Photo by Jerry Dougherty
The Greater Manchester Probate Court was created in 2011 through the merger of the Manchester Probate Court and the Andover Probate Court. Probate Courts in Connecticut date back to 1636 when the Hartford Court of Particulars was created. The Judges of Connecticut’s Probate Courts have always been elected as opposed to appointed and Probate Judges remain the only elected Judges in Connecticut. Probate hearings tend to be much less formal than Superior Court hearings. The Probate Court Judges never wore wigs or robes, even in colonial times, and to this day do not.
There have only been eight Probate Judges serving in Manchester since 1850. The current Judge, Michael M. Darby, was first elected in November of 2010. He was born and raised in Manchester and continues to reside in Manchester with his wife, Nancy and their two children.
The building currently housing the Probate Court, located at 66 Center Street in Manchester, Connecticut, was built in 1896. It is a Colonial Revival style structure designed by the architectural firm of Hapgood & Hapgood and built by Charles R. Treat. It was originally used as the Hall of Records, housing the Probate Court and the Town Clerk’s office. In 1926, the current Town Hall was built across the street and the Probate Court moved there. Sixty-Six Center Street then served as the Manchester Police Department until 1954 when they moved to Middle Turnpike East in Manchester. The building was used for various town offices over the years until, under the direction of Judge William FitzGerald, it was refurbished and rededicated as the Probate Court in 1982.
The Court is located in an ideal setting abutting Center Park and across the street from the Manchester Town Hall. Convenient parking is located behind the Courthouse. If you are handicapped, please advise the Clerk and hearings can be held in the handicapped accessible ground floor.