Ray Berg

Sesquicentennial recap – part 1

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What a great set of events over the last 10 days! On behalf of the Manchester Sesquicentennial Festival planning committee, THANK YOU to all who attended our series of activities celebrating the 150th anniversary of the incorporation of Manchester as a village in the State of Michigan. We particularly thank the event organizers who worked with us from June 2016 onward to decide on which activities to host, to plan out all the details, and to work tirelessly to bring it all about. Our ticketed events were at capacity, and we hosted many people from out of town, including former Manchester residents and family groups who came back this past weekend to reconnect. And people learned how to say “sesquicentennial!”

This article is the first in a series which will recap the Sesquicentennial events. We will be publishing a Sesquicentennial Commemorative Book this fall which will contain historical information on Manchester’s founding (1833), the time around its incorporation (1867), the “movers and doers of 1867,” all sorts of interesting tidbits on Manchester’s early history gained from recent research, “then and now” photos, a complete record of the Sesquicentennial events with photographs, and information on our Sesquicentennial sponsors. We’ll publicize the availability of this book, and where to purchase it, in various print and social media.

Saturday, July 29, 2017 – Fashion Show and High Tea
We began our celebration with a fashion show highlighting clothing styles covering a 100-year period beginning in the 1860s, accompanied by lunch, dessert and tea, at the Manchester United Methodist Church. Teresa Benedict-Miller, assisted by many helpers, clothes donors, and models, led the review of men’s and women’s styles with actual clothing contributed from Manchester residents. The delicious meal was prepared by Joe and Rose Christensen, assisted by a bevy of slicers, servers and support staff.

This event sold out at 180 tickets, and was a great start to our Sesquicentennial activities!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017- Opening Reception and Program
Our Sesquicentennial celebration officially kicked off with “three taps” of the Manchester Area Historical Society gavel, and was held at the MAHS Kingsley-Jenter House at 302 E. Main, our new community meeting place which is undergoing continuing renovations and improvements. The evening centered on a presentation by Ray Berg of the MAHS entitled “Manchester – 1867,” to give attendees a sense of the nature of our town, events, key personalities, and issues of that time. Manchester was a boom town in 1867, with substantial residential and commercial growth underway.

The attendance was estimated at 70+ persons, standing room only in the main Kingsley-Jenter hall. Attendees also had a first look at Sesquicentennial items for sale, including the 1870 DeVolson Wood detailed map of Manchester, the 1872 Birds-Eye View, the Historic Home Tour book, commemorative pins and other merchandise. The reprint of the October 7, 1869 Manchester Enterprise, the earliest existing print version of our town’s paper, was shown, and it was announced would be available through period-dressed newspaper “criers” throughout the coming week.

We were also pleased to host several of our local 1867 townspeople through re-enactors, including Matilda Wilson Kingsley and Jeremiah Corey, as well as other guests in period clothing.

Sesquicentennial organizer Ray Berg holds up the 1869 reprint of the Manchester Enterprise.

The Kingsley-Center House was packed with standing room only for the Sesquicentennial opening program Wednesday evening.

Thursday, August 3, 2017 – Industry Tech Walk, Farmers Market, Emanuel UCC Ice Cream Social, and Gazebo Concert
The day’s events began with the Industry Tech Walk from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Four of Manchester’s manufacturers opened their doors, and welcomed guests for a plant tour and explanation of what they make in our town. Tours started at each plant on the hour, and were timed so that any person could visit and drive between each of the four plants in the four-hour period. The manufacturers reported good crowds and strong interest at the different tour times.

On the tour route were:

  • Fastener Advance Products at 750 Hogan Road/M-52 is a producer of specialized pierce nuts and die buttons used in automobile manufacturing and assembly. Visitors saw a slide show explaining the process and reasons for these unique products, viewed samples, and toured the plant manufacturing floor watching the process in action. Fastener Advance Products serves a wide variety of automotive companies and suppliers.

    Fastener Advance Products – On the Shop Floor with Nicolas Epperson

  • CEI Composite Materials, 800 E. Duncan St., is a manufacturer of architectural cladding systems and pre-engineered modular structures. Visitors could see and touch samples of the products, learn the advantages of these types of cladding panels in building design, and tour the plant to see the processes used in manufacturing the panels. Their building exterior on Duncan Street showcases their product.

    CEI Composites – Jeff Henry CEO Explaining the Design Process

  • Post Production Solutions, 110 Division St., offers complete machining and fabrication capabilities, as well as process improvements for existing machinery, for special equipment in the automotive, agricultural, military and medical fields. Visitors were shown a slide presentation of the complete process from concept/needs analysis, through detailed design and fabrication. Several examples were demonstrated on the shop floor.

    Ted Roberts Showing Equipment at PPS

  • Obertron Electronic Manufacturing, 10098 M-52 south of Bethel Church Rd., is an electronic printed circuit board manufacturer, providing custom designed electronic boards for specific customer applications. The tour included viewing examples of actual circuit boards and an explanation of the process involved. Visitors then toured the shop floor and got an up-close look at the sophisticated machinery used in producing these boards at a high output rate.

    Obertron – Brad Oberleiter Demonstrating Equipment

We appreciate our local companies opening their doors and inviting us in!

The Sesquicentennial spirit was then augmented Thursday by three traditional Manchester Thursday night summer events:

Farmers Market
Our regular Thursday afternoon Farmers Market relocated to Wurster Park this week to join in the many activities centered on the “Village Green” for the Sesquicentennial. Our usual farm and crafts vendors were supported by a Kids Corner event, with games and prizes, and several other groups enjoying the Sesquicentennial crowd. Other activities this evening around the gazebo drew in family groups and boosted the Farmers Market presence at this location.

Emanuel United Church of Christ Ice Cream Social
The traditional summer season’s last Ice Cream Social occurred at the Emanuel Church Fellowship Hall and adjoining lawn, with the traditional serving of meat, vegetables, salad, drinks, and of course free cake and ice cream! Much good camaraderie and happy spirits.

Gazebo Concert
Our final gazebo concert of the season, sponsored by the Riverfolk Music and Arts Organization, featured a truly special group, the Dodworth-Saxhorn Band of Ann Arbor. Brought in especially for the Sesquicentennial week, this band, headquartered in Ann Arbor, is America’s Premier 19th Century Brass Band. Presenting performances in the context of the social and political issues of the time, the DSB recreates the music and atmosphere of a 19th Century community brass band. We heard music, stories and words from the post-Civil War period covered by our Sesquicentennial celebration. A complete program was printed and distributed to the audience for the sing-along and dance segments.

The DSB is modeled after the Dodworth Band of New York City, which was the premier brass band in the United States from the 1840s to the 1880s. In keeping with its living history origins, the DSB uses only brass and percussion instruments that were built in the 1800s. A large crowd enjoyed this show!

To Be Continued in Part 2, Next Week…

Watch for The Manchester Mirror next week (on-line and in print) for a continuing recap of the many events that occurred Saturday, Sunday and Monday at our 150th Sesquicentennial celebration!

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