• Holyoke - a brief history

    Welcome to Holyoke! 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 is on display and in use today, making Holyoke a unique living museum ahead of the curve in the 21st century.

    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!


  • Visitors Guide


    In the heart of the Pioneer Valley, Holyoke, Massachusetts is nestled in a region that is a unique blend of urban centers and rural areas. It offers economic, social, and cultural diversity. Quality of life is exceptional, with an abundance of educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities, excellent community health services, a diverse job market, and a lower cost of living than is usually associated with urban area.

     

    Live and Work


    There are diverse housing alternatives in Holyoke from urban townhouses and refurbished apartments to large and graceful homes in the almost rural sections of the city. Living in Holyoke is convenient for people who work nearby or whose children attend local schools. Easy access to Interstate 91 and the Massachusetts Turnpike is a plus for commuting to work or traveling throughout New England.The City also enjoys its location at the center of the Knowledge Corridor, an academic district extending along I-91 from Hartford to Greenfield. A collection of 32 colleges and universities encourage a talented and qualified workforce for prospective employers in the Pioneer Valley and further the regions’ reputation for high quality of life standards.Holyoke stands out in its competitive region as a center for job growth, business development incentives and, above all, promise. In addition to many state and federal programs, the City’s unique tax and assistance services add futher incentive to invest.