Ebb Valley Elementary School

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Manchester History


Manchester is located in a geographic region known as the Piedmont Plateau. It is characterized by undulating hills that form the first major ridges east of the Appalachian Mountains. The highest elevations in Carroll County are just north of Manchester where a belt of hills along Dug Hill Ridge (off Deep Run Road) peak at 1118 feet above sea level.

 Prior to European settlement, Native Americans resided in the Manchester area. Archaeologists have identified the Susquehannocks as the primary tribe to inhabit this region. The Susquehannocks were associated with the Iroquois tribes although they broke off from the Iroquois and did not become part of the Iroquois Confederation. In the 19th century, the Shower family owned the land near Ebb Valley School and Dr. Jacob Shower recorded a family reminiscence that a band of Native Americans numbering about 60 to 70 resided on this land up to the year 1750 or 1751. Chief Macanappy led this band of Indians, but the tribe departed when the Chief and his wife become old and incapacitated.

In 1737, an early Indian trail was laid out as the first official road in this region when Baltimore County appointed Robert Owings to clear out the road laid out by surveyor Christopher Gist. This road was known as the Conewago Road linking the area in Baltimore County now known as Reisterstown with the Pennsylvania community of Conewago. This road is known today as Route 30 – Hanover Pike.

The establishment of the Conewago Road brought the first settlers to this region. The majority settlement pattern was Pennsylvania Germans who moved south from the Lancaster and York vicinity. Land was also patented by settlers of English origin from Tidewater Maryland. By 1760, there were a sufficient number of German settlers that they banded together to form the “German Churche” and acquire land that was later to become the center of Manchester. In 1765, an Englishman named Richard Richards acquired the land adjoining the “German Churche” parcel, which he later laid out in lots that still form the nucleus of the current town. By the late 1790’s, these lots became popular for local craftsman and businesses that led to the growth of a vital commercial center. Early discovery of iron ore locally brought a railroad line to the area. The Bachman Valley Railroad, a branch of the Western Maryland, served a number of the mining operations between Ebbvale and Lineboro. Early discovery of iron ore locally brought a connection to PA railroad lines to Ebb Valley Station; the line was closed when the mines became unprofitable. The railroad cut where the Bachman Valley Railroad crossed Route 30 just north of Tracey’s Mill Road is still visible. Also nearby was the Baltimore & Hanover Railroad. The company that controlled and operated this railroad was organized in the year 1877. It connected the Western Maryland Railroad at Emory Grove with the Bachman Valley Railroad near Black Rock Station, in York County, and these constituted, with the Hanover Junction, Hanover & Gettysburg Railroad, a continuous line from Baltimore to Gettysburg. (Adapted from History of Adams County, Chapter XI, Adams County, PA, contributed for use in the US Gen Web Archives by Kathy Francis. Copyright 2005. All rights reserved. http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/pa/adams/)

It’s location along two major wagon roads made Manchester the primary commercial center in this region through much of the 19th century. Most of the housing stock along Main Street was constructed in this era and consists of a mixture of log (originally covered in siding), stone and brick architecture built in the vernacular tradition of Piedmont Maryland. Manchester’s vitality as a commercial center waned in the early 20th century when Hampstead was able to attract a railroad station at the center of town. But as the railroad declined in the mid-20th century and the automobile became the supreme form of the region’s transportation network, Manchester again became a major growth center – this time as a residential community for commuters to the Baltimore region.