(This chapter division has been created for online presentation purposes and does not appear in the original.)
Emanuel Church members first held their services in homes. Most of them were from Wittenburg, Germany. The nearest church was Bethel in Freedom Township. The Rev. J. G. Hildner was the pastor and started to organize a congregation in 1862.
The charter members were: Casper Raby, J. J. Walter Sr., Michael Jung, Christ Jaudes, Fred Kurfess, George Unterkircher, John Hartbeck, Fred Schill, Henry Aichele, Henry Haeschle, George Briegel, John Schlicht and Matthias Schaible.
Rev. J. Neumann, pastor at Bethel Church, kept the Manchester congregation under his wing until the Rev. S. Edeistein became the first resident pastor. He lived in Soulesville until a parsonage was provided for him on the corner of Duncan and Macomb street. This was used until 1911.
A small unused school building at Soulesville was purchased and moved on a lot north of the present Elementary School. The small church was enlarged, but it bulged at the seams as the congregation grew. On Christmas Eve, with the building full to capacity, the floor gave way and plans were made for a new building. The present site, which is an entire city block, was purchased for $1,000.
The cornerstone was laid in the summer of 1882, and on December 10, 1882, the dedication of the new building took place. Bricks for the edifice came from the brickyard of Frederick and Michael Schaible nearby. They were members of the congregation.
Pastor J. Neumann wrote: "Just take a glance at the most beautiful ornament of Manchester and the most attractive German Church of Washtenaw and adjoining counties. Splendidly she stands, 80 by 40 feet, with her 156-foot steeple constantly pointing heavenward, away from the wearisome toils and troubles of this life to the land of peace and rest." The cost of the structure was $14,000.
The Rev. George Schoettle served the congregation from 1885-1906.
During the war of 1941-45,the church service flag had 79 stars and one gold star, representing Captain Karl M. Rague, M.D., son of the church pastor Rev. Henry Von Rague, who died in Belgium.
Early in the program of the church, the Sunday School became one of its teaching agencies and the pastors gave thorough-going confirmation instruction. Formerly the old church was used, but in 1889 a new school was erected at the cost of $937, which was used until 1927, when it was replaced by the present parish hall. This was during the time the Rev. Albert A. Schoen was pastor. But before it was completed, Pastor Schoen became minister of Salem Church in Farmington. The church hall cost $27,000.
Emanuel Church had never joined any synodical church body, although it had always been served by pastors of the Evangelical Synod. On January 1, 1936, the church decided to apply for membership in the Evangelical and Reformed Church and it was formally received as a member on April 29, 1936.
The Rev. H. S. Von Rague served Emanuel for 21 years and was named Pastor Emeritus of Emanuel in 1952. While the Rev. Karl H. A. Rest was pastor, Emanuel joined with the Congregational Churches of America to establish the United Church of Christ.
The present pastor, the Rev. Ralph L. Kuether, came to Emanuel on April 19, 1959. He gave his full support to enlarging the educational facilities. Plans called for a new Chancel, placing new pews, redecorating the church sanctuary, installing a public address system and new lighting fixtures, erecting a two-story building joining the church and the parish hall, remodeling kitchen facilities and excavating under the church for additional rooms.
The work went along rapidly "for the people had a mind to work." The total cost of the project was $140,000.
Six men and one woman from Emanuel have entered the ministry.
Emanuel has, by far, the largest congregation of any in the Manchester area.
The Catholic Mission of Manchester was established in 1870 with the Rev. Fr. Edward Van Lauwe as pastor. On November 14, 1863, Fr. Van Lauwe was appointed resident pastor of St. Dominic's church in Clinton. As the congregations increased he was asked to take on the missions of Manchester, Milan, Freedom, Tecumseh and St. Joseph's in the Irish Hills. The first confirmation in the area was at Clinton in 1865 by Bishop Peter Paul Lefevre of Detroit.
In the early days Catholics walked or went by horse and buggy to the first Catholic church in Washtenaw county—in Freedom township. It was built in 1839. Two missionary priests, Fr. Kreutel and Fr. Bernick served the parish. But it was impossible for Mass to be celebrated every Sunday. Like in all other early parishes, services were held in homes until the churches were built. St. Thomas church in Ann Arbor was built in 1843 according to the Washtenaw County History. Members of that first Freedom church were: John Emmer, John Graff, T. Mosier, Adam Kress, Martin Cash, Paul Fritz, Adam Riedel, J. Blum, Adam Kramer, Conrad Seckinger, Joseph Weiss and their families.
In 1858, a new brick church dedicated to St. Francis de Borgia was erected in Freedom at a cost of $3,000. This was a short distance from the first one. In 1873, a brick rectory was built nearby. It cost $2,000.
Fr. Ferdinand Aligayer succeeded Fr. Van Lauwe in 1867. He built the first Catholic church in Manchester in 1870, near the intersection of Wagner and Macomb streets. The 30 x 50' church building contract was awarded to George W. Hoy and 0. Priest. The present Baptist Chapel is in the former church rectory. Rev. P. B. Murray of Ypsilanti was the visiting pastor in 1876-'77 when Rev. Fr. Andrew Leitner was appointed pastor of churches in Manchester and Freedom. Charter family names were: Kirchgessner, Cash, Coleman, Kelly, Kirk, Egan, McMahon, Green, Lehn, Haag, Singer, Cavanaugh and 10 others.
Rev. Fr. Joseph Staus was appointed to the parishes in 1880. The cost of the first church in Manchester was $1,200 and the furnishings were valued at $400.
In 1890, St. Mary's became a parish with Fr. Peter Ternes as its first resident pastor. Clinton was its mission. Fr. Frederick Heidenreich was pastor from 1895-1900, and Fr. Daniel McGlaughlin, as his successor, were the two who kept Clinton as a mission. Mass was celebrated once a month. Clinton parishioners often came to Manchester for Mass.
Fr. Edwin Fisher, well known to many in the area, became pastor of St. Dominic's (Clinton) from 1906 to 1908, with missions at St. Joseph's (Irish Hills) and St. Francis (Freedom). In 1909, Fr. Fisher became pastor of St. Mary's (Manchester) and attended Clinton, though Clinton was listed as a parish with the two previously mentioned missions.
It was Fr. Fisher who built the stone church here on W. Main street. He was instrumental in having the village of Clinton set aside the small plot of land in the center of the village on US-12 as a memorial park. He also built field stone churches in Tecumseh and Brooklyn. Farmers and boys in the area of the churches worked long hours hauling in stones for the structures.
By 1917 Clinton had missions of Tecumseh and Blissfield but Fr. Fisher and his assistant Fr. James Carolan were the attending priests, and in 1918, Fr. John Hackett, pastor of St. Mary's, and Fr. Carolan had missions of Clinton and Tecumseh. For the next 25 years Clinton was a mission of St. Mary's. Fr. Joseph V. Pfeffer came in 1924 and Fr. David Cunningham was his assistant, followed by Fr. John Eppenbrock as Fr. (Now Msgr.) Pfeffer's assistant from 1927 to 1935.
When Msgr. Pfeffer came his missions included churches at Manchester, Clinton, Irish Hills, Tecumseh, Brooklyn, Freedom and Clark's Lake—2400 square miles in three counties. He is noted for erecting the Way of the Cross at the Irish Hills. He lived to see new roads built, telephone lines installed and electricity become commonplace. Monsignor Pfeffer is pastor of St. Elizabeth's, Detroit.
Fr. Wm. R. Schneider did much to improve St. Mary's. There are no missions with the church which has three Masses every Sunday. Under his artistic eye an extensive refurbishing program was carried on in the church and rectory. Fr. Raymond Schlinkert, well known television personality, is pastor of St. Mary's.
The 125th anniversary of the Manchester Methodist Church on West Main Street was celebrated in October, 1964.
Earliest records of Methodism in the area show Manchester belonging to a Tecumseh circuit which reached as far west as Coidwater and included 27 preaching places.
Washtenaw County was practically a wilderness with no railroads. Hardships were on every hand. The first church society was organized with nine members in a log house owned by Gilbert Rowe in Sharon Township. The Rev. E. H. Pilcher was organizer.
In 1831, Amasa Gillett donated the beautiful "burr oak" grove as a site for a Methodist Church, but the building was not erected for another 15 years.
The building, known as the "Sharon Center" Church was built by the Congregationalists in 1848, and later purchased by Methodists. This building was used until destroyed by a cyclone, June 7, 1917. At that time many of its members joined the local Methodist Church.
The Manchester Methodist Church is the combination of these early churches.
The first Methodist Church was organized in 1839 with the Rev. George Bradley the pastor and Samuel Doty the class leader. This first meeting house was erected on Beaufort Street and cost $1,600. Most of it was brought "piece meal" from Sharon Township's Rowes Corners Church.
By 1866 the valuation of the Manchester Methodist Church was $8,000 and the Sharon Methodist, belonging to the same circuit was $3,000. In 1868, the Rev. J. W. Scott divided the two and made Manchester a station alone.
Pews or "slips" as they were called were rented by parishoners. Fifty-two were rented and 12 were free. The Sunday School library had 665 volumes and by 1876 the average attendance at Sunday school was 98.
The Beaufort Street Church was used until 1892 when the frame of the building deteriorated so much that services were held in the Presbyterian Church. In 1893 the Methodists bought that church.
The bell that rings in St. Mary's Catholic Church every Sunday hung in that Presbyterian Church which the Methodists bought in 1893.
John Moran circulated a subscription to raise money for the bell and it was blessed by Fr. Ternes. This friendly atmosphere between the churches exists today.
A new pipe organ was given in 1928 by the three grandsons of Dr. W. H. Bessac in his memory.
Largest of gifts to the church was one for $18,000 from the estate of Mr. and Mrs. George Gott. This made it possible for the church hall addition to be built.
Pastor at the Methodist Church is the Rev. Oscar Cooper.
A church in the Manchester area is celebrating its centennial this year. A century has rolled by since the first bricks were laid for the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Freedom Township at Rogers Corners, 10 miles northeast of Manchester at the intersection of Fletcher and Waters Roads.
On November 20, 1865, members of St. Thomas Evangelical Lutheran Church considered it wise and in the best interest of everyone that they organize into a separate congregation. But it was not until 1867, in May, that John K. Schenk started to erect the building which cost $3,213. So from November 1865 to May 1867, the Rev. Mr. Hildner of Bethel Church in Freedom served the congregation.
The first church building committee included John Roller, Jacob Eschebach, John Schenk and Michael Hinderer.
In the early days, Zion Church was served jointly with other churches but in August 1873, the Rev. John Baumann took over as a full time minister. The congregation purchased the Emminger property and provided a parsonage for its pastor and a school for the religious instruction of its children.
The same church bell in the steeple that was installed 90 years ago still rings to call the members to worship. The cost was $598. A new parsonage was built in 1889 and the following year a number of members left the congregation and organized the neighboring St. John's Evangelical Church.
The Ladies Aid, organized in 1895, still serves the church today.
Members sometimes encounter problems as they look at the records of the church because of a language barrier. All services and business until 1926 was conducted in German. At that time some special services were in English. Beginning in 1930, regular English services were instituted and by 1951 only one service a month was conducted in German. Today, German is no longer used.
Not all churches have a band, but the Rev. H. Hemster organized one in 1893. In 1909, a major building program provided for an addition to make room for the altar, sacristy and organ. Art glass windows were added.
The church planned its golden jubilee festival for July 1, 1917, and everyone was working diligently when a cyclone on June 6, 1917, ripped through the area and ruined a part of the church and parsonage and several homes belonging to members Christian Grau, Michael Schiller, Martin Wenk, John Wenk and Edward Koch.
But the German pioneers were not to be discouraged. With increased effort they kept working for the jubilee celebration which took place September 16, 1917 with a rededication of the reconstructed church.
The by-laws of the church were translated from German to English in 1942 when the church celebrated its 75th anniversary.
The parish hall plans had to be delayed because of World War II, but it was constructed across the road in 1948 at a cost of $38,818 and dedicated a year later.
Longest in the service of Zion Evangelical was the Rev. M. W. Bruckner—from 1926 to 1955 when he retired. He is now 90 years and is taking part in the centennial celebration services.
In 1962 the church was extensively redecorated and the choir loft enlarged. This year the Rev. C. J. Renner retired after 8 years because of ill health. On June 11, 1967, the Rev. John R. Morris was installed as the new pastor.
People of the community are invited to a community service Sunday, Sept. 17, when Rev. Ronald J. Diener of St. John's Lutheran Church, Bridgewater, will lead the 7 p.m. service.
A jubilee centennial service will bring to a close the series of summer centennial celebrations with the 10:15 a.m. service Sunday, September 24, at which the Rev. B. Piper of Zion Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor will be the speaker. He is vice president of the Michigan District of the American Lutheran Church. The church centennial committee are Martha Eiseman, Evelyn Haab, Wanda Heydlauff, George Prinzing and Norman Wenk.
If the Germans who founded this country church a century ago could stop in at the centennial celebration they would be confused, for no German is spoken there today.
Improvements for the celebration include sidewalks and curbing at the church and parish hall and a new roof on the hall. But the industrious Germans of a century ago, without a doubt, would be delighted with the well-kept buildings and attractive lawns at the Zion Lutheran Cnurch at the crossroads.
The Iron Creek Church celebrated its centennial on April 21, 1955. It was organized on April 21,
1855, when the Rev. Leonard P. Tompkins first held a service in the Iron Creek school. The Iron Creek Church was built in April, 1868.
The church is located about five miles southwest of Manchester in Washtenaw County. It was not until 1868 that the white frame church was erected. At that time it was known as the Free Will Baptist and prior to that services were held in the school house.
Charter members were Joseph Noyes, Selah Noyes, John G. English, James Nowlen, Susan Raby and Rebecca Blinn.
John G. English was the first church clerk, and began office May 19, 1855; Warren Noyes and James Nowlen were first deacons, Benjamin G. English the first treasurer.
Mr. Noyes offered to give a church site and one hundred dollars, provided the church was built in Manchester.
On September 28, 1867, members of the church voted to construct a building just as soon as $2,500 could be raised by subscription. The land on which the church stands was given by Francis and Jane Lee Baldwin. The one-half acre site was valued at $500. Orville Curtis, a notary and public surveyor, "drew up the deed." At that time there were but seven families prominently connected with the church. They were the two English families, the Rabys, Dorrs, Rushtons and Johnsons.
In the early years of the church the pastors were usually affiliated with Hillsdale College, and members of the congregation were asked to "entertain the ministers who would come on the train Saturday, stay over night Saturday and Sunday, and leave Monday morning."
One family in the congregation was asked to entertain on such a weekend. The farmers had planned to do butchering on a cold Monday morning and rose very early. After the chores were done and the family was about ready for breakfast they called the visiting minister.
At the breakfast table he was asked to say "Grace." He bowed his head, then glanced toward the window. It was still dark out. As he concluded his prayer he added—"and thank God for seeing us safely through the night—so far."
The largest single amount subscribed to the building fund was $500 given by John G. English. Five contributed $100 each and among the varied gifts were three pork barrels. In the records mention is made that the Bible was given by Ezra Simmons and came from a disbanded Free Will Baptist Church in Lenawee county. Lamps for the church were given by Mrs. Elizabeth Baldwin.
The only social gatherings in the early days were to donation parties, Sunday School picnics and July 4th celebrations. The early affairs were held in English Grove just north of the Iron Creek School. Later, in the early eighties the parishioners met at homes of members and it was at these times that the people became better acquainted. Mostly the entertainment would be visiting, playing games or a literary program. Dancing and card playing was never thought of.
At the quarterly meeting in April 1930, the name was changed to THE IRON CREEK CHURCH and soon after the church withdrew from the Michigan Baptist Convention.
The church had never had a basement until August, 1946, and in May, 1947, a furnace was installed. In September, 1948, Mrs. Mina Trolz gave a new organ and sanctuary painting to the church.
The public road which crossed the church property was closed, the old horse sheds removed, shrubs planted and new entrance and addition have been improvements in recent years. A new room was added at the back and restroom facilities were other improvements during the pastorate of the Rev. Alvin Brazee. He came to the church in 1927 and served longer than any other pastor ... a period of 35 years.
From sunset to sunrise lights on the church steeple at the Sharon Evangelical United Brethren Church beacon the traveler. It is located three miles north of Manchester on the Manchester-Chelsea Road and Pleasant Lake Road. Its congregation is composed of members living in the area and at Manchester.
The pastor is the Rev. Charles R. Fox.
The church is of brick and was built in 1876 at Rowes Corners. Henry and Gilbert Rowe came to Sharon Township in 1831 and bought land. Henry Rowe was supervisor in 1841.
The Rev. Edward Weiss organized the congregation March 22, 1874. Named to the building committee were William Schulte, Heinrich Huesman and Henry Uphaus. There were 15 charter members. The church was built in 1876 and was dedicated on November 12, with the Bishop Rudolph Dubs officiating.
It is interesting to know that in the early days there was no offering taken at the church. A member of the church board collected for the pastor's salary, another collected for the presiding elder's salary and another collected for the missions. In 1888 the families of the congregation were divided into two classes. One group was asked to pay $2 a year, the other group $1.50.
The yearly expense account for 1886 included $1.44 for oil for lamps, $27 for janitor, isinglass for stove and new rope $1.00, lamp wicks 30¢ and fire insurance on building $4.
Stained glass windows replaced the plain ones in 1900 and 1919 saw a new parsonage purchased in Manchester. Prior to that time a parsonage at 11525 Ellsworth Road, Freedom Township was used by the minister who served a part of the Washtenaw Circuit. This included Freedom, Sharon and Lima Center churches.
The parsonage on Ann Arbor Street has been used until the present time when the church purchased a new parsonage on Schaffer Court in Manchester. This will be dedicated later this year.
The Evangelical and United Brethren in Christ churches merged to become the Evangelical United Brethren Church on November 16, 1946. Also in 1946 the Sharon church dug a basement and installed oil heating.
Gus Koebbe was the first member of the congregation to own a car. People tell that he drove up to the church horse sheds and absentmindedly called "Whoa" but the car didn't heed the order and plowed through the shed.
Other improvements include new ceiling and replastering, indirect lighting system and new carpeting.
Fortune smiled on the country church in February, 1964, when Bennett C. Root, president of the Manchester Union Savings Bank, in his will left money for church improvements. A special dedication ceremony was conducted Sunday, April 11, 1965, after chancel furniture, communion rail and other improvements were completed.
About 11 years ago the Galilean Baptists were organized here in a store building next to the A & B Grocery on East Main Street. Sometime later services were conducted at the former St. Mary's rectory on South Macomb Street. The Rev. E. P. Cranston of Tipton is the pastor and conducts services at the South Macomb Street address.
The Bethel United Church in Freedom Township celebrated its 125th anniversary when it dedicated its new $49,000 educational building October 24th.
The Rev. Friedrich Schmid, a pioneer church organizer among the Germans of southeastern Michigan, first held services in a public school building, one mile east of the present church property on Bethel Church Road about seven miles northeast of Manchester, between the years of 1833 and 1840. In 1840, a log church was erected on a plot of ground now occupied by Bethel Church.
The earliest deed in the church files, in describing the five-acre plot all read "except one acre," showing that the congregation had acquired that acre earlier. Records in the Court House indicate that there was a transaction of 1-1/4 acres by "Levant Hewes (Hughes) for the First Dutch (German Reformed) Church of Freedom for $40.
In early American History the use of "Dutch" for German comes from the similarity of the word "Deutsch."
When the early missionary was unable to officiate, services were often read by a member of the church council such as Jacob Spathelf or August Hutzel.
A granite boulder and bronze plaque in the church cemetery mark the location of the first log church. The occupation of the early members was farming. There were a few blacksmiths and an innkeeper. Now the church members are city and suburban dwellers who commute to nearby industries to work.
The church is often referred to as Evangelical Lutheran and attempts were made during the years by pastors to obtain affiliation with a synod, but the membership stubbornly resisted. It took until 1958 for them to consent to join the Michigan Indiana Synod.
Some members attend regularly from Manchester, Saline, Bridgewater, Ann Arbor and as far as Detroit.
In its long history the church has had only 10 pastors. The Rev. Fredrick Mayer was the first to start preaching English at Bethel.
In church records many names are misspelled because early settlers had little practice writing and, when asked to sign anything, would be embarrassed and ask someone to sign for them. And names underwent changes into near English, for better or for worse.
The congregation, purchased land across the road from the church in 1878 for "schaedz" (sheds) for their horses and members built their own. If they left the church they could sell to another member, but the sheds could never be removed from the row.
After some forty years they were torn down for a parking area. The church bell in the new edifice cost $627. It, like Angelus, turned thoughts to prayer and served as a time piece.
In the early days the men sat on the right and the women on the left in church. This was discontinued in 1909, when the present granite church was built. For this the farmers brought in stones, rocks, sand and gravel.
In the beginning the church board ruled with a stern hand. The records mention that the Rev. E. G. Kuenzler presented a bill for $1.70 for whitewashing the parsonage. The bill was paid but the board resolved that in the future any "reperring" done must be with the permission of the board.
Pastor Mayer had his troubles. In 1912 he had arranged for a district representative to speak. This was in pre-electricity days when carbide was used for lighting. It was noticed that when carbide and water was put in the pressure tank that it did not work properly.
Just as the first visitors arrived, there was a terrific explosion. Windows were damaged and the stained glass windows upstairs were permanently bent outward. A member and his family driving up said momentarily they thought there was an earthquake.
In the midst of a snow storm on March 10, 1909, Architect Charles Sauer of Ann Arbor brought Henry Lelling who cut all the stones for the edifice which stands today. The Rev, and Mrs. T. W. Menzel have served the church since 1948.
The Faith Community Church was dedicated Sunday, October 29th. The $67,000 edifice is situated on a four acre tract at 8400 Sharon Hollow Road, a quarter of a mile south of West Austin Road.
This is an interdenominational evangelical church with the Rev. Thomas E. Hicks the pastor. The church is of brick construction with William Miller of Britton the building contractor. Claude Gage was the building committee chairman. The first meeting of the Faith Community Church group was a prayer service at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Canton on Monday, March 27, 1967 and the congregation was established March 29, 1967 at a meeting held at the Sharon Town Hall. Sixty people attended the groundbreaking service on June 4th and the actual construction begun June 17. The first church service in the new building was Sunday, September 3.
The building which houses the Uphaus drug store was built in 1866 and was built for a drug store by Van Dyne and Calhoun. Ten years later it was sold to George J. Haeussler who was a druggist in Ann Arbor before coming to Manchester. The store also went under the name of Haeussler and Lynch, and Haeussler and Kingsley, during the time that Dr. Lynch and H. Kingsley were partners.
Raynor Haeussler followed in the footsteps of his father, George and became a druggist. He retired from the business after 47 years. But Raynor and his father were not the only members of the family interested in drugs. Raynor's grandfather, Dr. William Bessac, at one time operated a general store and drug store on the site of the Widmayer hardware, also on Main Street.
When George Haeussler was in business he carried a good line of china dishes, stationery and many other commodities, including a little soda fountain. The prescription business was not the flourishing business it is today. In years past the doctors carried most of their own drugs and only on special occasions were prescriptions given to druggists for filling. Raynor Haeussler said that the change over was so gradual that one hardly noticed it.
The late Mr. Haeussler's wife is the former Marjorie Kingsley, also a lifelong resident of Manchester. Mr. Haeussler served for six years on the village council and as village president for three years. He was on the school board for six years, a director of the Union Savings bank, a life member of the Blue Lodge of the Masons.
Haeussler sold his interest in the business to his partner, Millard Uphaus, who began working for Haeussler after graduating from the University of Michigan in 1935. Uphaus still operates the drug store.
On Nov. 27, 1911, an elaborate attempt to burn the Manchester House, presumably for the insurance was made but failed because a passerby saw the flames and gave an alarm. The proprietor, by the name of Lewis, was suspected of being the incendiary.
On each of the three floors of the hotel one room was selected and the windows heavily blanketed. Rags saturated with kerosene were stuffed in holes knocked in the walls and lighted candles were placed close to the rags. Lewis left on the 10 o'clock train.
Sometime later Frank Koebbe, passing by, saw a gleam of fire in a third story window. The fire department was summoned and little damage was done.
Very little was known about Lewis who had recently bought the business from Johnson. Three girls were staying in the hotel when the fire was discovered but they had heard nothing. Lewis was caught in Toledo. The hotel caught fire under circumstances which were questionable early in the summer. The building was owned by a man in New York State by the name of Beagle and it was insured for
The village was thrown into excitement on a Monday afternoon in July, 1909, when news reached here that John Hause was in an accident and killed. He had bought a new automobile in Detroit and was bringing it home. A demonstrator was with him showing him how to handle it. Mr. Hause was driving and an electric car came along. The driver either became frightened or lost control of the car and drove it onto the track in front of the electric car, killing the driver and wrecking the auto.
The first automobile to be owned in Manchester, according to a report in the Manchester Enterprise, was purchased by Frank D. Merithew for his son Robert. Robert was a bookkeeper at the Peoples Bank and leader of the military band.
Robert went to Jackson for the machine which was a single seated Jaxon and "a neat looking rig." It was on exhibition on the streets and Robert gave his mother her first ride.
March 1908 saw the home of Moses Stalarsky destroyed by fire. The cry of fire and the ringing of the fire bell at the engine house about midnight Sunday awoke many from a sound sleep. The telephone girl in the Central station informed them that the Stalarsky home (in the early days known as the "shot tower") was on fire.
Moses hustled his little family out and ran to the engine house where nightwatchman Fisk rang the bell and men hauled the chemical engine to the scene. But the chemicals were soon exhausted. The engine "Juliet" was placed on Exchange Place Bridge and a hole cut in the ice but it all caused too much delay and the building was gutted.
Double A Products Co. is a subsidiary of Brown & Sharpe Manufacturing Co. The Double A factory is an autonomous unit employing in excess of 450 people. Except for general guidance and direction from the parent company in Rhode Island all management, sales, engineering and manufacturing is located in Manchester.
Hydraulic pumps, valves, and fluidic controls for industrial machinery make up the product line. The factory is primarily a machine shop operation, somewhat on a job lot production basis. Machines are the conventional lathes, milling machines, drill presses, grinding machines, etc. Also, there are valves and pump assembly departments. Approximately two-thirds of the employees are associated with production. The non-supervisory production employees are represented by the International Association of Machinists Union. There are job standards for most of the machining operations and the general productivity of the shop is good. Other than a profit sharing plan, there are no production type incentives used within the company.
The company was incorporated and started in Ann Arbor in 1934 by Herbert H. Upton and Finley Riggs. The original business at that time was the production of inexpensive power tools for five and ten cent stores and later Sears Roebuck and Company. News reached Manchester that Herbert Upton and Finley Riggs were interested in a new location because the building occupied by the company was very old, inefficient, and costly from which to conduct the operations. James C. Hendley, President of Manchester Chamber of Commerce, and Robert C. Merithew, Secretary, went to investigate and found out they were interested in a new location with more adequate facilities. Mr. Upton and Mr. Riggs agreed to meet with the Manchester Chamber of Commerce and outline their needs and plans. It was as a result of this meeting that the Chamber of Commerce sponsored the obtaining land and constructing a building for the company. This was accomplished in 1940 and the move was made about the first of July. Most of the key personnel moved to Manchester with the company. Some of them are still employed by the company. Finley Riggs retired from the company and Herbert Upton became President and General Manager, and it was through his efforts and ambition that the company expanded and grew.
Gun parts were manufactured for the government during World War II. After the war power tool business was resumed with Sears Roebuck as the principal customer and this business flourished in the post war boom. In 1947, Mr. Upton felt the company should diversify. He became interested in the hydraulic field and acquired a small hydraulic valve company in Detroit. This business was moved to Manchester. The company grew and expanded rapidly during the Korean War, and consequently, power tools were replaced as the principal product of the company. The power tool business was finally eliminated and discontinued.
After the company became well-known in the hydraulic field, Mr. Upton felt the need for further expansion. Then in 1957 it became a subsidiary of Brown & Sharpe Manufacturing Co. It is from this time on the company again grew rapidly. In 1958 hydraulic pumps were acquired from a company in Baltimore and the business moved to Manchester. It made it possible to have a product line of complete hydraulic and pump facilities. The company is continuing to grow and is now under the management of Donald A. Roach. Manufacturing and office facilities occupy over 125,000 square feet. The company has a plant operating in England.
The Chamber of Commerce committee responsible for obtaining the relocation of the company in Manchester are shown in the picture.
Manchester Division of Hoover Ball and Bearing Company was started with ground breaking ceremonies on September 21, 1964. Production of decorative automotive trim parts was started in 1965. At present Manchester Division employs some 125 people who live in Manchester and nearby towns.
Manchester Division is one of seventeen divisions and subsidiaries of Hoover Ball and Bearing Company which is listed by Fortune Magazine as one of the 500 top industrial corporations in the country.
Products of Hoover Ball and Bearing Company include die casting, plastic parts, farm equipment, seating components, chemical products, handling systems, aluminum extrusions, furniture, and balls and bearings
Locally Manchester Division produces nameplates, knobs, mouldings, bezels, grille parts, and other ornamentation for all major automobile companies.
One of Manchester's newest industries is Manchester Plastics, Inc. This company is situated on 15.5 acres of land inside the village limits (just behind the Ford garage). The portion of land which is not used for buildings, is now planted to field corn, which gives one the feeling of being in the country. Pheasants and rabbits contribute to the country atmosphere.
The old railroad freight depot was used by the company for its headquarters, during the spring of 1964, while the factory was being built. Manchester Plastics is, at present, planning its second addition to the building, after constructing a 45 ft. by 90 ft. addition in the spring of 1966.
Max E. Kenyon heads the company, which is the realization of a dream of his. W. J. Gamin is the treasurer. Mr. Kenyon has had twenty-years experience in engineering in the plastics molding field, while Mr. Gamin has had 15 years in the plastics fabricating field.
At the time production of parts was started, the plant possessed four injection molding machines. In the last year, they have purchased a 20 oz. machine and a 60 oz. machine. Parts as small as one-half gram in weight, to one the size of a chair seat can now be molded.
Of Manchester Plastics' employees, numbering approximately 25, the greatest percentage are from the Manchester area.
Being able to purchase such an attractive piece of land within the village; its distance from larger cities; good labor situation, and good freight transportation facilities were given as reasons for locating the plant in Manchester.
Manchester Plastics is one of the few industries left today that is not a subsidiary of a larger corporation. This makes for a closer employer-employee relationship. They are small enough to have that "big family" atmosphere. An indication of this is that everyone's birthday is observed with a cake and gift; and on frequent Fridays (just about 11:30 a.m.) the president, himself, can be seen grilling hamburgers or steaks (as the case may be) on the loading dock—these to be shared by the employees.
Products produced are, for the most part, automotive and industrial.
Schaffer Industries is the unofficial name given to three local corporations headed by Allen W. Schaffer.
One of the corporations, Union Construction Company, is engaged in underground construction and commercial dewatering. During the years the facility has expanded until activities of the corporation extend not only in Michigan but to Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.
Founded in 1951, the corporation conducts the business which Mr. Schaffer executed by himself prior to that time.
Schaffer Lumber Company was founded in 1945 and operates retail lumber yards in both Manchester and Jackson, Michigan.
Manchester Ready Mix Company was founded in 1954 and furnishes Ready Mix Concrete within a 15-mile radius of Manchester.
The three corporations employ approximately 50 people.
The Manchester Stamping Corp. is relatively new to the community. The small Brooklyn Plant was bought by three Manchester men, Ted Stautz, now president, Eugene Bentschneider and Clarence Fielder, in 1963. The business and equipment was purchased from Brannock Construction of Brooklyn.
In February, 1966, the Stamping Corporation was moved into their new building, one mile west of Manchester on Austin Road.
The plant produces all types of metal stamping for numerous industries such as automotive, household, electrical and refrigeration. Products are shipped throughout this area and to Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana.
The 7,000 sq. ft. cement block building is geared to production which is operated by semi- and non skilled help. Stamping that can be produced on punch presses up to 150 ton can be handled by the Manchester operation.
The Manchester Tool & Die started in business at 124 South Macomb St. in the garage of Clarence Fielder and the firm was incorporated in 1954. Eugene Bentschneider, now vice president, was the first to give up his regular job to work full time for Tool & Die. Fielder is president and Ted Stautz is secretary-treasurer.
They put up a 900 sq. ft. building in 1955 at the present location at 110 Division St., Manchester, one block from the High School.
As the business expanded, three additions have been added. The cement block structure has 6,000 sq. ft. of working area.
The company's 16 employees produce blanking and form dies for all types of metal parts, trim dies, die cast parts and special machinery and fixtures for various applications.
The Thornton operation is in the location of the building which was the Manchester Ford Plant on East Austin Road at the village limits. Ray F. Thornton, president of the Manchester Products Co., is an inventor, Thornton has been named by the Michigan Patent Law Association as one of Michigan's outstanding living inventors.
The plant manufactures the Thornton Tandem Four-Wheel Drive, among other things.
Mr. Thornton invented and developed the SpicerThornton Powr-Lok Differential used by Packard in 1956 and later produced by Dana Corporation of Fort Wayne, Ind. He applied for his first patent at the age of 16 years—a gadget to lift valve pins from Model T engines.
Among the things now under study at the plant is a new processing machine for frying bacon and safety devices for cars, which are in the experimental stages.
In 1930, Luther C. Klager and his brother Erwin started the Klager Hatchery on the family farm in Bridgewater. Now it is the largest producer of egg type baby chicks in Michigan.
The four incubators have a capacity of 210,000 eggs—50,000 chicks a week. Pullet chicks supply replacement pullets to egg production farms in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.
The operation used to hatch 32 different breeds. Now they hatch only one-a layer type. Other changes are that today most of the consumers are commercial operations. Ten years ago, general farmers bought from 100 to 1,000 baby chicks and raised them, selling eggs and chickens on regular routes.
Klager contracts a number of farmers to produce the pullets under their supervision and the hatchery delivers around 650,000 ready to lay pullets per year. Their largest customer now has 75,000 layers. Today 98% of all layers are in cages which house 2 to 9 birds. Growing birds are also raised in cages.
The hatchery employs 11 full-time and several part-time employees.
Merit Products Corp. at 9050 M-52, at Rowes Corners north of Manchester, has been in operation for four years. Walter E. Miller, with eight years experience, heads the business. The firm works in fiberglas fabrication, designing and developing; and specializes in fiberglas truck covers.
Fiberglas boats are a specialty at the plant and are made according to specification with plans on the drawing board.
The plant employs five.