|City of Holyoke|
North High Street
|Nickname(s): The Paper City
Birthplace of Volleyball
The Venice of America
|Incorporated (parish)[a]||July 7, 1786|
|Incorporated (town)||March 14, 1850|
|Incorporated (city)||April 7, 1873|
|Founded by||George C. Ewing
|Named for||Elizur Holyoke|
|o Type||Mayor-council city|
|o Mayor||Alex B. Morse|
|o Total||22.8 sq mi (59.1 km2)|
|o Land||21.3 sq mi (55.1 km2)|
|o Water||1.5 sq mi (4.0 km2)|
|Elevation||200 ft (60 m)|
|Highest elevation (Mount Tom)||1,202 ft (366 m)|
|o Estimate (2016)||40,280|
|o Density||1,874/sq mi (723.6/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (UTC-5)|
|o Summer (DST)||Eastern (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0617679|
Holyoke is a city in Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States, that lies between the western bank of the Connecticut River and the Mount Tom Range. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 39,880. As of 2016, the estimated population was 40,280. Sitting 8 miles (13 km) north of Springfield, Holyoke is part of the Springfield Metropolitan Area, one of the two distinct metropolitan areas in Massachusetts.
During the 19th century the city produced an estimated 80% of the writing paper used in the United States and was home to the largest paper and alpaca wool mills in the world. Although a considerably smaller number of businesses in Holyoke still work in the paper industry today, it is still commonly referred to as "The Paper City". Holyoke is also home to the Volleyball Hall of Fame and known as the "Birthplace of Volleyball", as the internationally played Olympic sport was invented and first played at the local YMCA chapter by William G. Morgan in 1895.
Powered by a series of municipally-owned canals, between 85% and 90% of Holyoke's energy was carbon neutral as of 2016, with administrative goals in place to reach 100% in the immediate future.
Englishmen first arrived in the Connecticut River Valley in 1633--a post was established at Windsor, Connecticut, by traders from the Plymouth Plantation. In 1636, Massachusetts Bay Colony assistant treasurer and Puritan iconoclast William Pynchon led a group of settlers from Roxbury, Massachusetts, to establish Springfield on land that scouts had vetted the previous year. They considered it the most advantageous land in the Connecticut River Valley for farming and trading. This settlement, on fertile farmland just north of the Connecticut River's first major falls (at Enfield Falls), the place where seagoing vessels necessarily had to transfer their cargo into smaller shallops to continue northward on the Connecticut River, quickly became a successful settlement--largely due to its advantageous position on the Bay Path to Boston, the Massachusetts Path to Albany, and beside the Connecticut River. Originally, Springfield spanned both sides of the Connecticut River; the region was eventually partitioned. The land on the western bank of the Connecticut River became West Springfield, Massachusetts. West Springfield's northernmost parish (alternately called Third Parish, North Parish, or Ireland Parish) became Holyoke, named after earlier Springfield settler William Pynchon's son-in-law, Elizur Holyoke, who had first explored the area in the 1650s. The area, previously allotted to landowners on the east side of the river in Springfield, had been settled by colonists by 1655.:148 Holyoke as a geographic entity was initially incorporated as a parish; the 3rd Parish of West Springfield, otherwise known as "Ireland" or "Ireland Parish" was first incorporated on July 7, 1786.:70 Following land acquisitions and development by the Hadley Falls Company, the town of Holyoke was officially incorporated on March 14, 1850. The first official town meeting took place a week later, on March 22, 1850.:76-77
The first post office in the area was called Ireland. It was established June 3, 1822, with Martin Chapin as first postmaster. It was discontinued in 1883. Another post office called Ireland Depot was established February 26, 1847, with John M. Chapin as first postmaster and had its name changed to Holyoke (with George Whittle as first postmaster) March 14, 1850.
A part of Northampton known as Smith's Ferry was separated from the rest of the town by the creation of Easthampton in 1809. The shortest path to downtown Northampton was on a road near the Connecticut River oxbow, which was subject to frequent flooding. The neighborhood became the northern part of Holyoke in 1909.
Holyoke had few inhabitants until the construction of a dam and the Holyoke Canal System in 1849 and the subsequent construction of water-powered mills, particularly paper mills. At one point over 25 paper mills were in operation in the city. The Holyoke Machine Company, manufacturer of the Hercules water turbine, was among many industrial developments of the era.
Holyoke's population rose from just under 5,000 in 1860 to over 60,000 in 1920. Due to this staggering growth the municipality was officially incorporated as a city on April 7, 1873, only 23 years after its initial incorporation as the "Town of Holyoke". In 1888, Holyoke's paper industry spurred the foundation of the American Pad & Paper Company, which as of 2007 is one of the largest suppliers of office products in the world. The availability of water power enabled Holyoke to support its own electric utility company and maintain it independently of America's major regional electric companies. The city was thus a rare unaffected area in the Northeast blackout of 1965, for example.
Holyoke was one of the first planned industrial communities in the United States. Holyoke features rectilinear street grids--a novelty in New England. This street hierarchy is seen as a potential economic development tool as it lends well to high-rise buildings, and the surrounding canals could be landscaped into a source of recreation and relaxation. Its grid pattern is notable in Western Massachusetts, where few roads are straight. Whereas New York's Commissioner's Plan of 1811 lays out a system of numbered streets and avenues, Holyoke's grid system alternates between tree species for North to South streets (Sycamore, Locust, Linden, Oak, Beech, Pine, Walnut, Elm, Chestnut, Maple), and the names of the Hadley Falls Company founders (Lyman, Dwight, Appleton, Cabot, Sargeant, Jackson), as well as several Massachusetts counties (Hampden, Suffolk, Essex, Hampshire, Franklin) for thoroughfares running east to west. The city's advantageous location on the Connecticut River--the largest river in New England--beside Hadley Falls, the river's steepest drop (60 feet), attracted the Boston Associates, who had successfully developed Lowell, Massachusetts' textile industry. From the late 19th century until the mid-20th century, Holyoke was the world's biggest paper manufacturer. The elaborate Holyoke Canal System, built to power paper and textile mills, distinguishes it from other Connecticut River cities. Holyoke is nicknamed "The Paper City" due to its fame as the world's greatest paper producer.
Holyoke is located at  According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.8 square miles (59 km2), of which 21.3 square miles (55 km2) is land and 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2) (6.70%) is water. The city is bordered by Southampton and Westfield to the west, Easthampton to the north, Hadley, South Hadley and Chicopee as river borders to the east, and West Springfield to the south.(42.203191, -72.623969).
Holyoke is the location of East Mountain, the Mount Tom Range, and Mount Tom, at 1,202 feet (366 m) the highest traprock peak on the Metacomet Ridge, a linear mountain range that extends from Long Island Sound to the Vermont border. Mount Tom is characterized by its high cliffs, sweeping vistas, and microclimate ecosystems. The 110-mile (180 km) Metacomet-Monadnock Trail traverses the Mount Tom Range and East Mountain.
The city of Holyoke is divided into 15 distinct neighborhoods; in alphabetical order, they are:
As of the census of 2010, there were 39,880 people, 15,361 households, and 9,329 families residing in Holyoke. There were 16,384 housing units in the city. The racial makeup was 66.0% White (non-Hispanic White 46.8%), 4.7% African American (Non-Hispanic 2.4%), 0.8% Native American, 1.1% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 23.5% some other race, and 3.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 48.4% of the population.
There were 15,361 households, out of which 34.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 30.5% were headed by married couples living together, 24.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.3% were non-families. Of all households, 32.0% were made up of individuals, and 12.3% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51, and the average family size was 3.16.
In the city, 26.4% of the population were under the age of 18, 10.2% were from 18 to 24, 25.5% were from 25 to 44, 23.8% were from 45 to 64, and 14.2% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35.0 years. For every 100 females there were 88.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.4 males.
For the period 2011-15, the estimated median annual income for a household in the city was $36,608, and the median income for a family was $41,194. Male full-time workers had a median income of $43,902 versus $40,988 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,343. About 25.9% of families and 28.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 45.9% of those under age 18 and 17.9% of those age 65 or over.
The city reached its peak population just before the First World War in 1913, with a total of 62,300 people according to a report by the school superintendent. Following a period of de-industrialization the population reached a low of an estimated 39,790 residents in 2001, and has seen some growth during the most recent 2016 estimate of 40,280 people.
Politically, the city of Holyoke has recently supported candidates from the Democratic Party by a wide margin. In the 2012 elections, voters supported President Barack Obama over Mitt Romney by a margin of 76%-22%, and Elizabeth Warren over incumbent Senator Scott Brown 70%-30%. Holyoke elected an openly gay mayor, Alex Morse, in the 2011 municipal election.
According to the 2003 FBI Report of Offenses Known to Law Enforcement Holyoke's crime rate in most categories was above the national average, in some categories significantly. Most of these crimes are placed in the category of property theft, with a property crime count of 2,822.
|From top to bottom: A sample of "Skinner's Satins" silk, produced by William Skinner and Sons, c. 1950. A ream of Holyoke "Eagle A" paper made by the American Writing Paper Company, and subsequently the Brown Company; c. 1970.|
Known by its moniker, the "Paper City", Holyoke's economic base was developed almost entirely around the paper industry for the better part of the late 19th and early 20th century; at one time the city was reportedly the largest producer of stationery, writing, and archival goods in the world. While writing paper production has largely left the city, Holyoke is still home to a number of specialty paper manufacturers, including companies like Eureka Lab Book, Hampden Paper, Hazen Paper, United Paper Box, and University Products. Several international companies also maintain manufacturing facilities in the area, including a power transmission factory for U.S. Tsubaki in Springdale, and a Sonoco cardboard recycling plant in South Holyoke.
Holyoke is also home to a diverse array of manufacturing concerns outside of the paper and textile industries, including several producing industrial machinery and components. Until 2017, its oldest manufacturer was the Holyoke Machine Company which, incorporated in 1863, served large mills and factories with specialty roll parts and service; the firm served several purposes and at one time the company produced the "Holyoke Hercules" model of water turbine which served its industries, and previously cast the bronze doors to the U.S. Capitol Building. Today the city is still home to a number of firms specializing in such equipment as industrial vacuums, solid waste containers, plastics and rubber manufacturing, bookbinding agents and archival supplies.
In recent years there have been successful efforts to attract high-tech jobs to Holyoke and diversify its economic base. For example, a coalition of universities and tech companies have built the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, an energy-efficient, high-performance computing center, in Holyoke. It opened in 2012. These companies and institutions include Cisco Systems, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT,) the University of Massachusetts, Boston University, Northeastern University, EMC Corporation, and Accenture PLC. The data center has been built in Holyoke in part due to hydropower accessibility.
The retail sector has been a major employer since the construction of the Holyoke Mall, one of the largest shopping malls in New England, in 1979. Retail has provided the city with a large and steady tax base, contributing over $7 million in taxes annually.
Historically, a city of working-class immigrants (and the business owners who employed them), the first wave of mill workers was predominantly Irish. Irish immigrants had begun to settle in the region before the construction of the dam and the industrialization that followed, which is why the area's early name was "Ireland's Parish." The Irish roots of Holyoke is still seen in its annual St. Patrick's Day Parade (see below).
In the 1850s, the mill owners began to recruit French-Canadians, who were viewed as more docile and less likely to create labor unions. Later waves of immigration led to significant growth and cultural influence of communities of Germans, Poles, and Jews over first half of the 20th century. Starting in the 1950s, a large influx of Puerto Ricans and people from other Latino groups began to immigrate and migrate to Holyoke. Today Latinos form the largest minority group in the city, with the largest percentage Puerto Rican population of any city in the US outside Puerto Rico proper, at 44.7%. The entire Latino population of Holyoke, as of the 2010 census, was 19,313, or 48.4% of the city's population of 39,880.
Holyoke is home to the second-largest St. Patrick's Day parade in the United States, surpassed only by the New York City parade. Held annually since 1952 on the Sunday following St. Patrick's Day, the parade draws hundreds of thousands of people from across New England and the Eastern seaboard of United States. The Holyoke Saint Patrick's Day Parade typically attracts 350,000 to 450,000 people each year, although in certain years in the 1960s and 1970s when the March weather was "perfect", that number blossomed to what the police department estimated were 1,000,000 celebrants.
The Puerto Rican community of Holyoke holds an annual Puerto Rican Day parade on the third weekend of July as part of an Annual Hispanic Family Festival held by La Familia Hispana, inc. Every year the parade grows in popularity, attracting Puerto Ricans from across the northeast.
Mayor Alex B. Morse, who first became an activist for LGBT rights as a high school student in Holyoke only six years earlier, presided at the city's first rainbow flag-raising ceremony in recognition of Gay Pride Month in June 2012.
On February 9, 1895, William G. Morgan invented volleyball at the former Holyoke YMCA. That YMCA building was on High Street at the intersection with Appleton Street but has since been demolished. The Volleyball Hall of Fame resides in Holyoke at Heritage State Park and inducts a new class of athletes, coaches, and contributors every October. The sport was originally known as mintonette.
Holyoke has a rich history in the world of boxing. It was in Holyoke that bantamweight Sixto Escobar, the first Puerto Rican to become a world champion, fought and won his first match in the United States, on June 26, 1934, against bantamweight contender and Canadian flyweight champion Bobby Leitham. Most notably, Rocky Marciano's professional debut took place at the Valley Arena Gardens on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 1947; the venue also served as the ring for many other well-known fighters including Beau Jack, Fritzie Zivic, and Tony DeMarco. Prior to his professional career, one of Mike Tyson's earliest fights was at the Holyoke Boys and Girls Club on February 12, 1983. As the 8th ranked amateur super-heavyweight in the country at the age of 16, Tyson won the fight handily with a knock-out, and gained the Western Massachusetts Golden Gloves amateur title. The Golden Gloves tournament was held in Holyoke from 1958 until 2005, when it was relocated to Vernon, Connecticut. Following an 8 year departure it returned briefly to the city, and is held in Springfield today.
The city's educational needs are served by Holyoke Public Schools, as well as the Holyoke Community Charter School and the Paulo Friere Social Justice High School. The Holyoke High School, William J. Dean Technical-Vocational High School, and the Paulo Friere Social Justice High School. The city's private schools include Mater Dolorosa Catholic School and Holyoke Catholic High School, the latter of which is now located in Chicopee.
The city is also home to Holyoke Community College, as well as the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute being developed in cooperation with MGM Springfield. Funded by both state and federal education grants, the institute is scheduled to open in downtown in Spring 2018.
Holyoke Public Library, found at 335 Maple Street, is one of the very few examples of neoclassical architecture in the city of Holyoke. It sits on Library Park, which was donated by the Holyoke Water Power Company in 1887. In 1870 the library was originally in a room in the old Appleton Street School. In 1876 it moved to a large central room on the main floor of City Hall. It remained there until it was determined that it had outgrown the space and a modern facility was required. Holyoke's citizens were charged to raise money to construct the library building and provide additional books. Under the leadership of Henry Chase, $95,000 was raised. William Whiting and William Skinner, each gave $10,000. Joseph Clough, the architect in charge of designing the building, gave his services gratis because his daughter was a faithful patron of the library. It opened officially in 1902.
At the dedication ceremony William Whiting, who was library president at the time, referred to the library as the "people's college" and added that: "A library is as much a part of the intellectual life of a community as its schools, and should be supported generously as part of our educational system. Within these walls you will find authors devoted to literature, arts and science, and they are free to any who will ask. We can say to the citizens of Holyoke you have only to ask her and you will find knowledge to make your life useful and happy."
Passenger rail service returned to Holyoke in August 2015, after being absent since 1967. Amtrak's Vermonter stops at the Holyoke station once a day in each direction. Several buses from the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority also operate in the city.
Despite its industrial history, Holyoke has been fortunate enough to contain no Superfund sites. One of the greatest producers of pollution in the area was the former Mount Tom Station, a coal plant in Smith's Ferry. Citizens cited higher rates of asthma, attributing them to the plant and after many years of discussion it was finally shuttered in December 2014. In October 2016 ground was broken at the site for the construction of a new solar farm.
(B) denotes that the person was born there.
...paper mills, attracted by cheap water-power from Hadley Falls Dam, have given the town the name of 'The Paper City.'
To exploit the full potential of a natural waterfall that drops fifty-eight feet within a fifth of a mile on the Connecticut River, nineteenth-century engineers built the industrial city of Holyoke around three circular canals that generated sufficient power to operate...twenty-eight mills, which at their peak accounted for nearly 90 percent of the paper produced in the United States. Though every one of these mills would close in the years following World War II, the economically stressed community still calls itself 'Paper City.'
Today, Holyoke--known as the 'birthplace of volleyball'--pays homage to Morgan with its Volleyball Hall of Fame.
DeGroots and their sons, Ned and Don, commuted last October from San Clemente, Calif. to Holyoke, Mass., the birthplace of volleyball, for Burt's induction into the National Volleyball Hall of Fame.
Holyoke, Massachusetts, 'The Venice of America,' is a friendly, industrial city of 53,000 population in the Pioneer Valley, along the Connecticut River in Western Massachusetts.
The 'Venice of America'-- Holyoke, Mass.--has a number of what it calls 'incubator' buildings, ready for occupancy by paper converting plants...
Using artifacts and slides, the two will trace what they call 'The Venice of America,' one of the earliest planned industrial communities.
Mayor Ernest E. Proulx says cities are like women. 'And Holyoke is an exciting lady,' he often tells people when he is selling his city. 'There is a charm here... What other cities have what we have? The rolling topography, the mountains and reservoirs, the river, the canals-- Holyoke is the Venice of North America.
On the 7th of July, 1786, the part of West Springfield now embraced in Holyoke was incorporated as the Third Parish of West Springfield, and was called 'Ireland,' and 'Ireland Parish,' from the fact that several Irish families were the first settlers of the territory, though there is no record of the date of their settlement
A business - as - usual atmosphere existed in Holyoke, Mass during the blackout Tuesday night because of a jet engine. Francis H. King, manager of Holyoke's Gas and Electric Department, said a jet peaking and emergency power unit saved the city from the darkness of its neighbors. The peaking unit, developed by Worthington Corp., is powered by a jet aircraft engine and is capable of generating 12,000 kilowatts in approximately two minutes after start-up, King added.
As it is the largest paper manufacturing city in the world, it is worth more than a passing notice from printers.
[Holyoke] is the largest producer of fine writing paper in the world, manufacturing enough fine paper every day to carpet two square miles.