Originally the Five Miles bought by Hartford from the Indians, 1682. First settlement, about 1673. Chartered by General Assembly as Orford Parish, 1772. Incorporated as tow pi Manchester 1823.
An early center of small industry, its mills produced powder for the American army during the Revolution, paper on which the Connecticut Courant printed the news of the battle of Lexington, and army blankets for the War of 1812.
Later the great Cheney Mills made Manchester the silk capital of the nation. Here Christopher Spencer developed the first successful magazine repeating rifle. Here was established under town auspices the second community college in Connecticut.
The site of this marker has been a civic and religious center for two centuries. Nearby stood the remodeled dwelling which served as the first church in the Five Miles. Here the Ecclesiastical Society of Orford Parish, now the Center Congregational Church, began its first church building, 1774. To the east a Methodist Church was erected, 1822. For many years town meetings were held in these churches. The second Center Church, purchased by the town, 1879, became Manchester's first town hall. Just to the south the first Episcopal Church was built, 1846. The Center Academy, an early secondary school, stood
Erected by the Manchester Historical Society
and the Connecticut Historical Commission