My name is Sarah Campbell and I am the Curator of Historical Collections at Holyoke Public Library in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
Let me tell you a little about my adopted home town of Holyoke, Massachusetts. Holyoke, found in the absolutely gorgeous Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts, was known as the Paper City from the late 19th Century all the way up to the late 20th century. It earned this accolade as its primary industry was paper and, for many years, was one of the major producers of paper for the entire United States. In addition, Holyoke was known for its textile industry and for its machine shops that helped supply the factories with parts. I will probably go more specifically into this topic over time as Holyoke's industrial past is a rich and interesting topic.
Holyoke also has the distinction of being one the first planned cities in the United States. (It isn't my intention to get into the old argument about which city actually was the first- trust me- I know there are others who would like to take the crown as THE FIRST) Let it suffice that Holyoke was definitely planned. The Holyoke Public Library's History Room has a collection of maps that show how close Holyoke's founding fathers' vision of our city was to the actual layout of the streets.
Many innovations in industry occurred here. The Deane Steam Pump was the basis for instruments still in use and visitors from the world around used to visit our factories to view our processes for creating paper. Yet Holyoke was not only poised on the forefront of invention. It was also known as a center for the arts. The Victory Theatre was a stop on the Broadway circuit. Important pieces of art hung in Holyoke Public Library's museum and stars found their way to the Holyoke Opera House.
However, while Holyoke's past was certainly grand, and while many of our beautiful buildings are no longer in existance, it must be remembered that Holyoke is still very much a vibrant city. It is my intention to celebrate Holyoke's radiant past and brilliant future in this blog.
You are welcome to visit me here at my blog. I hope to post as often as possible. However, depending on how busy the Holyoke History Room is I might have to limit my posts to once a week. Please feel free to leave comments or request new topics for the blog. Given the fact that the History Room's resources are pretty focused on Holyoke it would be best if you kept your topics focused on Holyoke History. Also, while I will attempt to keep my comments as neutral as possible there are a few topics that I am quite passionate about so do bear with me.
You are also welcome to visit me at the History Room. We are found at:
204 Donahue Building
Holyoke Community College
303 Homestead Ave.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Our Current Hours are:
Please give us a call if you are traveling a distance as these hours are subject to change seasonally and due to holidays and staff availabily.
Next: Holyoke Public Library: James Clough's classic beauty and other topics!