Date(s) - 03/27/2015
12:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Chez Vachon restaurant


The Franco-American Centre of NH presents: A Guided tour of Manchester’s French West Side

We will meet for lunch at Chez Vachon, Manchester’s premiere location for Poutine and other traditional French cuisine.  After lunch, award-winning author and lecturer Robert Perreault*, will conduct a walking tour of the French West Side including Ste. Marie’s Church and the neighborhood surrounding the Church, the Catholic Medical Center hospital with Msgr. Hévey’s monument and grave, and the statue of Ferdinand Gagnon in Lafayette Park.

Following the tour, the group will visit America’s Credit Union Museum, housed in the building where our country’s first credit union was born**,  offering a one-of-a-kind interactive experience that brings to life a vision as relevant today as it was 100 years ago.

*Since 1973, Manchester, N.H. native and lifelong resident Robert B. Perreault has worked in various capacities to promote Manchester’s history and New England Franco-American culture. His works of nonfiction and fiction, written in French, in English or in both languages, include six books and more than 150 articles, essays, short stories, etc., published in the U.S., Canada or France. He is the author of a French-language novel, L’Héritage (1983), whose setting is Manchester’s Franco-American community, and of a post-card history entitled Manchester (2005). His most recent book, Franco-American Life and Culture in Manchester, New Hampshire: Vivre la Différence, was published in 2010 by the History Press in Charleston, South Carolina. He is a member of the first graduating class in SNHU’s M.F.A. in Fiction/Nonfiction Program (2008).  Since 1988, he has taught conversational French in the Native Speaker Program at St. Anselm College in Manchester.

**By the beginning of the twentieth century, thousands of immigrants pursuing work and a better life found their way to the mills of the largest textile-manufacturing center in the nation-Manchester, New Hampshire. Although gainfully employed, they were denied the privileges of savings and credit. On a hillside overlooking the mills stood St. Marie’s church. As pastor, Monsignor Pierre Hevey knew that many of his parishioners worked in these mills and needed a safe place to save their money and gain access to reasonable credit.

With Counsel and guidance from Canada’s credit union movement leader, Alphonse Desjardins, and the commitment of local attorney Joseph Boivin to serve as the first president and house the credit union in his home, Monsignor Hevey and his parishioners established the first credit union in the United States in 1908. Originally called St. Mary’s Cooperative Credit Association its name was revised in 1925 to La Caisse Populaire Ste.-Marie, of “Bank of the People”, St. Mary’s.

Fee for the event is $20/$15 members (for the tour and museum) and does not include lunch. The tour will be conducted in English/French or a combination, depending upon the needs of participants.

Registration for this event is now closed. To see other upcoming events, check out our calendar.