The Manchester Historical Museum Presents: The Henry S. Chase House, 10 Old Neck Road


The most surprising fact about the Chase House is that it may be the oldest surviving house on Old Neck Road and has been owned by only three families in the 167 years since it was built.

Henry Chase, born in Salem in 1824, moved to Manchester to become a cabinet maker.  He married Hetty Ann Allen in 1848 and they settled in Kettle Cove.  The Allens were a preeminent family in Manchester.  Hetty Ann had inherited her grandfather’s house and some land on the “Old Neck” of Manchester.  The Old Neck was the headlands between an estuary and what is now Singing Beach, formerly called Old Neck Beach.

Henry and Hetty Ann had a daughter, Alice, in 1851.  Sadly, Hetty Ann died just a few years later.  In 1855, Henry convinced the Allen family to allow him to build a new house on his daughter’s land and he constructed it using lumber, still evident, from the original homestead built by William Allen in 1768.

The Chase house was a two-story structure in classic Greek revival style with twin gabled dormers on the front and back.  A craftsman, Henry surely influenced the finishes.  The house had clapboards and featured handsome pilasters at the corners with bracketed caps and pairs of brackets under the cornice.  There were four rooms on each floor with a steep central stairway from the entrance hall to the upstairs bedrooms.  There was also a narrow porch along the front, just enough room to sit in a rocker and enjoy the sea breeze.

In 1856, Henry married Hannah Woodbridge; they lived happily with Alice in the new house until 1873 when Hannah died.  Henry married again, to Sarah Senter, a widow with two daughters.  Henry died in 1905; he was buried in Rosedale Cemetery.  His daughter, Alice, sold the house to Maynard Gillman in 1909.  He and his aunt, Charlotte Brown, started a summer resort called Brownland Cottages and the Chase house was moved away from the street and incorporated into the resort.  Though a fashionable and successful enterprise through the 1920s, the Depression took its toll, and the Chase House was abandoned until 1950 when Mr. Gillman sold it to my parents, Austin and Annette Olney.  Apparently, a condition of the sale was that Mr. Gillman could come sit on the front porch any time he wanted—and he did!

The Olneys renovated the house, but the original charm and many details were preserved.  The house continues to welcome family, friends, and visitors.

Credits: You can read the complete story by historian Robert Booth at the Trask House.  The MHM House History and Marker program encourages everyone to appreciate the diversity of stories our architecture tells us about our shared history.  Participants receive an extensive history of their house and occupants, a certificate, and a handsome house marker.  It’s a fabulous gift!  Information at