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Manchester Town

Manchester Town Hall is located at 3208 York Street, Manchester MD 21102; phone: 410-239-3200.

First settled abround 1760, Manchester was incorporated in 1833. It was named by the founder who laid out the town, Captain Richards, after his native home, Manchester, England.

Beginnings [1]

The Town of Manchester has grown up around the intersection of what were once two important Indian trails. Robert Owings, deputy surveyor of Maryland, laid out the first public road in what is now Carroll County along one of these trails in 1737. The road, which was originally called the Conewago Road, came to be know as the Hanover Pike. Up until around 1750, about 70 Susquehannock Indians lived within a mile of Manchester. The first land grant in this section was apparently located at the intersection of the present Lineboro Road and Hanover Pike. It was known as "Steven's Hope" and probably was the location of the first home to be built in the area. Additional early land grants were issued, but the first one within the present confines of Town was laid out by the Elders of Zion Church in 1758 and designated "German Churche."

On March 5, 1765, a tract of 67 acres of land adjacent to "German Churche" was surveyed and patented to Captain Richard Richards in a grant know as "New Market". On this tract he laid out the Town, naming it Manchester after a native city in England. Although Richards and a few of the early settlers were English, most of the people who moved into the area were of German heritage, many migrating from nearby York County in Pennsylvania. In fact, from the middle 18th Century until nearly the beginning of the 20th Century, the primary language of the Townspeople was German or Pennsylvania Dutch.

The Town of Manchester was incorporated in 1834. Originally part of Baltimore County, Manchester became part of Carroll County upon its creation on January 19, 1837.

The Town has historically been linked to farming. Nearly all of the settlers in the early 19th Century were farmers. That began to change somewhat when the Hanover Pike developed as a major artery for trade between Baltimore and Hanover. Large Conestoga wagons and coaches traveled through Town from both directions, trading goods and creating the demand for some stores, taverns and inns. By the middle of the 19th Century, a few small manufacturing firms were established. The railroad never came directly into Manchester, but one line ran within two miles of Town, at Millers Station.

At one time Manchester had two fine educational institutions. The Manchester Academy, founded in 1831, and Irving College, founded in 1858, attracted students from several states. However, dissension resulting from the Civil War closed the Manchester Academy and seriously weakened Irving College, which survived until 1893.

During the Civil War, Manchester received fame as the base from which the Union Army VI Corps under General John Sedgwick made its march to Gettysburg to play a decisive part in the great battle on July 1, 1863.

At one time, Manchester was an important cigar manufacturing town with about 400 employees in seven factories. Trump's Tin Shop, Manchester Foundry and Machine Works, coach making, mining, canneries and sewing factories were all early industries of the area. In addition, Manchester was a lively summer tourist trade spot in the latter half of the 19th Century. A number of civic clubs and service organizations began to appear. Perhaps most important was the Manchester Fire Engine and Hook and Ladder Co. No. 1 which was organized in 1885 and dedicated its first building at the present location on September 2, 1899.

  1. Town of Manchester, Maryland, Planning and Zoning Commission, Manchester Comprehensive Plan, 2008, planning.maryland.gov, accessed June 2015.
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