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Manchester residents to form historical society

Like many longtime residents of picturesque communities in Kitsap County, the threat of large-scale development looms large in the minds of Manchester residents and preserving the village’s history weighs heavy on their hearts.

With much of Manchester’s downtown corridor having been purchased for further development, several community volunteers have banded together to create the Manchester Historical Society — before the evidence of a different way of life is lost.

“I think it’s the first formal move (ever) toward a historical society (in Manchester), but I know there are people in the community who have gathered pockets of information,” said Mary-Cathern Edwards, Manchester resident and one of the organizers, along with Ron Rada, of the new society. “We’re going to assemble a more complete history of Manchester.”

Edwards said that in addition to preserving articles, photos and artifacts, members will collect oral histories from some of Manchester’s oldest residents.

“I think it’s a real community-building project,” Edwards said. “I think there’s a lot of people out there who have a piece of the puzzle.”

As for why the formation of a historical society is in the works now, Edwards said she thinks it has to do with Manchester’s looming expansion and the formation of groups such as Friends of the Manchester Library, the Manchester Community Association and the Manchester Community Council.

“Manchester is growing and there are plans for development, and I think it’s a shock to some of us,” Edwards said. “(Subsequently), there have been various gatherings of people and we’re growing tighter as a community.”

Edwards said the actual organization of a group will be the hardest part, along with sustaining the society long-term.

“That’s where we’re learning,” Edwards said, adding she’s already been in contact with the Kitsap County Historical Society. “We don’t need to reinvent the wheel.”

Edwards and Rada will hold a meeting on Tuesday Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Manchester Library to get the project underway.

The meeting will focus on establishing a preliminary charter, the formation of a nonprofit corporation, preservation of articles, photos and artifacts, fundraising activities, membership drives and nomination of officers to the Board of Trustees.

Anyone interested in documenting and preserving the history of Manchester and the surrounding area is encouraged to attend.

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