#ThrowBackThursday October 19th, 2017

THE VALLEY CEMETERY

We decided to kick-off our Halloween Throwback Thursday with a look at the Valley Cemetery. We’ll dive into the history of the cemetery and all of it’s hauntings! The ‘Friends of Valley Cemetery‘ have a wonderful website dedicated to restoring the cemetery to its former glory. A huge thank you to them for all of this great information below.

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THE HISTORY

I’m not sure why I was so surprised to learn that the Valley Cemetery was once a property of the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company. Back in 1840, Amoskeag donated 20 acres of land to the city, which was made into a cemetery. What’s most interesting about the use of this land is that the cemetery wasn’t necessarily built to be just a cemetery–it was built with the intention of being a public park. “The walkways, carriage paths, and bridges invited residents to stroll the grounds. Picnics under the trees were popular as were horse-drawn carriage rides.”  The post card above illustrates the beauty of the cemetery long ago.

Gale TombA decade later, the city underwent a cholera epidemic in which the Valley Cemetery proved to be, sadly, useful. Given the gravity of the epidemic, “trustees found it necessary to designate the northeast corner of the cemetery for the victims of disease. Burials were performed at night in a mass grave.

While there are “no available lots in the Valley, occasional burials still take place there, the most recent being in 2012,” there are quite a few notables buried there. The Friends of Valley Cemetery write:Blood Family Tomb

“The burial grounds host some of the city’s first politicians, ministers, engineers, musicians, mayors, two New Hampshire governors, approximately sixty Civil War soldiers, a few veterans of the Revolutionary War and at least one soldier from the French and Indian Wars. Members of Manchester’s first families, including Starks, Straws, Blodgets, Beans, Buntons, and Harringtons reside in the Valley Cemetery.”

THE HAUNTINGS

With all of this history in the cemetery, there is no wonder why there has been several accounts of spirits haunting those who dare to enter. One blogger explored the Valley Cemetery in August of 2009 and had some pretty spooky experiences.They write of a mysterious “metallic clang” from inside the Smyth Mausoleum and a cold, brief gust of wind on a hot August day while climbing the steps of the mausoleum. Pretty spooky stuff. Read more here.valley st

Another group of ghost hunters has visited the spot for a decade and report “repeatable evidence” of vast temperature changes and “intelligent responses” from the spirit. Read more about that here. Other visitors of the cemetery have also claimed to have seen a woman in a bright white light in the middle of the night before she disappeared in a flash. This extraordinary place is full of rich and meaningful history of Manchester, that just may be a little haunted!


If you do wish to visit the Valley Cemetery, please be respectful and visit during the designated hours between Sunrise to Sunset everyday.

Have any suggestions for a topic of the week? E-mail me at: intern@intownmanchester.com to let me know what you think of our #ThrowBackThursday Blog!


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#ThrowbackThursday October 12th, 2017

Manchester Fire and Police Throughout the Years

Ever since Manchester had become its own city in 1751, there has always been a police and fire rescue presence. Over the past few hundreds of years police officers would walk the beat down Elm Street, and firefighters have been on the scenes of Manchester’s most devastating fires. Even in the coldest of winter days, and the hottest days of the summer these men and women have proudly served our city and still continue every day.  Here is a glimpse into the past, of the firefighters and police officers of Manchester, New Hampshire!


Manchester Fire Department: 

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1906: Hanover Street – Firefighters battle a large fire on Odd Fellows Block using a steam engine to put out the fire.


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1915: Central Fire Station – Fire Chief, Thomas W. Lane Drives Engine #1 with three other firefighters and their dog in the center. Chief Lane served as a Manchester Firefighter for 38 years before retiring in 1917.


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Circa 1905: This is an image of the Central Fire House located on Vine Street before it had burned down in 1971, causing a new fire house to be constructed on Merrimack St.


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1971: Engine #11 – At the time this was a state of the art fire engine, costing $49,000.00! This engine had the capability to produce up to 1,250 gallons of water per minute, a long ways away from the steam engines used years before!


firefighters 1888

1888: Excelsior Hook and Ladder Company – Twenty-one firefighters pose in front of their horse drawn ladder truck with two horses and their dog. During this time period the city did not staff their own firefighters, so independent insurence companies would hire their own fire fighters, thus calling it the Excelsior Hook and Ladder Company.


Manchester Police Department: 

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Circa 1970’s: A group portrait of the Manchester Police Department featuring Police Chief Tom King , Deputy Chief Leo Murphy and Sargent Oscar Provencher in front of a wall of confiscated weapons. Also featured is five officers seated at the table.


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1915: Four Officers pose for an image in front of and on the Police Wagon, with their dog Brindle and horse, Old Jerry. This wagon was used for picking up criminals and as a “holding cell” to create easier and safer transportation.


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1899: Police Officers pose for a Group Portrait of the Police Force at the Fireman’s Muster Parade in full uniform. During this time the Manchester Police Department had just grown to have a bicycle squad and a K-9 unit as well.


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Circa 1880’s: This is a charcoal painting of a Night Captain wearing his uniform and badge, but not wearing his hat. Police Officers would often carry candlesticks on their hips to use for light when coming upon a person in the night as this was before the helpful invention of the flashlight. This image was produced before the time when police officers were required to shave… obviously!


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1890: This is a photograph of the Manchester Police Station located on Manchester and Chestnut Street taken one hundred and twenty-seven years ago. Sine then the Manchester Police Department has moved to other locations in the city.


Over the past two hundred and fifty years the Manchester Police and Fire Departments have been on every crime scene and fire, time and time again, protecting the city of Manchester. We would like to thank them for their services. We would also like to thank the Manchester Historical Association for providing us with these excellent images of our police officers and firefighters.

Tune in for next week’s Throw Back Thursday  to learn more about the history of Manchester, New Hampshire!


Have any suggestions for a topic of the week? E-mail me at: intern@intownmanchester.com to let me know what you think of our #ThrowBackThursday blog!
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Throwback Thursday Sept-28-2017

Parade Through Time: A Glimpse of the Parades on Elm Street

 

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Trade Procession on Elm Street – 1890

It is hard to believe that the picture above was a parade on the Elm Street that we know today! Parade’s of soldiers, veterans and many other groups have made their journey down  Elm Street in all months of the year to show their patriotism and pride. Here is a glimpse of the different parades that have happened right here, in downtown Manchester, long ago!

The People and Floats

 

Even though these floats do not nearly look a flashy as the ones we have today, they had captured audiences as they were pulled down Elm Street by horse. The top image is of of four young girls in a carriage, decorated for the parade down Elm with a driver. The bottom left image is of five cadets on their float with a sign saying, “Cadet Scientific Stockings for Men, Women and Children”, which they were selling for a mere twenty-five cents! The image on the bottom middle is of the Ladies Auxiliary Float in the City Centennial Parade in 1946. Lastly, the bottom right image is of Fire Engine Parade in the early 1900’s with two horses pulling the fire hose down the street.

More Photos From Manchester Parade’s on Elm Street

Manchester’s downtown has proven to be a significant place for celebration, patriotism and the honoring of the many men and woman that make up the city! Even President Roosevelt had once paraded down Elm Street in 1902! Many others, such as police officers and firemen, veterans and local organizations throughout the years have also joined in on parades! Still to this day, parades are one of the main attractions in the downtown area, bringing the community together for a brief period of time to celebrate as one!

 

Thank you to the Manchester Historic Association for the great photos!

Throwback Thursday Sept-14-2017

The Historic Floods of Manchester, New Hampshire

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As monsoon rains began one mild March day, it did not take long for cities across New England to see the water levels rapidly rising. Shortly after, another two storms had hit New England causing the Merrimack river to rise forty feet above flood level, pouring out into the streets and homes of those in the city.  Bridges were shut down as water crashed into and over them, and the many citizens of Manchester stood on high ground to watch it all unfold (above picture).

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Police, firemen and even the National Guard worked around the clock rescuing stranded people and animals from the roofs of their homes . Shelters were opened throughout the city, not only by the Red Cross but also by the Boy Scout Troops, welcoming the many people who lost everything in the floods.The damage was estimated to be over one million dollars in Manchester alone.Even though the city was under water, the community and their spirits remained afloat.

What once was a calm river meandering through Manchester, had turned into destructive rapids flowing over the city (picture above). Historical flooding would not been seen like this again until May of 2006, and even then it still could not compare to the water levels that Manchester saw seventy years before!

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The Merrimack River Flooding the Mills 2006

 

Thank you to the Manchester Historic Association for the great photos!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Throwback Thursday Mar-30-2017

Editor’s Note: I love nothing more than a good prank and given the fact that this Saturday April Fools Day, I thought it fitting to revisit a Throwback Thursday post from last year that had me laughing at my desk.


The Original Post:

Having employed over 17,000 people in its peak, The Amoskeag Mills themselves were a machine. Like any modern company today, employee safety was, seemingly, a priority. The Amoskeag Mills created a series of photographs to promote and encourage workplace safety.

Man lying on the floor after stepping on several bobbinAlright, I have to admit that when I first saw some of these pictures they made me giggle. Not knowing the context in which they were taken, I had to double take at the guy very clearly lying on the ground on purpose (see left).

Running a Hand Truck against a Machine

Or how about this man apparently “Running a Hand Truck against a Machine?” (see right). These guys were definitely not the best actors. While Amoskeag’s attempts at promoting safety was a very real campaign and issue, almost 100 years later I’m sure it’s safe to look back and find them somewhat entertaining…

THANK YOU to the Manchester Historic Association for letting me scour your photo archives again this week!

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Throwback Thursday Mar-16-2017

Every year, the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade marches down Elm Street, complete with floats, horses, bagpipes and bands! With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, I thought it’d be fun to take a look at the different attractions that the parade has brown down the strip over the years. Thanks to Saintpatsnh.com (The St. Patrick’s Day Parade’s official website!) I was able to grab photos from parades over the past 14 years to share with you. It seems to me that every year the parade only gets bigger and better!

This year’s parade will take place on Sunday, March 26th, and kick off at noon RAIN OR SHINE! You don’t want to miss out on what’s sure to be the best St. Patrick’s Day Parade yet!

To check out more photos from past parades, visit their gallery.

Still don’t have plans for St. Patty’s Day? Visit our guide to find out how downtown is celebrating!

Thank you again to the St. Patrick’s Parade Committee for these photos!

Throwback Thursday Mar-9-2017

Before the blizzards of 2015 or 1978, there was the great blizzard of 1888 here in the Northeast. The blizzard hit 129 years ago on March 11, 1888. The blizzard, also referred to as the “Great White Hurricane,” was, and still is, considered one of the most catastrophic winter storms in the history of the Northeast.

According to the History Channel, in New York City alone, about 200 people were killed when snow totals neared 22 inches and winds reached 40 mph. Cities across the Northeast spared the same fate. Here in Manchester we received over 40 inches of snow! To make matters worse, snowbanks throughout the city measured 12 to 15 FEET! There were “snow drifts over the tops of houses from New York to New England, with reports of drifts covering 3-story houses.” About 400 people in total were killed during the storm. Many were tragically overtaken by the wind, snow, and frigid temperatures and froze to death.

The storm forced NYC and Boston to look underground for their subway and telegraph systems, as well as their water and gas lines where they still exist today.

Below are some wonderful shots of Manchester following the Winter of 1888. It’s seemingly one that is quickly forgotten in recent memory, but had a lasting effect on our region.

Thank you to the Manchester Historic Association for the great photos!

 

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