Holyoke, Massachusetts

Holyoke, Massachusetts
Holyoke, Massachusetts
—  City  —
Holyoke City Hall

Nickname(s): The Paper City
Coordinates: 42°12′15″N 72°37′00″W / 42.20417°N 72.6166667°W / 42.20417; -72.6166667Coordinates: 42°12′15″N 72°37′00″W / 42.20417°N 72.6166667°W / 42.20417; -72.6166667
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Hampden
Settled 1745
Incorporated 1850
 – Type Mayor-council city
 – Mayor Alex 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 (61 m)
Population (2010)
 – Total 39,880
 – Density 1,872.3/sq mi (723.8/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 – Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 01040
Area code(s) 413
FIPS code 25-30840
GNIS feature ID 0617679
Website http://www.holyoke.org/

Holyoke is a city in Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States, between the western bank of the Connecticut River and the Mount Tom Range of mountains. As of the 2010 Census, the city had a population of 39,880. Sitting only 8 miles north of the major city of Springfield, Massachusetts, Holyoke is considered part of the Springfield Metropolitan Area - one of the two distinct metropolitan areas in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The City of Holyoke was named for Elizur Holyoke, a Springfielder who first explored the area in 1664.

Holyoke was one of the first planned industrial communities in the United States. Its rectilinear grid pattern is notable in Western Massachusetts, where few roads are straight. 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.[1] From the late 19th century until the mid-20th century, Holyoke was the world's biggest paper manufacturer.[1] The elaborate Holyoke Canal System, a system of canals 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.

The sport of volleyball was invented in Holyoke in 1895. The Volleyball Hall of Fame is located there.



The Connecticut River Valley was first inhabited by Englishmen 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 land that scouts had vetted the previous year. They considered it the most advantageous land in the Connecticut River Valley for both farming and trading. This settlement, located on fertile farmland just north of the Connecticut River's first major falls (at Enfield Falls,) the place where sea-going vessels necessarily had to stop, and switch 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; however, the region was eventually partitioned. In the 1650s, the area that would become Holyoke was first explored by Elizur Holyoke. Later, 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. The village of Holyoke was first settled in 1745, and was officially incorporated in 1850.

The first post office in the area was called Ireland and 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.[2]

A part of Northampton known as Smiths Ferry was separated from the rest of the town by the creation of Easthampton in 1809, and 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.[3]

Population and economy

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, and the population rose from just under 5,000 in 1860 to over 60,000 in 1920. 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. An early planned industrial town, Holyoke features rectilinear street grid - 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.

In the past several years, there have been successful efforts to attract high-tech jobs to Holyoke and diversify its economic base. For example, in 2011, a coalition of universities and tech companies built an energy-efficient, high-performance computing center in Holyoke, supporting the state’s tech sector and academic institutions. These companies and institutions include Cisco Systems, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT,) the University of Massachusetts, Boston University, EMC Corporation, and Accenture PLC. The data center will be built in Holyoke because the city provides New England's best access to green hydropower.[4] The retail sector has been a major employer in the city 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 dollars in taxes annually.[5] Holyoke is a sister city of Northampton, Massachusetts.

"The People's College"

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 firmly on Library Park, which was donated by the Holyoke Water Power Company in 1887. In 1870 the library was originally located 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.[6] 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.[7] 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”.[8]

Birthplace of Volleyball

On February 9, 1895, William G. Morgan invented volleyball at the former Holyoke YMCA. That YMCA building was located 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.

Immigration and migration

Historically, a city of working-class immigrants (and the rich business owners who have employed them,) the first wave of mill workers was predominantly Irish. Holyoke is still home to the second-largest St. Patrick's Day parade in the United States, surpassed only by the New York City parade.[9] 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 United States. In the 1850s, mills began to recruit French-Canadians, who were viewed as more docile and less likely to form labor unions.[10] Later waves of immigration and migration led to significant communities of Germans, Poles, Jews, and then, starting in the 1950s, Puerto Ricans, and other Latino groups. Today Latinos form the largest minority group in the city, with the largest percentage-wise Puerto Rican population of any city in the US outside Puerto Rico proper, at 36.5%.[11] The entire Latino population of Holyoke, as of the 2010 census, was 19,313, or 48% of the city's population of 39,880.[12]

Saint Patrick's Day Parade

Holyoke holds the second largest annual Saint Patrick's Day Parade in the nation, attracting 350,000 to 450,000 people every year.[13]

Puerto Rican Day Parade

The Latino 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 Latinos from across the northeast.


View from Mount Tom

Holyoke is located at 42°12′11″N 72°37′26″W / 42.20306°N 72.62389°W / 42.20306; -72.62389 (42.203191, -72.623969).[14]

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) of it is land and 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2) of it (6.70%) is water. The city is bordered by Southampton, Westfield, and Easthampton to the west, Northampton to the north, Hadley, South Hadley and Chicopee as river borders to the east, and West Springfield to the south.

Holyoke is the location of East Mountain, the Mount Tom Range, and Mount Tom, 1202 feet (363 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.


Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1850 3,245
1860 4,997 +54.0%
1870 10,733 +114.8%
1880 21,915 +104.2%
1890 35,637 +62.6%
1900 45,712 +28.3%
1910 57,730 +26.3%
1920 60,203 +4.3%
1930 56,537 −6.1%
1940 53,750 −4.9%
1950 54,661 +1.7%
1960 52,689 −3.6%
1970 50,112 −4.9%
1980 44,678 −10.8%
1990 43,704 −2.2%
2000 39,838 −8.8%
2001* 40,061 +0.6%
2002* 40,279 +0.5%
2003* 40,498 +0.5%
2004* 40,551 +0.1%
2005* 40,571 +0.0%
2006* 40,618 +0.1%
2007* 40,820 +0.5%
2008* 40,260 −1.4%
2009* 40,400 +0.3%
2010 39,880 −1.3%
* = population estimate.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.[15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24]

As of the census of 2000, there were 39,838 people, 14,967 households, and 9,474 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,871.4 people per square mile (722.5/km²). There were 16,210 housing units at an average density of 761.5 per square mile (294.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 65.76% White, 3.71% African American, 0.38% Native American, 0.81% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 26.41% from other races, and 2.81% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 41.38% of the population.[25]

There were 14,967 households out of which 33.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.5% were married couples living together, 22.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.7% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.23.

In the city the population was spread out with 29.5% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 26.8% from 25 to 44, 19.2% from 45 to 64, and 15.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 88.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,441, and the median income for a family was $36,130. Males had a median income of $34,849 versus $26,652 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,913. About 22.6% of families and 26.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 41.7% of those under age 18 and 13.2% of those age 65 or over.

The city of Holyoke has a large Irish and Latino population—both demographics well-known to patronize the Roman Catholic Church. This, and political tradition, contribute to Holyoke being viewed as one of the Pioneer Valley's most conservative cities, along with Westfield, Agawam, and Palmer. Interestingly, the nearby City of Springfield, which also features a large Catholic population, is overwhelmingly liberal, politically and socially.

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.[26]

Points of interest


Holyoke School Department serves the city of Holyoke. Holyoke High School and William J. Dean Technical-Vocational High School are the city's two high schools. Holyoke Community College serves Holyoke as well as the western Massachusetts area. Holyoke Catholic High School was located in Holyoke for 5 decades but is now in Chicopee.[28]

Notable residents

(B) denotes that the person was born there.

  • Arthur Adams (born 1963), Comic book artist known for his work on Longshot and Monkeyman and O'Brien.(B)[29][30]
  • Paul Azinger (born 1960), Professional golfer, winner of 1993 PGA Championship, and captain of the 2008 U.S. Ryder Cup team, was born in Holyoke.
  • Jack Buck (1924–2002), Sportscaster.(B)
  • Jerome Connor (1874–1943), Recognized world class sculptor
  • Fran Healy (born 1946) Former Major League Baseball catcher for the Kansas City Royals, San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees.
  • Hal Holbrook (born 1925), Actor known for his portrayal of Mark Twain in a one-man show.
  • Raymond Kennedy (1934–2008), Novelist, who set many of his books in a fictionalized Holyoke that he called "Ireland Parish" and "Hadley Falls".
  • Mike LaPlante (born 1966), college basketball head coach, NBA scout and lawyer. Known internationally as an excellent recruiter with contacts with the Senegalese Basketball Federation and is credited with bringing many players into the NBA from Africa and Europe.
  • Billy Mitchell, Classic arcade gamer.(B)
  • Neil Sheehan (born 1936), Author of A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam.(B)
  • David E. Sweet (1933–1984), Founding president of Metropolitan State University and later president of Rhode Island College.(B)
  • Eva Tanguay (1879–1947), The "I Don't Care Girl", vaudevillian.
  • William Fairfield Whiting, Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce.
  • William Whiting, Former member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts.
  • Mark Wohlers (born 1970), Former MLB relief pitcher who won a World Series in 1995 with the Atlanta Braves.(B)


  1. ^ a b http://www.valleyadvocate.com/blogs/home.cfm?aid=9811
  2. ^ Merolla, Lawrence M. and Crowther, Frank M. (1981) The Post Offices of Massachusetts, p. 43, North Abington, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Postal Research Society, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 81-84332
  3. ^ Strycharz, Robb (1996-2006). "US-5: A Highway To History". http://www.chronos-historical.org/highway/07.html. Retrieved 04/11/2009. 
  4. ^ http://www.xconomy.com/boston/2009/06/23/why-emc-wants-to-build-a-high-performance-data-center-in-holyoke/
  5. ^ "Holyoke French Company Announces Plans to buy Holyoke Power Plant". The Springfield Republican. The Republican Company. 09-02-2008. http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/09/french_company_announces_plans.html?category=Business+category=Holyoke. Retrieved 04/11/2009. 
  6. ^ Holyoke Public Library History Room & Archive
  7. ^ Paper City Scribblings: August 2006
  8. ^ Holyoke Public Library History Room & Archive
  9. ^ Holyoke St Patricks Parade - Our Story
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ Puerto Rican ancestry by city - ePodunk
  12. ^ American Fact Finder. Accessed March 31, 2011
  13. ^ Holyoke St. Patrick's Parade 2011: 60th annual parade draws 400,000
  14. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  15. ^ "TOTAL POPULATION (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/DEC/10_SF1/P1/0400000US25.06000. Retrieved September 13, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/GCTTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=04000US25&-_box_head_nbr=GCT-T1&-ds_name=PEP_2009_EST&-_lang=en&-format=ST-9&-_sse=on. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  17. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts". US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. http://www.census.gov/prod/cen1990/cp1/cp-1-23.pdf. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  18. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts". US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. http://www2.census.gov/prod2/decennial/documents/1980a_maABC-01.pdf. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  19. ^ "1950 Census of Population". Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-10 and 21-11, Massachusetts Table 6. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1930 to 1950. http://www2.census.gov/prod2/decennial/documents/23761117v1ch06.pdf. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  20. ^ "1920 Census of Population". Bureau of the Census. Number of Inhabitants, by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions. Pages 21-5 through 21-7. Massachusetts Table 2. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1920. http://www2.census.gov/prod2/decennial/documents/41084506no553ch2.pdf. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  21. ^ "1890 Census of the Population". Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. http://www2.census.gov/prod2/decennial/documents/41084506no553ch2.pdf. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  22. ^ "1870 Census of the Population". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. http://www2.census.gov/prod2/decennial/documents/1870e-05.pdf. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  23. ^ "1860 Census". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c.. http://www2.census.gov/prod2/decennial/documents/1860a-08.pdf. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  24. ^ "1850 Census". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c.. http://www2.census.gov/prod2/decennial/documents/1850c-11.pdf. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  25. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  26. ^ "Holyoke Crime Statistics". CityRating.com. http://www.cityrating.com/citycrime.asp?city=Holyoke&state=MA. Retrieved 04/11/2009. 
  27. ^ Wistariahurst Museum, accessed February 16, 2011.
  28. ^ Holyoke Public Schools, accessed February 16, 2011.
  29. ^ Cooke, Jon B. "The Art of Arthur Adams", Reprinted from Comic Book Artist #17, November 15, 2001
  30. ^ George Khoury and Eric Nolen-Weathington. Modern Masters Volume Six: Arthur Adams, 2006, TwoMorrows Publishing.

External links

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