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A beautiful coastal town full of character!

Welcome to Our Bicentennial Year!


This is a great year to visit, as we bring history to life in the 21st century!

Follow our schedule of events on social media!

History Highlights

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.

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