Sketch of Holyoke|
by George H. Allyn, page 17
Several attempts have been made during the last twelve years to dispose of the Holyoke and Westfield Railroad stock, but the sentiment of the community has been against it. If our pioneer citizens in a town of less than 10,000 could plan and build this road with prescient vision, so that it has become a splendid asset, surely we ought to worry along and retain it.
In 1898 the new Fomer reservoir was completed, later on a high pressure station established, and now another dam and reservoir will round out the finest water system in New England. J.L. Tighe's name should be recalled in this matter.
Surely our town fathers builded well.
Most of them are gone now. The last two years reaped them like grain before a keen-edged sickle. They sleep in Forestdale, Calvary, and St. Jerome's. In our parks and playgrounds no municipal tablet or monument commemorates them. But three memorials are grander, more majestic and enduring than polished marble, or carved granite. The noble simple City hall building, the great water system, and the prosperous Holyoke and Westfield Railroad are our pioneers' real civic memorials, and we trust that our city will no more readily consider the sale of one of them than the others.
A few years ago a franchise was granted the Water Power Company to furnish electric light and power to manufacturers, which would supplement the exhaustion of the water power, and Smiths Ferry should afford cheap manufacturing sites.
An Old View of High Street, North of Division Street.
Since the advent of 1910 William Whiting, H. B. Lawrence, William G. Twing, Charles E. Ball, James J. Curran, James E. Delaney, Michael J. Griffin, John Tilley, C. B. Prescott, Lemuel Sears, William A. Chase, Moses Newton, and other strong-hearted citizens have left us. Only a few of the original file-leaders now remain, and the younger generation must take up the burden and gain the reward.
In a crude sketch like the present innumerable events and persons of note have necessarily passed unnoticed, for a dozen volumes would be needed to cover the subject. But the writer has failed in his theme if he has not made it evident that Holyoke in its inception and its early and recent career was animated and strengthened by two basic elements: One, that of hard work, hustle, and sacrifice; the other, that of a pure democracy of citizenship.
Holyoke, growing from a desert place, had no inherited wealth, and she had to create it. She had no ancestors, but she has given some to her posterity that they may proudly recall. She has had no aristocracy save that of ability, industry and merit.
The most admirable trait of the late William Whiting's character, to our mind, was not his great business ability or acumen, but the fact that he honored and esteemed the humblest Holyoker who had settled here in early years, worked hard, and been a faithful citizen, far above get-rich-quick financiers or disciples of snobocracy.
Holyoke dam at Low Water, From South Hadley Falls.
A friend of ours lamented one day that in Springfield one would meet bankers, commercial men, attorneys, people of wealth and culture while in Holyoke, said he, "walk down High street and by the time you pass the fountain someone will sing out, 'Hello, aren't you workin'?'" I felt it was the most unconscious us yet finest, most Spontaneous tribute ever paid a city--a place where the well-to-do and the poor, the laborer and tile financier alike must work.
During the last twenty years, though this basic principle has continued to obtain, the spirit of our citizenship has not been so confident, high, and gallant as formerly. Though we have attained a population of 60,000 our proportionate growth has been Slower, the Water Power Company has been conservative, and Springfield has had a phenomenal increase.
So there has been considerable funereal prophesying. But there are signs of a new buoyancy; there is a dawning comprehension that we have natural beauties and advantages which Springfield cannot approach. We are coming to know ourselves, and our reserve strength and fine resources.
So, with grand old Mt. Tom guarding our flank, and the winding Connecticut our line of battle, with the hum of hundreds of mills our industrial battle music, with the new blood of strong races flushing the veins of our citizenship we can look toward an even more hustling, militant Holyoke than that of the 70's and 80's.
"Vision shall star once again the sweet brows of her,
Song be reborn on the beautiful lips."
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