Holyoke During the Hot Days, 30 June 1901

by Laurel | June 30th, 2009

This Day in Holyoke History
June 30, 1901, page 6
Holyoke During the Hot Days.
Where the People Cool Off.

The vacation season is now upon us, and those who are fortunate enough to be able to leave Holyoke for a few weeks for some cooler spot are packing their trunks and staving off the payment of their grocer and butcher bills until they can have had their outing by the sea or on the mountain top, where the hills, to paraphrase Mark Twain, are so high that the mountain is a little hill in comparison. As a rule, Holyoke people seem to favor the seashore, as the mountains and inland lakes are considered to be too much like our own Ashley ponds and not wholly ugly canal system. There is so much water in the capitalization of several of the trusts that have invaded Holyoke that some take to the mountains as a relief. Each year there is an increasing number of people who go up to laurel Park to perspire, hear music and lectures, pray for a breeze and courage to stay the week out. Echo lake in New Hampshire takes an increasing number each year, and the Brooks parties from your city take many Highlands people every summer to Block Island, Watch Hill, Old Orchard and other salt water resorts. The Holyoke and Springfield parties go and come in a bunch and generally convey the impression that school is just out.

But there are many people who are unable or too wise to join the hurly-burly rush to the seaside and mountain, and instead pick the cool spots around the city. And Holyoke is superbly situated for such outings. not to speak of Mountain park, there is Mt Tom, on the top of which, even on the hottest day, there is a breeze; the many trolley lines, which afford a good cooling off for a dime any time, day or night, the various canoe and boat clubs up the river; the little parks, some with shade trees, which are taken advantage of on hot nights by thousands; the bath-house and the canals. It is against the ordinances to bathe in the canals. This adds zest and gaiety to the performance. It is estimated that 4,543,876 [sic] boys bathe in the canals each day and evening during the hot summer months. The rest fall into the river and get drowned. One or two boys a week are drowned in the Holyoke canals or the river during July and August. This gives occasion about once in so often for philanthropists to urge that high board fences surmounted by barbed wire and parapet be erected around each of the canals as a deterrent to the small boy. It is to be feared that the Holyoke small boy is not thus to be deterred. Only recently Detective Bligh was near a canal which had a board fence on the bank. Three boys armed with an old shovel had dug down under the fence on the bank, and had constructed a sort of woodchuck burrow through which they had wriggled and were joyfully standing on the edge of the water. Two were balancing on an old box in the canal which was being held by a third. Bligh didn’t dare cry out to them, for the one holding the box would then run, and the other two would probably fall into the canal; and Bligh did not feel like posing as a heroic rescuer, although he could do it on a pinch. Besides he had on a new shirt. So he went down below and attracting their attention waved them to come ashore. They did so, and then were induced to wriggle back to the street.

Excerpted from the Springfield Republican.

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