Holyoke is an exciting community with committed citizens, a rich history, a dynamic business sector, and a wide variety of opportunities. The best way to learn about our proud city is to experience it!
Walk through the Mount Tom State Reservation, row the Connecticut River, shop with 20 million others at the Holyoke Mall at Ingleside, view dinosaur footprints, enjoy our annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, take your family to ‘Celebrate Holyoke’, or enjoy a ride on the historic Merry-Go-Round at Holyoke Heritage State Park.
Holyoke holds the distinction of being the first planned industrial community in the Nation. As such, downtown Holyoke features rectilinear street grids, a novelty in New England. In 1847, merchant investors utilized a natural 57-foot drop in the river to construct a granite dam and multi-level canal system. With this construction came an elaborate complex of mills and worker’s housing. The street hierarchy upon which the worker housing and mills were built were a potential economic development tool, it lends well to high-rise buildings and the surrounding canals are landscaped into a source of recreation and relaxation.
Holyoke attracted successive waves of Irish, French Canadian, German, Polish, Jewish, and Italian immigrants who worked in the mills, established small businesses and raised their families. Holyoke’s population rose from just under 5,000 in 1860 to over 60,000 by 1920. This population growth led the municipality to become officially incorporated as a city on April 7, 1873, only 23 years after its initial incorporation as the “Town of Holyoke”. The biggest industry in Holyoke was the production of paper, at its height Holyoke was the largest paper producing city in the world. Holyoke was coined “Paper City,” a name that carries on to this day.
Many artifacts of the City’s pioneering engineering machinery are on display and in use today, making Holyoke a unique living museum ahead of the curve in the 21st century. Beginning at the end of World War II, an influx of Puerto Ricans and other Latino groups began to immigrate to Holyoke. Today, Latinos form the city's largest minority group, with the largest Puerto Rican population per capita of any American city outside Puerto Rico proper, with nearly half of Holyoke’s residents being of Latino decent.
The City’s attractive complement of urban scale and natural serenity includes numerous mill sites as well as a collection of parks, historic sites and recreation destinations. What else would you expect from the Birthplace of Volleyball?
Education thrives in the Pioneer Valley. There are 14 colleges and universities convenient to the city, which cooperate to provide skilled graduates to the area. Holyoke is at the center of New England’s Knowledge Corridor, which extends from the Vermont border to just below Hartford. Locally employers have available the Holyoke High School Dean Campus, a Technical High School, that partners with businesses to supply both skilled workers and customized training programs.
Holyoke is ahead of the curve when it comes to “Green Energy”. The City was built on water power and continues to use this incredible asset through the municipally run dam. Two-thirds of the electricity produced by Holyoke Gas & Electric is derived from non-greenhouse gas producing, renewable hydroelectric generation resources. With a growing consumer interest in sustainable production practices, Holyoke’s hydroelectric production capacity is more than just an environmental decision – it makes business sense.
Welcome to our City, you’re sure to enjoy yourself!