Carrie Nation in Holyoke: An Editorial

by Laurel | February 15th, 2013


28 February 1904

The visit of Miss Carrie Nation a few days ago gave rise in Holyoke to the inextinguishable laughter with which the Olympian gods are credited, their sense of humor as pictured by Homer being about on a plane with quite a number of Holyoke people. Truly it is Holyoke of all cities that should be pure and undefiled when one recalls the number of times she has been reformed. Without going back many years there is the reform of Rev. O. R. Miller, the echoes of which have not yet died away, and yet Mr. Miller is not able to fully enjoy the fruits of his labor, having been promoted to the reform of other places. It is quite likely that Rev. Mr. Miller will by this time be ready to admit that there are cities in the country that are quite as bad or worse than he thought Holyoke was when he pictured the residence of the doomed as being about 18 miles from Holyoke China-wards by the straightest line.

Then there arose Lawyer William Hamilton in a campaign of reform, Joseph like, but the Holyoke people knew not Joseph and he tired out with his reforming arsenal a little “out of whack,” as the late Artemus Ward would say.

Then a new apostle of reform, sweet-scented in virtues innumerable, the late politician John D. Ryan blew into the arena. Like Gideon of old, he shouted that the walls of Holyoke might fall, but vainly; Gideon has been dead a good while; the tumult and the shouting died, the captains and the kings departed and another apostle of reform was stowed away in the dim freight-house of the past along with various other unclaimed political baggage.

Lastly comes Mrs. Carrie Nation; but the people of Holyoke ate, drank and were merry as they were able, and Mrs. Nation passed on and was forgotten. Truly after the work of these many reformers in our midst we should be purified as with fire, yea even as the white hue of Dante’s inferno. After all has been said and done, Holyoke is no worse than, perhaps not much better than, any other New England city: it has its weaknesses and ts strengths, its advantages and disadvantages, but it is pretty generally considered by those who have once lived in its midst, been initiated into its spirit of comradeship and unritualed freemasonry, that it is about as good a city to live in as there is in the state, after all.

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.

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.