#ThrowBackThursday July 26th, 2018

The Mighty Merrimack River!

The Merrimack river runs right through Manchester and is a staple of the city as it flows and bends 117 miles from New Hampshire into Massachusetts.  From the 1850’s to the 1930’s the river was used to produce power for not only the citizens, but for the textile mills that had influenced Manchester’s economy to thrive! Even several U.S. Navy ships have been named the USS Merrimack in honor of the river!

1936 floodd

Although the river produced a great amount of energy, it has a history of  being very destructive during the flooding seasons. In 1936 the Merrimack River rose rapidly above average water levels and caused “$270 million in damage and took at least 107 lives“.

1936 floods

 According to the LA Times, “Two separate periods of torrential rain teamed up with the melt from deep snow cover to send Northeastern rivers bursting over their banks to record flood levels”

This flood even affected animals too, “about 200 animals housed at the zoo in Manchester, N.H., drowned when they were swept down the Merrimack, which swelled to a record 16 feet above normal. A bear and two leopards clung to ice floes as they floated downriver”.

1936 flood

As unfortunate as this flooding was, “the disaster prompted the first general flood-control act in U.S. history, [which] made flood prevention a federal responsibility, and led to scores of projects over the next five decades”.

The mighty Merrimack River has brought food, drinking water, electricity and transportation conveniently to Manchester for hundreds of years, however lets not underestimate the power behind this beautiful river!


Thank you for tuning into this week’s #ThrowBackThursday! We hope to bring new and interesting historical facts about Manchester, NH to you!

Want to get in touch with us about any of our blogs? Contact Sarah by e-mailing: srondeau@intownmanchester.com 

For more information about events, promotions and other great things happening downtown, visit our website: www.intownmanchester.com 



The Bright Blue Piggy Bank Downtown

This week we are revisiting what once was an eye-catching gem of downtown, the blue piggy bank! 


Do you remember this interestingly shaped bank that was located downtown in the 1970’s? Well, according to a tiny news blurb in The Southeast Missourian‘s November 20, 1972 issue, the pig was “28 feet in height and 100 feet in circumference. It [was] painted bright blue with pink flowers on the sides, and…built around a trailer.”


It was also discovered that “the piggy [was] a temporary facility for the now closed Manchester Bank while they were remodeling. It had four bank teller stations inside, and two drive up stations outside.”  According to the Manchester Historic Association, this pig shaped bank was built around Labor Day in 1972.

It is too bad that this bank no longer exists, but we can relish in the history of what it once was and the uniqueness of this temporary building located in Downtown Manchester!

All images courtesy of The Manchester Historic Association.

Thank you for tuning in to this week’s #ThrowBackThursday! 

Do you have any suggestions for our weekly #ThrowBackThursday posts about the history of Downtown Manchester?

E-mail Sarah at: srondeau@intownmanchester.com

#Throwback Thursday

Pine Island #1

Manchester Historic Association 

Pine Island Park was THE place to be for summer fun right here in Manchester and it sure has some history behind it! Check it out!


Manchester Historic Association

Pine Island Park opened in 1902 right here in Manchester. “It was an 18 minute trolley ride from City Hall on Elm Street to a location down on Brown Avenue opposite the present-day Pine Island Plaza shopping center. There, one disembarked from the trolley and climbed a set of stairs to the park.” How’s that for convenience?

Ferris Wheel

 Manchester Historic Association

The Park “offered…fireworks, live entertainment, dancing, boating, swimming, in addition to the amusement park rides. There were two wooden rollercoasters, a carousel and a variety of other rides and games.” At its peak, Pine Island Park hosted almost 15,000 people for fireworks a NIGHT!


 Manchester Historic Association

Sadly, in 1936, “the park was delivered a huge blow when the Board of Health declared the pond was too polluted for swimming.” The Flood of 1936 also devastated the park.

Then, “The Hurricane of 1938 felled roughly 3000 of the large pine trees that had given the park its name. Many rides and buildings were damaged as well, including the roller coaster and Ferris Wheel.

The park was still standing and operating until 1961 when a devastating fire roared through the park resulting in the park’s closing in 1962. The park, of course, is still open for public use, albeit without any amusement park rides!

Moxie Bottle

image via the New England Moxie Congress

But that’s not all. In my research, a blogger suggested, that while researching the park, to look up the Moxie Bottle Stand. Look at this thing! “The powers-to-be at Moxie decided to design a trade show booth which was a 32′ high by 10′ diameter replica of the distinctive Moxie bottle, complete with label and bottle cap, with doors and windows used to purvey samples of the distinctive beverage to the clamoring public.” After traveling around the Northeast for a number of years, the bottle then became a permanent fixture at Pine Island Park until 1919.


 Manchester Historic Association

 The Messiers of Manchester decided to take the now abandoned bottle and build it into their cottage home on the lake where it stood until the 1990s! It was then purchased, dismantled, and brought to Maine. It still resides, unassembled, in Maine where a group is trying to raise the funds to preserve and re-build this quirky masterpiece!

A very special thank you to the Manchester Historic Association for the images!

Tune in next week to learn a little more about Manchester’s’ great history in our #ThrowBackThursday series!


A Day in the Life of Manchester Citizens – 1936

It’s always interesting to see just how much our city has changed throughout the years! We decided to take a glimpse in the past of a few Manchester residence in the year 1936! During this time the Amoskeag Manufacturing companies had just filled bankruptcy and Manchester began to adjust to these new changes!


These women make their way to the factory one morning, in the the Amoskaeg Mills. These mills were “run by a corporation called Amoskeag Industries, which was formed by local businessmen in 1936”.

Manchester street scene. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.This image shows Manchester businessmen gathered together one day in 1936… what they were speaking of, we will never know, but we can only guess it had to do with businesses downtown!

throw back thursday

Women who worked in the mills would get paid on Thursdays, where they would then go shopping on Elm Street! Look at the price of those hats…only twenty-nine cents back in 1936.


Another image of pedestrians walking along Elm Street in 1936! Elm Street at the time offered a variety of shops which attracted many people to the downtown area!

Thank you for tuning in to this week’s #ThrowBackThursday!

Have any suggestions for #ThrowBackThursday? E-mail Sarah with your ideas at: srondeau@intownmanchester.com

#ThrowbackThursday June 7, 2018

A Year without Summer – 1816

Who would have thought that just over 200 years ago, New Hampshire would have experienced a year without a summer? After Mt. Tambora in Indonesia erupted in 1815, the impact of this explosion was felt all the way across the world, particularly in New England, where residence endured a year of frigid temperatures and snow.

winter thst never ends

New Hampshire natives reported experiencing deep frosts in every month of the summer and even a Nor’ Easter that had dumped nearly seven inches of snow in June! Lakes were completely frozen over, mountain tops had a white caps and temperatures plummeted below freezing in the month of August!

During the course of the summer long freeze, the crops in New Hampshire were dramatically affected, many of them dying from the cold before the harvest. Fear of famine was apparent and many farmers began to migrate to the Mid West for better farming. Animals who had shed their winter coats were beginning to freeze and farmers would wrap them in blankets to keep them alive. year without summer

Thankfully for us, as we embrace the warm days of summer to come, we won’t have to think about winter and snow for at least another few months! To find out more about a year without summer in 1816, click here!

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Throwback Thursday Jan-18-2018

The past two weeks we have learned quite a bit about winter carnivals that used to be held right here in Manchester. From the crazy diving Brownies, to the “longest” sled in the world, Manchester sure loved celebrating winter! 1927 was no exception! The Amoskeag Textile Club hosted the Snow Shoe Carnival which consisted of a parade and some snow shoe races at Textile Field, which is now known as Gill Stadium.

Below are some images of the parade and snow shoe races courtesy of the Manchester Historic Association!

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Throwback Thursday Jan-11-2018

Last week we dove (quite literally) into the first Throwback Thursday of 2018 with the tale of the Brownies, their crazy antics, and the Winter Carnival. Throughout my research it seems as if the Winter Carnival was more than the Brownies diving–but it included a myriad of activities as well! One activity I found an old postcard of was the ‘Uncle Sam Sled–The World’s Largest Sled!”

In Robert B. Perreault’s 2005 book Manchester he writes:

“[the postcard] postmarked January 29, 1925 boasts what participants in the Manchester Winter Carnival believed to be the largest sled in the world, the “Uncle Sam Sled.” With so many large structures and other apparent record breakers within its boundaries, the Queen City appears to have been well ahead of its time. The first edition of the Guinness Book of World Records didn’t come out until 1955.”

While it’s unknown if this was truly the largest sled in the world in 1925, you’ve got to love the ingenuity! Check it out below!

Courtesy of the Manchester Historic Association