Catholicism in Holyoke, Part III

by Laurel | February 10th, 2014

22 May 1904

Harkins Home

Harkins Home

In 1876 the Parsons property on the site of the present House of Providence Hospital was bought, and the property standing upon the lot remodeled for a hospital, antedating any other hospital in Holyoke, so far as known. there was great demand for room, so much so that the sisters themselves were crowded out of the building and had to use Institute hall door a time. Meantime Holyoke was growing and extending southward. “Tigertown” and the “Bush,” as South Holyoke sections were known, were rapidly increasing in size, and about this time the beginnings of a new church in that section were made by the leasing of Germania Hall, where mas was said every Sunday. In 1876 a site for a church was bought at the corner of Maple and Sargeant Streets, and the erection of the Sacred Heart Church begun, the building being dedicated in 1879. Mass was said in the basement of the church, which was first finished for a number of years.

In 1881-2 the old wooden school-house, noted as bought of the city, was taken out to make room for better buildings and remodeled as a tenement building. In 1882 the Immaculate Conception School for the girls was built on the south side of Notre Dame Convent and opened within a year, the building costing about $30,000. In 1884-5 the St. Jerome Church was rebuilt and re-equipped with beautiful windows at an expense of about $50,000. In 1888 Rev. Mr. Harkins took a long trip abroad and on his return in 1889 he built upon the site of the old wooden school the present sisters’ convent. The Sisters of Providence were incorporated in 1890. The Father Harkins home for aged women was built and equipped in 1898 and turned over to the Sisters of Providence. This building equipped cost over $20,000, and was paid for from his own resources. The following year the St. Patrick’s Chapel, a much needed structure, was built and dedicated at a cost of about $20,000. The building of a small chapel for the sisters of Notre Dame closed the building up to the present year.

St. Jerome’s church itself is but one of many buildings that occupy the territory about Hampden Park. It is, like most Catholic churches in this section, of Gothic design, 150 feet long, 90 feet wide across the transept and 61 feet across the nave. Originally the church was much smaller, and the whole church has been practically rebuilt under Mgr. Harkins. the ceilings are light blue, the upper part of the walls of a dull rose color and the lower part with a bordered dado of gilded olive. The stations of the cross, worked in relief, were imported at an expense of $1400. The fluted pillars of the edifice are capped with foliated work with large galleries in the transept. The 12 windows in the nave bear representations of the 12 apostles, the transept window on one side depicts St. Joseph, the immaculate conception, and St. Patrick, that of the other St. Bridget, St. Rose, and St. Jerome. The five windows of the chancel walls portray the annunciation, the nativity, the crucifixion, the resurrection and the ascension. The altar is of pure marble, bearing onyx panels. The property — buildings and land occupied by them exempt from taxation — is rated by the assessors as follows. —

St. Jerome church, land, $9,720; buildings, church, 60,000, chapel, 1,500; total, $84,720; hospital, land, $5,450, building 35,000; total, $40,450; home for aged women, land $9,140, building, 15,400. total, 24,540; parochial residence, 11,500, land 4320, total, $15,820; school and convent building 25,000; land, 13, 140, land 9,430, total 24,450,  total building 188,900, land 61, 740. grand total, $250640.

As the parish grew and the French from Canada began to make their presence felt the need ofr a French Catholic church soon became apparent, and the French parish of the Precious Blood was created in 1869, convening first at Mittineague as well as Holyoke. The Sacred Heart Church, established in 1876, divided the parish of the people of the Irish race. Dwight Street being as at present the dividing line. The Perpetual help church parish was set off in 1890, and in 1896; the Polish church — Church of the Mater Dolorosa — was set off. The Church of the Holy Rosary was founded in 1886. So out of the primary church of St. Jerome six churches have grown, counting the new church of the Perpetual Help parish, now under way in Ward 1 — Holyoke therefore having seven Catholic churches altogether.

The curates of the church, many of whom have become rectors of churches elsewhere, have been as follows: —

1863-64, Rev. James Tracy
1864-6, Rev. T. Hannigan
1868-69, Rev F.J. Lynch
1869-71, Rev. Charles McManus
1871, Rev. Francis Brennan
1872, Rev Thomas Smyth
1872-73, Rev. P. B. Phelan
1873-6, Rev. C. J. Cronin
1875-6, Rev. John E. Garrity
1876, Rev David Moyes
1876-79, Rev. J. A. O’Reilly
1876-7, Rev. R. F. Walsh
1877-8, Rev. L. Derwin
1878-80, Rev. L. E. Stebbins
1879-81, Rev. James McKeon
1881, Rev. W. T. Jennings
1881-7, Rev. John R. Murphy
1882, Rev. M. J. Harty
1883, W. J. Powers
1883-4, Rev. John Crowe
1883-9, Rev. George Fitzgerald
1887-9, Rev. W. Hart
1889, Rev. John Gavin
1889-93, Rev. Patrick Hafey
1889-92, Rev. A. A. Dwyer
1892-6, Rev. J. J. Donnelly
1893, Rev. Richard Healey
1893-4, Rev. Daniel Sheehan
1894, Rev. O.M. McGee
1895, Rev A. D. O’Malley
1896-1904, Rev. John Ivers.

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.

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