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Creating Holyoke
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L.A. Taber & Sons Jewelers Trade card Child's Shoe Store Tradecard Greetings from Holyoke postcard Holyoke Street Railway Company lithograph

Once considered the Paper Capital of the World, and home to premier cotton and silk mills, the history of Holyoke, Massachusetts offers a microcosm of American industrial development. Founded in 1848 as one of the nation's first planned industrial cities, Holyoke attracted successive waves of Irish, French Canadian, German, Polish, Jewish, and Italian immigrants who worked in the mills, established small businesses, raised their families, and created communities defined largely by ethnic and religious affiliation. However, by the mid-twentieth century, Holyoke, like so many American cities, found its industrial base rapidly disappearing. In the 1960s the most recent wave of people began re-creating Holyoke. Puerto Rican migrant farm workers, attracted by jobs in Western Massachusetts, began settling in old tenement houses once inhabited by earlier immigrant groups.

Because of its rich History, a group of non-profit institutions in the city called PassportHolyoke decided to launch Creating Holyoke: Immigrants' & Migrants' Search for Community.

This website is just one piece of the larger Creating Holyoke project: please visit Holyoke Heritage State Park, the Children's Museum at Holyoke and Wistariahurst Museum for permanent exhibits on industry, education, family life, and recreation! Please watch WGBY for the documentary Creating Holyoke: Voices of a Community. Visit our mural at Canal Walk! Find yourself walking or driving downtown Holyoke and explore the exhibit panels at historically important sites like City Hall, Pulaski Park, the Volleyball Hall of Fame and the Merry-Go-Round!

Recently Added Items

  • Added 2009-10-02 18:23:04

    Skinner Family Parlor

    Skinner Family Parlor, c. 1900

  • Added 2009-10-02 18:23:03

    Skinner Family Nursemaids

    Skinner family nursemaids take care of Robert Stewart Kilborne, Jr., first son of Katharine Skinner Kilborne.

  • Added 2009-10-02 18:23:03

    Building Canals

    Photograph reprinted by David Doherty of the canals being built at what is now Holyoke Heritage State Park

  • Added 2009-10-02 18:23:03

    Mountain Park

    Mountain Park. c. 1890s.

  • Added 2009-10-02 18:23:02

    Skinner Servants

    Skinner servants set up a picnic c. 1900.

  • Added 2009-10-02 18:23:02

    Joseph Allen Skinner

    Joseph Allen Skinner, 1878.

  • Added 2009-10-02 18:23:01

    Mountain Park

    Mountain Park, c. 1940s

For any questions or comments, please email us

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