Mt. Tom Railway and Pavilion

by Laurel | October 1st, 2014

15 October 1901

Mt. Tom Summit House, 1901

Mt. Tom Summit House, 1901

Mt. Tom, near the city of Holyoke, Mass., is the central figure of the Holyoke range. Its summit rising to a height of over 1,200 ft. above the sea level. The summit was not easily accessible before 1897, when the Mt. Tom Railroad was built. Now, the street cars and also the Boston & Maine and the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroads, run to the lower terminus of the Mt. Tom Railroad. This incline railway which is operated on the balance system by means of a cable connecting the cars on the up and the down grade was described in the “Review” for 1897, page 426. This mountain line transports passengers from the base to the summit of the mountain in less than 10 minutes where a pavilion known as the Summit House is located. The cars running to Mt. Tom also pass through Mountain Park, an extensive trace comprising more than 400 acres which lies between the foot of Mt. Tom and the Connecticut River. This park is operated by the Holyoke Street Railway Co. which also leases the Mt. Tom Railroad.

The original pavilion on the summit was destroyed by fire on October 8, 1900, and was replaced by a new building, shown in the accompanying illustration, which was completed in May last. This new building is a large substantial structure 76 ft. wide by 104 ft. long and four stories high. Piazzas 14 ft. in width surround the three lower stories, those on the first and second floors being arranged to be closed in part by sash and by steel shutters, The third floor piazza is an open one. The stairways are six ft. wide, easy of ascent and well lighted.

The foundation walls are built of trap rock. One the first floor the main room is 42 x 48 ft. and the dining rooms are 30 x 63 ft. and 16 x 22 ft., seating about 150 people. On this floor are also a restaurant counter and wash rooms for both men and women.

On the second floor is the main concert hall 48 x 64 ft. with a stage at the north end. The souvenir and checking counter is located on this floor and is arranged so that it can be shut off from the hall by flexible doors. The third floor contains a hall 34 x 48 ft., large enough to seat 250 people; this hall is for the use of conventions and for private parties. The fourth floor is the observatory room 48 x 80 feet, and is well supplied with telescopes, maps, registers, etc.

Above the observatory rises an octagonal dome about 40 feet high and containing three stories, the upper one being an observatory room 1,300 feet above sea level. Over this observatory room is a copper dome 14 feet in diameter and 12 feet high, covered with gold leaf. The lighting of the pavilion is effected by means of a direct connected set consisting of a motor, alternator and exciter all mounted on one shaft. The chief engineer of the plant is Mt. C. A. Shaw, of Holyoke.

In the basement are the kitchen, store rooms, cold rooms, etc., as well-appointed as in any modern hotel. In other parts of the basement are the heating apparatus and the toilet rooms. All partitions in the basement are fire-proof. The building has been planned to meet the requirements of the situation as made known by four successful seasons.

The prominent feature of Mt. Tom, however, is the view from the summit which is most diversified and extensive, comprising a sweep of from 35 to 50 miles in all directions.

The Mt. Tom Railroad Co. and the Holyoke Street Railway Co. while separate organizations have the same officers, Mr. William S. Loomis being president of both companies.

From Electric Railway Review, Volume 11, October 1901.


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