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Manchester, Connecticut
Town Hall
Town Hall
Flag of Manchester, Connecticut
Official seal of Manchester, Connecticut
Silk City
"City of Village Charm"
Location in Hartford County, Connecticut
Country  United States
U.S. state  Connecticut
County Hartford
Metropolitan area Hartford
Founded 1672
Incorporated 1823
 • Type Council–manager
 • Total 27.7 sq mi (71.7 km2)
 • Land 27.3 sq mi (70.6 km2)
 • Water 0.4 sq mi (1.1 km2)
272 ft ((at Town Hall)
82.9 m)
 • Total 59,713
 • Density 2,191/sq mi (845.8/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
06040–06042, 06045
Area code(s) 860
FIPS code 09-44700
GNIS feature ID 213455
Major highways US 44.svg I-84.svg
List of auxiliary Interstate Highways I-291.svg I-384.svg

Manchester is a town in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States. As of the 2020 census, the town had a total population of 59,713. The urban center of the town is the Manchester census-designated place, with a population of 36,379 at the 2020 census. The town is named after Manchester, in England. Manchester, Connecticut is best known as the headquarters of Bob's Discount Furniture.


Cheney Brothers Mills, South Manchester, 1920
Cheney Silk Mills
Child labor at Cheney Brothers Mills, 1924. Photo by Lewis Hine.

Manchester was settled by colonists around 1672 as a farming community, although at the time it was known just as Orford Parish (the name that can be found on the memorial to the Revolutionary soldiers from the town). The many rivers and brooks provided power for paper, lumber and textile industries, and the town quickly evolved into an industrial center. The town of Hartford once included the land now occupied by the towns of Manchester, East Hartford, and West Hartford. In 1783, East Hartford became a separate town, which included Manchester in its city limits until 1823.

The Pitkin Glassworks operated from 1783-1830 as the first successful glassworks in Connecticut. The Pitkin Glassworks Ruin have been preserved by a historical society.

In 1838, the Cheney family started what became the world's largest silk mill. Eventually, Manchester became an ideal industrial community. The mills, houses of the owners, and homes of the workers are now part of the Cheney Brothers Historic District, a National Historic Landmark.

Also of note are the E.E. Hilliard Company Woolen Mills. Founded ca. 1780 by Aaron Buckland and later sold to the Hilliard family, The Hilliard Mills are the oldest woolen mill site in the country.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 27.7 square miles (71.7 km2), of which 27.4 square miles (71.0 km2) is land and 0.27 square miles (0.7 km2), or 1.00%, is water. The Manchester census-designated place consists of the urban center of the town and has a total area of 6.5 square miles (16.8 km2), or about 23% of the town's total area. 6.4 square miles (16.7 km2) of the CDP is land, and 0.039 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.56%, is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 2,546
1860 3,294 29.4%
1870 4,223 28.2%
1880 6,462 53.0%
1890 8,222 27.2%
1900 10,601 28.9%
1910 13,641 28.7%
1920 18,370 34.7%
1930 21,973 19.6%
1940 23,799 8.3%
1950 34,116 43.4%
1960 42,102 23.4%
1970 47,994 14.0%
1980 49,761 3.7%
1990 51,618 3.7%
2000 54,740 6.0%
2010 58,241 6.4%
2020 59,713 2.5%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 54,740 people, 23,197 households, and 14,010 families residing in the town. The population density was 2,008.2 people per square mile (775.4/km2). There were 24,256 housing units at an average density of 889.9 per square mile (343.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 82.77% White, 8.42% African American, 0.20% Native American, 3.15% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 3.12% from other races, and 2.31% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.54% of the population.

There were 23,197 households, out of which 28.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.8% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.6% were non-families. Of all households, 31.1% were made up of individuals, and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 22.8% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 33.0% from 25 to 44, 22.1% from 45 to 64, and 14.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $49,426, and the median income for a family was $58,769. Males had a median income of $41,893 versus $32,562 for females. The per capita income for the town was $25,989. About 6.0% of families and 8.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.1% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture

The city hosts four museums. The Fire Museum is housed in a restored 1901 firehouse building. The museum's firefighting equipment and memorabilia include leather fire buckets used in colonial times, a display showing the evolution of sprinkler systems, a horse-drawn hose wagon, a 1921 Ahrens-Fox fire pumper, and a 105-foot (32 m) 1911 water tower.

The Lutz Children's Museum has participatory exhibits covering art, history, science, nature and ethnology. The museum's permanent collection includes small live animals.

The Old Manchester Museum, focusing on local history, is operated by the Manchester Historical Society. Permanent exhibits include the Manchester Sports Hall of Fame, Cheney Textiles, Pitkin Glass Works, Christopher Spencer, and examples of Spencer Repeating Rifles.

The Cheney Homestead Museum is an eighteenth-century house of the founders of the Cheney Brothers Silk Company. On exhibit are examples of period furniture and artwork. Also on site is the one-room Keeney Schoolhouse dating from 1751.

Wickham Park, a non-profit private foundation, is located on Manchester and East Hartford property. The 53-acre (210,000 m2) Oak Grove Nature Center has wildlife habitats. Case Mountain Recreational Area, located in the less populated southeast corner of Manchester, is popular for hiking, mountain biking, and has a great view of the Hartford skyline to the west.

Manchester is famous for its popular Manchester Road Race which is held every Thanksgiving Day. The race has over 10,000 participants yearly, including runners from around the world, as well as thousands of spectators. For New Englanders, it is second in popularity only to the Boston Marathon. The annual auto show is also gaining more popularity every year.

Manchester has more than 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) of park land, a range of housing styles and prices in attractive neighborhoods, performing arts organizations, libraries and friendly, community-spirited residents.


Top employers

Top employers in Manchester according to the town's 2019 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

# Employer # of Employees
1 Town of Manchester 1,681
2 Prospect ECHN 1,680
3 Paradigm Precision 350
4 Big Y 350
5 The Home Depot 330
6 Allied Printing 330
7 Macy's 300
8 Walmart 300
9 Manchester Community College 280
10 JCPenney Distribution Center 250

As home to the Cheney family silk fortune, Manchester was a center of the American silk industry from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century, and was an integral component of not only the economy but success of the town. Today, the Cheney Brothers Historic District showcases mills refurbished as apartments and includes nearby museums.

Manchester posted a total revenue, as of 2017, of $202,901,000, with total expenditures of $199 million, including $133 million towards education. The median rent between 2013-2017 was $1,181, higher than both the county and state medians. The top employing industries are retail trade, health care and social assistance, manufacturing, and government; and the top employers are the Town of Manchester, the Board of Education, Eastern Connecticut Health Network, Inc., and Allied Printing.

The town is home to The Shoppes at Buckland Hills, as well as Shady Glen, a restaurant recognized by the James Beard Foundation in 2012 as an American classic, and has been featured on Food Network.


Manchester Country Club opened in 1917 and was originally designed by Tom Bendelow and Deveroux Emmet. In 1935, it was redesigned in by A.W. Tillinghast. The golf course features a classical New England design and holds an annual open tournament.

Perhaps the most enduring sports legacy of the town is the Manchester Road Race, a 4.748 mile footrace which is held every Thanksgiving morning. It is the second most popular race in New England, behind the Boston Marathon. The event attracts over 10,000 participants, including Olympians, world record holders, and international athletes, in addition to thousands of spectators. The race was first run in 1927, and benefits muscular dystrophy research as well as over a dozen other charities.

The Manchester Silkworms, named for the town's storied past as a silk producer and the world's largest silk mill, were a collegiate summer baseball team founded in 2000. Several former players continued their career to the major leagues, including former Red Sox catcher and veteran Ryan Lavarnway. The team relocated to Laconia, New Hampshire after the 2009 season.


Public schools

Traditional district schools

  • Manchester High School (grades 9–12)
  • Howell Cheney Technical High School (grades 9–12)
  • Bentley Alternative Education School (grades 9–12)
  • Arthur H. Illing Middle School (grades 7–8)
  • Manchester Middle Academy (grades 5-8)
  • Elisabeth M. Bennet Academy (grades 5-6)
  • William E. Buckley Elementary School (grades K-4)
  • Bowers Elementary School (grades K-4)
  • Highland Park Elementary School (grades K-4)
  • Keeney Street Elementary School (grades K-4)
  • Martin Elementary School (grades K-4)
  • Verplanck Elementary School (grades K-4)
  • Waddell Elementary School (grades K-4)
  • Manchester Preschool Center (Pre-K)

Magnet schools

  • Great Path Academy (grades 9–12)
  • Discovery Academy (grades Pre K-5)

Private schools

  • Saint Bridget School (grades Pre K-8)
  • Saint James School (grades Pre K-8)
  • East Catholic High School (grades 9–12)
  • The Cornerstone Christian School (grades Pre K-12)
  • Asamoah Society School (grades Pre K-12)
  • Pierre B. Arthur School (grades K-8)

Post-secondary education




Manchester has parts of three interstate highways (I-84, I-384, and I-291) and Route 6 and Route 44 together constitute Manchester's principal east/west arterial. Connecticut Route 30 is an east/west arterial in the northern section of town. Connecticut Route 83 is Manchester's principal north/south arterial. Starting as South Main Street at the southern border with Glastonbury, Route 83 becomes Main Street through the center of town.

Public transportation

Manchester is served by the Hartford division of Connecticut Transit. Routes 80, 82, 83, 84, 85, 88, and 121 connect Manchester directly to the city of Hartford.


No passenger service currently exists in town. Freight service from Hartford is provided by Connecticut Southern Railroad.

The closest passenger rail service is available at Hartford's Union Station, approximately 10 miles west.


Bradley International Airport, in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, is twenty minutes north of downtown Hartford. It features over 150 daily departures to over 30 destinations on nine airlines. Other airports serving the Hartford area include:

  • Hartford–Brainard Airport, found in Hartford off I-91 and close to Wethersfield, serves charter flights and local flights.
  • Westover Metropolitan Airport, located in Chicopee, Massachusetts, 27 miles (43 km) north of Hartford, serves commercial, local, charter, and military flights
  • Tweed New Haven Airport, located in New Haven, Connecticut, is served by Avelo Airlines


Manchester has several on and off-road bicycle routes. The two most popular routes are the Charter Oak Greenway and the Hop River State Park Trail. Portions of each of those routes have been designated as parts of the East Coast Greenway.

Notable people

  • Nathan G. Agostinelli, mayor and State Comptroller
  • Astrid Allwyn, 1930s movie actress
  • Elizabeth S. Anderson, philosopher and MacArthur Fellow
  • Geno Auriemma, head coach of UConn women's basketball team, 2012 and 2016 U.S. women's national team
  • Dick Berggren, motorsport announcer and magazine editor
  • Daniel C. Burbank, NASA astronaut
  • Russell Cheney, American Impressionist
  • Sherwood Cheney, US Army brigadier general
  • Carol Lynn Curchoe, reproductive biologist
  • Seth DeValve, football tight end for the Carolina Panthers
  • Addie C. Strong Engle (1845–1926), author, publisher
  • Mary Ann Handley, former Connecticut state senator
  • Jay Johnstone, former professional baseball player and commentator
  • Larry Lisciotti, pool player
  • Jean Marzollo, children's author and illustrator
  • Bill Masse, Olympian
  • Henry Molaison, noted memory disorder patient
  • James B. Olcott, turfgrass farmer and influential citizen
  • Frederick Walker Pitkin, governor of Colorado from 1879 to 1883
  • Richard Plepler, television executive
  • Alberto Salazar, former world-class long-distance runner and 4x winner of Boston and New York marathons, and coach until he was banned for life
  • John Shea Jr., politician, jurist, businessman
  • Kory Sheets, former NFL player
  • Christopher Spencer, inventor of Spencer repeating rifle
  • Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship

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See also

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