Two: First Train - Union School Highlights

(This chapter division has been created for online presentation purposes and does not appear in the original.)

First Train - Progress

On September 23, 1870, the first train chugged into the vilage and this was a red letter day.

By 1874 there were three flouring mills, a sawmill, woolen factory, paper mill, basket factory, foundry and a machine shop, all utilizing the water power from the Raisin. The planing mill and the two breweries were using steam power.

Of short duration was the attractive business of J. D. Kief. He ran a hotel next to the river at the northwest corner of the village. He exploited the flowing wells which are still to be found in the neighborhood (near the John Neuderfer residence). They were advertised as "Mineral Springs and Water Cure" in 1874. There was a pretty walk across the river and a well kept park. But the enterprise went out of business in 1875 or '76.

Fifty farmers and stock raisers along with forty businessmen were listed in the 1874 business directory, and the town prospered as the third most important business center in Washtenaw. In 1900 it had a population of 2,146. About a decade passed and Manchester ceased to grow. With the coming of the automobile, larger cities were brought close to the farmer and industries centralized. Mass production made the small factories impractical.

Manchester Had Bus Line

Pioneered Bus Route – R. C. Merithew with an original time card designating the departure and arrival of buses between Manchester and Chelsea. One of the first in the country, it was inaugurated in 1905.

In 1905, a bus line from here to Chelsea was inaugurated. It was one of the first, if not the initial system, in the country. R. C. Merithew, part owner, had many headaches. He used to tell that the farmers were so opposed to the automobiles that they plowed up the roads so the bus couldn't get through. They said the automobile frightened horses and livestock so badly that the bus was a menace.

The project was promoted by a John Blake from Cheboygan, and Merithew, 21, working at the bank, was induced to invest in the venture. It lasted only one summer.

The bus was an open type, four-cylinder Oldsmobile, with entrance through a door at the rear. When it rained, the curtains around the sides were let down, but the driver faced the elements. Passengers set on the seats that ran parallel with the sides of the car. When the bus developed trouble, some passing farmer would be asked to go to town for parts. The driver received $50 a month. By the time he was paid and the bills for gas, oil, parts and livery hire were settled there was nothing left—no profit.

The bus fare was 75¢ round trip, Manchester to Chelsea, one way 50¢—leaving Manchester at 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Last Rail Line Torn Up

The last of two railroads through the village was torn up in April 1965. This completely isolated the community of rail service.

Ernest Fick, foreman of track retirement, had charge of taking up the rails on the New York Central lines from Hudson to Jackson and Osseo, and from Manchester to Clinton.

Lack of business was the reason given by NYC for removing the tracks. Some of the rails were marked 1917 as the year they were laid.

The route through Manchester was chartered in 1836 as the palmyra and Jacksonburg Railroad. It also went through Tecumseh and Clinton to Jackson. Later the line was acquired by the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway and operated as the Jackson Branch of that road.

In the early days the route had only one station in Washtenaw County—in Manchester, which at that time was a flourishing village.

The Detroit, Hillsdale and Indiana Railroad was projectd shortly after the Civil War and completed through Washtenaw County in 1870. Its tracks were taken up in 1964 in Manchester. That route began in Ypsilanti and ran through Saline, Bridgewater and Manchester and on to Hillsdale.

There was a time in the early 1900s when trains were coming into or leaving Manchester every half hour. Some of the older women remember well the problems they had trying to dry clothes without having them covered with coal soot.

Among the early train crew of the New York Central was Herman Wurster (seated on engine).

Passenger service by train in Manchester was the envy of many communities in the area. In the early part of this century, it was possible to pack a bag and leave for almost any point within an hour. Manchester boasted two depots.

But the last year of service saw the trains coming into the village only two or three times a week. Fick said that in his forty years of taking up tracks, residents of Manchester were the only ones who bothered to stop and express regret in seeing the tracks being hauled away.


The bridge connecting Exchange Place (Main Street) on the west bank of the river with Jefferson street on the east bank was built in 1833. In those days the road level was much lower and sloped down toward the river. This old bridge was built of planks and was considered a "substantial and safe viaduct." Whenever the water was high it was not uncommon to get wet feet while crossing, for the water would come up between the planks.

Main Street had a dirt road. Baptist Church steeple is on the left.

A story is told about the village's first physician, Dr. Bennett F. Root, who settled here in 1834. As he was crossing the old pole bridge that spanned the river south of town, near the old school, he fell through and into the water. He had been practicing for 50 years and at the time was over 70. He had always been a firm believer in the cold water cure, but after his escape he dropped all faith in that belief.

Steel Bridge

The steel overhead bridge was a thing of beauty in 1881 but it, too, had to bow to progress when the present concrete bridge was built in 1929. The cement bridge is dedicated "to the memory of the Soldiers, Sailors and Marines of the Civil, Spanish and World Wars."

[The steel bridge, in operation from 1881 to 1929.]

Foundation Walls for Cement Plant

Cement sidewalks made their appearance in 1903, when eight were poured.

It was also in 1903 that the Toledo Portland Cement Co. poured walls for what supposedly would be one of the largest and most up-to-date cement plants in the country. It was situated in the southern part of the village a short distance from the Lake Shore railway station and occupied 23 acres.

The local paper gave the venture a feature display and elaborated in detail the plans for the immense plant. The promoters pointed out the existence of great lakes of marl and banks of clay in the village. The building was never erected and the walls stood like the remains of some ancient ruins until shrubs and vines covered them.

Electric Lights

The light plant.

This community has seen many changes since John Moran lit the kerosene lamps along Main Street. In the early 1890s, J. H. Kingsley, approached the village concerning electric lights for the village. Kingsley had been operating the Premium Mills on the Raisin River at the east village limits.

On February 10, 1892, he was given a ten-year franchise "to do a general lighting business. The contract called for furnishing fifty 32-candle lights for the street and alleys ... to cost $700 a year payable in monthly installments. The cost to the consumer was not to be over 600 a month for each 16 candle power light." The electric light plant was to begin operation by May 1, 1892.

On July 17, 1895, a new contract for three years for a total of $2,100 was signed with Kingsley by the council. This called for 52 lights of 30-candle power and four 100-candle power. The street lights were to go on at 5 p.m. or twilight from Oct. 6 to March 10. They could be turned off at day light.

In checking council proceedings of Dec. 21, 1922, council ordered that "no porch light should be over 40 watts and should not burn after daylight." At that time the electric light plant was owned by the village and porch lights were not on the property owners electric meters. At another time the council approved a light pole and light on Duncan street in front of Joe Seckingers so that Seckingers wouldn't have to leave their porch light on all night unless they wanted to.

On March 15, the Bridgewater township supervisor attended council meeting to protest a dollar charge for line rent for the Bridgewater townhall and school house. Their reasoning was that they gave a franchise to their property for the light poles. Council decided that the rate should be the same as the rest of the patrons.

In December, 1923, by order of council all porch lights were to be out by 1 a.m. Violators were to be charged 50 cents penalty.

When Bennett C. Root was president of the village a special election was held August 31, 1925, to sell the distribution and lighting system to the Consumers Power Co. for the sum of $15,000. The vote was 278 yes and 103 no.

The franchise was assigned to Consumers Power in 1926.

In Manchester Township at this time (Aug. 1967) there are 408 residential; 24 commercial; and 6 industrial consumers of electricity, for a total of 438. In the village there are 557 residential; 107 commercial; and 7 industrial consumers, for a total of 671.

Consumers Power Co. reports that the number for gas consumption in Manchester township totals 14. Seven are residential space heating; 4 commercial space heating and 3 industrial space heating for a total of 14 consumers. Village gas consumption: residential - 7; residential space heating - 396; commercial space heating - 54 and industrial - 5. This makes a total of 476 gas consumers in the village of Manchester.

Post Office

Marvin Kirk has recently been appointed Manchester's 17th postmaster. Preceding him were Alanson Harvey Gilbert, James Fargo, Barnabus Case, Lorenzo Higgins, William Root, Alanson Case, Hull Goodyear, Chauncey Walbridge (who served for 25 years starting in 1861), John Nestell, Marcus Case, Thadeus Bailey, Nathaniel Schmidt, Frank Koebbe, Frank Leeson, Albert Lowery and George Merriman.

On June 1, 1959, the new post office opened its doors for business in its new location a block north of Main Street off Clinton St. to Madison. For the first time in the town's history, the post office could boast of a building erected specifically for its use. Services at the old office on Main St. had outgrown the building, which lacked adequate facilities for loading.

The Knights of Columbus started construction on the 30 x 50 foot KC hail in December, 1958. L. V. Kirk was KC building chairman. General contractor, was Wilbur Shadley. KC members checked in nightly to put in long hours of volunteer help.

The modern structure has some 500 lock boxes, a tile floor lobby, working area covered with inlaid linoleum and air conditioning. The government has leased the building for 10 years with an additional 10-year option.

In the midst of moving, showing patrons how to open new boxes and sorting mail, Postmaster Merriman was a bit chagrined to find a pail of paint had been sent through the mail-minus a cover.

It is much different from the early transportation of mail, for more than a century divides the stage coach line of Hibbard and Hubbard of Jackson back in 1854 with today's mail distribution. In those days Manchester was on the direct daily route from Detroit to Jackson. Four horses would come prancing up to the hotel (where Grossman-Huber station now stands) and coachmen would blow their horns and with a flourish throw off the mail sack. In those days there were no sidewalks.

When the first post office was established there were no envelopes and postage was 25 cents. The first post office in the village was established in the 1830s with Harvey Gilbert the postmaster.

First Post Office

The Manchester Post Office was established in the log house of Harry H. Gilbert in May, 1834 with mail available once a week when the postmaster went to meet the stage coach at Ann Arbor or Clinton. James Fargo succeeded Gilbert. Others who served were Barnabas Case and Lorenzo Higgins. In 1848 William Root was appointed. In 1853 Alanson Case was placed in charge and held the office until he resigned in 1859. Hull Goodyear was appointed and Chauncey Waibridge carried the mail.

An interesting note in the records shows that: "The boxes and furniture for the new post office arrived Monday, Nov. 8, 1897, and Postmaster Bailey and a number of carpenters at once set to work putting them in position. So the office was moved on Thursday evening to the place so long occupied by The People's Shoe Store. The room had been newly papered and painted and looked as slick as a button. The new outfit is of polished oak with carved cornice and glass panels of Florentine design, glass and metal front drawers, with combination locks, convenient assorting tables, large money order counters, cabinets, etc. In fact, everything is new and of the latest patterns as is usually found only in large cities.

"We were always proud of our old post office because it was so much nicer than any of our sister villages had, but my, the new one 'is out of sight!' We cannot tell how nice it looks. You will have to make a speedy visit and see for yourself.

"The old post office was shipped to North Adams today."

Fire Department

This community can be justly proud of its firefighting equipment. The newest is the $19,881 fire engine that was purchased last year. The chassis was bought from the local Ford dealer and sent to the John Bean Co. in Lansing. There, the equipment was installed. The bill for the chassis was $5,958.

It was in 1947 that the late Charles Waltz, then Manchester Township Supervisor, suggested that the township take over the financing of the fire department. Prior to that time the volunteer department was operated on a makeshift basis with money from subscription to farmers in the outlaying districts.

If a farmer "belonged" to the tune of $50 a year, his property would be included and if he needed the department they would answer the call. Otherwise there was some special assessment connected with out of town calls. But the system did not work very well.

At that time the department had only the old hose truck. In 1950 Clayton Parr was appointed to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Mr. Waltz.

Since then the township board has been active in affairs of its fire department. Mr. Parr, Treasurer M. H. Wolfe and Clerk Waldo Marx are proud that they were able to appropriate the necessary funds without voting special millage.

Firefighters today strike a pose with an ancient fire truck which they purchased. They drove the truck in all the parades during the Centennial.

This is quite a change from the old bucket brigade or the first chemical wagon bought in 1924. The second piece of equipment was a tanker to carry water. Then the township voted 1 mill for the purchase of the first piece of equipment.

In the old days there was an organization known as the "Hook and Ladder Club". But those volunteers had very little equipment to fight a fire with.

In 1954 the township bought a tanker and utility truck for the 22 volunteers. According to Parr, the area can enjoy the best possible rate of fire insurance available for a volunteer department. This is reflected in the insurance rates to every property holder.

Last year six of the volunteers went to Lansing to learn to operate the apparatus. They were Chief Kensler, Lyle Widmayer, Ora Walcutt Jr., Lauren Bertke, Ted Stautz and Gale Koebbe.

Chief Kensler says that with the new 8-cylinder powered truck with its two pumps and high pressure, Manchester area can be assured that they are well protected. Only three trucks leave on any call and they carry 2,000 gallons of water. One truck always remains in the fire hall as reserve.

Manchester Telephone Exchange

In 1882, Thomas J. Keech, of Ann Arbor, who was the city exchange manager for Michigan Bell, came to the village and induced Mat. D. Blosser, publisher of the Manchester Enterprise, to assist in selling a sufficient amount of script which would be good to pay telephone rentals and messages. Enough stock was sold to build a line from Manchester to Chelsea.

It took hard work to accomplish the objective but the following May, 1883, the line was completed and the first telephone was placed in the Enterprise office because Mr. Blosser had consented to become the manager for the village. This was a toll phone.

The next July the exchange was established. The following people were the first subscribers: Dr. C. F. Kapp, Wm. Burtless, Mack & Schmid, Peoples Bank, Mat Blosser's residence, Kensler Brothers, M. Dealy, Ypsilanti Branch Depot, John Koch, brewer. Miss Jennie Moore (Mrs. T. J. Keech of Ann Arbor) was the first lady operator.

Copper wire wasn't used in those days and in wet weather it was next to impossible to get connections with Toledo, Grand Rapids or Detroit. Other early operators were Mrs. F. A. Kotts of Toledo and Miss Eva Case. Miss Case remained until Mr. Blosser found his own business demanded all his time and the office was transferred to Frederick Steinkohl's Drug Store. He managed the switchboard until the new exchange was built.

The telephone rates in 1884 ... $36 a year with $48 the charge for a business phone.

In 1904, the Manchester Exchange was built and the switchboard was moved to the second floor of the Clarkson Building with E. W. Mason as manager. In 1908, the roadway plan started and a year later, in 1909, Mason was transferred to Grand Ledge and Michael Welch came to Manchester from Sunfield.

By January, 1912, Welch was moved to Chelsea and George H. Graham came to Manchester from Willis. At that time the Exchange had nine roadway circuits, 101 subscribers, and three toll lines. These went to Ann Arbor, Chelsea and another included the two villages of Clinton and Adrian.

Dial service cut to Manchester in December, 1940. This did away with the local operator. Free calling and extended service to Chelsea and Ann Arbor came in December, 1949.

All number calling was introduced in September, 1961, and direct distance dialing in August, 1962.

Today there are 1,291 main telephones out of the Manchester office. People from the Manchester office can call the 35,231 phones in Ann Arbor, 2,688 in Chelsea and those in the local area, toll free for a cost of $33.20 for a 4-party and $49.20 for a private line for a year.

N. J. Prakken is Michigan Bell Manager for this District and has been since 1936. An interesting note is that Mrs. Whitney (Lena) Riedel of Bethel Church Road, Manchester, was the chief operator in Manchester when the system was changed to dial.

A bit of history on the telephone is that in the year 1882 Francis Blake made a practical mechanism out of Alexander Graham Bell's invention. Bell made his historic call to his assistant, Thomas A. Watson, on March 10, 1876. That was the beginning of the telephone that hung on the wall. Dry cell batteries were the power element for the voice mechanism. One call wouldn't take much power, but when all the receivers went up on those many party lines, the power would be drained noticeably. The crank on the side of the phone powered the bell.

Manchester Township Library

The Manchester Township Library is completing 127 years of service in the area.

It is one of ten libraries in the county and second in age to the Ann Arbor City Library, which was founded in 1827. But Manchester has reportedly the oldest township library in the state.

It is the former home of Dr. and Mrs. James A. Lynch, whose niece is Mrs. P. A. Scheurer. Erected in 1867, the building is celebrating its centennial this year. It is well constructed and houses some 6,000 books, newspaper files, and pictures and maps of the township.

The tinted glass windows can't be reproduced--and when occasionally a window pane is broken, it is replaced with a similar window taken from the back of the building.

Originally the library was part of the John Gilbert property and was laid out to be a park. Main Street now divides the park. The section on the south side is used for a skating rink for the children in the winter.

The Manchester Township library is in close cooperation with state and county libraries, which swells its average number of volumes to about 8,000.

A booklet entitled, "Libraries in Michigan--An Historical Sketch," on file at the state library in Lansing, pinpoints the beginning of Manchester's house of books. "The Manchester Library had a long season of vicissitudes," it says, "Early in 1838 there was a small circulating tax supported library."

In the second floor historical room is a small book that recorded the proceedings of the Township Board and school inspectors.

On Sept. 20, 1852, the two groups met to work out a plan for weeding out and catalouging the township library and to sell discarded books, known as the "Family Library." In all there were 172 volumes.

These were to be sold at not less than one-half their appraised value, which averaged 32 cents each. The township clerk kept the catalogue on file. Names of some of the books for sale included "Expedition to the Dead Sea," "War in Mexico," "Camp Fires," "Charles Lamb," and "Wild Scenes of a Hunter's Life."

Money from the book sale was credited to the library fund. Twenty books for twenty dollars swelled the total number of books to 517 in 1854. The township spent from $25 to $50 a year in that period for books and the library was housed in the county clerk's office, which he opened a couple of times a week for the use of the public including a two-hour period on Saturday afternoon.

The library had its own inclosed case mounted on a long table. A black walnut table served as a desk. In the file of the Manchester Township clerk in 1845 it was voted to have the school inspector send the township library tax money to New York to purchase additional books.

A clipping from the Manchester Enterprise in 1900 noted that a meeting of the executive board of the library association was called by President C. W. Case, and plans were taken toward the establishment of a free public library with the township library put in charge of the association.

This, together with the books owned by literary clubs in the township, made several hundred volumes and formed the nucleus of a library. Plans called for renting of rooms and placing a librarian in charge at certain periods of the week. Anyone could be a member by paying a fee of 25 cents.

In 1919, an epidemic caused the library to be closed and circulation dropped to 2,808.

With the circulation of 3,525 books in 1923, the township was asked for $500. The library moved to rooms in the Mahrle building and later plans were made for moving to new quarters with the possibility of buying.

The Lynch property was suggested at a cost of $1,200. Payments of $15 a month-less than the rent the library had been paying-were arranged. Mrs. Howard Macomber and Mrs. Henry Pfeifle set up the details for the purchase. Walter Schaible said that $300 would be available from Manchester township and the other three townships were contacted for money.

The Lynch house stands in a park area, once owned by Major John Gilbert. The library was bought from Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Short. Local Boy Scouts helped to move the books and women of the community armed with scrubbing pails, brooms and paint brushes started to clean the lovely old building. This had been "home" to the library since 1934.

In 1935 Fr. John Eppenbrock of St. Mary's offered to have his home talent players put on a benefit play for the library. Emanuel offered their hall, rent free and the Methodist church served a lunch to the cast following the play. This fine cooperation of everyone has gone a long way to make the library the outstanding place it is today.

Jane Palmer, retired librarian, said she believed the early township board had been reading the Ordinance of 1783 which states that knowledge of religion and morality being necessary to good government, schools and means of education shall be encouraged, and the library went right along with the schools.

But like the cobbler's barefoot children, ironically, this library which offers information on everything under the sun, had nothing compiled on its own history.

E. G. Mann Mill

No history of Manchester would be complete without a story about the mill which pinpointed the location of this village. The Raisin River furnished the power around which clustered business interests in this northeast corner of the township. When John Gilbert, who platted the area, sold the mill property to Stephen Fargo there was a stipulation. The property was to be used for a flouring mill. This mill was to receive water power from the river.

Emanuel Case and Harvey Gilbert built the first mill, in 1826, with timber sawed into lumber by William S. and Elijah G. Carr. The first millwright was Richard Fogy. In 1842 Charles Noble and Austin Wing were the owners.

The hub of the community was the flouring mill.

It is unique that this mill should stand in the center of the village today, just as it did in the beginning. It has been a deciding factor in the growth of the community-and it was responsible for nearly destroying the town.

About 6 a.m. Sunday, May 1, 1853, the sound of burning timber awakened the settlers. Flames leaped from the flouring mill. The wind fanned the flames to the opposite side of the street and 14 business houses and one dwelling were leveled before it was brought under control. The hotel on the corner of Clinton and Exchange Place was saved. Damage to the mill was $20,000 and the entire loss was over $50,000 according to the Washtenaw County History.

John D. Kief rebuilt the mill in 1854, and it was known as the Farmers' Grist Mill. James Fountain took over in 1866 and sold to George Sedgwick in 1877.

Noah Holt bought the mill in 1896. He was an inventor of milling machinery. He was credited for designing and building some of the largest and most perfect mills in the United States and while here put in some of his new type of rollers. The name was then changed to Southern Washtenaw Mills.

Lonier and Hoffer bought the mill in 1903. Lonier died in 1919, and Hoffer in 1930.

People still talk of the second huge fire which destroyed the mill in 1924. Robert Mahrle, the nightwatchman, discovered the fire Sunday evening, July 22. By the time the alarm was turned in, flames were shooting through the sides.

When the floor burned, the safe and desk tumbled into the flume. Later they were rescued by workmen. The papers were soaked but legible. There was a good breeze blowing from the west. All attempts to save the building were futile.

Flames leaped across the river and threatened Mary Swift's millinery shop (now Knouase barbershop). But the building escaped with little damage.

Across the street to the north several stores were threatened, including Wm. Holt's confectionery, Gauss' barbershop and the G. M. Smart variety store.

The plate glass windows in the Union Savings Bank were broken by the intense heat. Even the windows at Mrs. Conklin's across the river were broken. Several others on Exchange Place and Railroad street were damaged. Burning brands, carried by the wind, were reportedly landed on roofs as far as three blocks away.

A paper reported, "A considerable number of young men were attending a dance at Wampler's lake. Someone telephoned Mr. Nisle and asked him to send them home. It didn't take many minutes for them to get here."

But the mill was rebuilt, this time without the flouring mill-only as a feed mill. Wm. Blaess became the owner in 1930, and he sold to E. G. Mann. Today the mill is operated by Willard and Earl Mann, known as the E. G. Mann & Sons mill.

Three water wheels were installed before 1900. The one being used today was installed in 1896 and came from Springfield, Ohio, manufactured by Leffie Mfg. Co. The wheel is 5.5 ft. in diameter and is one of the last, if not the last, in use in Michigan. Twelve years ago there were a couple of dozen water generated mills but the others have changed to electric power.

The grain elevator was added in 1954 and over 5,000 bushels of grain can be stashed away in huge bins. Later it is ground, mixed, and such things as protein, minerals and antibiotics added to make a complete balanced feed for livestock, hogs and poultry. Bulk trucks, distribute the feed to farmers specializing in big time operations.

The 50' x 50' mill has galvanized steel siding. It opens its doors at 7:30 a.m. and closes at 5:30 p.m. Saturday the four workmen finish at noon. During wartime the mill worked on a 'round the clock basis. World War I period saw the mill recognized for its State Seal Flour.

Five years ago a second feeder grinder was installed to speed production. Now the time is cut in half and the volume of business doubled.

Part of the power is generated by electricity but at least half is water power. When the water has been very low the gates have been closed so that by morning there would be enough water to turn the water wheel for at least a half day.

The mill grinds feeds for farmers for their use and also buys from those who want to sell. This gives the mill needed grain for their custom business with the bulk trucks.

The Peoples Bank

The first legitimate bank opened on July 28, 1871, when the Peoples Bank with a capital of $50,000 started business. Officers were: L. D. Watkins, president,and J. D. Van Duyn, vice president.

On the board of directors were: J. D. Van Duyn, 0. Priest, G. L. Unterkircher, F. L. Spafard, Joseph McMahon, James C. McGee, J. S. Reynolds, A. C. Torrey and L. D. Watkins. 0. F. Hall, secretary was appointed cashier at a salary of $1,000 a year. A. E. Hewitt was named lawyer for the bank.

On February 10, 1872, the directors of the bank approved the purchase of the Jno. M. Peabody real estate for $9,000. On the night of October 10, 1876 the bank was robbed. Inasmuch as the criminals were never caught, the local folks decided that the James boys must have been the culprits.

Lodge 148 Has Long Record

Manchester Lodge 148 F & AM celebrated its centennial in October, 1964. The first lodge meeting was held Dec. 3, 1862, on the third floor of the Clarkson Building, now housing the Manchester Bakery.

All the Masonic meetings in the village have been held on the third floor of whatever building the Masons were using at the time.

John B. Gilman was the first worshipful master. The lodge received its official charter in 1864—the date upon which the centennial was based—and $40.25 was appropriated for a charter seal and Bible, $5 for spitoons, and $1 was given to Mr. Chandler for making the lodge emblem. The same emblem is used in the lodge hall at the present time.

On March 30, 1864, the lodge was consecrated, The Masons obtained a meeting room on the third floor of the Union Savings Bank in 1895, its present meeting place.

1867-69 Manchester Highlights

When Manchester was young, about a hundred years ago, one of the biggest concerns seemed to be the education of the young. This has not changed. In October, 1867, the announcement that the Union School would be open on November 4th of that year was received with enthusiasm.

Prof. E. C. Olney was to be assisted by Eugene C. Olney, Miss Mary Hitchcock and Miss Viola Gordon. It was pointed out that a Union School is systematic and orderly. "Children must obey for the principal is king. Children do not go to school under the direction (much less whims) of parents—only in so far as they coincide with the principal and teachers."

In October of that year a special school meeting approved a $1,000 bond at 10 percent interest for building fences and other improvements. With this additional money the Union school cost $21,000.

Plans were underway for a Planing Mill, Sash & Blind factory and the old stone building near depot had been purchased for this by a Mr. Parsons. Morgan & Torrey added 40 acres on the east side of the village and were dividing them into lots.

The new Goodyear Hall in the Goodyear new brick block was dedicated Nov. 22, 1867. The size was 50 x 80 feet with a large stage and beautiful scenery. The building was owned by Henry Goodyear. Professor Beck's band played and a supper was served at Exchange Hotel.

These were the times that S. W. Lockwood was advertising that he had bought out Stowell & Crafts and as the village's new undertaker he wanted it known that a hearse would attend funerals.

John Schaible, uncle of the late Arthur Jenter, and the horse drawn hearse in front of the Geo. Haeussler home.

Fine calicoes brought 10 cents a yard, ginghams, a shilling, fine black all wool doeskin brought eight shillings and a person could get enough heavy all wool beaver for an overcoat for five dollars-and a hoop skirt sold for 6 to 8 shillings.

About 300 people greeted the New Year at the biggest party ever held in the community when they gathered at Goodyear's hall, 1868.

A vast amount of snow fell during the winter of 1867-68. This was followed by heavy rain. Old inhabitants of the area recalled that they could not remember of so much property being destroyed. The continuous rains caused the ice to break in the upper pond and it floated down against the Brewery bridge, sweeping it away on Sunday. On the next Wednesday, the Tannery dam gave way as did the dam at Clinton. The water gushed on, ripping out the Tecumseh Red Mill dam and the bridge on Ridgeway road, on March 11, 1868.

The Methodist Church purchased a new bell that weighed 1280 pounds and it called the congregation to worship for the first time, Sunday, May 3, 1868.

Wm. Kirchgessner started in the bakery business in June of 1868, in the building which had been occupied by Rose and Rothchild.

In the same year, the city fathers approved building cross walks so that (according to the Manchester Enterprise) "we will be enabled to cross without danger of having our heads kicked oft, or getting in the mud." The board walks included one at the east side of the Union School.

After one year of publishing the local paper Geo. S. Spafford sold to Mat Blosser who began publishing on November 26, 1868.

Land in this area was selling for about $40 an acre and real estate was changing hands swiftly in Sharon township. In 1868, houses ranged from $800 to $2,000. Rent for the smaller home was $2 or $3 a week. Houses were in great demand.

A foundry and machine works was one of the early industries of the village. This was owned by A. Dickerson and was located in the eastern part of the village. It commanded one of the finest water sites of the area on the east bank of the Raisin.

Champion and Curtis plows were manufactured along with corn cultivators and other farm implements which were shipped to other parts of the country.

A shingle machine was also located in the establishment and more than 3500 shingles were sawed in a couple of months. There was also a blacksmith shop in connection with the factory, making new parts and repairing old.

In August 1869, the voters gave approval to raise $80,000 for the Detroit & Hillsdale railroad.

On June 17, 1869, Mat. Blosser interviewed some of the older people of the community who remembered when Manchester was young—some forty years before. These veterans remembered when the area was a vast wilderness. They were the people who should be credited with the development of civilization and wealth of Manchester more than the tradesman and statesman who followed them.

One such early settler arrived in Manchester June 3, 1834, by horse and wagon from New York State. He decided to stop here, not only because of the fertility of the land, but because, even then, the flour mill stood on the bank of the Raisin. The mill and two other buildings, Union Hall and another building owned by Chas. Gwinner, were all that marked the inroad of civilization. Among those early men were Barnabas, Arthur and Emanuel Case and William and Elijah Carr.

Southern Washtenaw Mill on Main Street. Note the wooden bridge.

They had the satisfaction of seeing the community thrive. From a sturdy forest which afforded shade for the wild beasts and a hunting ground for the uncivilized Indian they watched a village flourish and develop into one of the most beautiful inland villages in the state. From the brick buildings on the Main Street could be heard the roar of the water as it tumbled over the falls, sweeping through field and forest as it swept along toward Lake Erie.

By 1869 there were three dams and the river afforded unlimited resources for manufacturing. J. S. Reynolds kept the mill in operation night and day turning out an average of 150 barrels of flour per day. The Woolen Mill across the street deserved equal mention. The 12 employees of Porter & Jaynes could manufacture 100 yards of wool a day. The mill had cost some $13,000 to build and $70 a week was needed to meet the payroll. Materials consumed would be about $240.

Other enterprises and manufacturing indicated that Manchester, Michigan, was indeed destined to symbolize the great manufacturing and commercial city in England from which she derived her name.

The same energy that puts forth its strong arm in battle for wealth had not been forgotten in the early days when education took its footing beneath the roof of the rustic log school house. Just how they valued their school and education was shown by their crowning effort—the erection of the Union School. The three-story structure was erected in 1867 at a cost of $2,000 with improvements planned for years ahead.

The six churches in 1869 were ample to meet the needs of the community. Each pulpit of the churches had ministers of ability, men whose Bible study placed them high in the rank with the noble soldiers of the Almighty.

At that time one of the largest and finest hotels in the state was the Goodyear House with a fine location near the depot.

A stroll around town would satisfy the most fastidious, that in the construction of private residences, the citizens displayed a degree of taste and refinement difficult to rival.

A long row of fine brick homes on Ann Arbor Street overlooked the Raisin. "Cobble Hill", a little farther on and on the opposite side of the street, boasted of an elegantly constructed mansion owned by Hon. J. D. Corey.

The railroad through the village afforded the facility for getting produce into the large markets of the east and south. Manchester was the hub for all the immense quantities of all kinds of produce which the rich plains afford.

There is an old saying that "what has been done once can be done again". With this in mind some were giving thought to a second railroad for Manchester. There was the Central which started in Detroit and on to Chicago. The other, the Southern, started in Toledo and also terminated in Chicago. The two vast facilities, with their cargo of rolling stock, was insufficient to meet the increasing demands. At this time another road was being planned from Detroit to Ypsilanti, Manchester, Hilisdale and also to be terminated in Chicago.

To this Manchester township voted $50,000, believing that every dollar would help farmers, merchants and mechanics. Instead of being the victim of a monopoly these railroads would serve better because they would be operating on a competitive basis.

Money was beginning to circulate more freely with the wool crop coming into market. Local buyers, with strict orders from the east, were paying as high as 35 to 40 cents. J. P. Gillett of Sharon received recognition for raising Saxton sheep, which European fairs were still hailing as a "best of breeds." Some Michigan breeders were changing to larger sheep with heavier fleeces.

Among the early enterprises of the village was the Pierce & Wortley marble works. The shop was on Railroad Street and the owners came from Ypsilanti. The marble was from the celebrated quaries of Vermont. Monuments were sold to residents in many of the surrounding communities and an impressive one is on the grave of Lawson W. Leap in Oak Grove.

As the wheels of time rolled on vast changes were taking place. Work shops were springing up in every direction and the clang of the anvil and the sound of hammer and saw were heard from early morning to late at night. It was no longer necessary to go to Jackson or other places for wagons that would withstand the wear and tear of the hilly country roads with heavy loads of grain or merchandise. Comfortable carriages were manufactured here, too. P. C. Vreeland and Company had the reputation of manufacturing some of the finest wagons and carriages in "the west." The shops were on the east side of the river. The iron work and painting was done on Water Street.

Seven men were employed with others working part time. They manufactured more than one vehicle a week and prices ranged from $150 to $400. Wagons were selling at $110 and a good month's sales averaged $1,500.