Asked and Answered

Welcome to Thursday Doors! This is a weekly challenge for people who love doors and architecture to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos, drawings, or other images or stories from around the world. If you’d like to join us, simply create your own Thursday Doors post each (or any) week and then share a link to your post in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time). If you like, you can add our badge to your post.

First off, remember – there will be no Thursday Doors challenge next week (June 2nd) and no recap published on Sunday, June 5th. I will update the table of entries to the Thursday Doors Writing Challenge.

The Writing Challenge runs through Tuesday, May 31st. To date, we have collected twenty entries, and they are fine examples of creative writing and poetry.

It turns out the title I chose for today’s post was somewhat aspirational in nature. I had hoped to answer the questions people have asked during the weeks in which I’ve been sharing photos from Manchester, Connecticut. My effort wasn’t entirely successful, but I did find some answers.

Numerous people asked whether the Cheney brothers were benevolent or merely interested in improving profit. The sources I’ve read indicate that they followed newly emerging theories in workplace management that advocated building a healthy community in which their employees could thrive. They built or supported building schools, churches, parks, a fire department, public utilities, and the only family-owned railroad in the country. They offered meals at cost in company cafeterias and low-interest, long-term loans for employees to buy housing.

Several people asked if the Cheney family in Manchester, CT is related to the family of our former Vice President, Dick Cheney. The answer is yes, but it’s a distant link. The common ancestor is a man named Lawrence Cheney. He lived in England, and his two sons, William and John, sailed to Massachusetts in the 1630s. That would put them on-board with New England’s earliest arrivals. Dick Cheney is a descendant of William, while the Connecticut Cheneys trace their history to John.

There were a few questions about the Cheney Railroad and its purpose. First and foremost, the railroad connected the mill area to the main line railroad that traveled into Hartford. This connection brought raw material to the mill and send finished goods to market. The railroad was also used to carry Manchester school children to Hartford High School before Manchester had a high school. The railroad also ran on Sundays to carry resident to church. The train schedule was set each week, according to the service times specified by the priest.

I also received a couple of questions about the roof structures and windows. This, I could answer (and did) Those angled structures on the roof and the large expanse of windows in all the mills was to take advantage of natural light.

There were many questions about the weird looking steeple or spire on St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. I was not able to find a definitive answer, but similar spires are described as “lanterns” and some of those are illuminated on special occasions. I could find no evidence that this spire is or has been illuminated. There were other questions that I was not able to answer.

Oh well, a little mystery is good.

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  1. HI Dan, thanks for this interesting post, the commentary about the railway timetable being co-ordinated with the times of the services provided by the priest is fascinating. That would never happen now. The United Methodist Church is very interesting with the stonework. It looks like a façade rather than its actually built from stone.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Hi Dan – I commend you … you’ve brought the Cheneys to life … philanthropy was becoming very popular amongst factory owners and other large organisations in the 18th century here in England. Fascinating …and well done on giving us the low-down – cheers Hilary

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Hilary. I did read that the practices they engaged in were cropping up in other places and that there had even been papers published on the subject. It was fascinating to learn about all the things they did, and delightful to see that so much of the area remains standing and has been put to good use.


  3. The houses here make me want to go up and knock on the door and ask if I can stay to dinner and have dessert on the porch. That door snuggled into the corner looks like an afterthought, as though they forgot to include the door in the plan. Which makes it even better! What stories in these!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great post! The Cheney brothers were smart businessmen, but also in tune with what employees would need to live a decent life. I applaud them. I doubt any other mill owners came close to providing what the Cheney’s did for their employees.

    The Methodist church is an absolute work of art. Just beautiful. That corner door is a knockout! I love it. Lord knows no one would have any problem finding the orange house on the street. Wouldn’t be my choice of color, but sometimes bold is beautiful. Although I wouldn’t want to be looking at that house in bright sunlight with a hangover! 🤗

    Good to see so many buildings being repurposed and the way all these buildings are maintained,

    This was a grand tour from start to finish. Your history was fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You crack me up, Ginger. I may just refer to the orange house as the ‘hangover house’ from now on.

      I was fortunate to find so much information on the Cheney family, the mill and the history of how they grew this area as a community. The business ultimately failed, but the community and most of the mill buildings live on. IT looks like the mills, the other buildings and the houses were all built to last. I am so glad someone had the vision to get the area on the registry.

      The Methodist church has a convoluted history. There are two in town, north and south. Several people have written about the “Methodist church,” but it isn’t always clear which one they are talking about. Also, church history is separate from building history, and, as with a lot of churches I’ve seen, they don’t offer a lot of history of the building. I feel like tagging them with a TD-Ticket :-)

      Thanks for hanging in for the full tour. I hope you have a great holiday weekend.


  5. That orange house reminds me so much of visiting my grandparents in Canton, Ohio, when I was a child. Their house and lot were much smaller but the ambiance of the neighborhood was the same. And they had a very similar front porch.

    I’ve done a poem for Manja’s photo this week, plus I’ve supplied some more phantom doors to go along with it. (K)

    Unemployed (Thursday Doors)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Porches take me back to our first home. Our porch looked across at the porch of my favorite aunt. So many good nights were spent on and between those two porches. They didn’t look anything like that house, but they’re still nice memories.

      Thank you so much for adding to the collection of wonderful poetry for the writing challenge. I love your poem! I also like seeing the collection of ghost doors. They two themes go together well.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right about the win-win nature of what they did. It was starting to become a trend, but it didn’t seem to gain enough momentum throughout industry. It also seems to be something we lost along the way. The porches and the bright colors were my focus today, and that stone church.

      I loved your puzzling doors! I hope you have a great weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, your churches are all rather remarkable. United Methodist Church looks like something out of a fairy-tale. Enjoy your day off next week. I’m going to Slovenia so it will be good for me too, a little pause.

    Today is a friend’s birthday so I’m showing his photos of doors (and more) from his two visits in Tuscany.

    I’m posting my Thursday Doors Writing Challenge story too to Nina’s photo, but I couldn’t let two other photos sail by without adding a short poem to each. I hope you enjoy them, as much as I enjoyed your story to my door.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thanks for the wonderful information! It sounds like they were ahead of their time and contributed a lot to the community and its residents. But.. that pumpkin house! Woah! 😀The Methodist church looks grand, has a castle feel to it. The Broughton Cottage would be my favorite though.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Last I checked, the cottage was for sale for around $200,000 (which is cheap in that area). The orange house got my vote today. It makes such a statement. I doubt anyone would ever get lost trying to find it.

      I wish I knew more about the Methodist church, but the history is convoluted. There are two Methodist churches in town, north and south. Several people have written about the “Methodist church,” but it isn’t always clear which one they are talking about. Also, church history is separate from building history, and, as with a lot of churches I’ve seen, they don’t offer a lot of history of the building.


      • I only thought of the dollhouses because my dollhouse would fit nicely into this neighborhood I think. 😃

        I hope you guys have a great week-end as well. Ours is going to be on the cooler and windy side and maybe some rain, so I probably will be hanging near home.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Dan, that was thoughtful of you to research our questions. It seems like there were many besides mine! You have quite an eclectic assortment today. My favorite has to be the orange house. That house color might fit right in Sedona where the rocks are a reddish-orange. Here’s my post, linked to several challenges – I’ll miss you next week but have a great vacation.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Marsha. I figure if someone asks a question, others are probably wondering the same thing. It was fun trying to find the answers. I’m guessing the orange house wouldn’t stand out as much in Sedona. It pops in this neighborhood :-)

      Thanks for including Thursday Doors in your challenge post – you have some nice ones and a lot of lovely photos.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Dad. The orange house would pop anywhere, really – even Sedona because the architecture doesn’t fit Sedona even if the color does somewhat. Even the color is more muted in Sedona. Fabulous find, Dan.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. You did some really great research on the Cheney family, Dan. Putting their employees first–what a concept. The Boughton Cottage is so cute! We have a house in town that is painted shocking pink and turquoise and every time we pass it, we make the comment: Why would someone paint their house like that? But I look at that orange house and think, Isn’t that a great color?! Mums the word to hubs I said that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My lips are sealed, Lois. The research was fun. The skeptic in me kept thinking I was going to find some dark secret, but they seem to be the real deal. What a pleasant concept.

      I do like that little cottage. I had hoped it was preserved as a railroad museum, but it’s a private residence – darn.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This post is a keeper, Dan! Am impressed that you tried to find answers to the many questions that were asked. It has somewhat the feeling of a history class, and you being the teacher:) You have many great captures here. I noticed that the first building has so many windows (especially for that time). Love the several views of the yellow brick building:) Here is mine


    Liked by 1 person

    • That is an easy house to find in the rain, Teagan. I’ll be off Thursday, but, if I can think of a follow-up to Monday’s story, I might come back with the answer about those two pages before the 31st.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. The system the Cheney brothers used, worked and worked well and yet we don’t use it now. Now instead of working for the greater good we work for profit. That is the evil that permeates our world. How sad.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I had the same thought when I drove up, Ally. I hadn’t seen the sign yet, but I thought Methodist. The same thing happens when I see sharp pointed arched red doors – Episcopal church.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I was hoping that cottage was going to be a small museum of te Cheney Railroad. It’s a private residence :(

      You have a great collection of doors today, Jean.


  12. Seems to me your homework on answering questions is nicely done. I enjoyed the mixture of residential and business/apartment you shared this week. Hope you and yours have a nice holiday weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Dan, I enjoyed the stories of this town you have been telling over the weeks. The orange house looks a bit out of place in the austere look of the town, perhaps that was the intent of the owner.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m glad you’ve enjoyed these stories, Valentina. It’s hard to tell, as I bounced from neighborhood to neighborhood, but there are a lot of large, brightly colored houses in the area that this house is in. Not this bright, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Dan
    Your answers here provided insight and sounds like the Cheney family made a positive impact for workers

    , the community, and their profits!

    Also, I will link up my entry for the Thursday doors writing Challenge this weekend

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you for answering the Cheney Brothers questions. They understood that the more you give, the more you get. Win-win. I love their old stone church. Do you know why the right pediment (might be the wrong term) on top of the tower is taller than the left pediment? And the orange house…wow!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you enjoyed this series, Jennie. I wasn’t able to find much information on the church building, so I’m afraid I can’t answer that. I can’t explain the orange house either 😏

      Liked by 1 person

        • It might also be a message, Jennie. Whenever I research churches, unless a third-party has done a write-up, I don’t find much about the building. Their focus is on the congregation – the church – which, at least in New England, has lived through multiple physical buildings. I am interested in the structure, but I understand their sense of what’s important. I hope you’re having a very nice weekend.

          Liked by 1 person

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