MAHS Launches "Preserve the Corner" Campaign sticky icon

Borek-Jennings Funeral HomeMAHS has succeeded in our purchase of the former Borek-Jennings Funeral Home at the corner of Ann Arbor and Main Streets in downtown Manchester! We have worked for the past 10 months to reach agreement on a sale price and terms, and we are partnering with Ann Arbor State Bank on financing of the purchase. Closing on this purchase is set for December 2015.

This purchase will give us a highly-visible and central location for our headquarters, and improved and proper facilities for display and public access to our archives and artifacts. It will also be a good year-round meeting space for our members and community outreach activities. This project also supports our goal of drawing new generations of Manchester area residents into understanding, preserving and passing on our heritage.

Our promotion and fundraising efforts are entitled “Preserve the Corner.” We seek to preserve the legacy of John Hampden Kingsley, the Manchester entrepreneur and civic leader who built the home in 1904. We also honor the Jenter family, who aided our community’s families in their time of great need for many decades in this home. We believe that our Society’s mission and activities are a perfect way to repurpose this home for the community’s benefit.

The Preserve the Corner campaign includes a long-term plan for financing the rehabilitation/repurposing costs, operating and maintenance expenses, and pay down of the mortgage. Download the campaign flyer. We ask for your help through an immediate cash donation, or through a written pledge to be fulfilled over a given time. Our bank financing requires us to achieve a minimum level of $50,000 in cash donations, pledges and grant commitments by year-end. We are also currently applying for several grants. Please consider making an immediate donation, or a pledge, before the end of this year, by completing and submitting the contribution form.

We also ask for your help through contribution of your time and talents, as we move forward on furnishing, rehabbing and establishing regular operating hours of our new home. Your feedback about this project is both wanted and needed. Please contact the society through any of the means provided on the attachments, and help us achieve our goals of both preserving the home on this corner, and building upon Manchester’s heritage for future generations. Please share this fundraising information with others who may be interested in this project.

The Board of Directors
Manchester Area Historical Society

MAHS Blacksmith Shop Hosts Riverfolk Cultural Art Strings Concert Series

The Riverfolk Cultural Art Strings group has organized a series of concerts to be held at the MAHS Blacksmith Shop at 324 E. Main in Manchester on fourth Saturdays, beginning at 7:30 PM. Upcoming concerts are listed below. Tickets can be purchased on, or at the door. 

Here is the schedule:

November 28 - Sel de Terre - Cajun
January 23 - CutTime Productions - Classical Strings
February 27 - The Sugar Snaps - Classic jazz guitar and voice combo
March 26 - 115 House Concert Guest Band
April 23 - 115 House Concert Guest Band

Further information is available from
Aileen Rohwer, Director, Cultural Art Strings
Riverfolk Music and Arts Organization
Manchester, MI 

Bethel Church: 175 Years Young

Date & Time: 
14 May 2015 7:00pm

The May meeting of the Manchester Area Historical Society is being held at Bethel United Church of Christ located at 10425 Bethel Church Road in Freedom Township on May 14, 2015 at 7:00 P.M.. Bethel UCC is celebrating the 175th anniversary of its founding this year.

We will be welcomed by Rev. David Bucholtz. We will tour Bethel's cemetery, sanctuary and church hall. There will be special presentations on Bethel's pipe organ and stained glass windows as well as a couple of 175 second sound bytes on Bethel's past. Following the tours and presentations, refreshments will be served!

Growing Up in the Fountain-Bessac House

Date & Time: 
9 Apr 2015 7:30pm

Ann Walton will present a program entitled, "Growing Up in the Fountain-Bessac House," on March 9, 2015, at the Sharon United Methodist Fellowship Hall, NW corner of Pleasant Lake Road and M-52.

Old Barns & Country Skills - Annual Carol Sing

Date & Time: 
11 Dec 2014 7:30pm

We'll begin with an abbreviated business meeting. Then Derek Brereton of Adrian, MI, will give a presentation entitled, "Old Barns & Country Skills of Southeastern Michigan," followed by our annual Christmas carol sing. We may not be professional, but we have a lot of fun. Come, lend your voice and enthusiasm!

Oh, yes, and it's our annual cookie exchange, too. So if you have a special recipe from family or friends, bring bring a plate of cookies along. Punch and coffee will be provided, as well as plates and bags to gather the cookies you want to take home. All donations will be given to Manchester Family Services.

Annual Meeting & Election of Officers

Date & Time: 
11 Sep 2014 7:30pm - 8:30pm

September 11, 2014 is the Annual Meeting and election of officers. The meeting will be at 7:30 PM at the Blacksmith Shop. Instead of a program for the September 11 meeting, there will be an open discussion of the need for more space to maintain the MAHS as a viable organization and how to obtain the space.

Complete Parr Farm Stories Now Available

Howard Parr's Farm Stories from Manchester, Michigan is now available in its entirety right here on the MAHS site. Thank you, Howard, for this wonderful glimpse into Manchester life in days gone by.

Stay tuned for installments of Howard's second local history book, My Army Years 1942–1952!

Blacksmith Shop Jazz To Benefit Manchester Youth

Date & Time: 
4 Jan 2013 8:00pm - 9:00pm

Cultural Art Strings invites you to an evening of jazz with Chelsea Center for the Arts jazz faculty. $15 donation at door. For reserved seats, call (734) 223-6876. Proceeds benefit Manchester Cultural Art Strings Youth Scholarship Fund.

Farm Stories from Manchester published here in installments

Thanks to our longtime friend and MAHS board member, Howard Parr, we will publish his two recent local history books, Farm Stories from Manchester, Michigan, and My Army Years 1942–1952 in installments.

As Howard puts it in his forward, his writing process was much like the process his Grandma Mattern used to make her patchwork quilts: "A block at a time was sewn together out of whatever pieces of cloth were available. When enough had been made, which might take years, the blocks were sewn into a quilt top. So this 'farm quilt top' finally has been completed, and represents far more than the first blocks about my memories of growing up on our farm."

The Farm Stories book's forward, acknowledgements and first chapter have been published today. We plan to publish a chapter a month, so keep coming back for more local history.

Thank you, Howard, for introducing us all to your own very personal view of our beloved Manchester area!

More Early Manchester articles posted

Sit down by the fire with your laptop and get ready to read some interesting tales of Early Manchester! Parts 2 and 3 of "Shopping in Downtown Manchester Circa 1835," "The Bank of Manchester," "Manchester's Old Burying Ground," and "The Kief Family in Manchester (Part 1)" have all been posted. Just visit Early Manchester and start reading. Many thanks to Ray Berg and Alan Dyer for making this important original research available to all of us!