Holyoke’s Renovated Hotel

by Laurel | February 27th, 2012

27 February 1890

Holyoke House Renovation

Hotel Hamilton Renovation

Some of the Changes Made in the Old Holyoke House, Now the Hotel Hamilton.

The Parsons paper company is expending about $40,000 in remodeling and improving the Hotel Hamilton at Holyoke, which, until recently was known as the Holyoke House, and the accompanying picture shows how the building will look when finished. This hotel was for a number of years the only hostelry in the place, and the changes which are now under way will place it on a footing with the best hotels of Western Massachusetts. The Parsons Paper Company bought the Holyoke House in November, 1864, for $32,500, and since then several landlords, including Mssrs. Leavitt, Brown, Belding, Bush & Chase, Johnson and Bowker, have managed it. Thousands of dollars have been expended on the property in improvements and furnishings, and the company finally decided about six months ago to renovate and improve it once more, and to put it in first class shape. Architect Clough as secured to draft the plans, and the work on the building will be finished in a month or six weeks. George H. Bowker, formerly proprietor of the Windsor hotel, who now conducts the Mellen house at Fall River and the Hotel Winthrop at Meriden, CT, was engaged to manage the house. Mr. Bowker suggested a number of important changes in the house, and it was also decided to drip the name of the Holyoke house and to adopt the Hotel Hamilton instead.

The most important change in the building is the addition of 52 feet in the rear, 9o feet wide and four stories high, with an attic. This addition will accommodate 35 extra rooms, making the total lodging capacity of the hotel 80 rooms. Beginning with the office floor, there has been a number of important changes and improvements made. The frescoing has been touched up, the paint brightened, and new carpets have been laid on the floors and corridors. The dining room on the first floor has been thoroughly renovated; a new linoleum carpet has been laid, new chairs and tables put in, solid oak side-boards, now china ware and silver sets, put in. The room is lighted at night by 50 incandescent electric lights, distributed among the brackets on the sides of the room, and in the handsome chandelier with crystal prisms overhead. A cozy private dining-room communicates with the main room, and with the corridor which will seat 25 persons. It is nicely furnished with oak table and chairs, has electric lights, handsome mirrors and draperies. The old reading-room adjoining the private dining-room has been concerted into a handsome women’s reception room with an inviting open grate, fine mirrors, old style furniture, nice draperies and fine lace curtains. The former billiard room is now a reading room where the daily, weekly and monthly papers are on file. Beyond this is a writing room, provided with a long table having a full supply of writing materials, together with plenty of chairs and other equipment. The next room is a women’s parlor, very attractively furnished. The floor is covered with a handsome Wilton carpet, there is a nice antique oak, heavily carved secretary bedstead and the furniture, draperies, curtains ad mirrors are very elaborate. A second women’s parlor adjoining the first has a 16th century secretary-bedstead, fine carpet, handsome mirrors, draperies and elegant furniture and at one side is a bath-room and water-closet. These rooms are lighted by electricity and they will be used by guest as sleeping apartments whenever it is necessary.

The former men’s toilet-room has been thoroughly renovated and improved. The old closets have been torn out and new ones of the most improved pattern substituted. The room is finished in cherry with swing doors in the closets of the same material. The ventilation is well-nigh perfect. A door opening from the toilet room communicates with the billiard room in the new addition 36 by 32 feet. This room is finished in oak with a handsome steel ceiling painted in bright colors and the walls are tinted. There is a broad corridor leading from this room to the office of the hotel. On the same floor are several sample rooms about 15 by 17 feet each for the use of clothing, dry goods, millinery and other items. These rooms are lighted by electricity. There are well lighted and ventilated water closets and coat rooms on the upper floors finished in maple. The plumbing all through the house has received careful attention and the work has been thoroughly done, especially in the bath rooms and closets. On the third and fourth floors are the 35 new sleeping rooms of a uniform size of 11 by 15 feet and these will have full sized of three-quarter beds. There are four or five fire escapes communicating with the various floors, one being placed at the rear of the building, another communicating with a court in the center, a third with the women’s entrance and the fourth connecting with the main stairway in front. New carpets and blinds have been placed in the corridors on each floor. The bridal chamber on the third floor is the handsomest room in the house. The floor is covered with a rich Wilton carpet; the furniture is a combination of willow and plush in off pieces; there are lace curtains. Turkish draperies and the chamber set is heavy black walnut. The front rooms on this floor have all been refurnished and there are many pieces of antique pattern scattered through the apartments. The elevator communicating with the different floors has been tinned from top to bottom as an additional protection against fire. At the base of the well is a solid brick wall 12 inches thick, separating the elevator from the outer basement, this preventing a draught in case of fire. In the elevator are automatic sprinklers, having connections with each floor.

On the third floor in the new part is a beautiful dancing hall 36 by 80 feet, which can be used for a variety of purposes. It has a nicely polished maple floor, and around the sides of the room is a wainscoting paneled in two shades of gray. The walls are tinted in delicate shades of terra cotta, and the steel ceiling overhead is paneled and painted a rich cream shade. Distributed among the panels are ventilators which supply the room with pure air. Just above the floor on the sides of the room are more ventilators and this system of purifying the air is nearly perfect. This hall is lighted by 35 electric lights of 24 candle power each and adjusted by means of the Bergmann system of conduits. There will be an entrance on Main Street opening into the corridor, and the latter will connect with the main rotunda, which has its entrance on Dwight Street. The stairway near the post office will communicate directly with the hotel office above. When the post office is closed an iron partition of lattice work will shut off the public from the money order, registered latter and delivery windows, but the lock boxes can be reached at any hour of the night.

The post office will be greatly benefited by the changes, and considerable additional room will be gained. The woodwork will match the remainder of the finish on that floor, being quartered oak. The money order, registered letter, box and general delivery and postage stamp windows will all be on the right, communicating with the new corridor, and in the read will be the letter carriers department and postmaster’s private office. In front will be 750 lock boxes furnished by Yale and Towne of Stamford, CT. In the court, in the rear o the building is a baggage elevator for the use of the hotel.

It is hoped to have the work finished in about six weeks, and the hotel will then be in condition to handle its full share of the business which comes to the city.

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.


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.