Manchester, Virginia: Wikis

  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Richmond is often subdivided into North Side, Southside, East End and West End

Manchester, Virginia was a former county seat of Chesterfield County, Virginia in the United States between 1870 and 1876.

Originally known as Manastoh and later Rocky Ridge, it was located on the south bank of the James River at the fall line opposite the state capital city of Richmond on the north side of the river. Manchester was an active port city, and was a port of entry for slave ships principally in the 18th century. The port shipped out tobacco and coal which was transported 13 miles overland from the Midlothian-area mines on the Manchester Turnpike, first paved toll road in Virginia in 1807, and the Chesterfield Railroad, the state's first in 1831. Manchester became an incorporated town in 1769 and an independent city in 1874. In 1910, it merged by mutual agreement with the larger state capital City of Richmond, achieving another "first" as the earliest of Virginia's independent cities to lose its identity and become one of the Lost cities of Virginia.

In modern times, "Old Manchester" is considered a neighborhood of Richmond. Many vestiges of its past are clearly visible, notably the courthouse, the Hull Street business district, a number of historic houses, and several former railroad and street railway buildings. As part of the community's African American heritage, a "slave trail" traces the route into the downtown area from where the slave ships are believed to have docked along the river. Interstate 95, and four other major highways, U.S. Routes 1, 60, 301 and 360 all cross the James River and enter downtown Richmond from Manchester.

Contents

Rocky Ridge, seaport, mills and railroads

Factories at Manchester, Virginia, looking across James River, circa 1865

As a result of the Second Anglo-Powhatan War, in 1645 the Virginia Colony's House of Burgesses provided for Fort Charles to be built and garrisoned at the Falls of the James, to protect the frontier. After two years, Fort Charles was relocated to the south side, to the high ground above the later Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Bridge, on a tract owned by Capt. Thomas Harris. This land was then still known by its native name, Manastoh, but was thereafter renamed Rocky Ridge by the English.[1] Rocky Ridge in 1769 became an incorporated town on Chesterfield County, with the name of Manchester.

Manchester grew to become a major seaport in the 17th through 19th centuries, as did its neighbor Richmond on the north bank of the river. Both were located at the head of navigation of the tidal James River at the geological fall line. Above that point, the river consists of seven miles of rapids before becoming more navigable again west of Richmond, although much shallower.

Before the American Revolutionary War, tobacco industries made the town their home. It was also known as a major slave market. Manchester was commercially successful primarily due to its agricultural mills and docks.

From northwestern Chesterfield County, coal from the Midlothian area 13 miles west was transported to the docks at Manchester, first on the Manchester Turnpike, a toll road and Virginia's first graveled road of any length completed in 1807. Later, beginning in 1831, the congested turnpike was supplemented by the gravity and mule-powered Chesterfield Railroad, the first railroad in Virginia, partially engineered and funded by the Virginia Board of Public Works. For its final several miles, the line followed present-day Maury Street, which was the southern border of Manchester for many years. It crossed over the steam-powered Richmond and Petersburg Railroad (later Atlantic Coast Line Railroad) tracks (now abandoned) on a high trestle between what is now Clopton Street and Jefferson Davis Highway. When the new Richmond and Danville Railroad (R&D) was completed between Manchester and Coalfield Station (now Midlothian) in 1851, the older Chesterfield Railroad was unable to compete and portions were acquired by the R&D, with the remainder dismantled before the Civil War took place.

County seat of Chesterfield County

During Reconstruction, Manchester was briefly the county seat of Chesterfield County, from 1870 until 1876. County voters approved the move from Chesterfield Court House, Virginia, and the cornerstone of the new courthouse was laid on March 31, 1871.[2] The former courthouse complex on Hull Street is now the Manchester Division of the Richmond City courts.

Manchester became an independent city in 1874, and was therefore no longer technically located in Chesterfield County. In the election that year, county voters were again asked if they wished to relocate the county seat elsewhere, but rejected a move following a heated campaign, by a vote of 1,442 to 388. However, when the question of a move came up once again on the 1876 ballot, voters approved, 1290 to 772, a return to Chesterfield Courthouse, which became effective on July 1 that year.[3]

Manchester agrees to consolidate with Richmond

For over 250 years, the James River divided Richmond on the north bank from its sister, Manchester, located on the south bank. A major issue for Manchester and Richmond residents in the 19th and early 20th century were the toll ferries and toll bridges over the James River. The latter were subject to frequent destruction by ice flows and flooding on the river.

There were periodic talks and negotiations for over 35 years between the cities before, in 1910, Manchester agreed to a political consolidation with the much larger independent City of Richmond. Richmond's better-known name was used for both areas as it contained the location of Virginia's state capital. Two of the key features of the consolidation agreement were requirements that a "free bridge" across the James River be built and that the separate courthouse in Manchester be maintained indefinitely. Instead of barrier between neighboring cities, under the consolidation, the James River became the centerpiece of the expanded Richmond.

Today, Manchester is recognized as a historic district in state and national registers. Although Manchester is extinct as an independent city, vestiges can be found in the Manchester Bridge, Manchester Slave Trail, and the Manchester Courthouse. Manchester and other areas of the City of Richmond south of the James River are locally referred to as "South Richmond", "Southside Richmond" or simply "Southside."

See also

References

  1. ^ Francis Earl Lutz, 1954, Chesterfield: An Old Virginia County, p. 49.
  2. ^ Lutz, p. 277
  3. ^ Lutz, p. 282

Coordinates: 37°31′16″N 77°26′39″W / 37.52111°N 77.44417°W / 37.52111; -77.44417


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

MANCHESTER, a former city of Chesterfield county, Virginia, U.S.A., (on the S. side of the James river), since 1 9 10 a part of Richmond. Pop. (1900), 9715, of whom 3338 were negroes; (1906 estimate), 9997 It is served by the Atlantic Coast Line, the Seaboard Air Line, and the Southern railways, by electric lines to Richmond and Petersburg, and by numerous river boats. It is finely situated in a bend of the river, with about 2 m. of water front; on the heights above is Forest Hill park, a pleasure resort, and adjacent to it Woodland Heights, a beautiful residential district. From the surrounding country come much agricultural produce, coal, lumber, bricks and granite. There is a good harbour and excellent water power. Among the manufactures are paper, flour, cotton goods, leather,brick,railway supplies, &c. The value of the city's factory products increased from $1,621,358 in 1900 to $3,226,268 in 1905, or 90%.


<< Manchester, New Hampshire

Manchester Ship Canal >>








Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message