Brookside’s roots go back to 1844, when the First Congregational Church in Manchester had outgrown its space, and the Second Congregational Society was formed. Church services were held in the original Manchester City Hall until it burned down. Services were then held at numerous other locations before moving to the Franklin Street Church building which was dedicated on December 22, 1847.
By the mid-1950’s, the original building on Franklin Street was in need of major renovation. A decision had to be made to either fund the renovations or build a new church.
The picture to the right is the original chapel from the Franklin Street Church that was moved to it's current location at 2013 Elm Street. The stained glass window of St. Michael is dedicated to the memory of Mr. Carpenter's grandson, Frank Carpenter Manning, who died in 1929 at the age of fifteen.
Grief counseling and support can be found on the grounds of Brookside today through Pastoral Counseling Services and Compassionate Friends.
Mrs. Mary Manning, daughter of Manchester philanthropist Frank Carpenter and longtime active member of the church, offered her 10-acre estate on North Elm Street known as “The Brook” as the site for a new church. to be built.
In June, 1957 the congregation voted to accept Mrs. Manning’s generous offer and the first phase of the building construction began. The first service was held at Brookside’s Elm St. location on Palm Sunday, April 3, 1960.
The congregation celebrates this anniversary by taking an "all church" group photo of everyone present at the Palm Sunday service.
Register of Historic Places
In October 2020, the State Historical Resources Council added the Brookside Congregational Church complex to the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places. The Council found that Brookside was significant for its architecture and for its role in Manchester’s religious history. The Brookside Congregational Church property includes a 1908 neo-Classical estate house. The large brick Georgian Revival church was built in 1960 and connects to the main house and to a circa 1908 carriage house by two-story brick hyphens. A caretaker’s cottage, gazebo, garage and shed also contribute to the complex’s historical significance.
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