O P I N I O N
Over the past several months, I’ve seen an increasing amount of people comment about how awful Manchester is, how bad it has become, or why they moved away from Manchester. (I’ve especially seen this with online comments as well as on social media and in response to various stories about Manchester). I usually engage the commenter by asking if they’re involved and follow-up by making suggestions as to how to get involved. My thought process is simple: if you don’t like something, work to make change. Changes may not happen quickly, but we need to stick to it because eventually the change will happen. More often than not, the person doesn’t respond back or calls me something that my nana would have threatened to wash my mouth out with soap for.
So I’ve decided to write about reasons that I love Manchester. I have lived in my adopted hometown for a total of about 27 years, (more than half my life). Plus, even though I spent the first almost 8 years of my life living in nearby Raymond, my mom and nana worked in the city so we did pretty much everything here. We also have a good amount of family history in our city, even before my nana. She used to tell me stories of her growing up here and the family coming from Canada to work at the mills. The connection to our city’s past that was shared with me by my nana is one reason why I love the history of our city so much. Plus I believe that one truly needs to understand history – and its context – to be able to move forward. If we don’t learn from our history, we are bound to make the same mistakes again…mistakes like disco. 😀
I saw Manchester from the early ’70s to now and love it. Manchester has changed…a lot, and there are issues that we need to work together to solve, but I choose to take the good with the bad and fight for what I love. And yes, we chose to return to Manchester and raise our family.
So why do I love Manchester?
History and Innovation
Manchester has a rich history and a lot of innovation.
From the first European settlement in the early 18th century to today, Manchester has undergone many changes and has faced many challenges, but has always come back stronger. Manchester has had many obstacles, including the closure of Amoskeag to the Great Flood, the Hurricane of ‘38, the Great Depression, the Blizzard of ‘78, and the banking crisis of ‘91. As I often say, Manchester is truly the city that won’t die.
Manchester has always been home to innovation. From the time that Samuel Blodget constructed the first “Amoskeag Canal” in the early 19th century, which led to the creation of Amoskeag Manufacturing and made Manchester a textile powerhouse, our city has always been a hub of innovation. Other innovations that have come out of Manchester include the SpeeDee Service System, (created for McDonald’s restaurants by the McDonald brothers) and a system of using pigments instead of dyes to color nail enamel, (a revolutionary system created by Revlon, which was founded by Charles and Joseph Revson of Manchester along with Charles Lachman). The first video game console, licensed to Magnavox and Introduced as the Odyssey Home Game System, as well as the popular game Simon, were invented by Manchester resident Ralph Baer. More recently, we’ve had companies such as PillPack, that introduced a convenient and much safer way for people to take meds. (PillPack was purchased by Amazon in 2018), as well as a few companies founded by inventor Dean Kamen, including Segway and DEKA Research. And in the near future, a biofabrication cluster will be established in the Millyard. In other words, Manchester is to become the place where human organs are manufactured, potentially saving lives and wiping out the list of people waiting for organ transplants. Manchester will become the “Silicon Valley” of human organ manufacturing. (A vision of Dean Kamen’s that is coming closer to reality).
I also love how the city bounced back after the bankruptcy of Amoskeag Manufacturing to become the city that it is today.
Things to Do
We love that there is always something to do in our city, whether it be walking Downtown on a nice Saturday afternoon or enjoying one of many events that the city has to offer such as the St. Patrick’s Parade, Taco Tour, Independence Day Fireworks, Cruising Downtown, and of course the Holiday Parade, which was held this past Saturday. This year saw the return of the Sky Show with a new sponsor. The Sky Show was great and I hope it becomes an annual event. In addition, there are the races organized by Millenium Running as well as other sporting events such as NH Fisher Cats professional baseball, roller derby, semi-pro football, college, high school, and city league sports.
According to World Population Review, the current population of Manchester is 116,860 We are an increasingly diverse city with people from all socioeconomic backgrounds and circumstances. While historically, Manchester has not had a large multiethnic population, it is becoming more multiethnic as more people move here. I believe that having a diverse population is a good thing. I enjoy the growing diversity of our city and love the fact that we are able to honor our past as we move forward.
There are many more reasons why I love Manchester. And although I do love our city, recognize that there are issues that need to be addressed. As I often say, we need to take the bad with the good and enjoy where we live while getting involved and working together to find solutions for our problems.