Europeans settled Manchester in 1722 as a farming community several miles east of the Merrimack River. For many years the town was known as Derryfield until it was renamed Manchester in 1810 to honor Samuel Blodget’s vision of a great industrial city like that of Manchester England.
Samuel Blodget developed a canal and lock system around the Amoskeag Falls that opened a trade route from Boston to Concord. The canal and lock system made it possible for the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company to open its doors in 1838, becoming the world’s largest cotton milling operation with 64 mills lining the banks of the Merrimack River. The mills brought cultural diversity to the city as immigrants moved to Manchester looking for good paying mill jobs.
Today the city of Manchester remains the economic engine of the state. The millyard now houses The University of New Hampshire Manchester campus, high-tech companies, website companies, museums, and insurance and manufacturing companies, restaurants, gyms, retail stores and more!
Not only the mills contain these locations, but also Elm St, South Willow St and you are likely to find them in other small pockets around the City. The city has so much diversity to offer a bit of something for everyone. For example September 2 Cruising Downtown shuts down Elm St and provides live music at Veterans Park, great food and cool cars. Sept 13th, Manchester’s 14th annual Taste of Downtown comes back from 5pm – 8pm. Whether you are looking to relax by the river at Arms Park during Brewfest or 4th of July fireworks or play some Disc Golf at Brown-Mitchell Park, Manchester has something to do for everyone.
My favorite thing to do is go for a run down Elm St, go up some side streets (Hanover St, Lowell St, Central St) and then make my way down to the Millyard and run amongst the towering mills. I often imagine what the people that built and worked in the mills would think of them today.
For all things Manchester visit these sites and let me know what your favorite part of “Queen City” is.
Top 25 things to do in Manchester NH