I had no idea that Hall of Fame quarterback and Minnesota Vikings legend, Fran Tarkenton, lived in Manchester. And his boyhood home is amazingly still standing…barely.
Enter stage left Mr. Lars Harrisville. Lars is a former history teacher and Minnesota native. As an avid Tarkenton fan, he knew the NFL legend was born in Richmond. But Wikipedia and the various Tarkenton fan websites offered no further details other than Tarkenton being born in Richmond, Virginia.
Being a history detective, Lars didn’t stop there. He went to the US census from 1940 and found the Richmond records. And there it was-the smoking gun. The Tarkenton family, including Fran, lived in Manchester at 1201 Porter Street. It is an absolutely incredible find and a forgotten part of Manchester’s history.
Lars reached out to the Dogtown Dish to raise awareness, hoping that the house can be saved. 1201 Porter Street is listed as the Ingram House, a historic property on the Manchester Residential and Commercial District as found at the National Register of Historic Places:
“The lngram House, 1201 Porter Street, built in 1876, is the earliest ltalianate-style dwelling remaining in the historic district. The two-story, three-bay wide, brick dwelling has a recessed wing to the side. The windows in the first story are full height. The one-story, three-bay wide, full width front porch is cast iron, one of two such porches in the Manchester historic. The wood cornice has brackets, dentils, and alternating panels and decorative vents.”
Fran Tarkenton: Football’s First Scrambling Quarterback
If you are unfamiliar with Fran Tarkenton, he invented the “scrambling quarterback” style of play. He also held every single NFL quarterback record at the time of his retirement. Many of his records went unbroken for over thirty years. Incredibly some of those records were only recently broken by no other than Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Tarkenton accomplished all of this before spread formations and pass oriented offenses became the norm in the NFL. His records are nothing short of astounding. Many argue that Fran was one of the best quarterbacks of all time to play the game considering he set all these records when football was a completely different style of game-running oriented smash mouth football.
Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Tarkenton:
“In his 18 NFL seasons, Tarkenton completed 3,686 of 6,467 passes for 47,003 yards and 342 touchdowns, with 266 interceptions, all of which were NFL records at the time of his retirement. Tarkenton’s 47,003 career passing yards rank him 8th all time, while his 342 career passing touchdowns is 6th all time in NFL history. He also is 6th on the all-time list of wins by a starting quarterback with 124 regular season victories. He also used his impressive scrambling ability to rack up 3,674 rushing yards and 32 touchdowns on 675 carries. During his career, Tarkenton ran for a touchdown in 15 different seasons, an NFL record among quarterbacks. He ranks fourth in career rushing yards among quarterbacks, behind Randall Cunningham, Steve Young and Michael Vick. He is also one of two NFL quarterbacks ever to rush for at least 300 yards in seven different seasons; the other is Tobin Rote. When he retired, Tarkenton held NFL career records in pass attempts, completions, yardage, and touchdowns; rushing yards by a quarterback; and wins by a starting quarterback.”
We have attempted to contact the owner of the Tarkenton home at 1201 Porter St (David B. Williams & Elma G Williams-Elma appears to be deceased). To date, our outreach efforts have been unsuccessful (letters, phone calls, etc). Let’s hope the owner doesn’t let the house completely collapse and end up lost to history.