The Manchester Historical Museum Presents: The House That Wouldn’t Stay Still




You might say the Samuel Carter House knows its way around town.  In fact, in its 290 years, it has traveled from downtown to Coach Field and to a street corner in the village.  It’s been built, reconfigured, subdivided, taken apart, put back together, and carted all over creation.  It’s been home to mariners, farmers, school masters, coopers, curriers, barbers, the occasional scoundrel, and at least one unsung town hero.   

The house’s odyssey began in 1732 when it was built for newlyweds Esther (nee Stone) and Samuel Carter, a fisherman who later took up cattle farming.  Its original site was 22 Union Street (next door to where the Manchester Historical Museum now stands).  

Samuel seems to have been a good enough fellow, but not the sort you’d choose to hang around if you wanted to live to a ripe old age.  Two of his children died young, three more were later lost at sea, Esther passed away at age 40, and Samuel’s second wife, Sarah, expired at 38.  Samuel eventually granted the house to Obed, the sole survivor of his five sons.  

Flash forward 150 years: Alfred Annable, the owner from Civil War days up to the 1880s, decided it was time to build a new house on the property.  Rather than tear the old one down, though, he moved it to a plot of land near what is now Coach Field, and sold it to Annie Carroll.

By the turn of the century, Annie’s daughter, Lucy, inherited the family homestead. But would she be able to keep it?  The Town of Manchester, you see, wanted to build a new school right where Lucy’s house stood.  It looked like she would lose her home... until she came up with an ingenious compromise.  Lucy agreed to sell the land to the town — but she refused to let them lay a finger on her beloved house.  Instead, she had it picked up and moved across the road to the corner of Brook Street and Norwood Avenue.

Thanks to Lucy Carroll, the Town got the site for what became the legendary Story High School.  And the well-traveled Samuel Carter House finally found its forever home.

It has remained at 30 Norwood Avenue ever since, and will go no more a-roving.

Stroll by on any warm, sunny day and you’re likely to see the present owner, Lisa Haskell, tending her lovely gardens, with her husband David lugging bags of mulch behind her.  


Credits: You can read the complete house history by 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.   A commissioned house history is a fabulous gift!  For more information, go to