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[†] Adaptation copyright © 2010, The Gombach Group.Description The Cheney Brothers Historic District encompasses approximately 175 acres and includes the 18th-century Cheney Family Homestead, several 19th-century mansions built by the Cheney Brothers and their descendants, some two dozen mill buildings dating from as early as 1886, several schools and churches either built by the Cheneys or situated on land donated by them, and about 210 individual and multifamily mill houses either constructed or purchased by the Cheney Brothers Manufacturing Company between 18 for use by its mill operatives.Highlighting the tower are brick quoins, belting, and corbeling plus round-arched front windows and occasional keystones.Apparently sometime after initial construction the spaces separating the four main edifices were partially enclosed to create additional work areas.

At the west end a small three-story addition houses the offices of Cheney Brothers, Inc.Collectively these form what Harper's Weekly editor Henry Loomis Nelson described in 1890 as "in many respects..most attractive mill village in the country." Nelson was impressed especially with the community's park-like surroundings; absence of fences, pigsties, chicken coops, and litter; and rows of neat, well-kept workers' residences which represented "every phase of the spirit of rural architecture."[1] If today he could return to South Manchester, which is part of the town of Manchester, probably he would be pleased that relatively few physical changes have occurred in the Cheney Brothers Historic District.He might not be pleased, however, that the village is considered by many historians, like Ruth O. Anderson, as an excellent example of the "benevolent paternalism" of many 19th and early 20th century textile mill owners.[2] For while recognizing South Manchester as atypical in beauty and comfort, Nelson applauded the Cheneys as the creators of "not such a model village as a family would erect as a monument to its own benevolence" but "a community of friendly neighbors and good citizens."[3] According to Buckley, both "welfare capitalism" and "civic responsibility" contributed to the Cheney family's development of South Manchester.Three years later the company built Taylor Reservoir to provide water for its factories and fire protection for both the mills and nearby houses, and in 1889 it organized the subsidiary South Manchester Water Company which erected more reservoirs and eventually furnished water for most of the community.Later Cheney Brothers' Manchester Electric Company supplied electricity for the entire town.

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