Stories and Photos About the History and Culture of Manchester, New Hampshire

Manchester, New Hampshire has a long and exciting history—dating back to the Pennacook Native American tribe, who resided along the Merrimack River and fished at Amoskeag Falls. Much later, Henry David Thoreau would pass by this same spot, later recounting his experiences in the area in A Week On the Concord and Merrimack Rivers.

Originally the town of Derryfield, Manchester got its current name in 1810 after the death of Samuel Blodget, who in 1797 said, in effect, “I see a city on the banks of this river that shall one day rival Manchester in England as an industrial power.” Indeed, the town went on to become a booming mill city—at one point being the largest textile producer in the world. Even after the mills went out of business, Manchester still drew residents of New Hampshire in for shopping, dining, and more.

Now, as tech companies move into the Millyard and breathe new life into those iconic brick buildings, and old storefronts along Elm Street are rebirthed into new restaurants, retail stores, and more—we recount with fondness memories of Manchester’s past, while also paying homage to the revitalizations happening today.

the Latest Additions

Amoskeag Falls

Did you ever wonder why we’re here? Not here on Earth. I’ll leave that question to deep thinkers, the major Greek philosophers like Aristotle. And Sophocles. And George Copadis. I mean did you ever wonder why we’re here in Manchester?

Drive-in Theaters

Okay, so I was a little naive, but there was a time in my life when I truly believed that the most fun you could possibly have in your pajamas was at a drive-in movie. Now I know better.

This site gives me a chance to share stories about the people and moments that made Manchester, New Hampshire what it is today.

For people like my wife and I who are relatively new to the city, we've experienced what most new residents and even tourists discover as they spend more time here—a series of revelations about Manchester’s incredible history. You hear stories about how neglected the Millyard was in the 1960s and 1970s and how there once were canals that ran through what is now Canal and Commercial Streets. Then you ask yourself, "Why did they build canals?", and "Why are they gone?". These questions lead to Google searches and visits to places like that Millyard Museum that reveal stories about the the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company, the booming textile industry, locomotive and fire engine manufacturing, Pine Island Park, Trollies down Elm Street, and long-forgotten theaters.

Manchester has a mixed history of historical preservation and short-sighted demolition, but as you walk down Elm Street or through the Millyard today you still see echoes of the past through faded murals, revitalized brick buildings, and streets named for the men who built and made Manchester what it is today.

Turns out I'm not a writer, and I don't write stories. I'm a designer. So, I needed to find someone to tell that story. So I asked the Executive Director of the Millyard Museum, and former Union Leader Writer, John Clayton if he would help in providing stories that could help city newcomers like myself, as well as Manchester natives, better understand the history of our beloved city. Lucky for you and me he said yes. I hope this can become a great online archive of short stories, photos, and fond memories that tell the story of Manchester.

– John Hofstetter