Latest Ramblings

Tombstone Tuesday — John Lowe

August 26th, 2014 | 2 Comments

From Forestdale Cemetery

Lowe Tombstone, Forestdale Cemetery

Lowe Tombstone, Forestdale Cemetery. Click for a larger version.

John Lowe
Born Nov. 28, 1841
Died July 30, 1912
Emma, Wife of
John Lowe 1847 – 1903
At Rest.

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Baby Parade at Playgrounds

August 25th, 2014 | No Comments

28 August 1915

A Crowd of 8000 Turn Out To See the 10 Different Parades — Prize Winners

Baby Carriage

Ten Baby Carriage Parades in 10 different grounds was the big novelty feature at the closing exercises of the Holyoke playgrounds yesterday afternoon.  Attracted to the grounds by the advanced announcement that a baby carriage parade was to be held, a crowd estimated close to 8000 men, women and children were present during the afternoon. Although only one week’s notice was given relative to the baby carriage parade, a larger number of entries appeared than what was expected and the majority of the carriages were decorated handsomely. On several of the grounds some of the children were dressed up as “Uncle Sam,” while others were costumed to represent other national figures. The woman’s equal suffrage league was not forgotten and one of the babies was costumed in the uniform of a suffragist.

On a few of the grounds dolls played a prominent part in the parade and the dolls were dressed up to represent many notable characters. Even Charlie Chaplin was represented and he was also in the line of march. Each ground held its own separate paras and awarded its own prizes. Owing to the number of prizes given it was almost impossible to keep track of the winners. The winners on the Morgan grounds were as follows: Howard Hurley, Mildred Wisel, Nathaniel Palmer. Estel Gendron and Masters Beaudry and Michelson. All of the prize winners were selected as having the best decorated baby carriages in the parade. Continue Reading →

Girls’ Advanced Swimming — Holyoke High School, 1953-1954

August 22nd, 2014 | No Comments


Girls' Advanced Swimming — Holyoke High School, 1953-1954

Girls’ Advanced Swimming
Holyoke High School

Girls’ Advanced Swimming

First row, left to right:  B. Glass, J. Beck, P. Stark, B. Trotman,  J. Marion.

Second row:  A. Modena, N. Grandchamp, B. Czapran, E. Morrison.

(Click on image to view a large version)

Holyoke Man Saw Service in Lafayette Escadrille

August 21st, 2014 | No Comments

23 August 1936

Lieut Alfred Paganini

Lieut Alfred Paganini

Lieut. Alfred Paganini, Now Chauffeur for William Skinner,
Was Enrolled by Quentin Roosevelt — Was Racing Auto Driver

Holyoke, Aug 27 – Echoes of the American Legion convention in nearby Springfield man arouse memories, some clear cut, some vague of the great World conflict in the heart and mind of Alfred Paganini who now as chauffeur for William Skinner leads a quiet life compared with 20 years ago when as a member of the famous Lafayette Escadrille he had plenty of exciting experiences.

Sitting in the Skinner garage the other day, ruddy of face, hair slightly tinges with gray, modest and quiet in demeanor he spoke quietly of some of his exploits. Like other men who have been down into the valley of death overseas, he takes no pleasure in recalling the old days; rather he hesitates about telling of them unless pressed. Outside of the annual dinner meetings of the 1st Aero Squadron to which he belongs he seldom speaks of his adventures, either as a racing driver for several years or as an aviator in the war.

“If I come across a group of men and they begin to talk of the World War, I walk away,” he said.

Lieut. Paganini — to give him his military title in the war when he was aviator — he just missed receiving a commission as captain by three days before he was to have received it — was born in Paris and of course speaks French fluently. That was one reason why after the war when the late Miss Belle Skinner was looking for a chauffeur she chose him, his fine record and quiet efficiency also county, no doubt.

Was Racing Auto Driver

When 14 years old he left Paris for England and as he worked around garages and shops where places were made he must have developed no little mechanical ingenuity as well as shown ability in handling motor engines. He doesn’t say anything about it; in fact only by questioning can he be induced to say anything. At any rate, the Panhard people took him on, and we find him driving their racing cars; so well did he perform that in 1904 he won the James Gordon Bennett cup in an auto race. He kept right on racing however; and the Panhard people thought so much of him that they sent him to Australia to demonstrate the Panhards there three years later. He helped establish agencies in Sydney and Melbourne; and after he returned he was taken on by Alfred Vanderbilt as his own driver and mechanic — a position he retained for eight years. Continue Reading →

Holyoke Snippets — 22 August 1907

August 20th, 2014 | No Comments

22 August 1907

Schooner Elvira Ball

Schooner Elvira Ball
of Mystic Connecticut
Named after Elvira L. Ball, daughter of
C.E. (Charles Ely) Ball of Holyoke, Msss

To Attend Launching of the Elvira Ball – A party of Holyokers will visit Mystic CT, Saturday, to be present at the launching of the five-masted schooner, Elvira Ball. The ship will be christened by the daughter of C. E. Ball of Holyoke, who will give it her own name, which is also the name of her mother and of her niece. The schooner will be added to the fleet of the Gilbert Transportation Company, which now has a fleet of 20 vessels, and the stock of the company is largely owned in Holyoke. A number will go down to witness the launching, and will attend the banquet following. Among those interested in the company are C.E. (Charles Ely) Ball and Dr. L. H. Clarke, who are directors, and S.R. Whiting, Dr. G. L. Kinne, Dr. Adolph Franz, Dr. A.B. Wetherell, Dr. Frank Woods, Philander Moore and Dwight Ives. The company started in business with only five ships, which has now increased to over 20, and do a large coasting trade. The new schooner was built at the company’s yards at Mystic, Ct, and will have a carrying capacity of 1,800 tons or coal or 750,000 of lumber. Continue Reading →


Suggested Holyoke Books

Mountain Park -- The Holyoke destination we all loved.

Mount Holyoke College

Mount Holyoke College, Postcard History by Donna Albino. Many Holyoke women have attended Mount Holyoke. Author also maintains an amazing MHC website based upon her personal collection.

Holyoke - Chicopee, A Perspective

Holyoke-Chicopee: A Perspective, by Ella Merkel DiCarlo. DiCarlo, a former Transcript columnist offers a fascinating compilation of her essays. Published in 1982, this out-of-print book is worth looking for in the aftermarket.


Holyoke, by Craig Della Penna. The first Holyoke book in the Arcadia series, published in 1997.

Belle Skinner Collection

Belle Skinner Collection, by Ruth Isabel Skinner. Published in 1933, this book is long out of print but copies are still available in the aftermarket.

Mitch Epstein: Family Business

Mitch Epstein: Family Business Published in 2003, available in the aftermarket. Epstein's furniture.