| United States|
35.0 sq mi
| New Hampshire|
Theodore Gatsas (R)
| Southern New Hampshire University|
Currier Museum of Art, Zimmerman House, Verizon Wireless Arena, Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, Americas Credit Union Museum
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 was first named by the merchant and inventor Samuel Blodget (after whom the Samuel Blodget Park in Manchester North is named). Blodgets vision was to create a great industrial center similar to that of Manchester in England, which was the worlds first industrialized city. It is located in Hillsborough County along the banks of the Merrimack River, which divides the city into eastern and western sections. Manchester is near the northern end of the Northeast megalopolis. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 109,565, and its 2013 population estimate was 110,378. The Manchester-Nashua metropolitan area, with an estimated population in 2013 of 403,985, is home to nearly one-third of the population of New Hampshire.
Manchester often appears favorably in lists ranking the affordability and livability of American cities. In 2009, CNNMoney.com rated Manchester 13th in a list of the 100 best cities to live and launch a business in the United States. In addition, Kiplinger voted Manchester the second most tax-friendly city in the United States, second only to Anchorage, Alaska. Also in 2009, Forbes magazine ranked the Manchester region first on its list of "Americas 100 Cheapest Places to Live." According to the Equality of Opportunity Project, released in 2013, Manchester ranked as the seventh best metropolitan area in terms of upward income mobility in the United States.
Pennacook Indians called it Namoskeag, meaning "good fishing place"—a reference to the Amoskeag Falls in the Merrimack River. In 1722, John Goffe III settled beside Cohas Brook, later building a dam and sawmill at what was dubbed Old Harrys Town. It was granted by Massachusetts in 1727 as Tyngstown to veterans of Queen Annes War who served in 1703 under Captain William Tyng. But at New Hampshires 1741 separation from Massachusetts, the grant was ruled invalid and substituted with Wilton, Maine, so Governor Benning Wentworth rechartered the town in 1751 as Derryfield. Derryfield remains a neighborhood in contemporary Manchester, along its easternmost area adjacent to Massabesic Lake.
In 1807, Samuel Blodget opened a canal and lock system to allow vessels passage around the falls. He envisioned here a great industrial center, "the Manchester of America", like the Industrial Revolutions Manchester in England, the first industrialized city in the world. In 1809, Benjamin Prichard and others built a cotton spinning mill operated by water power on the western bank of the Merrimack. Following Blodgetts suggestion, Derryfield was renamed Manchester in 1810, the year the mill was incorporated as the Amoskeag Cotton & Woolen Manufacturing Company. It would be purchased in 1825 by entrepreneurs from Massachusetts, expanded to 3 mills in 1826, and then incorporated in 1831 as the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company.
On the eastern bank, Amoskeag engineers and architects planned a model company town, founded in 1838 with Elm Street as its main thoroughfare. Incorporated as a city in 1846, Manchester would become home to the largest cotton mill in the world—Mill No. 11, stretching 900 feet (270 m) long by 103 feet (31 m) wide, and containing 4,000 looms. 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 towns 19th-century affluence left behind some of the finest Victorian commercial, municipal, and residential architecture in the state.
Manchester is nicknamed the Queen City, as well as the more recently coined "Manch Vegas". In 1998, Manchester was named the "Number One Small City in the East" by Money magazine. The Mall of New Hampshire, on Manchesters southern fringe near the intersection of Interstates 93 and 293, is the citys main retail center. In 2001, the Verizon Wireless Arena, a venue seating more than 10,000, opened for major concerts and sporting events, enhancing the citys downtown revitalization efforts with a major hotel and convention center already in place directly across the street from the arena.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 35.0 square miles (90.6 km2), of which 33.1 square miles (85.7 km2) is land and 1.9 square miles (4.8 km2) is water, comprising 5.33% of the city. Manchester is drained by the Merrimack River, the Piscataquog River and Cohas Brook. Massabesic Lake is on the eastern border. The highest point in Manchester is atop Wellington Hill, where the elevation reaches 570 feet (170 m) above sea level.
Manchester is northern New Englands largest city, and its metropolitan area is one of the fastest growing in New England. Its economy has changed greatly, as Manchester was a textile mill town about 40 years ago. In March 2009 Kiplinger voted Manchester the second most tax friendly city in America, after Anchorage, Alaska. Earlier in the year, CNN rated Manchester 13th in its 100 best places to live and launch a business in America.
Cultural landmarks include the historic Palace Theatre; the Currier Museum of Art; the New Hampshire Institute of Art; the Franco-American Center; the Manchester Historic Association Millyard Museum; the Massabesic Audubon Center; the Amoskeag Fishways Learning and Visitors Center; the Lawrence L. Lee Scouting Museum and Max I. Silber Library; and the SEE Science Center. Valley Cemetery, the resting place of numerous prominent citizens since 1841, is an early example of a garden-style burial ground.
The John F. Kennedy Memorial Coliseum is another, smaller venue located in downtown Manchester with a capacity of approximately 3,000 seats. It was completed in 1963, serves as home ice for the Manchester Central and Memorial High School hockey teams, and is home to the Southern New Hampshire Skating Club.
The nickname "ManchVegas" was derived from illegal gambling in local businesses during the late 1980s or early 1990s. Many pizza shops and local bars had video poker machines that would pay out real money. The nickname was coined following a city-wide bust of these machines. It was then adopted as a lampoon of the citys limited entertainment opportunities. The term has since become a source of pride as the citys entertainment scene has grown. By 2003 it was well enough known that a note on Virtualtourist.com said, "Residents reflect the regional dry humor by referring to sedate Manchester as ManchVegas." By 2005, an article in Manchesters Hippo (a local alternative weekly) said that then-Mayor Robert A. Baines "is pushing to replace the nickname ManchVegas with Manchhattan" (meaning Manchester+Manhattan). In 2009 the film Monsters, Marriage and Murder in ManchVegas was released referencing Manchesters popular nickname and using much of the city as its backdrop.
Manchester has a growing collective of artists, due in large part to the influx of young students at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, Southern New Hampshire University, and the University of New Hampshire at Manchester. Slam Free or Die, New Hampshires only weekly slam poetry venue, is located in Manchester and was voted "Best Poetry Venue in the World" by readers of Write Bloody Publishing.