Helpful web sites for those interested in local history. To suggest other web sites to add, please email the webmaster: Susan Barlow.

NOTE: The web sites are grouped in categories. Click one of the following links or scroll down to browse through all the sites.

ALSO: If you can't find something here, please consider using the Web Searches page, to search either this web site or the entire Internet.


Manchester Civic / Cultural
Web Sites
Manchester Maps Connecticut Web Sites CT Census National Web Sites
Patents & Inventions Selected YouTube Videos visit us on Facebook




Manchester Civic / Cultural Web Sites


Cheney Brothers National Historic Landmark District: Preservation and Development Plan   This 93-page booklet was created in 1980, shortly after the National Park Service designated the Landmark District in Manchester. The booklet includes vintage maps, photos, a history of the District and its designation, and the people involved in the designation and planning. Note: This is a large document, so use of a high-speed internet connection is recommended. The Town appoints members to the Cheney Brothers National Historic Landmark District Commission, which meets on the first Thursday of the month at Town Hall. More information about the Commission can be found in the next article.

Cheney Brothers National Historic Landmark District: Commission   The Manchester Historical Society works with the Commission, and the Society President is an ex-officio member of the Commission. Information on the establishment of the District as a National Landmark can be found in the previous article.

Connecticut Firemen's Historical Society Museum   The Fire Museum is housed in a retired 1901 fire station that saw the transition from hand-drawn to horse-drawn, then to motorized apparatus. The collection includes a working Gamewell Fire Alarm System, and hundreds of examples of early American craftsmanship related to firefighting such as glassware, lighting, leather-making, photography, textiles and paintings.

East Cemetery Graves Listing   Viewers can look up information that's inscribed on gravestones in the East Cemetery, Manchester, CT. This database was completed in 2002, so newer gravestones may not be listed.

Imagine Main Street   This organization's mission is to revitalize the Downtown historic district through the economic and cultural impetus of the arts, including performance, galleries, pop-up stores, public art and sculpture and beautification projects.

Little Theatre of Manchester: Cheney Hall   A regional entertainment center in an 1869 theater designed by Hammatt Billings.

Living Places: Cheney Brothers Historic District  A 13-page description of the National Register's Cheney Brothers Historic District in the "Living Places" website.

Living Places: Manchester Historic District  A 22-page description of the National Register's Manchester Historic District in the "Living Places" website.

Living Places: Main Street Manchester Historic District  An 8-page description of the National Register's Main Street (Manchester) Historic District in the "Living Places" website.

Living Places: Union Village Historic District  An 11-page description of the National Register's Union Village Historic District in the "Living Places" website.

Lutz Children's Museum   Educational organization and museum inspired by Hazel Lutz and now located in the former South School building, constructed 1923 and used as an elementary school until 1982.

Manchester Firefighters Memorial Garden  A garden memorializing firefighters dedicated in 2002 with a special tribute to the 343 New York Firefighters lost at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Manchester High School Class of 1952   A web site devoted to the Manchester High School and its Class of 1952.

Manchester Land Trust   A conservation organization that preserves land in Manchester, East Hartford, Vernon, Bolton, and Andover.

Manchester Road Race   A world-class and historic race where thousands of runners compete each Thanksgiving.

Manchester Sports Hall of Fame   A tribute to Manchester's athletes, coaches, journalists and others who have contributed to the world of sports. The exhibit is housed at the Manchester Historical Society's Old Manchester Museum.

Pitkin Glass Works   The ruins of the former glass factory are located at the corner of Parker and Putnam Streets, not far from Manchester Green.

Pride in Manchester Week and Heritage Day   A week of events celebrating Manchester's diversity, arts, and history. Held each June, with dozens of free events for young and old.

  Public Access Television   Manchester Public Access Television Channel 15 serves the towns of Manchester, South Windsor, Glastonbury, Rocky Hill, Wethersfield and Newington. Note: A high-speed internet connection is recommended.

  Silk City Television   This is the website for Silk City Television, Channel 16 in Manchester, Connecticut, which is Manchester's Government and Education Television Station. It will broadcast Board meetings as well as a large variety of shows dedicated to town departments, school events, and other Town-related activities. Note: A high-speed internet connection is recommended.

  Silk City Television: Manchester Historical Society Videos on Demand   You can now watch our Historical Society television shows online! Silk City Television now has available selected videos produced by the Society, which you can select for immediate viewing. Click the above link to access the Silk City Television web site. Input   historical   into the search box and click "Go" to get the list of videos. Click a video you're interested in to bring up detailed information on it. To view it, click the Watch Now link.  Note: A high-speed internet connection is recommended.





Manchester Maps


C. 1627 Map of Indian Trails & Villages   This map was created in 1930 to depict trails and villages of the native people of Connecticut. Note that Mathias Spiess, co-author of the 1923 History of Manchester, compiled the information for the map. Additional information in the lower right corner of the map.

C. 1780 Washington-Rochambeau March Route   The Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail passes right through Manchester! You can see the route on this map, and zoom in on Manchester. The Historic Trail, related to events during the American Revolution, is part of the National Park Service.

Early Map of Connecticut   Circa 1800 zoomable map of Connecticut, "from the best authorities delineated & engraved by A. Doolittle," created by Amos Doolittle (1754-1832), and published in an 1813 atlas. Manchester, incorporated in 1823, is not a town on the map, but the area is there, with rivers and a glassworks.

1850 Map of Manchester   With rivers, school districts and home owners. Takes a moment to download.

1854 Railroad & Telegraph Map   Zoomable map of New England's railroad and telegraph lines, 1854, from the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library.

1855 Smith's Map of Hartford County   With businesses, home owners, and inset of Cheeneyville, drawing of W.H.Jones residence and silk mill. Takes a moment to download.

1869 Map of South Manchester   An 1869 map of South Manchester, with an emphasis on the Cheney Mills, which can be contrasted with the current Cheney Brothers National Historic Landmark District Map.

1880 View of North Manchester   An aerial panoramic map of North Manchester, dated 1880, from the UConn library. This down-loadable map is zoomable and printable, but it is very large and may take considerable time to download.

1880 View of South Manchester   An aerial panoramic map of South Manchester, dated 1880, from the UConn library. The map is zoomable and printable, but it is very large and may take considerable time to download.

Circa 1885 Map of North Manchester   The map includes Suffield and Somers -- scroll down to see Manchester. As to the date -- the New York and New England Railroad operated from 1873 to 1893, and the date of Starkweather Street house is 1885, so the map is from that era..

1892 map of Manchester   from the Bowers town directory.

1902 map of Manchester   from the Bowers town directory.

1911 Map of Connecticut Street Railways   "to Accompany the Report of the Railroad Commissioners, 1911. Publisher Lith. Kellogg & Bulkely, Hartford, Conn. Original located at UConnís Babbidge Map Library." Along with Connecticut's trolleys and railroads, look for Manchester's main line, Cheney railroad spur, and trolleys going to Buckland and Rockville. This down-loadable map is zoomable and printable, but it is large and may take considerable time to download.

1914 Map of Manchester   An aerial panoramic map of Manchester, dated 1914, on the Library of Congress web site. The map is zoomable and printable. Or, view the 1914 map as a PDF on our web site, which may take some time to download.

Price & Lee 1924 Map of Manchester   A 1924 map of the Town of Manchester Connecticut. Includes color annotations showing Connecticut Company trolley and bus lines on Jan. 1, 1931.

1928 Geological Survey Map of Manchester   Updated at different times. Includes geological features of the central part of Manchester. Produced by U.S. Department of the Interior -- more info U.S. Geological Survey.

1932 South Manchester Railway ("Cheney Railroad") Map   Many thanks to Joe Gibilisco who sent us this map, dated November 1932, of the Right-of-Way and Track Map of the South Manchester Railroad.

1934 Manchester Map   An interactive, zoomable, aerial map of Manchester dating from April, 1934, from the Connecticut State Library's 'Digital Collections' offerings.

1934 Neighborhood Comparison Map   Using a zoomable aerial map of Manchester, this site compares the 1934 neighborhood side-by-side with a present-day Google map. Provided by UConn's Map and Geographic Information Center (Magic).

Circa 1940 Chamber of Commerce Map of Manchester   with listings of "public buildings, public schools, churches, and manufacturers."

1944 Map of Manchester   A map of the western side of Manchester dated 1944. It shows Laurel Lake, which is no longer there.

1946 Map of Manchester   Zoomable map from the 1946 Manchester Directory published by Price and Lee (the entire directory is available on our web site HERE).  Note that many of the town directories had a map, but sometimes maps got separated from their directories and are misplaced.

1949 Map of Manchester   Zoomable map from the 1949 Manchester Directory published by Price and Lee.

1952 Geological Survey Map of Manchester   Updated 1959. Includes location of houses and geological features of the central part of Manchester. Produced by U.S. Department of the Interior -- more info U.S. Geological Survey.






Connecticut Web Sites


Cigar History: 1878-1915   Connecticut grew a lot of tobacco for cigars from the eighteenth century through the 1970s in Manchester, and into the Twenty-First century in other Connecticut towns. This web site describes the history of cigars and tobacco growing.

Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism   The mission of the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism is to preserve and promote Connecticut's cultural and tourism assets in order to enhance the quality of life and economic vitality of the State. The Historic Preservation and Museum Division functions under state and federal law as Connecticut's State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). The division administers a range of federal and state programs that identify, register and protect the buildings, sites, structures, districts and objects that comprise Connecticut's cultural heritage.

Connecticut Firemen's Historical Society Museum   The Fire Museum is housed in a retired 1901 fire station with a unique atmosphere that saw the transition from hand drawn to horse drawn, then to motorized apparatus. In addition to a working Gamewell Fire Alarm System, our collection includes hundreds of fine examples of early American craftsmanship related to firefighting such as glassware, lighting, leather making, photography, textiles and paintings.

Connecticut Historical Society   The Connecticut Historical Society's web site, having searched on "Manchester CT". Many Manchester photos and descriptions are available.

connecticuthistory.org   Stories of Connecticut places, events, people, including primary source documents.

Connecticut History Through 1690   By Joseph A. Montagna, a 1978 curriculum on the Yale University web site, with information on the very early days of Connecticut, including "The Geologic History of Connecticut," "The Indians of Connecticut," and lesson plans. Webmaster's note: Technology and research new since 1978 has increased the information available about Connecticut's first settlers, so this link has out-of-date information; still, it is what was "understood" and accepted in 1978.

Connecticut State Historian   The Office of the Connecticut State Historian's Home Page.

Connecticut State Library   The Connecticut State Library's Home Page

Connecticut Towns and Their Establishment Date   Source: The Connecticut State Library

Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation   The Conecticut Trust for Historic Preservation is dedicated to protecting and nourishing the vitality of Connecticut's significant buildings and landscapes.

Hockanum River Watershed Association   The Hockanum River was central to the founding of Manchester, providing a source of power to the original factories and mills. The Hockanum River Watershed Association is dedicated to the preservation and protection of the watershed area's green belt, hiking trails and water quality in the towns making up the Watershed.

Museum of CT Glass   A future museum with two buildings in Coventry, CT, whose mission is to preserve, exhibit, and educate about glass made in Connecticut.

New England Civil War Museum   This museum is located right in Vernon, Connecticut, "inside the longest continuously used Civil War veterans hall in the United States, 1890-present...It is devoted to the fighting men of the War of the Rebellion." The Manchester Historical Society receommends visiting both the web site and the museum.

Railroad Museum of New England   Web site of the Naugatuck Railroad, a heritage railway operated by the volunteers of the Railroad Museum of New England, featuring not only scenic train rides but also restoration of railway equipment by the Museum's team of volunteers.

Rogers Company History   A history of the Rogers Company, founded in Manchester by Peter Rogers in 1832, and greatly expanded over the years.

Tankerhoosen River Watershed   The Tankerhoosen River is made up of two primary streams - one arising in Tolland and the other in Bolton. It ends where it joins the Hockanum River in Talcottville where the water flows to the Connecticut River in East Hartford. The purpose of this website is to be a resource for information about the area for both those living here and those who enjoy hiking and exploring the area.

Thomas J. Dodd Research Center   The Thomas J. Dodd Research Center contains a wide variety of archival materials available for research. The Center will also consider permanently storing files of our or other Societies.
> On clicking the above link you'll be at a page which contains a comprehensive list, with descriptions, of all archive and special collections available at the Dodd Research Center.
> On clicking Dodd Research Center Home you'll be at the Dodd Center home page, where the primary list of collections is presented, and from which more individualized searches can be initiated.





Connecticut Census Information

Census information can now be accessed from the Connecticut State Library's web site, for census records starting from 1782 and then 1790 thru 2000. Census information for 2010 is linked to on the same page, but is separate from the primary list. Click CT Census Info by Year to access this list. That same page offers access to a huge amount of other data, and viewers are encouraged to look through the links provided.

Please Note: Census data files are large, sometimes VERY large; you may have to wait several minutes for the file to open.

> The US Census search engine, the American Factfinder, provides another avenue for locating census information. You can access that web site by clicking http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml.

> It does take some instruction to use the database but it contains a wealth of information. Here is an instruction page: http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/using_factfinder.xhtml.

• For more detailed, personal information, there is: www.ancestry.com; or Ancestry.com resources.






National Web Sites


American Textile History Museum   Maps from the American Textile History Museum -- four of the Hilliard Mills -- and several insurance maps of Manchester Mills.

Andersonville Monument to Connecticut POWs   In 1907, Frank W. Cheney and other members of his family attended the dedication of a Civil War statue at Andersonville Prison, honoring Connecticut's prisoners of war. The book "In Memory of the Connecticut Men Who Suffered in Southern Military Prisons 1861-1865" describes the monument and its dedication with text and pictures. Frank's wife, Mary Bushnell Cheney, wrote a chapter of the book ("Notes by a Guest"). F.W. Cheney, also known as Col. Cheney, a Civil War veteran of the 16th Connecticut Volunteers, spoke at the dedication.

Civil War Information from the National Park Service   The National Park Service provides information about the Civil War, including names of those who fought and died, the battlefields that are now National Parks, and monuments.

Civil War Veterans Return to Battlefields Film   In this 5½ minute film, Civil War veterans return to fields where they fought, decades after the end of the war. The film is part of the Ken Burns Civil War project, and consists of footage shot between 1913 and 1938.

Fulton History   Search millions of New York State newspaper pages from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including the New York Times, Canton NY & St. Lawrence Plaindealer, and the Utica NY Daily Observer. Even though these are New York state newspapers, they do have articles about events related to Connecticut, and there are pertinent advertisements, for instance, some for Apel's Opera House. The search box is in the upper left when you click the link.

History of Silk in America   A short history of silk manufacturing in America, beginning with attempts in the 1620s to force planters to plant mulberry trees in Virginia; later other attempts in the South before the attempts were abandoned in order to plant cotton; and then attempts in New England, eventually terminated when a blight killed off most of the trees. After than, silk production shifted from cultivating trees and cocoons as well as manufacturing silk products, to just the latter. Cheney Brothers is specifically mentioned as a firm which went through all phases, until the closing of most of these by the 1950s.

Latter-day Saints Family History Web Site   Searchable family data provided free through the Mormon Church. Searchable by event (birth, marriage, death) and location.

Library of Congress "American Memory" Project   American Memory has digitized historical documents, photographs, sound recordings, movies, books, pamphlets, maps, and other resources from the Library of Congress -- more than 100 collections and more than 9 million individual items.
> Click here http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/browse/index.html for lists of all collections, collections by time period, collections containing maps, sheet music, sound recordings, etc., and collections by geographic location in the U.S.
> Click here http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/help/faq.html for Frequently Asked Questions about this site.
> Type  today in history  in the Search box for interesting day-by-day gems from all of the collections.

National Iwo Jima Memorial   The National Iwo Jima Memorial Monument, which is located in Newington, CT, was unveiled and dedicated on February 23, 1995, the 50th anniversary of the historic flag raising on Mount Suribachi. The Monument is similar to, but not a replica, of the Marine Corps Memorial in Arlington, VA. The 100 servicemen from Connecticut, who died during the Battle of Iwo Jima, are listed on the west side of the monument's black granite base.

National Trust for Historic Preservation   The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a private, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to saving historic places and revitalizing America's communities. The Trust was founded in 1949 and provides leadership, education, advocacy, and resources to protect the irreplaceable places that tell America's story.

New England Civil War Museum   This museum is located right in Vernon, Connecticut, "inside the longest continuously used Civil War veterans hall in the United States, 1890-present...It is devoted to the fighting men of the War of the Rebellion." The Manchester Historical Society receommends visiting both the web site and the museum.

Society of Industrial Archaeology   The story of Manchester is closely linked with industry; and the mission of the Society for Industrial Archeology (SIA) is to encourage the study, interpretation, and preservation of historically significant industrial sites, structures, artifacts, and technology. This link will point the user to chapters in their region and their web sites.






Patents & Inventions


CT State Library Research Page   Search page of the Connecticut State Library's "Connecticut Patents" project, with information on patents awarded from 1800 to 1900. Note that the same inventor may be associated with multiple towns, so restricting the search to just Manchester may not give all the results you're seeking. (The search criteria used are repeated at the bottom of the search results page.)

US Patent and Trademark Office Web Site   US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), for additional information on specific patents. Note that not all patent information has been digitized as yet, so the information may not be available online. (Use the page's "Issued Patents" items to correlate items to the Connecticut web page's items.)

Google Patent Search   Google Patent Search's web site, a complement to the U.S.Patent and Trademark Office's web site. As noted on the site's home page, Google and the USPTO have entered into an agreement to make bulk patent and trademark information available to the public at no charge.






Selected YouTube Videos


Those with an interest in Manchester's history may enjoy the short film clips on YouTube. Hi-speed Internet recommended, as dial-up connections may handle the data very slowly. Unless otherwise noted, these videos are by Susan Barlow, your webmaster (SBarlow627@aol.com).

Click on an image to bring up its video.


 1.   Chimney remains from old Boy Scout camp at Case Mountain recreation area.         2.   Old quarry near the Manchester-Glastonbury town line, in the Case Mountain Recreational Area. The Case Brothers Historic District is the newest Manchester region to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
 
 3.   Bridal Veil Falls in the Highland Park section of Manchester.         4.   How to get to Bridal Veil Falls, also known as Wyllys Falls.
 
 5.   The 1917 Summer house overlooking Upper Case Pond in the Highland Park section of Town is described. Originally a summer house for the Case-Dennison family, the rustic cabin was the scene of elegant parties in the early- to mid-twentieth century.         6.   Twin brothers A. Wells Case and A. Willard Case lived in these mansions on Spring Street, Manchester, now a part of the Case Brothers National Historic District, on the National Register. The first house shown, the yellow and white mansion on the hill, was the home of A. Willard Case. The second house shown, the pink stucco mansion, was the home of A. Wells Case.
 
 7.   Annual walking tour of the Cheney Brothers National Historic Landmark District, 2010.         8.   Cheney Dye House conversion to apartments, corner of Pine and Cooper Hill Streets.
 
 9.   Center Memorial Park in Downtown Manchester. The Manchester Historical Society opposes further encroachment on this historic park.         10.   Our Downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places.
 
 11.   Hilliard Mills Tour: On a November 14, 2010 tour, Peter Bonzani explains about the growth of the mill buildings in Hilliardville, as owners added on to existing woolen mill operations. Peter and his two partners have worked on renovating the mill during the last 4 years. They have donated old-growth lumber to the Manchester Historical Society for re-use in our 1895 Cheney building on the other side of town.         12.   The historic Cheney Homestead was built in 1785. Generations of the Cheney family owned the residence and lived there into the 1960s. The family donated the homestead to the Manchester Historical Society, and it opened as a house museum in 1969. This video shows a November 6, 2010 work party that spruced up the outside and inside of the Homestead.
 
 13.   Walking tour of Hilliardville, 2009, with commentary on re-use of materials in old mills.         14.   Cheney Office Building on the annual walking tour of the Cheney Brothers National Historic Landmark District, 2009.
 
 15.   At the Historical Society's Dec. 3, 2010 Open House, harpists from the nearby MusicMakers Academy performed at the History Center. The windows in this room overlook Forest Street.         16.   Artwork with a historical flair at Manchester's Town Hall. In addition to the large Russell Cheney oil painting in the hearing room at Lincoln Center, there are paintings and drawings in various places throughout the building, including this second-floor conference room. The originals (of the John, Seth, and Russell Cheney artwork) are in the collection of the Manchester Historical Society. Our current town hall was designed in 1926 Frank Farley, grandson of Frank & Susan Cheney.
 
 17.   Annual Cruisin' on Main event in Downtown Manchester brings out the antique cars and their fans. The Downtown Manchester Special Services District sponsors the event on the first Sunday of August.         18.   Our State Archeologist, Nick Bellantoni, tells the legend of the Wolf Den on a Columbus Day walk in eastern Connecticut (not specifically about Manchester, but an interesting story from the 18th century).
 
 19.   June 2009 outdoor art show in Center Memorial Park, Downtown Main Street, Manchester CT. The free art show takes place the day after the big kickoff event in the park -- the free outdoor concert.         20.   B.C. Apel built the Opera House in 1888. It had a furniture store, undertaking parlor, saloon and of course the Opera auditorium for traveling vaudeville shows, community theater, etc. The Central CT Co-op Farmer's Association owns it and they are in the process of creating a farmer's market on the ground floor.
 
 21.   On May 20, 2011, developer and philanthropist Simon Konover spoke at the celebration of the new life of the Cheney Dye House as moderate-income apartments. In attendance were the governor, various town officials and members of the public, in anticipation of the start of rental of the 57 apartments in June 2011.         22.   On December 28, 2008, the Society conducted a walk along the railway of the Cheney Railroad. While the rail's tracks are no longer in place, at one time this was the largest privately-owned passenger and freight railroad in the country. It was also one of the shortest passenger lines, providing service to Cheney workers and families similar to that provided by trolleys of the period.
 
 23.   March 2, 2012 visit to the historic John Olds house, built circa 1776, near the corner of Tolland Turnpike and Slater Street in Manchester. A contractor is disassembling the house to sell and reassemble elsewhere.         24.   Evidence of quarrying before power equipment and heavy trucks! This large rock with drill holes and metal wedges is located along the yellow-red trail. It's on the right side of the trail (as you're going from Glastonbury to Case Mtn.) not too far off the path.
 
 25.   A half mile or so from the trailhead at Spring Street, we visit more stone walls near Upper Case Pond, owned by the Manchester Land Conservation Trust in the Highland Park section of Manchester, CT.         26.   On the Town of Manchester's "Silk City Television" website there is a slide show on the early days of the Hockanum River Linear Park Committee in Manchester. It was made in the mid-1970s; and in early 2014 Doug Smith, who heads up the Committee, narrated it. After clicking this icon, click the Watch Now link. The video runs for 54 minutes.
 
 27.   Manchester Historical Society's "Great Lawn" Walking Tour led by Susan Barlow and Tom Ferguson on June 14, 2014.         28.   Wedding of Hannah Cheney Williams, daughter of Horace Bushnell Cheney, June 23, 1939, narrated by Hannah. Hannah married Byard Williams, M.D., on the grounds of her home on the Great Lawn. This is a digitized version of 16mm film.
 
 29.   Gertrude Rogers (1866-1943), Businesswoman and Philanthropist; A story from the ECHN Charitable Foundation about Gertrude Rogers and her legacy: the Rogers Fund.         30.   Video about the second floor of the Cheney Homestead, by David Beal.
 
 31.   Michael Selissen films an interview with Walt Scadden, author of "Murder in Manchester," about the January 1919 attempted silk heist at Cheney mills and the murder of Bill Madden.         32.  One of the scenic spots in the Case Brothers National Historic District, added to the National Register in 2009. Former tennis courts, near intersection of Spring St. and Glen Rd.