When Manchester was incorporated as a town in 1850, it was originally named Kennebec, but mail addressed there often went to Kennebunk, Maine instead. After part of its land was given to Winthrop, Augusta, Litchfield, Hallowell, and Readfield in 1854, it was renamed Manchester to honor Manchester, Massachusetts, the hometown of some of its residents.
The central part of town was known as "The Forks." It's where seven roads meet: Winthrop Road, Pond Road, Kerns Hill Road, Hallowell Road, Augusta Road, Puddledock Road, and Readfield Road.
Manchester lies near the center of Kennebec County, on the west side of the Kennebec River, separated from it by the town of Farmingdale, the city of Hallowell, and western Augusta. Sidney and Belgrade border it on the north, Readfield and Winthrop to the west.
During the 1800s, a historian wrote, "The principal employment of the inhabitants is agriculture, which is carried on more scientifically and successfully than in most towns. Probably the finest orchards in the state are found here."
Now a suburb of Augusta, the town has substantial frontage on the northern half of Cobbosseecontee Lake. This part of the lake, with its many islands and accessible shoreline, has numerous vacation cottages and year-round homes nestled around it.
In the early 1980s, when political tensions surrounding a potential nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union were high, the town received international press. Samantha Smith, a student at Manchester Elementary School, became famous for receiving a reply from Soviet President Yuri Andropov to a letter she wrote him in 1982 asking him if he would start a nuclear war against the United States.
2,580 (2010 U.S. Census)
Manchester Elementary School (Pre-Kindergarten through grade 5)
- Cobbosseecontee Lake
- The Jamie's Pond Wildlife Management Area is located northeast of the Cobbosseecontee Stream outlet from the lake. This 840-acre property, maintained by the Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, offers trails throughout Hallowell, Farmingdale, and Manchester. In Manchester, there is access from both Collins Road and Meadow Hill Road. There is seasonal access to Jamie's Pond for hand-carried watercraft at the parking lot on the Pond.
Points of Interest:
- Lakeside Orchards. This treasure inclues nearly 190 acres of conserved orchards along Route 17. The orchard sells applies, cider, Maine crafts and products, and offers wagon rides and apple picking from the weekend after Labor Day to Columbus Day.
- The Devil's Footprint. Legend has it part of a stone wall around Case Cemetery contains a "fossilized footprint" of the devil.
- Mulligan's Market, known for its lobster rolls and pizza.
- Fielder's Choice Ice Cream, a popular ice cream parlor.
Manchester Town Office 12 Readfield Road P.O. Box 18 Manchester, ME 04351
- Coolidge, Austin Jacobs and Mansfield, John Brainard. A.J. Coolidge, 1859. A History and Description of New England, General and Local.
- The Encyclopedia of Maine. Manchester.
- The Town of Manchester, Maine.
- The Town of Manchester, Maine: 2011 Annual Report.
- Varney, George J. A Gazetteer of the State of Maine: History of Manchester, Maine. Boston: B.B. Russell. 1886.
- Wikipedia. Manchester, Maine.