Latest Ramblings

Woodmar Glen Open House

April 4th, 2014 | Comments Off

22 June 1963

Woodmar Glen Open House

Woodmar Glen Open House
“The Georgian”

Half page ad in the Springfield paper advertising “The Georgian” — an open house for a  new build for sale in Holyoke. The ad lists the location as being on Glenway Street, off of Easthampton  Rd at the Jarvis Ave intersection. Glenway St. appears to now be called Burns Way. You can look at Google Street maps and easily recognize this house 50 years later.

As usual, clicking on the image will give you a larger view.

From The Springfield Republican

How Telephone Switchboard at Holyoke is Run

April 4th, 2014 | Comments Off

16 July 1922

Night Operators at Holyoke Exchange

Night Operators at Holyoke Exchange
Misses Frances Moriarty and Lulu M. Chase

Sometimes 30 Operators on Hand, But only Two in the Wee Sma’ Hours
Big Fires Mean All Lights Ablaze
How Emergency Calls are Handled — Operator Must be Alert and Keen-Minded to Hold Down Job

Holyoke, Jul 15 – Just before 8 every night at the telephone exchange there are 30 operators at work; just after 11 there are two — and from 2 until 6 a.m. , most of the time two, some of the time one. So that for a considerable part of the 24 hours, the 10,500 Holyoke telephones are handled by two girls, who are also at the same time and collectively the chief operator, supervisors, toll operators and, incidentally, do some little clerical work for the company. The “night shift” as it is called, is from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., but each girl is required to work only six hours and a half. Nevertheless, there is no very great rush for the places, and as a matter of equity, the night shift is changed about every month.

Misses Frances Moriarty and Lulu Chase, who have been at work on the night shift, will finish their month tomorrow, but they may be back later in the season. They will be succeed by two other girl for the present. The complement of girls is based on the volume of traffic and varies in a surprising degree. From 6 to 7 p.m. is about the busiest of the day for local traffic, though the toll traffic “peak of the load” is at a different hour.

Here is the working table of the evening hours giving number of girls at work and periods: Hours, 6 a.m. to 7, 30′; 7 to 8, 30; 8 to 8:30 23; 8:30 to 9, 17; 9 to 10, 11; 10 to 11, 7; 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. 2;. The “night” shift works through to 7 a.m., but girls come in after 6, so there are four girls from 6 to 6:30, 5 from 6:30 to 7, “and then,” said the night operator reflectively, “the whole gang comes in.”

“Generally we are pretty busy from 11 to a little after 12,” said Miss Moriarty, one of the night shift, speaking of the work. “Then it begins to fall off.”

“What is the dullest time?”

From 2 to 3 in the morning, our calls are very few. After 3 there begins to come in the early calls of milkmen and other early ones, so we are often fairly busy from that time on.”

“Do you have many emergency calls?” Continue Reading →

Student Council — Holyoke High School, 1953-1954

April 4th, 2014 | Comments Off


Student Council — Holyoke High School, 1953-1954

Student Council
Holyoke High School

Student Council

First row, left to right: A. Shutty, J. Cain, R. Wing, J. Marion, J. Tulenko, Mr. P. Salter, T. Heffron, S. Dizek, J. Bishop, R. Hamel, S. Clark.

Second row: D. Kwiatkowski, E. Griffin, G. Henneman, R. Sullivan, S. Lindberg, V. Pijar, J. Anwyll, M. Coffey, A. Frost, M. E. Hurley, R. Frost, E. Schwartzwald, E. Ouellette, P. Paige.

Third row: S. Horn, C. Russell, D. Strawbridge, G. Loughsey, R. Stebbins, T. Wheeler, J. Klarfeld, C. Messier, J. Wooller, R. Kruczek, W. Creane.

(Click through on image to view larger)

Autograph Album of Wilfred Maro Wharfield

April 3rd, 2014 | Comments Off

03 April 2014

Autograph Book

Autograph Book
Courtesy Heirlooms Reunited

Thanks to John Tew, a former resident of Holyoke, for alerting me to the Heirlooms Reunited Blog. Just last Sunday a fascinating post was published entitled “1877-1881 Autograph Album of Wilfred Maro Wharfield, while student at Holyoke High School, Holyoke Massachusets.”

In the autograph book are signatures of Wharfield’s classmates, friends and family. The post is well worth looking at because the author has clearly completed a fair amount of research on the people who have signed the autograph book.  The post offers both a list of surnames and a more detailed list of complete names, date of signature and other interesting bits of information.

Chow Wan Pang

Chow Wan Pang
Holyoke High Class of 1881
Courtesy Chinese Educational Mission Connections

It was fascinating to learn a little more about Chinese students who were attending Holyoke High School during these years. To quote from the post:

… two of Wilfred’s classmates at Holyoke High School were natives of China brought to the United States by the Chinese Educational  Mission, whose purpose was to educate promising Chinese students in mathematics and engineering.  They were Chow Wan Pang and Kwong Ping Kwang, both of whom returned to China after their U.S. education and worked in various fields.

The Chinese Exclusion Act was signed by President Chester A. Arthur in 1882 and this may explain the students immediate return to China after graduating from Holyoke High in 1881.

Historically, a chilly reception is clearly seen in Holyoke by some of the ongoing issues between the few Chinese businessmen who had settled in Holyoke and unions, locals, etc. (there are some other blog posts here on that give examples). So, it was good to see these students did graduate from Holyoke High.

By the way, this autograph album post is full of interesting links worth following, including links to the Chinese Educational Mission where photos Pang and Kwang may be seen, and a link to some extended genealogy on the Wharfield family. This autograph book may be available for purchase — to make an inquiry about it, go to the blog site and look for instructions.

And don’t forget to visit Filiopietism Prism, the blog belonging to former Holyoker and Highland School Alumnus John D. Tew who referred this autograph book post to us. He has an eclectic array of posts with a genealogical point of view. Thanks John!

Holyoke Church May Cost $300,000 to Reconstruct; Cause of Fire Not Known

April 3rd, 2014 | Comments Off

17 March 1934

 Thank you to Ralph Slate for contributing this photo (click through on image to view a larger version).

Fire at St. Jerome

Fire at St. Jerome
16 March 1934
Contributed by Ralph Slate

Crowds Visit Ruins of St. Jerome’s as Police Guard Curious From Danger of Falling Walls — Rev. F. W. Hafey Regarded as a Hero For Work in Saving Sacred Objects from Chapel — Fire Caused Death of Capt. J. J. Sullivan and Many Injuries — Statues and Altar Remain Unharmed

Holyoke, March 16 – Deputy State Fire Marshal William J. Puzzo of Springfield declared tonight that he had not yet determined the cause of the disastrous fire which almost completely destroyed the interior of St. Jerome’s Roman Catholic Church here early this morning. Deputy Puzzo inspected the ruins this afternoon, but said that another inspection will be made again tomorrow morning.

The fire, roughly estimated as having caused damage of upwards of half a million dollars, was also the cause of the death of Capt. James J. Sullivan of the Mount Tom engine house, who collapsed with a heard attack wile fighting the blaze from the front tower. Four other firemen, Chief Patrick J. Hurley; Deputy Daniel MacLean and Privates John Garaghty and Arthur Hart; received injuries which required medical treatment, and a number of the firemen received minor cuts and bruises. Chief Hurley’s leg was injured, as was Deputy McLean’s arm and Fireman Hart got a broken finger. Private Geraghty was struck a glancing blow on the head by a falling beam and was rendered unconscious. At the hospital later in the day it was discovered that he had suffered a fracture.

Adapted from The Springfield Republican, photograph from Ralph Slate.


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.