First Train - Progress


By dhowell - Posted on 02 March 2007

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.