The Demise of Potvin Avenue

by Laurel | August 4th, 2010

Today, in my e-mail, was a question from a gentleman in Montreal who has genealogical connections to Holyoke:

“According to the 1910 US Census, my grandparents were living on Potvin Avenue in Holyoke, MA at that time. However, after extensively searching various Internet map sites I could not locate Potvin Avenue in Holyoke, MA.

I would appreciate very much if you could let me know whatever happened to Potvin Avenue after 1910.”

Potvin Ave was new to me — I had to look up Potvin Avenue in an old atlas and did find it in 1911, here is a photo of the location (click to see a larger version).

Potvin Avenue 1911

Potvin Avenue 1911

Potvin Ave was a small street, and judging by the building owners nearby (marked on the map), one sees rather clearly how it likely got named.

The sequence of events surrounding the ownership of the larger lot marked “Holyoke Water Power Company” is unknown to me, but I do know by 1955 this lot had become the site for a First National Supermarket with an owner in Danbury, CT. I did find a reference to a dispute between the City of Holyoke and the the property owner, one Lazarus L. Heyman of Danbury about the property value of the site. The difference in numbers would have made a significant change in property tax — Heyman claiming it was valued at $75,000 (Realtor Francis B. Woods testified to this); the City Assessors claiming the value at $97,500; and a third figure coming in at a value of $200,000 (submitted by Realtor Edward S. O’Donnell on behalf of the City).

I don’t mean to keep anyone hanging here in terms of the resolution of value in this dispute — I do not know the outcome of the case. But it shows that in 1955, through the legal discussion and description of the property, Potvin Ave did still exist.

Does anyone know or remember when Potvin Avenue actually stopped existing as a street? This is what that same area looks like now, courtesy of maps (again, click on map to see a larger version).

Foremer Potvin Avenue location, map by

Foremer Potvin Avenue location, map by

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