Holyoke House Over Time — You Guess Location

by Laurel | March 12th, 2014

12 March 2014

This one is personal — so for those of you who actually really know me — no spoilers please.

My dad had a military career, but not before he bought a house in the midst of his transition from Army to Air Force. It was in the early 1950’s and we called it the “log cabin” because, well, that is just what it was at the time.  My dad, prior to his death gave most of his photos to me but also some to my brother. I seem to have acquired a photo of the back of the house, thus:

Log Cabin -- Back

Log Cabin — Rear of House
Early 1950’s
Holyoke, Mass

The front looked like an old log cabin too, and my brother seems to have that photo, but here you can see a glimpse of the place with my Great Uncle Jimmy, WWI Veteran,  posing for the camera:

Front View, The Log Cabin

Front View, The Log Cabin
Holyoke, Mass
early-mid 1950’s

The interior can only be considered rustic, with knotty pine everywhere, lots of built-in shelving, and storage. Once my dad began to get assignments where family were permitted to accompany him, my grandparents took; over the little black log cabin moving from an apartment on Jackson and High Street. It only took a few years for the same house to look like this:

House formerly known as the Log Cabin, About 1958

House formerly known as The Log Cabin,
About 1958

My Grandfather and Great Uncle Jimmy (in the previous photo) built the garage, added new siding to the exterior, installed shutters my grandmother insisted upon painting a coral pink. They dug a basement (I actually remember this), built concrete stairs and landscaped by adding lighting, fence, slate walkways, flower window boxes, and an enormous amount of creeping phlox that would amaze the observer when the plants were in bloom. In the upper photo, taken from the rear of the property, you can see the driveway was on the opposite side of the house  from where the garage appears in the photo above. In fact they have stones across the former driveway (at the far right) to remind you it was no longer to be used.

And for me, their granddaughter, they built a “Dollhouse” — a misnomer really — as clearly it was a shed. Still it was cute. Child sized, the Dollhouse had matching coral-pink trim, screened windows I could open and close, a linoleum floor, wallpapered walls and it was a space all my own. Though I am pretty sure when we were away for a year here and there it really housed the lawnmower and various lawn tools. Here is a picture of me with the Dollhouse:

Dollhouse, About 1954

Dollhouse, About 1954
Holyoke, Mass

Now this post is simply because I am curious if anyone will recognize the place or know where it is. I drove by the place a few years ago and it had evolved yet again to a building I didn’t even recognize. If someone does remember it, You will probably remember it in the reconfiguration of the white house, which it remained until the late 1960’s. Comment and / or guess — remember cousins and friends — no spoilers!

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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.