A beautiful coastal town full of character!
Manchester is a great place to explore and the perfect day-trip destination, on the commuter rail line (Boston-Rockport) and with plenty of parking.
1630s and 1640s: Salem grants land in lots at “Jeffreys Creek”
1643: First families settle here with minister
1645: Village is incorporated as “Manchester”
1600s: Manchester families engage in farming, fishing, and a few trades; the lack of a harbor (then only a mudflat) will prevent the town’s growth into a seaport
1700: Offshore codfishing, farming, shipbuilding
Mid-1700s: Manchester stays small, engaged as before; the most ambitious families move away to seaport of Marblehead
1775-1783: Revolutionary War (Manchester, pop. 920, has no Tories)
Capt. Andrew Marsters and Manchester militia march on April 19, 1775, arriving just too late for Battle of Lexington & Concord
A few men serve long-term as soldiers
Most men leave army to go privateering against British merchant shipping
About 30 men are lost in the wrecks and sinkings of privateers
1800: Capt. William Tuck, former privateer commander, becomes leader of town, which is staunchly Federalist (Washington, Adams) in politics, still pursuing offshore codfishing and fish-curing ashore, farming, and the merchant marine, as men ship out on trading vessels of Salem and Boston.
War of 1812-15: Fishermen and mariners go privateering out of Gloucester and Salem. Manchester residents repel British attempted invasion of Kettle Cove section of town.
1820s: The fishery fades; rise of the town’s home-grown furniture industry, which comes to dominate the town’s economy and increase wealth and population.
1847: Eastern Rail Road arrives.
1840s-1850s: Furniture production flourishes, Bostonians build summer residences. Abolition (anti-slavery) and temperance (no alchol) take hold along with Lyceum's lecture series and library.
1861-1865: Civil War. 159 local men (4 commissioned officers) serve in Union armed forces; 22 lose their lives (six killed in battle or die of wounds, four die in rebel prisons), many return home badly injured.
1870s: J. B. Booth builds grand resort hotel, Masconomo House. Rev. Cyrus Bartol of Boston leads in developing large tracts as summer residences for some of the wealthiest people throughout the U.S.
1887: Opening of Memorial Library building, underwritten by summer reisident T. Jefferson Coolidge.
1890s: Harbor dredged, Essex County Club and Manchester Yacht Club are founded; 20 foreign embassies open in the summer.