The Fire - 1853

By dhowell - Posted on 02 January 2008

Manchester has never forgotten the fire which nearly wiped it from the map. The sleeping village was awakened at 6 a.m. Sunday, May 1, 1853, by the sound of burning timber as flames leaped from the flouring mill on Main Street (known as Exchange Place). The wind spread the fire to the opposite side of the street and before it could be brought under control 14 business houses and one dwelling had burned.

The entire business section up to the hotel (which stood where Grossman-Huber Station is), was left in ashes. Damage to the flour mill alone was $20,000. The villagers labored for hours to save the village west of the hotel.

As the townspeople began the work of rebuilding, they talked of the growing tension between the North and South. The white colonial styled house on Adrian Street, now owned by the Briggs family, became an underground railway station which played an important part in smuggling slaves into Canada.