Manchester is the largest city in the state of New Hampshire, the tenth largest city in New England, and the largest city in northern New England – an area comprising the states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. It is in Hillsborough County along the banks of the Merrimack River, which divides the city into eastern and western sections. Manchester is located less than 60 miles north of Boston.
Incorporated as a city in 1846, Manchester would became home to the largest cotton mill in the world. Other products made in the community included shoes, cigars, and paper. The Amoskeag foundry made rifles, sewing machines, textile machinery, fire engines, and locomotives in a division called the Amoskeag Locomotive Works (later, the Manchester Locomotive Works). The rapid growth of the mills demanded a large influx of workers, resulting in a flood of immigrants, particularly French Canadians. Many current residents descend from these workers. The Amoskeag Manufacturing Company went out of business in 1935, although its red brick mills have been renovated for other uses. Indeed, the mill town’s 19th-century affluence left behind some of the finest Victorian commercial, municipal, and residential architecture in the state.
Nicknamed the Queen City, Manchester was named the “Number One Small City in the East” by Money magazine. The Mall of New Hampshire, on Manchester’s southern fringe near the intersection of Interstates 93 and 293, is the city’s main retail center. In 2001, the Verizon Wireless Arena (to be renamed the SNHU Arena in September of 2016), a venue seating more than 12,000, opened for major concerts and sporting events, enhancing the city’s downtown revitalization efforts with a major hotel and convention center already in place directly across the street from the arena.
Northeast Delta Dental Stadium is a baseball park located on the Merrimack River in downtown Manchester and is home to the local AA-affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. Historic Gill Stadium housed professional minor-league baseball into the early 21st century and continues to be a viable and popular downtown venue for many sporting and entertainment events, seating nearly 4,000 patrons, depending on the event format.
In recent years there has been continual redevelopment of the Amoskeag Millyard and its residential Historic District. The increasing popularity of downtown living has caused many properties originally built as tenement housing for mill workers in the 19th century to be converted to stylish, eclectic residential condominiums. Many new retail stores and higher education institutions, including the University of New Hampshire at Manchester, have been uniquely retro-fitted into properties along Commercial and Canal Street.
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