Silver Lake

by Laurel | March 22nd, 2013

Recently I happened upon an article published in 1909 based upon an “old timer’s recollections” and learned of a small pond that once was in Holyoke called “Silver Lake.” This is new information to me and it seems to have been verified by the section of an 1855 map of Hampden County you see published with this post below (You may wish to click through to a larger version for better viewing). Apparently there was a site in the same park-like area called Silver Lake Grove that provided a venue for events and various ads and references can be found for events that took place. The following excerpt from the article explains a bit more and what happened to the “Lake” and talks about modification of some Holyoke topography. If you have any additional information on Silver Lake, please share — I’d like to know and I am betting other people would also.

Holyoke 1855

Holyoke 1855

Removal of Holyoke Landmark
An “Old Timer’s” Recollections

An “old timer” wandering down in the region of Sacred Heart church a few days ago noticed that the Holyoke Water-Power Company had nearly completed the removal of the tremendous sandbank just west of Maple Street, and were working Franklin Street through. This recalled forcibly to his mind the time that the hill extended in a curve as far northwest approximately as the corner of Essex and Cabot Streets. Somewhere in the region between Essex and Cabot Street near Pine there was a small pond, esthetically named Silver Lake. Recalling the size of this hill and the extent easterly and westerly, one can conceive that no individual would have ever properly graded it off and that it has so nicely been done is for the credit of the Water-Power Company from whom praise should not be withheld. The place where the William Skinner residence now stands was part of this hill, and the steam shovel worked tirelessly back in the ’70s to make a place for it. The ancient slaughter-house was off to the southwest, somewhat down the hill near the corner of Beech and Sargeant Streets. It is recalled that when the cut near where the corner of Walnut and Sargeant now is, left a 50-foot bank sheer down, one of the old -time most esteemed citizens, who had a love for horses and a weakness for the ardent, declared when slightly exhilarated, that he could drive his pair of blacks down the precipitous incline, and he did, but it was a feat worthy of Yuba Bill of Nevada. The opening of Franklin street clear through from the canal westerly to Northampton street is noteworthy as bringing a large section closely in touch with the manufacturing district, from which it has been severed by the miniature mountain of earth. It will doubtless induce the erection and purchase of many houses in the near future.

1864 Ad for Silver Lake Grove Event

1864 Ad for Silver Lake Grove Event

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.
Section of 1855 map of Hampden County from the Library of Congress.

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