Murals honoring cats fill the north side of Cat Alley, also known as Dean Avenue, just off Elm Street in Manchester, New Hampshire, between Lala’s Hungarian Pastry (836 Elm St.) and The Bookery, (844 Elm St.).
According to a plaque along the alley, the stretch got its nickname after “the Late C.T. Durgin …. once saw there a fierce battle between two felines.” Dean Avenue, the sign says, comes from Dr. Olivers Dean, a cotton manufacturer and philanthropist.
The art arrived with a few murals in 2009, New Hampshire Public Radio reported in 2018, “but it wasn’t until 2011, with help from Anthony [Williams is an artist and muralist in Manchester] and a rag-tag group of artists that the Cat Alley took the form you can see today. Artists included an 11-year old girl, a homeless woman who came daily with a rolled up blanket full of brushes and paints, and more traditional artists.”
The cat theme has extended to three cat-inspired bicycle racks by Pembroke furniture designer Vivian Beer in front of the Bookery, a cat-patterned crosswalk across Elm Street, and, new this year, a digital sign at the Elm Street end of the alley