Cheney Hall is located at 177 Hartford Rd., in the heart of the Historic District. The building is an historic Victorian structure and today still serves the purposes for which it was originally built: theatrical and musical events, parties, balls and banquets, and lectures and meetings.
Cheney Hall was built by Cheney Brothers immediately after the Civil War as a community cultural center and theater. It was designed by the artist/architect C. H. Hammatt Billings and was dedicated in 1867 by Horace Greeley. The architecture is that of the French Second Empire style with features including mansard roof, brick and brownstone arches, carved oak and chestnut trim and a magnificently restored 1866 E. & G. G. Hook tracker organ built into the rear wall of the stage.
Over the years the Hall saw many other uses such as high school graduations, boxing exhibitions, and as a hospital during the infamous flu epidemic of 1918, when the usually gay hall was filled with rows and rows of beds, dimly lighted and smelling of carbolic and ether. From the 1920's to the 1970's the Hall served as a fabric showroom for silk and other textile products.
Life as a showroom came to an end in the 1970's and the Hall was virtually abandoned. Cheney Hall was threatened by demolition by neglect until in 1978 the Historic District was created. That was the impetus for preservation of the mill area and also for the Hall. In 1982 the Hall was donated to the Town and the Cheney Hall Foundation was created by the Manchester Board of Directors to restore and operate Cheney Hall.
The Little Theater of Manchester leased Cheney Hall and agreed to assist in fundraising for the restoration of the building. LTM also acts as the rental agent for private functions held in the Hall. Restoration of the building was completed in 1991 and 124 years after the original dedication, Cheney Hall was rededicated on June 29, 1991.
Cheney Hall is available for public and private use. Further information is available by calling (860) 647-9824 or by visiting cheneyhall.org.