The Kingsley-Jenter House at 302 E. Main Street is the headquarters, meeting place, archives, museum and gift shop of the Manchester Area Historical Society. The Society purchased this property in December 2015, and has been improving and converting it into a central showplace of Manchester history and a community meeting place.
Hours: Sundays from 1-4
The house was built by John Hampden Kingsley and Matilda Wilson Kingsley in 1904. He was a prominent businessman and civic leader, serving several terms as President of the Village. Matilda Wilson Kingsley was a powerful personality in her own right, active as a leader on the Manchester School Board and the early suffrage movement. The home was sold to local mortician Arthur Ernest Jenter in 1933, who subsequently moved his mortuary business and family to the site. The home continued as a funeral home and residence in the Jenter family and others until 2014. More History
Updates to the House
The Historical Society purchased the Kingsley-Jenter House in late 2015 with available society funds and a fundraising campaign entitled “Preserve the Corner”, which assisted with the down payment, closing costs and immediately needed upgrades. Subsequently, the Society received funding through the “Public Space/Community Place” fundraising campaign sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. This crowdfunding campaign combined locally raised funds with a state MEDC grant, and provided for substantial upgrades in heating/cooling, electrical, lighting, flooring, roofing, painting, galley and museum improvements to make the house what it is today.
The Kingsley-Jenter House, commonly referred to as the “KJ House”, has a main hall which handles large meetings and other social events. The main floor also contains a smaller boardroom style meeting place, a galley containing cabinets, countertops, refrigerator, and some kitchen appliances, and men’s and women’s restrooms. The upper level contains our Manchester history museum and records archives. A gift shop of Manchester historical items and assorted locally-produced products has recently been opened adjacent to the main meeting area.
The Kingsley-Jenter House is the home of regular Manchester Area Historical Society meetings and presentations, including regular meetings at 7:00 PM on second Thursdays of each month, September through May. We also have regular hours for our museum and gift shop, as well as opening the house for special occasions and historical tours.
In addition, the Kingsley-Jenter House is available for use by community groups, individual parties, and other occasions on a reservation basis. Such use is available through a KJ House Use Agreement, and includes a suggested donation to the Society for use of the facility. Currently such community groups as the Manchester Lions, Riverfolk Music and Arts, and the Manchester Fair Board are examples of groups using the house as a meeting venue. Persons or groups requesting such use should contact Ray Berg at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via phone at 248-765-9324, for details and potential availability on desired dates.