About the Finger Lakes
The Villages of Manchester and Shortsville and the Town of Manchester
While they started out as mill towns along the Canandaigua Outlet, the "Twin Villages" of Manchester and Shortsville rose to prominence in the late 1800s as the region was an important division point and car classification yard for the Lehigh Valley Railroad. In fact, for a time, it was the largest such facility in the world.
That rail legacy in Manchester and Shortsville is still alive and well. While passenger trains no longer run through either community, rail transportation remains a significant part of the local industry infrastructure. In the village of Manchester, railroad workers of yore founded the Manchester Railroaders, a semi-professional baseball team. Today the Red Jacket Junior Baseball League continues that tradition. The village of Shortsville houses the Lehigh Valley Railroad Historical Society, where you can learn all about the Black Diamond Express, the luxury passenger train that ran from Buffalo to New York City for more than 60 years.
Nature lovers in the Twin Villages find refuge along the Canandaigua Outlet, which provides ample opportunities for fishing, white water canoeing, rafting and kayaking. In fact, every spring the Wild Water Derby invites competitors to build creative water rafts to maneuver down the outlet.
Surrounding the Twin Villages is the Town of Manchester, where Joseph Smith first established the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1830. People from around the world travel each year to Hill Cumorah Visitors Center, where they can learn about Mormon history and culture. Next to the Visitors Center is where the Annual Hill Cumorah Pageant dramatizes early Mormon history for seven nights in July. This elaborate production features over 700 cast members and a ten-level outdoor stage.
Today, farming is one of the main industries sustaining this community, particularly dairy. But there are also a fair number of cabbage fields in the vicinity, and a lot of it is made into sauerkraut at GLK Foods near Shortsville.
Residents say they love Manchester and Shortsville for the small town charm and rural surroundings, the Red Jacket school district, and the close access to the New York State Thruway, making Rochester an easy 35-minute drive away.
Originally part of the town of Farmington, the town of Manchester was first settled in 1793 near Clifton Springs. In 1822 it was established as the town of Burt, but renamed itself Manchester a year later after the village of Manchester, which was founded in 1811 and incorporated in 1892.
The village of Shortsville was named after the man who settled the village in 1804, Theophilus Short. It was originally called Short Mill, due to its abundance of mills for flour, paper, wool and a distillery). Shortsville was incorporated in 1889.
Town of Manchester: 9,395 (2010 Census)
Village of Manchester: 1,709 (2010 Census)
Village of Shortsville: 1,439 (2010 Census)
Town of Manchester: 37.8 square miles
Village of Manchester: 1.2 square miles
Village of Shortsville: .6 square miles
The town of Manchester is in the north central section of Ontario County, with Wayne County bordering it to the north. The New York State Thruway runs through the town and has an exit there as well. Route 96 and Route 21 are other main arterials.
The land in the village and town is mainly flat with some gentle rolling hills. Canandaigua Outlet runs through the area.
Farming: Dairy farming is big in the town of Manchester, with farms such as Willow Bend Farm and Black Brook Farm.
Food processing: GLK Foods uses locally grown cabbage to make sauerkraut.
Services and retail: There are a variety of home, finance, insurance and auto repair service businesses, as well as some independently owned retail shops.
Students in this area attend the Manchester-Shortsville Central School District, also known as the Red Jacket School District.
Hill Cumorah Visitors Center (town of Manchester): Open year-round in the town of Manchester, this visitors center tells the story of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Every July it hosts the Hill Cumorah Pageant on the adjacent hillside.
Lehigh Valley Railroad Historical Society: Housed in an old Shortsville train station, this museum (open once a month from spring to fall,) is full of artifacts from the heyday of the Lehigh Valley Railroad and the Black Diamond Express.
Budd Park: This popular park, in the Village of Shortsville, features playground equipment, baseball diamonds, and basketball and tennis courts.
Jones-Blunt Park: This Shortsville park, adjacent to the Canandaigua Outlet, is great for family picnics, hikes and fishing.
Manchester Gateway Trail: This 1.5-mile trail invites pedestrians, bicyclists and, in winter, cross-country skiers and snowshoers to enjoy the sites, sounds and tranquility of the Canandaigua Outlet.
Winged Pheasant Golf Links: A 27-hole public golf course in the Town of Manchester.
Bandstand Park: This village of Manchester landmark contains an original bandstand from the late 1800s and is where the Veterans memorial monument is located.
Railroad Memorial Park: This Manchester landmark (Caboose) is on Route 21 and houses Lehigh Valley Railroad memorabilia.
Manchester Family Park and Mike Griffin Memorial Park: Located on West Avenue in Manchester, these two parks offer summer programs, concerts, playground equipment and ball fields.
Hill Cumorah Pageant: This annual outdoor theater event dramatizes the early history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for several nights in July.
Wild Water Derby: The Canandaigua Outlet becomes the early spring race site for homemade watercraft.
Kirby's Kompound Mud Bog: For enthusiasts who like to watch monster trucks wrestle in the mud, this three-times-a-year event has developed a cult following.
Town of Manchester: www.manchesterny.org
Village of Manchester: http://www.villageofmanchester.org/
Village of Shortsville: http://villageofshortsvilleny.us/
Shortsville Manchester Chamber of Commerce: http://www.shortsvillemanchesterareachamberofcommerce.com/
Hill Cumorah Visitors Center: http://www.hillcumorah.org
Wild Water Derby: http://www.wildwaterderby.com/
Lehigh Valley Railroad Historical Society: http://www.lvrrhs.org/