One Piece of Manchester Land

A story by Robert Kanehl

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Story of Manchester - One piece of Manchester land

By Robert Kanehl

A parcel of land runs between East Center Street and Boulder Road along Pitkin Street. It comprises about 3 acres of wooded land, a white house, a red barn, and a small white office building. The years have been kind to his site.

While other parcels near it have been developed into housing lots and even multifamily housing, this one parcel has remained the way it appeared as the town started life. At that time 1823, the Pitkin family owned the land, who owned most of the land from what is today Porter Street to East Center Street.

Over the coming twenty years, the parcel had the small building constructed as a blacksmith shop. This shop eventually became the property of Daniel Wadsworth, who used the shop as part of the Cone-Wadsworth Carriage Company. Wadsworth also constructed the white house and the barn. The house dates from around 1840, and the barn replaced an older outbuilding around 1900.

Daniel’s daughter Anne took over the property in the early 1900s and held it until the 1930s. Then real estate agent Rubinow purchased the property and changed the house into a two-family home. Meanwhile, the small shop was reworked into a retail space and, over the years, featured various different shops, from woodworking to antique dealers.

In the late 1930s, Rubinow sold the whole parcel to John Larrabee. This owner used the small building to house his barbershop, and continued to rent the house, and used the barn for his horse. Older residents remembered seeing him ride that horse up and down Pitkin Street.

My father purchased the property from Larrabee in 1966. He moved his accounting practice into the barbershop building while placing his family into the house, the same house that I now own and live in.

Why is this so interesting?

In the 1930s, my grandfather, the builder, had approached Mr. Larrabee asking if he was interested in selling the parcel of land. At the time, Larrabee said no, but promised my grandfather that he would give him a call if he changed his mind.

Thirty years later, he called my father, asking if he was W. F. William’s son, for he had finally changed his mind about selling the property.

Today as we celebrate the 200th birthday of Manchester, that parcel stands unchanged, appearing as it did on the 100th birthday and almost as it had at the town's birth.

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