This article is from 2016, but still has some great ideas for ways to experience Manchester! For updated event dates, click HERE.
Manchester, Michigan may just be one of the most charming historic towns in the Midwest - with a rich history, enchanting architecture, lovely parks, exciting outdoor recreational opportunities, and family-friendly events.
Historical societies all over the country are seeing a boost in interest from younger generations, as popular culture is increasingly celebrating, honoring and investigating historical events with a new vigor. With the premiere of the Broadway musical “Hamilton”, the history of the Revolutionary War and founding of the United States of America has sprung a new interest in young people and adults alike. The tragic history of the Titanic and the early 1900s culture around it has fascinated audiences for years, especially since the release of the 1999 film and subsequent theatrical productions. With the popularity of the FX television show “The Americans”, the public is increasingly interested in the history of the Cold War in the late 20th century. If you’re a veteran historian or just curious about the scandals, secrets, and big stories of yesteryear, small-town historical societies are treasure troves of thrills, sensations and spectacles waiting to be discovered.
In Manchester, you’ll find a small town that’s passionate about, and fiercely protective of its historical preservation. Founded in 1826 (while John Quincy Adams served at President of the United States, and the year that both former Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died), Manchester was one of the last regions of present-day Washtenaw County to be settled, primarily because of the boggy ground and dense vegetation. Settlers were often from the New England states, and as the 19th century continued, from Germany and other Western European countries. Horse races, card games, spelling bees, country dances, fiddle playing, and other community events became commonplace as Manchester grew, and this deep community-based culture still runs deep, with the continuation of canoe races, Fourth of July celebrations, community picnics, and the famous Manchester Chicken Broil - held for the first time in 1953 (the same year that Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne, and the first color television became available for sale) and still filling the bellies of local and visiting foodies alike each July.
Manchester is a proud historic village, with architecture dating from the mid-1800s. If you’re a historical architecture enthusiast, you won’t want to miss the upcoming Christmas Home Tour on December 3, 2016 - there will be five gorgeous historic homes, beautified for the holidays, available for tours between 12 and 8 p.m. - with proceeds from the tour benefiting the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, which purchases holiday decor for the Village.
Another historic building, the Manchester Blacksmith Shop, is home to the Riverfolk Music and Arts’ Music Series, which draws visitors from around the Midwest to experience exquisite live music paired with local food and beverage. On November 26, the Cajun band “Creole du Nord” will perform at the Blacksmith Shop - and whether you love history, music, or great food, you won’t want to miss this event.
If you’ve found fascination with historical events because of movies or music, don’t stop there! In Manchester, you can find more living history right here in the Ann Arbor area. Join us for a historic home tour, or a concert at the Blacksmith Shop - or just take a stroll through the charming downtown area. You’ll find something worth discovering!
Enjoy our content? Sign up for Destination Ann Arbor's monthly newsletter to have it delivered straight to your inbox!