Images of America:  Manchester-by-the-Sea

by Stephen Roberts Holt


By Stephen Roberts Holt

Local architect and author, Stephen Roberts Holt, documents Manchester's historic past with vintage photographs from the Manchester Historical Society and previously unpublished photographs from his private collection.

Known as the first landing place of the Massachusetts Bay Colony settlers, Manchester-by-the-Sea has a rich history dating back to the 1600’s. It is most notably famous for its historic Gilded Age summer colony. Stephen Holt uses over 200 images to explain how Manchester developed from a small settlement founded by Roger Conant in 1623 into the well-known suburb of Boston that it is today.

Stephen Holt’s roots in Manchester-by-the-Sea date back to 1626, when one of his ancestors built a home at Jeffrey’s Creek. Successive generations continued to build and shape the town, and in 1880, Roberts and Hoare, builders of Manchester’s Gilded Age estates, was founded by his great-grandfather. Today, he continues the family tradition with his own architectural firm located in one of the historic homes featured in this latest book in the “Images of America” series published by Arcadia Publishing.

The book includes 127 pages of historic pictures, paintings and drawings that date back to the 17th century in a format that is highly visual and captures the spirit of Manchester in an easy-to-read little volume. The book’s cover shows a family in 1915 having a picnic on Singing Beach in front of Eagle Head. It’s a photograph, one of many from Holt’s personal collection, that reveals intimate details of life in Manchester that have never been published.

Mansions, cottages and private estates built in the late 1800’s by the wealthy and yachting community are a highlight, as well as some fascinating early photos of Singing Beach bathers. Part of the book also emphasizes the recent movement toward saving what is left of, as well as the renewal of many historic properties.

To accompany the book, Arcadia Publishing has used fifteen antique pictures from the collection of The Manchester Historical Society to produce postcards that explore the Manchester’s celebrated pas in it’s, Postcards of America Series.

Stephen Roberts Holt, a distinguished architect, graduated from the Yale School of Architecture and is the principal of his own firm located at 24 Bridge Street in Manchester. Despite authoring a book for the town, Holt says his passion still lies with designing architecture and he will continue the family business of making new buildings and renovating existing ones.

Arcadia Publishing’s, Images of America Series, “Manchester-by-the-Sea,” is now on sale at local retailers and online bookstores both in a collection of postcards and a book.