1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Holyoke

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HOLYOKE, a city of Hampden county, Massachusetts, U.S.A., in a bend of the Connecticut river, about 8 m. N. of Springfield. Pop. (1880) 21,915; (1890) 35,637; (1900) 45,712; (1910 census) 57,730. Of the total population in 1900, 18,921 were foreign-born, including 6991 French-Canadians, 5650 Irish, 1602 Germans and 1118 English; and 33,626 were of foreign parentage (both parents foreign-born), including 12,370 of Irish and 11,050 of French-Canadian parentage. The city’s area is about 17 sq. m. The city is served by the Boston & Maine, and the New York, New Haven & Hartford railways, and by an interurban line. Holyoke is characteristically an industrial and mercantile city; it has some handsome public buildings (the city hall and the public library, founded in 1870, being especially noteworthy) and attractive environs. Holyoke is the railway station for Mt Holyoke College, in South Hadley, about 4 m. N. by E. of Holyoke; the city is connected with South Hadley by an electric line. Just above Holyoke the Connecticut leaves the rugged highlands through a rift between Mt Tom (1214 ft.; ascended by a mountain-railway from Holyoke) and Mt Holyoke (954 ft.), and begins a meandering valley course, falling (in the Hadley halls) in great volume some 60 ft. in about 11/2 m. The water-power was unutilized until 1849, when a great dam (1017 ft. long) was completed, which enabled vast power to be developed along a series of canals laid out from the river. This was, in its day, a colossal undertaking; and its success transformed Holyoke from a farming village into a great manufacturing centre—in 1900 and 1905 the ninth largest of the commonwealth. In 1900 a stone dam (1020 ft.), said to be the second largest in New England, was completed at a cost of about $750,000. Cotton manufactures first, and later paper products were chief in importance, and Holyoke now leads all the cities in the United States in the manufacture of fine paper. In 1905 the total value of all factory products was $30,731,332, of which $10,620,255 (or 34.6% of the total) represented paper and wood pulp; $5,019,817, cotton goods; $1,318,409, woollen goods; $1,756,473, book binding and blank books, and $2,022,759, foundry and machine-shop products. Silk and worsted goods are other important manufactures. Opposite Holyoke, in Hampshire county, is South Hadley Falls. The municipality owns and operates the gas and electric-lighting plants and the water works (the water-supply being derived from natural ponds, some of which are outside the city limits), and owns and leases (to the New York, New Haven & Hartford railroad) a railway extending (10.3 m.) to Westfield, Mass. Holyoke was originally a part of Springfield, and after 1774 of West Springfield. In 1850 it was incorporated as a township, and in 1873 was chartered as a city.