History of Manchester
Story of Manchester
Manchester is located in the northwest corner of Dickinson County. Officially founded on June 10th, 1887, Manchester has seen changes beyond what most towns ever experience. Manchester sits in its second site because it could not provide water to the town which was first located 2 miles east.
When it's a clear night, you can step outside and see the light of Abilene in the far distance. This bedroom community, which lives here and works somewhere else, is a place where peace and quiet abound. No stores; only two businesses, one that reaches back to the roots of a bygone era. Gregory Ponton, owner of TEN GALLONS, makes custom spurs, bits and small leather goods. Mr. Ponton wishes to expand and open a custom cowboy boot and saddle shop in the future. The second store, which is still in progress, is lmnicnax gifts. This is an internet business.
Things have changed from steam to diesel and so has the name of the rail line that must of have been bustling with activity on June 10th, 1887. The Chicago Kansas and Western Railroad, as it used to be called, runs along the Westside of town. Now named the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, the trains that commute on this railroad run by at two hour intervals.
In the early years, the railroad yard had a roundhouse to service steam engines and a Y in the tracks so that the Turn-around could be made. Along with sidetracks, station house, livestock pens, company hotel and section hand housing.
Businesses ranged from bank funds from the Farmers Bank of Manchester to the first Ford dealership for many miles, as well as lumber, cram, and dry goods stores. The dry goods store eventually changed the name to Water’s Hardware and moved to Junction City, Kansas. Shortly after, they again changed names to Water’s True Value Hardware. The original double doors and brass dedication plaque are currently at the Junction City location.
Manchester had schools, churches, a blacksmith shop, a carriage shop, and a land office. In 1920, a U.S. Army trooper even sent a post card home, boasting about the Manchester Opera House.
The Presbyterian Church called the town's residents to service and Calvary troops would come to Manchester on maneuvers from Fort Riley. Local resident, William (Sonny) Davis, unearthed a pair of silver Calvary spurs while preparing the ground for a garage.
As a small town located in farmland, it seems that almost every home had a couple of horses. During the 1960's, Manchester had a saddle club that required two semi-trucks to haul the members' horses to parades. This saddle club was hailed as the largest in the area at approximately 250 members, and was rivaled only by cities like Topeka and Wichita.
So come visit Manchester. Go to the park and ride the merry-go-round, listen to the birds and watch a squirrel while he is watching you!