Located on the Merrimack River fifteen miles north of Nashua, Manchester is viewed from the west bank of the river looking east across the town. By using such an orientation, the artists are able to place in the foreground the large number of factories located along the river and the parallel canal.
This industrial activity focuses on the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company (represented by almost two dozen buildings identified with the numbers 2 and 3 on the drawing). After several sporadic starts at industrial development at this water-fall site during the first quarter of the 19th century, the Amoskeag Company was established in the 1830s with an influx of capital from Boston financiers. By the end of the 19th century, the company had become the largest cotton textile manufacturer in the world.
The company was instrumental in establishing and planning the town. Manchester was designed with a grid street pattern, in contrast to the haphazard expansion of other New England villages with irregular street patterns. The plan included wide tree-lined streets with entire blocks set aside for parks. The company also built long rows of tenement housing for the workers, located adjacent to the factories between Canal and Elm Streets.
Despite the Amoskeag Company's pervasive presence in the city, it was not the only contributor to the region's economy. The legend included thirty-two references, twenty-seven of which documented industrial and commercial establishments. Three of these were competing textile mills (identified by the numbers 4, 5, and 6). However, no churches were identified and only one residence was labeled that of Ezekiel A. Straw, agent for the Amoskeag Company.