Former Bon Ami Factory, Manchester

Former Bon Ami Factory, Manchester
– Daniel Sterner,

Manchester, in Hartford County, is located in north-central Connecticut. First known as Five Mile Track, and later as Orford, or Charlotte, it was settled in 1672 and incorporated from part of East Hartford in 1823. The Hockanum River provided the waterpower that made it an early center of textile manufacturing and home to Cheney Brothers Mills, the world’s largest silk factory complex, which provided Manchester with its nickname, the Silk City. An early industrial town, Manchester produced everything from paper to repeating rifles and glass. In the latter-half of the twentieth century, industry greatly declined, however, and today the town is largely a regional center of retail commerce.


Cheney Brothers Mills

The Cheney Brothers’ Rise in the Silk Industry

Building a business on the back of an insect may seem foolish but for Manchester’s Cheney Brothers silk mill, it became the ticket to global success. …[more]

Learn More


Department of Energy & Environmental Protection. “Hop River State Park Trail,” 2017. Link.
“Manchester Historical Society,” 2012. Link.
Connecticut Freedom Trail. “Walter Bunce House,” 2012. Link.


“Manchester Collection.” Connecticut Digital Archive, n.d. Link.
Hughes & Bailey. “View of Manchester, Conn.” New York: Hughes & Bailey, 1914. University of Connecticut Libraries, Map and Geographic Information Center - MAGIC. Link.
O.H. Bailey & Company. “View of South Manchester, Conn.” Bird’s-eye. Boston, MA: Bailey & Company, 1880. University of Connecticut Libraries, Map and Geographic Information Center - MAGIC. Link.


Buckley, William. A New England Pattern the History of Manchester, Connecticut. Chester,  CT: Pequot Press, 1973.
Spiess, Mathias, and Percy Wells Bidwell. History of Manchester, Connecticut. South Manchester,  CT: Centennial Committee of the Town of Manchester, 1924.
Adams, Milton K., Anthony J. Thibeau, and Manchester Historical Society. Old Manchester III, Manchester Green. South Windsor, CT: Engineering Printing Services, 1997.