and examples of Spencer Repeating Rifles.[11]

The Cheney Homestead Museum is an eighteenth-century house of the founders of the Cheney Brothers Silk Company. On exhibit are examples of period furniture and artwork.[12] Also on site is the one-room Keeney Schoolhouse dating from 1751.[13]

Wickham Park, a non-profit private foundation, is located on Manchester and East Hartford property. The 53-acre (210,000 m2) Oak Grove Nature Center has wildlife habitats.[10] Case Mountain Recreational Area, located in the less populated southeast corner of Manchester, is popular for hiking, mountain biking, and has a great view of the Hartford skyline to the west.

Manchester is famous for its popular Manchester Road Race which is held every Thanksgiving Day. The race has over 10,000 participants yearly, including runners from around the world, as well as thousands of spectators. For New Englanders, it is second in popularity only to the Boston Marathon. The annual auto show is also gaining more popularity every year.[14]

Manchester is also home to Shady Glen, a long-established restaurant known widely for its classic American fare of cheeseburgers and ice cream.

Manchester Memorial Hospital is located in the city.

Manchester has more than 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) of park land, a range of housing styles and prices in attractive neighborhoods, performing arts organizations, libraries and friendly, community-spirited residents.


Team Sport Website League Championships Venue
Manchester Cricket Club[15] Cricket BAAC Cricket Tournament Champions - 2009, 2010 and 2011; runners up - 2008 Manchester Cricket Club Ground, Martin School


Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 25, 2005[16]
Party Active voters Inactive voters Total voters Percentage
  Democratic 10,612 584 11,196 33.86%
  Republican 6,249 374 6,623 20.03%
  Unaffiliated 14,150 1,069 15,219 46.03%
  Minor Parties 25 2 27 0.08%
Total 31,036 2,029 33,065 100%


Public schools

  • Manchester High School (grades 9-12)
  • Manchester Regional Academy (grades 9-12)
  • Howell Cheney Technical High School (state school [grades 9-12])
  • Bentley School (grades 9-12)
  • Arthur H. Illing Middle School (grades 7-8)
  • Elisabeth M. Bennet Academy (grade 6)
  • William E. Buckley Elementary School (grades K-5)
  • Bowers Elementary School (grades K-5)
  • Highland Park Elementary School (grades K-5)
  • Keeney Street Elementary School (grades K-5)
  • Martin Elementary School (grades K-5)
  • Robertson Elementary School (grades K-5)
  • Verplanck Elementary School (grades K-5)
  • Waddell Elementary School (grades K-5)
  • Washington Elementary School (grades K-5)

Magnet schools

Magnet schools located in the greater Hartford area are administered by the Regional School Choice Office, and the Capitol Region Education Council.

Private schools

  • Assumption School (grades Pre K-8)
  • Saint Bridget School (grades Pre K-8)
  • Saint James School (grades Pre K-8)
  • East Catholic High School (grades 9-12)
  • Cornerstone Christian School (grades Pre K-12)

Post-secondary education



Manchester is home to a local newspaper, the Journal Inquirer, which serves all of Manchester and the surrounding areas. The Hartford Courant also has a facility in Manchester and can be delivered anywhere in town.


Emergency services

Ambulance service

Ambulance Service of Manchester (ASM) is a private company that operates out of a station on New State Road in Manchester, and provides basic life support-level transport service. ASM will provide advanced life support when fire department paramedics are unavailable.[17]

Fire departments

Manchester Fire-Rescue-EMS

The Town of Manchester Fire-Rescue-EMS[18] Department was organized in 1897 after a fire destroyed the Weldon business block. It is a full-time career department that operates out 5 fire stations, staffing four engine companies, one truck company, and a shift commander vehicle. All five companies provide a range of services including fire suppression, fire prevention, rescue, hazardous material response, and Advanced Life Support (paramedic level) medical care.[19]

Manchester Fire Department-Eighth Utilities District

The Manchester Fire Department-Eighth Utilities District[20] is a combination paid and volunteer fire department, established in 1888 as a separate fire department within the northwest corner of the town. It is not affiliated with the town and is governed by the board of directors of the Eighth Utilities District, which is a separate taxation district. Two firefighters are on duty Monday-Friday, 6am to 6pm, and one Firefighter is on duty on the weekends, from 6am to 6pm. Volunteers provide coverage during the remaining times and whenever available. The department provides fire suppression, fire prevention, rescue, hazardous material response, and Basic Life Support (EMT level) medical care.

Police department

The Manchester Police Department[21] was established in 1896. It is located at 239 East Middle Turnpike and is staffed by approximately 120 officers who serve and protect the community. Chief Marc Montminy has served in the department since 1989, starting out as a patrol officer.



Manchester has parts of three interstate highways (I-84, I384, and I-291) and Route 6 and Route 44 together constitute Manchester's principal east/west arterial. Connecticut Route 30 is an east/west arterial in the northern section of town. Connecticut Route 83 is Manchester's principal north/south arterial. Starting as South Main Street at the southern border with Glastonbury, Route 83 becomes Main Street through the center of town.

Public transportation

Manchester is served by the Hartford division of Connecticut Transit. The 80, 82, 83, 84, and 88 routes connect Manchester directly to the city of Hartford.[22]


No passenger service currently exists in town. Freight service from Hartford is provided by Connecticut Southern Railroad.[23]


Hartford-Brainard Airport and Bradley International Airport are both located about a fifteen minutes drive from Manchester.


Manchester has several on and off-road bicycle routes. The two most popular routes are the Charter Oak Greenway and the Hop River State Park Trail. Portions of each of those routes have been designated as parts of the East Coast Greenway.[24]

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates
  2. ^ [4]
  3. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  4. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Manchester CDP, Connecticut". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved November 30, 2012. 
  5. ^ Goodwin, Joseph Olcott (1879). East Hartford: Its History and Traditions. Hartford, Connecticut: Case, Lockwood, and Brainard Co. 
  6. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Manchester town, Hartford County, Connecticut". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved November 30, 2012. 
  7. ^ [5][6]
  8. ^
  9. ^ Fire Museum website, retrieved October 12, 2011
  10. ^ a b Connecticut, Massachusetts & Rhode Island Tourbook 2007 Edition. (2007) pp 58-59. AAA Publishing, Heathrow, Florida
  11. ^ Manchester Historical Society website, retrieved October 12, 2011
  12. ^ Cheney Homestead website, retrieved October 12, 2011
  13. ^ Keeney Schoolhouse website, retrieved October 12, 2011
  14. ^ King, Peter; One Fine Day- Aggravating/Enjoyable Travel Note of the Week; Monday Morning Quarterback December 2, 2002; Sports Illustrated Online; retrieved December 29, 2006
  15. ^ Manchester Cricket Club official sports website, Manchester, Connecticut
  16. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 25, 2005" (PDF). Connecticut Secretary of State. Archived from the original on 2006-09-23. Retrieved 2006-10-02. 
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Connecticut Transit Hartford Routes & Schedules; Updated November 20, 2006
  23. ^ Connecticut Southern Railroad Railmap;
  24. ^ Connecticut Department of Transportation Index to Trails in Connecticut by Town
  25. ^

External links

  • Town of Manchester official website
  • Downtown Special Services District
  • Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce
  • Manchester Area Conference of Churches
  • Manchester Historical Society
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