|City of Holyoke|
|Nickname(s): The Paper City
Birthplace of Volleyball
The Venice of America
|Motto(s): Industria et Copia (Latin)
"Industry and Abundance"
Location in Hampden County in Massachusetts
|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|
|• Type||Mayor-council city|
|• Mayor||Alex B. Morse|
|• Total||22.8 sq mi (59.1 km2)|
|• Land||21.3 sq mi (55.1 km2)|
|• Water||1.5 sq mi (4.0 km2)|
|Elevation||200 ft (60 m)|
|Highest elevation (Mount Tom)||1,202 ft (366 m)|
|• Estimate (2017)||40,341|
|• Density||1,874/sq mi (723.6/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (UTC-5)|
|• 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 2017, the estimated population was 40,341. 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.
Holyoke is among the first planned industrial cities in the United States; built in tandem with the Holyoke Dam to utilize the water power of Hadley Falls, it is one of the only cities in New England built around a gridded road plan. During the late 19th century the city produced an estimated 80% of the writing paper used in the United States and was home to the largest paper, silk, and alpaca wool mills in the world. Although a considerably smaller number of businesses in Holyoke 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.
While working for the Holyoke Water Power Company in the 1880s, hydraulic engineer Clemens Herschel invented the Venturi meter to determine the water use of individual mills in the Holyoke Canal System. This device, the first accurate means of measuring large-scale flows, is still widely used in a number of engineering applications today, including waterworks and carburators, as well as aviation instrumentation. Powered by these municipally-owned canals today, 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.
English colonists 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; 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 Though the name Hampden was considered, the area was subsequently named for earlier Springfield settler William Pynchon's son-in-law, Elizur Holyoke, who had first explored the area in the 1650s. 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 the 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[update] 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.
As one of the first planned industrial communities in the United States, downtown 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. Whereas New York's Commissioner's Plan of 1811 lays out a system of numbered streets and avenues, the names of routes in Holyoke's grid system alternate 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.
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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. Fossilized dinosaur tracks and specimens can be found at the foot of these mountains due to their unique geology. A species of dinosaur, Podokesaurus holyokensis, whose fossils were first discovered across the river in South Hadley, was given its name for the area, and the city has in recent years passed measures to try to protect fossils in the its parks from theft or vandalism.
The city of Holyoke is divided into 15 distinct neighborhoods; in alphabetical order, they are:
Holyoke's industrial development in the late 19th and early 20th centuries led to a massive demand for new housing and accommodating structures as the population grew by more than 1000% from the years from 1850 to 1890. Initially this demand was filled by company housing, including such examples as the Hadley Falls Company Housing District, whose structures were built in 1847-1848. Gradually in time the Holyoke Water Power Company began building housing on its land holdings to sell to working families, and by the end of the 19th century more private housing developments had begun to appear. Holyoke's architecture can be characterized by a mixture of Italianate, Gothic Revival, Queen Anne and Second Empire, with some Tudor revival examples throughout its neighborhoods. Philadelphia rowhouses are also a common feature among residential streets in downtown area.
Throughout its history Holyoke has been home to a number of local architects who shaped its unique urban landscape. Some of the most prominent included George P. B. Alderman, who designed industrial buildings as well as the Holyoke Post Office, apartment blocks, and many of the city's iconic Victorian estates. Alderman had started his independent practice after being an apprentice to James A. Clough of Clough & Reid, who is best known as the architect of the former iconic Mount Tom Summit Houses as well as the Holyoke Public Library. Architect Oscar Beauchemin's work shaped both the Main Street landscape of Springdale and many large multi-colored brick tenements built in mixed high and low density housing can be attributed to him, often with Renaissance Revival architectural motifs.
Holyoke's own millwright engineers and architects David and Ashley Tower, doing business under the name D. H. & A. B. Tower, would go on to design more than 100 mills in the latter half of the 19th century, and in many respects made Holyoke synonymous with its present-day handle "The Paper City". Holyoke's paper mills from this period were largely the work of the two brothers, who designed mills on five continents and among the first of Kimberly-Clark and Crane Currency. In sum they would design 16 factories and mills in Holyoke and, including minor design roles, would perform engineering work in some capacity on 25 of the city's in total.
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 2017 estimate of 40,341 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.
Historically, a city of working-class immigrants, 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 was often referred to as "Ireland" or "Ireland Parish." The Irish roots of Holyoke are celebrated in its annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.
In the 1850s, the mill owners began to recruit French-Canadians, who were viewed as more docile and less likely to create labor unions due to their agrarian backgrounds and anti-union rhetoric promoted by Québecois clergy at that time. By the time the city had reached its peak population of 62,300 in 1913, 1 in 4 residents were of French or French Canadian ancestry and the city contained the 7th largest Franco-American population in the country, exceeding that of Chicago's at that time. By 1980 from a combination of economic changes and cultural integration, this population comprised about 10% of the population, a similar figure to those who identified as French or French Canadian in the 2010 census.
Throughout its history Holyoke has been undergone fluctuations in foreign-born group demographics. In the 1890 census, Holyoke had the third most foreign-born residents, per capita, of any city in the United States, with 47% of residents born in another country; this was exceeded only by Fall River, Massachusetts and Duluth, Minnesota. Later waves of immigration led to significant growth and cultural influence of communities of Germans, Italians, Jews, Poles, and Scots into the first half of the 20th century.
Beginning at the end of World War II, a large influx of Puerto Ricans and other Latino groups began to immigrate to the Northeast United States, driven largely by the Farm Labor Program initiated by the US Department of Labor. Not unlike the Bracero program, over the next several decades the agency actively recruited Puerto Rican laborers to work on agricultural land in the United States; in the case of Holyoke, many worked on the valley's tobacco farms, arriving in search for the economic opportunities of previous generations. At that time the city's mills had begun to shutter faced with the changing economic landscapes brought about by early globalism and deindustrialization. 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.
As a city of built by several immigrant groups throughout its history, Holyoke is home to houses of worship for many different denominations of Christianity and Judaism. One of the city's oldest monikers was Baptist Village as the first congregation established there was the First Baptist Church of Holyoke, which first erected a meetinghouse in 1792, traces its origins to five baptisms on the shores of the Connecticut in 1725, and continues as a congregation today.
As of 2010 an estimated 60% of Holyoke is religious, with the largest demographic being Christians, more specifically Roman Catholics, who comprise 49% of the city's population. In 2011, two Catholic parishes, Holy Cross and Mater Dolorosa were merged into Our Lady of the Cross Parish. A number of other Catholic parishes, including Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Jerome's, and Immaculate Conception Parish also reside in the city.
In addition to its parishes, Holyoke is home to a number of convents of sisters including the Sisters of Providence of Holyoke in Ingleside, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield who maintain some group homes there, and the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi in Highland Park.
Protestant congregations have played a significant role in Holyoke's civic life since its founding, including such groups as the First Congregational Church of Holyoke, founded in 1850, the First Lutheran Church of Holyoke, founded in 1867, and the United Methodist Church of Holyoke, South Hadley, and Granby, which meets in South Hadley, which was founded in 1810.
Holyoke is also home to a significant Jewish population. As one of 35 municipalities in Massachusetts with more than 100 Jewish residents, Holyoke is home to an estimated 1,300 residents observing the faith and two synagogues, Congregation Sons of Zion, a Reform congregation, and Congregation Rodphey Sholom, practicing Orthodoxy. Both congregations originated in the 19th century, with Rodphey Sholom being founded in 1903 but tracing its heritage to the Paper City Lodge of the Order Brith Abraham, founded in 1899, and Sons of Zion being founded in 1901; today both congregations often hold joint services during certain holidays.
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. Some former paper mills have in the past been used as incubators for new manufacturing businesses as well; from 1973 until 1983, when it relocated to a newly constructed factory in Deerfield, Yankee Candle's first factory was located in one such building in the canal district.
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 which 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. ISO New England, an electricity regional transmission organization, is based out of Holyoke, utilizing the city's central location for easy access to metropolitan areas in New England and New York.
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.
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, the first community college in the state, which was initially created by the city's school board. Today the 2-year college selectively allows high school seniors to enroll in its coursework for transferable college credit, and has the highest percentage of student graduates completing associate degrees and certificate programs among the state's community colleges. With the aid of state and federal education grants the college opened the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute in cooperation with MGM Springfield in April 2018.
Holyoke Public Library, found at 335 Maple Street, is one of the very few examples of neoclassical architecture in the city of Holyoke, designed by prominent local architect James A. Clough. 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. Clough, the architect tasked with 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."
A number of artists have been associated with the city since its founding, including Irish-American sculptor Jerome Connor, who moved to the city at the age of 14, and became best known for his sculptures in Washington, D.C. including Nuns of the Battlefield, one of only two such memorials in the capital to honor the role of women in the American Civil War.:80
On May 2, 1885, Clark W. Bryan, a publisher and stakeholder in The Republican, launched Good Housekeeping magazine, originally described as "not to be a bi-monthly cookbook" but "a family journal conducted in the interests of the higher life of the household". The magazine was subsequently published in Springfield after March 1887, and moved to New York following its acquisition in 1911 by the Hearst Corporation. In literature, Holyoke was the hometown of John Clellon Holmes, whose novel Go is considered to be the first published novel depicting the Beat Generation, predating works of his contemporaries Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Though not as well known as Holmes, the critically-acclaimed novelist Raymond Kennedy set a number of his works in a fictional Holyoke, referred to as "Ireland Parish". Internationally-acclaimed photographer Mitch Epstein also hails from the city, receiving the United Kingdom's Kraszna-Krausz Photography Book Award in 2004 for his photo essay Family Business. The 2003 book covered the final days of his father's furniture and real estate businesses in the city, mirroring its deindustrialization and decline.
During the height of its industrial prowess Holyoke was a regular stop on Vaudeville circuits, with its most famous actress, Eva Tanguay, known as "The Girl Who Made Vaudeville Famous". Tanguay moved to Holyoke at a young age, spending her childhood in the city where she began performing songs at an amateur show at the local Parsons Hall in the 1880s. Tanguay was soon discovered by a Pennsylvania touring company, and went on to become the first American popular musician to achieve mass-media celebrity.:489 During her career her name was known from coast-to-coast and she would out-earn such celebrities as Enrico Caruso and Harry Houdini. Edward Bernays, the "father of public relations" went on to describe her celebrity as "our first symbol of emergence from the Victorian age". Tanguay's was just one of many acts associated with the city's history, it was in Holyoke that vaudevillian Sophie Tucker was found by the Theatrical Syndicate's Marc Klaw who introduced her to Broadway's Ziegfeld Follies in 1909.:509
Even as Vaudeville declined in the 1920's, the city remained a regular stop for actors and musicians alike. Among other acts, Bing Crosby and The Marx Brothers were known to have played shows in the city at its Victory Theater. Performers from the B. F. Keith Circuit would regularly tour Mountain Park's own playhouse as well. Perhaps the most prominent venue after the 1920's, the Valley Arena Gardens hosted a wide variety of musical acts including the likes of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, The Dorsey Brothers, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, Frances Langford, Cab Calloway, and Sarah Vaughn among many others still known in American popular culture today.
Of venues that once defined Holyoke's stage history, few remain; for the last decade an effort has been underway to restore the Victory Theater by the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts. These efforts have included introduction of the Victory Players in 2018, an international music residency program which plays contemporary classical music to support the funding of future theater programming. Today Holyoke's venues include Gateway City Arts, a converted paper factory now serving as a regular music venue, as well as the site of the former Mountain Park, now used for some large outdoor concerts, and the Holyoke Turner Hall, which features smaller shows. The city is home to its own symphony as well; the Holyoke Civic Symphony, originally a project of the Holyoke Community College, has been playing popular and classical pieces since 1967, based out of the college's Leslie Phillips Theater.
In addition to the Volleyball Hall of Fame the city is also home to Wistariahurst. Named for the flowered vines which adorn its gardens, the estate was home to the Skinner Family which produced sewing silk and satins, becoming the largest producer of the latter in the world. The museum is home to a wide variety of contemporary and historic gallery events and contains numerous archival collections for research. Though no longer in the museum collections, Wistariahurst was once home to the eminent Belle Skinner Collection of Musical Instruments, curated by its namesake Belle Skinner. Several decades after her death, the collection became a substantial part of the Yale University Collection of Musical Instruments.[b]
The Children's Museum at Holyoke, started by the Junior League of Holyoke in 1984, features a number of hands-on exhibits, including a water table, Lite-Brite wall, and a variety of displays including 2,000 collector Pez dispensers.
Holyoke is home to the second-largest St. Patrick's Day parade in the United States, surpassed only by the New York City parade.[better source needed] 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. In recent years the Holyoke Saint Patrick's Day Parade typically attracts 350,000 to 450,000 people each year. Featured in the parade every year since the first in 1952 is the Holyoke Caledonian Pipe Band, founded in 1910, it is the oldest pipe band continously operating in the United States.
Since 1962, the city has held an annual Shad Derby every year in May with rare exception. The contest, begun under the Holyoke Water Power Company, is now ran by the municipal energy department Holyoke Gas & Electric. Though it was not weighed in time to enter the record of the Derby, the section of the Connecticut to the south of the Holyoke Dam at Hadley Falls holds the world record for the largest American shad caught, which weighed 11 pounds, 4 ounces when it was hooked in 1986. Thanks to conservation measures, the river is known for a thriving American shad population even today, a population which has fluctuated between 226,000 and 778,000 fish since 2000.
Every June since it was first introduced by mayor and LGBT activist Alex Morse in 2012, the city has held a rainbow flag-raising ceremony in recognition of Gay Pride Month with the event often featuring speakers, music, and a moment of silence for victims of discrimination and persecution.
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.
In the last week of August, the city hosts Celebrate Holyoke at Holyoke Heritage State Park. The event, launched in 1986 to celebrate the opening of the then-new state park, features live music, food, open house events for different businesses in the downtown and canal district areas. In its first year alone the event featured a laser show, and had as many as 40 to 60 thousand attendants over the course of the four day event; financial difficulties however led to its cancellation in 1995. The event was revived in 2015, and has continued as a two-day event since.
Since 2016, every September the neighborhood association of South Holyoke has hosted El Sabor de South Holyoke (Taste of South Holyoke) a festival featuring local Puerto Rican cuisine, live music, and a number of events, including honoring different organizations such as the Holy Trinity Greek Church and Nueva Esperanza for their contributions to the community.
Every November, the International Volleyball Hall of Fame presents awards to its next class of inductees, as the best players of that year are named. The Hall presents three additional awards annually- the Court of Honor Award for contributions of teams or organizations to volleyball, the William G. Morgan Award for outstanding support or promotion of the sport, Mintonette Medallion of Merit Award in recognition of significant individual achievement, including coaches, referees, scorekeepers and other notable contributors to the sport.
On February 9, 1895, William G. Morgan invented volleyball, originally known as "mintonette" for its similarity to badminton, at the Holyoke YMCA. Though the original YMCA building in which the sport was first played was lost to fire in 1943, the Greater Holyoke YMCA remains an active chapter. Today the Volleyball Hall of Fame resides in Holyoke at Holyoke Heritage State Park and inducts a new class of athletes, coaches, and contributors every October. The city's legacy in the creation of the sport is also honored by two volleyball clubs in the Netherlands, which borrow its name – Belfeldse Volleybalclub Holyoke, of Belfeld, and Volleybalvereniging Holyoke of Enter.
The Valley Blue Sox, a member of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, play their home games at Mackenzie Stadium. Previously the Concord Quarry Dogs from 2001 until 2006, the collegiate summer baseball franchise moved to Holyoke in 2007, winning their first NECBL Championship in 2017.
Holyoke has been home to a handful of minor league and collegiate baseball teams, among the first was the Holyoke Paperweights of the Connecticut League from 1903 to 1911. The Holyoke Millers, a Double-A team, moved to the city following a single season in Pittsfield as the Berkshire Brewers. Early planning proved difficult for the team as they often had to coordinate with the athletic departments of Holyoke High School and Holyoke Catholic High School for use of the field at that time. The Millers would leave for New Hampshire after their 1982 season, when the franchise changed its affiliation from the Milwaukee Brewers to the California Angels; that franchise is now the Harrisburg Senators.
While unsuccessful attempts were made to attract a new team in the years that followed, Holyoke would not host another until 2004. Following their departure from Middletown, Connecticut, the Holyoke Giants, a Futures Collegiate Baseball League team, made Mackenzie Stadium their home until 2007, subsequently becoming the North Shore Navigators of Lynn.
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 May 7, 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 Republican, based out of Springfield and the Daily Hampshire Gazette of Northampton are the only daily newspapers regularly serving the city. Holyoke's own newspaper of record, the Holyoke Transcript-Telegram, which had been connected with the city under several variations of that name, ceased publication in 1993. Since this time Holyoke has not had its own daily news source but has been served by the weekly Holyoke Sun, managed by Turley Publications, which began publication in 1995.
Since 2004 the area has also been covered by the bilingual monthly El Sol Latino; published independently out of Amherst, it covers the news of the Pioneer Valley's Puerto Rican community, with considerable coverage given to Holyoke. The Republican also publishes a free Spanish-language weekly known as El Pueblo Latino, with distribution mainly in Springfield and Holyoke. Historically Holyoke has had numerous non-English news publications. Between 1874 and 1910 more twelve French newspapers were published. Many of these were printed for only a matter of weeks, while the best documented, the weekly La Justice, was published from 1909 to 1964, being biweekly in its last six years. Another prominent example was the Polish language Gwiazda, or Polish Weekly-Star, among the best documented of at least four such publications.
Holyoke is served by radio stations in the Springfield market, including its own WCCH, Holyoke Community College's radio station, Mount Holyoke College's WMHC of South Hadley, and WMUA of UMass Amherst. A Christian radio station WREA also broadcasts Spanish-language religious programming from a studio in downtown Holyoke.
Interstate highways serving Greater Holyoke include:
Immediately south of Holyoke is the Massachusetts Turnpike, accessible from exit 14 on I-91 South:
U.S. Highways serving Greater Holyoke include:
Massachusetts highways in the area include:
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, connecting with Peter Pan Buslines at the Holyoke Transportation Center.
Despite its industrial history, Holyoke contains 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.
Holyoke has in the past established sister city relationships with cities abroad, including-
Less formal relationships, symbolic and historical have also been established with the following cities-
(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
One building alone is 1000 feet long—the largest silk mill, under one roof, in the world
[The article] reproduces a letter from Herschel to the late Dr. Unwin describing his invention of the Venturi Meter. The letter is dated June 5, 1888, and addressed from the hydraulic engineer's office of the Holyoke Water Power Co., Mass. In his letter, Herschel says he tested a one-inch Venturi Meter, under 210 ft. head: 'I am now satisfied that here is a new and pregnant principle to be applied to the art of gauging fluids, inclusive of fluids such as compressed air, illuminating or fuel gases, steam, etc. Further, that the shape of the meter should be trumpet-shaped in both directions; such a meter will measure volumes flowing in either direction, which in certain localities becomes a useful attribute...'
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.
Holyoke-...Architect Oscar Beauchemin has completed plans for block to be erected at Dwight St. and Clinton Ave. for Doryle Gauthier
The attention of persons desiring homes in this city is called to the advertisement of Wm. A. Chase, the energetic Agent of the Holyoke Water Power Company, who has commenced the experiment of constructing residences for citizens at cost figures on the most desirable and pleasant building lots owned by the company.
[T]he workers of Holyoke who were most vocal about the unions were the Irish, English, and Italians, groups with which most French Canadians had little sympathy. Many of the French operatives had come to Holyoke directly from their family farms in Québec, ready to work, grateful for their jobs, and not inclined to make demands of the hand that fed them. Back home in Canada, parish priests and bishops preached frequently of the evils of unions...[and] a society slipping into godless socialism.
Puerto Rican migrant laborers working in Western Massachusetts and Connecticut tobacco fields have sent a letter containing over 1000 signatures to the Puerto Rican governor and Department of Labor alleging breaches of contract and demanding better working conditions...Contracts are negotiated for Puerto Rican workers between the Puerto Rican government and the Shade Tobacco Growers Agricultural Association...before World War II Greater Springfield teenagers did much of the work on Western Massachusetts tobacco...the importation of seasonal workers...is a relatively recent procedure
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.
Holyoke Opera House. Monday evening—P. K. Matus's Royal Hungarian court orchestra...Saturday matinee and evening—Lyman K. Howes's moving pictures...One of the interesting announcements of the week is the return this season of Lyman K. Howes [sic] moving pictures. These have been seen at the Holyoke opera house for two seasons, and have pleased large audiences both times
Two star attractions will be offered at the Valley Arena Gardens tomorrow in Duke Ellington, occupying the bandsland with his world famous orchestra, and Sarah Vaughan, recording artist and star of radio and television...
...all the parishes of the city were represented in the 35-minute parade which even the bitter bite of March air couldn't chill. How could it, when the skirling of the pipes of the Caledonian Kiltie Band, resplendent in their color kilts, came along?
The Holyoke Water Power Co. announced this week that plans for the second annual shad derby are nearly completed
Now along comes Bob Thibodo of Northampton who an landed [sic] 11 pound, four ounce fish taken below the Holyoke Dam, breaking the world record by three ounces. Thibodo weighed the fish at LeWay Bait and Tackle in Belchertown, an official weighing station...The fish did not win the Holyoke Water Power Co. Shad Derby as Bob did not weigh the fish in time.
Laser beams cut through the darkness in downtown Holyoke, Mass., during the Celebrate Holyoke festival last weekend
De Belfeldse Volleybalclub (BVC) Holyoke werd opgericht in 1975. Holyoke is genoemd naar een gelijknamig stadje in Massachusetts (USA) waar volleybal in 1895 "geboren" is.
Volleybalvereniging Holyoke is opgericht op 12 december 1960. Holyoke is genoemd naar de gelijknamige plaats in de staat Massachusetts in de Verenigde Staten.
In addition there are presently thousands of weekly and monthly community oriented publications that serve local Latina/o readers in the United States, for example El Sol Latino, dialogo Bilingüe, and Elité all serve the rural Latino communities across Western Massachusetts
Apremont in the Meuse which used to be such a thriving village, now only knee high, is receiving a community center building from the school children of Holyoke, Mass.
At Apremont, however, the chief gift from Holyoke is no monument, but what the French themselves would call something 'plus pratique.' It is the entire water system, modern and complete...It has even been adjusted so that water can be piped into each of the new houses as they go up
[In a letter from the mayor of Apremont] 'I can never thank too much,' it read, 'in the name of the commune of Apremont La Forget [sic] the brave soldiers of the 26th American division and especially the 104th infantry, who really contributed to the deliverance of our village...we have never forgotten you here–everything is a reminder of your generous presence. The village square is named Place d'Holyoke, in memory of the city of that name...the main street is the Rue Belle Skinner, given this honor in memory of the great friend of the commune, a woman with a big heart
A quest for identity and for a sense of belonging, as well as the period in which he lives, are familiar to Mr. Palliser, who was born in Holyoke, Mass., to an American father and an Irish mother and who was sent to England to live with his grandmother after his parents' marriage dissolved.
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