The Cheney Brothers Historic District

The Cheney Brothers National Historic Landmark District was established in 1978 through a designation by the U.S. Department of the Interior and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Cheney Brothers Historic District map
Detail of the Cheney Brothers Historic District map, click image for map and key

The District extends for about 1.25 miles from east to west and about 0.6 miles from north to south and covers approximately 175 acres. It encompasses all of the existing Cheney Brothers silk mills, the 1785 Cheney family homestead, several 19th and 20th century mansions built for the Cheney family, schools, churches, and halls built by Cheney Brothers for their employees, and over 275 residential structures built for company workers and their families.

The Cheney Brothers National Historic District Commission was originally established to initiate a study for the rehabilitation of the mill complex. It has evolved into an advisory group to the Town of Manchester and also advises property owners in the District on appropriate renovation and restoration of structures in the District.

Cultural Facilities

The District is home to several cultural institutions representing performing arts and history and house museums.

Cheney Hall which was built in 1867 by Cheney Brothers as a meeting facility and social hall, now functions as a venue for meetings, theater, entertainment and social events.

The Cheney Homestead, where the brothers who began the silk business were born and raised, is now a museum open to the public. The 1751 one-room Keeney Schoolhouse has been recreated on the grounds of the Homestead and is also a museum.

The Fire Station built by Cheney Brothers in 1901 to protect the mill complex and surrounding areas is now home to the Connecticut Fireman’s Historical Society and a museum dedicated to preserving the State’s fire history.

The Cheney School built in 1859 is now the home of the Manchester Historical Society’s Old Manchester Museum of local history.

Periodic Walking Tours

The Manchester Historical Society periodically gives walking tours of the Cheney Brothers National Historic Landmark District.

A two-page printable walking tour brochure, developed in the 1980s and 1990s by Manchester Community College professors John Sutherland, Tom Lewis, and Sylvian Ofiara, is available by clicking: District Walking Tour. The illustrated brochure includes a map.

page content above from the Manchester Historical Society website

header image: Cheney Family Homestead, photo postcard c.1905