A Downtown Destination for Art, Education and Enterprise
Thanks to a generous gift from First Niagara Bank, Manchester Community College has opened the Manchester Community College Arts and Education Center – MCC on Main. In collaboration with the bank, the Town of Manchester and the Manchester Community College Foundation, MCC on Main is helping build a culturally vibrant and economically strong downtown Manchester – a destination for Manchester residents and visitors, and a place where art and culture not only thrive alongside businesses but become a driving force behind them.
MCC on Main occupies 7,000 square feet of newly renovated, modern space adjacent to a core block of businesses on Main Street in the Manchester Special Services District. The space houses an art gallery, seminar rooms for classes, the Viscogliosi Entrepreneurship Center and a small café with Wi-Fi access.
Since its opening, MCC on Main has brought a new level of energy and excitement to downtown Manchester. Its presence serves as the catalyst for creating partnerships between the arts, business, education, local government and non-profits.
History of the MCC on Main Building
903 Main Street is part of downtown Manchester known as the Thomas Weldon Block (901–907 Main Street). It was built around 1898, after an 1897 fire destroyed the previous building, the American Hotel, site of Manchester’s first movie-house, the Edison Theatre.
The block is named after Dr. Thomas Weldon, who had his offices on the second floor of 907 Main Street, and lived there, also, until 1915. Downstairs, at 903 Main Street, was Weldon Drug Company, begun by Dr. Weldon’s father, Thomas Sr.
As is the case in much of downtown Manchester, the building has retained its historic facade above street level. Many of the downtown buildings have decorative parapets concealing flat roofs; a few of the buildings display a heavy or projecting cornice. Only one, the Weldon Block, employs a more residential roof design, hipped with round-arched dormers, in keeping with its Colonial Revival style.
The building where Dr. Weldon had his offices for most of his career remained in the Weldon family until 1937, and the drug store retained the name Weldon for many years. The building was renovated and expanded in 1938, 1943, 1954 and 1966, and was home to several businesses.
Regal Men’s Shop was opened at the location in 1941 and was purchased by the Apter family just a few months after it opened. The Apters closed the store in October 2000. The then-Savings Bank of Manchester (a predecessor to First Niagara Bank) purchased the building in April 2001 and converted its first and second floor spaces into bank offices.
The partnership among First Niagara, the Town of Manchester and its Special Services District, and Manchester Community College marks a new period in the building’s evolution. Leaving its retail history behind, 903 Main Street will continue to contribute to the vibrancy of downtown Manchester as an arts and education center.
MCC on Main is conveniently located at 903 Main Street in downtown Manchester, just minutes from I-84 and I-384 and within 30 minutes of Glastonbury, greater Hartford and Storrs.