Concerning the Tramp Order

by Laurel | January 20th, 2012

20 January 1899

The committee appointed under the “tramp order,” introduced by Alderman Ruther, will meet with the overseers of the poor Tuesday evening to hold a conference in regard to the best manner in which to deal with that problem. It is felt that some measures should be taken on humanitarian grounds, to say the least, and if possible, to incidentally make Holyoke less popular with the tramping fraternity. As it is, the present tramp-room is entirely inadequate and should not accommodate more than six persons, though often it has a score or more. The best method of solving the problem would be the establishment of a “wayfarers’ lodge” at which work would be required of all those who stopped over night and had morning lunch. Unfortunately this requires the expenditure of money — $2000 or $3000 — and the city is in no condition, it is thought, to expend money this year that is not absolutely necessary. Almoner Cunningham does not think that they should be sent to the almshouse. There will have to be built some building or addition for them if this is done. “We had an experience with them recently,” he said last evening. “There were 12 or 15 a day until we got a big pile of rails by he almshouse and required them to saw a little for their “handouts.” Then their number was suddenly reduced to two or three a day.” It is possible that additional room may be provided the tramps in the basement of the city hall as a temporary measure.

From The Springfield Republican.

2 Responses to “Concerning the Tramp Order”

  1. They seem more proactive than some. Reading the Greenfield Town report 1881 “Since the tramp law came into operation, (the first of May) we have had no tramps to speak of. Four who have tried to beg their way along were promptly arrested and sent to Bridgewater. Occasionally one gets short in traveling, and is furnished with a ticket on the cars to the next station, and so disposed of.”

  2. Ruther (the socialist alderman) was proactive with a lot of things, including the building of the first public bath house for the poor.
    Interesting about providing the occasional ticket in Greenfield — seems to be the preferred solution in some cities, even today!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Suggested Holyoke Books

Mountain Park -- The Holyoke destination we all loved.

Mount Holyoke College

Mount Holyoke College, Postcard History by Donna Albino. Many Holyoke women have attended Mount Holyoke. Author also maintains an amazing MHC website based upon her personal collection.

Holyoke - Chicopee, A Perspective

Holyoke-Chicopee: A Perspective, by Ella Merkel DiCarlo. DiCarlo, a former Transcript columnist offers a fascinating compilation of her essays. Published in 1982, this out-of-print book is worth looking for in the aftermarket.


Holyoke, by Craig Della Penna. The first Holyoke book in the Arcadia series, published in 1997.

Belle Skinner Collection

Belle Skinner Collection, by Ruth Isabel Skinner. Published in 1933, this book is long out of print but copies are still available in the aftermarket.

Mitch Epstein: Family Business

Mitch Epstein: Family Business Published in 2003, available in the aftermarket. Epstein's furniture.