1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Manchester (New Hampshire)

MANCHESTER, the largest city of New Hampshire, U.S.A., and one of the county-seats of Hillsboro county, on the Merrimac river, at the mouth of the Piscataquog river, (by rail) 18 m. S. of Concord and 57 m. N.N.W. of Boston. Pop. (1890), 44,126; (1900), 56,987; (1910 U.S. census) 70,063. Of the total population in 1900, 24,257 were foreign-born, including 13,429 French-Canadians; and 37,530 were of foreign parentage (both parents foreign-born), including 18,839 of French-Canadian parentage. Manchester is served by the Southern, the Western, the White Mountains, and the Worcester Nashua & Portland divisions of the Boston & Maine railroad, and by inter-urban electric lines. It is situated on a plain about 90 ft. above the Merrimac river (which is spanned here by three bridges), commands extensive views of the beautiful Merrimac valley, and covers a land area of about 33 sq. m. On the east side of the city are two connected lakes known as Lake Massabesic (30 m. in circumference). Manchester is known for the attractive appearance of the residence districts in which the factory operatives live, detached homes and “corporation boarding-houses,” instead of tenement houses, being the rule. The Institute of Arts and Sciences (incorporated in 1898) provides lecture courses and classes in science, art and music. Among the other public buildings and institutions are the United States Government building, the city-hall, the county-court-house, the city library (1854; the outgrowth of the Manchester Athenaeum, established in 1844), St Anselm’s College (R.C.), a Roman Catholic cathedral, four Roman Catholic convents, the Elliot hospital, the Sacred Heart hospital and the hospital of Notre Dame de Lourdes, the State industrial school, the State house of correction, the Gale home for aged women, an old ladies’ home (R.C.), St Martha’s home for working girls, the Manchester children’s home and four orphan asylums. In the largest of five public squares is a soldiers’ monument, consisting of a granite column 50 ft. high, surmounted by a statue of Victory. The city has two parks, and in one of them, overlooking the Merrimac, is a monument to the memory of General John Stark, who was born and was buried here. The water-supply is obtained from Lake Massabesic. Amoskeag Falls in the Merrimac are 55 ft. in height, and by means of hydraulic canals Manchester is provided with a fine water-power. Steam power is also used, and the city is by far the most important manufacturing centre in the state. It is extensively engaged in the manufacture of cotton goods, boots and shoes, worsted goods, hosiery and other knit goods, and locomotives; among the other manufactures are linen goods, steam fire-engines, paper, edge tools, soap, leather, carriages and beer. The value of the city’s factory products increased from $24,628,345 in 1900 to $30,696,926 in 1905, or 24.6%. In 1905 Manchester produced 24.8% of the total factory product of the state. Manchester ranks fifth among the cities of the United States in cotton manufacturing, and ninth among the cities of the country in the manufacture of boots and shoes.

On account of the abundance of fish in the river here, Amoskeag Falls and vicinity were a favourite resort of the Penacook Indians, and it is said that John Eliot, the “Apostle to the Indians,” preached to them here in the summer of 1651. The first white settlement within the present limits of Manchester was made in 1722 by Scottish-Irish immigrants at Goffe’s Falls, 5 m. below Amoskeag Falls. In 1723 a cabin was built by some of these immigrants at the greater falls, and gradually a small settlement grew up there. In 1735 Massachusetts granted to a body of men known as “Tyng’s Snow-Shoe Scouts” and their descendants a tract of land 3 m. wide along the east bank of the Merrimac, designated as “Tyng’s Township.” The Scottish-Irish claimed this tract as part of their grant from New Hampshire, and there arose between the rival claimants a bitter controversy which lasted until May 1741, when the courts decided against the Massachusetts claimants. In 1751 the territory formerly known as “Tyng’s Township,” and sometimes called “Harrytown,” with portions of Chester and Londonderry, was incorporated as a township under the name Derryfield; in 1810 the name was changed to Manchester, the change having been suggested by the town’s manufacturing possibilities; and in 1846 Manchester was chartered as a city. The first sawmill was erected as early as 1736, and during the years from 1794 to 1807 a canal was constructed around the Amoskeag Falls through which to carry lumber. As late as 1830 the town had a population of only 877, but in 1831 the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company was incorporated, the construction of hydraulic canals and the erection of cotton mills followed, the villages of Piscataquog and Amoskeag were annexed in 1853, and the population increased to 3235 in 1840, to 8841 in 1860, and to 33,592 in 1880.

Consult M. D. Clarke, Manchester, A Brief Record of its Past and a Picture of its Present (Manchester, 1875).