Whether visiting or relocating, Holyoke has something for everyone. Located in the heart of the Pioneer Valley, Holyoke is rich in natural and cultural assets, including the Connecticut River, hundreds of acres of parkland, two museums, and a historic dense urban fabric. It is all here, along with the great businesses and industries that have made Holyoke a major employment center since 1850 when it was developed as the first planned industrial city in the nation.
The City of Holyoke was incorporated in 1850, soon after a group of investors from Boston built the Hadley Falls Dam, a three level canal system and a grid of streets aligning the dense downtown. The hydropower generated from the dam and canals powered the mills of Holyoke’s paper industry, which generated wealth and economic prosperity throughout the region. In the 1920’s the City had 25 paper mills in operation at one time and the population had reached 60,000. Coined in the late 19th Century, the City still bears the nick name, the 'Paper City'.
The same water power that fueled a new city in the mid-1800's, is now supporting a new 'green economy' for the old. In fact, it is positioning Holyoke as the focal point for a new high-tech future for the Pioneer Valley.
With its opening in November 2012, the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC) is operating canal-side as a model for data collection, research and development for a university and private sector collaborative. The building is the 'greenest' facility of its kind in the world, relying heavily on water power and prospering from Holyoke's lowest electrical rates in the Northeast.
The MGHPCC's university partnership includes the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Massachusetts, Harvard University, Boston University, and Northeastern University, along with corporate partners Cisco Systems and EMC.
Considering the Center as a catalyst for a re-energized economy, the City is developing the Holyoke Innovation District to accommodate the spin-off from the facility and to attract other businesses that can take advantage of Holyoke's enormous assets.