Holyoke, Massachusetts, which I visited briefly this week for the first time, was once known as The Paper City. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it produced approximately 80% of the paper used in this country and and was home to the largest paper, silk, and alpaca mills in the world. It is also the place where volleyball was invented and first played in 1895. (It’s early history makes for a really fun read.)
The images below were taken in the vicinity of the Holyoke Heritage State Park, which stands on the site of the Skinner Silk Mill that burned to the ground in 1980. The First Level Canal bordering one side of it was home to many other mills whose now vacant or underutilized structures can be seen in these photos.
I’d be very surprised if the city, now fallen on hard times, doesn’t make a huge comeback within the next decade.
(Btw, if you expect to find Mt. Holyoke College in Holyoke, you’ll be sadly disappointed. It’s located one town to the northeast in South Hadley, just across the Connecticut River.)
Please click on images to enlarge.