Holyoke Thinks It Has a Chance For Future Life

by Laurel | September 19th, 2014

21 May 1939

City Has Taken Bad Beatings With Courage — Absentee Landlords Considered Chief Trouble of Past
Comments on Recently Published History Amuse and Irritate City
Present Prospects Considered Bright

Constance McLaughlin Green

Constance McLaughlin Green, author of Holyoke, Massachusetts: A Case History of the Industrial Revolution in America

Holyoke, May 29 — While the formal history of Holyoke has never been written completely, Constance McLaughlin Green’s contribution goes far toward that end. Many of the historical facts are there and well put, which cannot be said of some of the supercilious comments which have been evoked by its publication. Holyoke has been both amused and irritated by them. Amused in that Holyoke is depicted as something of a Weeping Willie about ready to stand at the corner and beg, and irritated because the chief criticisms come from a place where they suffer electric rates ridiculously high and only have just discovered that a unicameral city government is not only possible bur desirable.

The latter has been a fixture in Holyoke for over a generation and there has been little attempt or desire to return to the bicameral system, now out of date. Visitors are welcome to inspect its workings. It might be noted in passing that the proper interpretation of facts is of equal importance to the facts themselves. It should, like the facts, be set forth without bias, prejudice, or any “holier-than-thou” attitude.

New Holyoke Coming

Not that Holyoke is perfect or anywhere near perfection, but no proper evaluation of its history, its aims and aspirations, will be complete without recognition that a new Holyoke is at the threshold. Its faults in the past have at times been grave but not past correction. Nearly any Holyoker of importance would frankly acknowledge such errors as lack of sufficient community team-work, too critical an attitude at times and a too deep and broad interest and activity in the lower forms of political life.

On the other hand it is, especially of late years, blessed with happy optimism; its industrial head is “Bloody but now bowed.” For a generation Holyoke has taken “licking after licking” that would have sent a community less  endowed with courage in the state Legislature howling for a finance commission as was granted Fall River some years ago. That it has not done so or no serious move attempted in that direction speaks for itself.

The truth is, that the greater part of Holyoke’s industrial misfortunes can be attributed in no small measure to absentee landlordism. this has had two bad effects, one being the loading upon residents of Holyoke of an exceptionally heavy burden in caring for desirable needs, and the other, coincident with it, the natural lack of interest in such matters by those who live elsewhere and are not concerned particularly with Holyoke affairs.

Money Chief Interest

It boded no good for Holyoke that for years early trains from Springfield to Holyoke were filled with manufacturers and businessmen who lived in Springfield but whose interest in Holyoke was mainly that of making money for themselves. had these men or most of them lived in Holyoke, the history of Holyoke might have been written after another fashion. Some of the Holyoke industries have suffered much in the past ears of depression during which the view of the federal administration seems to have been that business success is the one unpardonable crime, but indications are not lacking that things are on the upgrade for Holyoke.

To cite a few instances — the American Writing Paper Company under the direction of Chairman Blodgett is about to go from the red in the black; the American Thread Company has so far increased its business as to reopen its plant in Holyoke (which it had never intended apparently to abandon as it never was placed in the for sale column) and both the lighting department and the water power company are adding to the number of small industries materially.

Of industries which have left the city, not all have been successful. The Coburn Trolly Track Company building is idle in Willimansett; the removal of the Baker-Vawter concern is now acknowledged to have been an industrial error. And others might be mentioned. The future of Holyoke, the new Holyoke, is brighter at the present than for many years.

From The Springfield Republican.

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