Brightside Neighborhood of Holyoke

Brightside was a creation of Saint Jerome’s Church in Holyoke. You can read much more about this church at the LINK. This tour can either be a short tour of about 1 hour or a medium length tour of 2 hours or a long tour of 3 hours. The short and medium tour use the map below and the difference is how much time is spent in the cemeteries.

stop 1 – Mont Marie Cemetery

Enter here and read the description just above at the link. It is a very pleasant cemetery to be inside.

stop 2 – Mont Marie (Sisters of Saint Joseph)

The Sisters of Saint Joseph have a long history in Holyoke. They are an international order of nuns. In Western Massachusetts they started out in Springfield in 1883. Their motherhouse was in Springfield from the 1880s to the 1960s. Mont Marie was their summer house. It was started here in 1894 as a connected set of buildings similar to the layout now seen. It also functioned as a novitiate for their novice nuns. During the early 1960s a new Mont Marie structure was built here and this location became their summer home.

In 1974, the Fall River Massachusetts congregation joined with the Springfield congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph. This was a union that preserved the nuns in their location but joined the administrations. This order was founded in 1902 at the St Roch Church.

In 2001, the Rutland Vermont congregation joined with the Springfield congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph. This was likewise a union that preserved the nuns in their location but joined the administrations. This Rutland order had started September 6 1873. They opened a convent in 1882.

Read more about the order at their HISTORY page.

Sanborn 1915 map

Sanborn 1949 map

Sanborn 1956 map

stop 3 – Calvary Cemetery of the Sisters of Providence

For the Calvary Cemetery for the Sisters of Providence enter here and read the description just above at the link. Enjoy looking at all the stones.

stop 4 – Providence Hospital Cemetery for Babies

This area is to the south of the Calvary Cemetery and is covered at the above link – Calvary Cemetery for the Sisters of Providence.

stop 5 – Brightside Honor Roll

Brightside had many inhabitants during its existence. Many of them served in the world wars that engulfed Europe in the 1900s. The Brightside Honor Roll was made to honor the military men from Brightside that served America. There are many names on the two boards. They are in alphabetical order with A to H on the left side. The names which have stars after them are the men that died due to either WW1 or WW2. There is a nice statue of St Vincent de Paul in the middle of the two.

namefirst namebirthdeathburial location
PikeAmos19221942in the ocean near the Philippines – body not found

stop 6 – Providence Hospital

The Charity House of Providence started in South Hadley on Crescent Lane. That building is still there.

It moved to Dwight Street in Holyoke at the corner of Dwight and Elm. They remained there for about 90 years. Read about that hospital at stop 9 of this LINK.

Also read about more medical institutions in Holyoke at this LINK.

Then it ended up in the Brightside Neighborhood. The hospital was served by the Sisters of Providence. The move to the new one took place in 1955.

stop 7 – Bethlehem Infants’ Home

The Bethlehem Foundling Home was built in the very early 1900s as a home for children under 2 years old. It was remade in 1909 after a fire in 1907. It stayed in this role from that era to the 1954 move into the West Springfield border area. In 1959 it was made into a student nurses’ home and a convent. The Our Lady of the Victory Convent nearby had been used for the function – good thing they moved since in 1960 it blow up.

It is one of the few buildings left in the Brightside or Ingleside area. It is now the McCleary Manor and functions as a home for men that are recovering from addiction. Read about the PROGRAM. It is run by the Providence Ministries. A similar program of theirs is at the Broderick House in South Holyoke. For men that are still at less than a year of sobriety check out the Loreto House. It has existed since 1987. To read about the tour of Precious Blood Church area that gives the history of the programs than go to this LINK.

stop 8 – Holy Family Chapel

The Holy Family Chapel was started to serve the people in the Brightside and Ingleside area. Brightside extends into West Springfield so many people from West Springfield attend Sunday mass at the Holy Family Chapel. The chapel had 4 pastors during its existence. They are listed in the grid below. It was not until 1968 that the chapel was finally given official designation as a parish. But it did not last long since two years later in 1970 the church status was gone.

John Daley1904 to 1919unknown
Francis Lahey1920 to 1938unknown
Henry Sullivan1939 to 1948unknown
Raymond O’Brien1950 to 1970unknown

stop 9 – Holy Family School and Orphanages

The orphanages in the Brightside or Ingleside area were made for the children of Holyoke. The girls had a orphanage called the Mont Saint Vincent Asylum. The boys had an orphanage called Brightside. Youngsters under two years of age had the Bethlehem Foundling Home. Children in the first two orphanages needed a school to attend and that was the Holy Family School – a Catholic school with the Sisters of Providence as teachers. The school was taken down in about the mid-1950s.

The nuns that worked in Brightside had a convent here called Our Lady of Victory Convent. It was the home of the Warren Wilkinson family. The nuns took it over in 1893 and it lasted until 1960 when a fire destroyed it.

Sanborn 1915 map

Sanborn 1949 map

stop 10 – Beaven Kelly Home for Aged Men

This home was actually started at the girls orphanage location in 1893. The men finally got a home of their own in 1907. This house is now a respite. Read more at their LINK. Bishop Thomas Beaven started this home and named it after his parents – Thomas Beaven and Nancy Kelly.

The first 10 stops were for the actual walking tour and you could enter the cemeteries and get close to the buildings. The next 5 stops (stops 11 to 15) are on private property and cannot be approached. They are gone anyway so there is not much to see but a lot to discuss.

stop 11 – Sisters of Providence Motherhouse

The Sisters of Providence of St Vincent de Paul served in many locations around the Connecticut River Valley. When they served an institution they would have a convent nearby to house themselves. This was a decent arrangement but having a motherhouse was better. In 1932 they finally had a motherhouse built for themselves. It is located down Gamelin Road in the Brightside neighborhood. Near the corner of their Brightside motherhouse there was erected a STATUE for Catherine Horan who was the first mother superior for the Holyoke order.

You met her back at the Calvary Cemetery for the Sisters of Providence. Great woman with a fitting memorial for her. Their motherhouse is now called Providence Place at Ingleside.

The base of the statue reads:

  • “… from the hilltop I view the progress the tiny seed has made under the protection of Divine Providence.”
  • Mother Mary of Providence Horan
  • July 19, 1850 – January 25 1943
  • Foundress Sisters of Providence Holyoke

The Sisters of Providence Chapel is very beautiful. It is named the Mother of Sorrows Chapel. The CHAPEL can be seen in all its glory at this LINK. It was finished in 1933. The chapel has a Skinner Organ.

Sanborn 1949 map

Sanborn 1956 map

The Sisters of Providence nuns also ran the Mercy Hospital in Springfield, the Farren Memorial Hospital in Montague, the St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, and St. Luke’s Hospital in Pittsfield.

stop 12 – Holy Family Institute at Brightside

Brightside was the name of a farm along the West Springfield and Holyoke border. That name Brightside was the name taken on by the orphanage for boys. Its formal name was Holy Family Institute at Brightside. Most people then and now call it Brightside. Brightside was owned by Warren Wilkinson. When he died in 1892 the bishop purchased the property and land in order to build an orphanage.

The boys orphanage stayed at this location until 1954 when they moved a quarter mile to the south into a newly built Brightside home. From 1954 to 1991 it was called the Sisters of Providence Children’s Home and was for both boys and girls. Then the name was changed back in 1991 and then Brightside closed in 2009. This location is now called Mary’s Meadow and it opened in 2018. It is a 40-bed, small house concept skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility. Adjacent to Brightside housing was their school and administration. This is now the new Hillside Residence is a 34-unit affordable elderly housing facility and also the refurbished de Paul Center which was the school. The entire campus is called the Hillside at Providence.

stop 13 – Ingleside Neighborhood and the Connecticut River

Ingleside has undergone dramatic changes over the last 200 years. It started out as being farmland and then a series of orphanages and motherhouses. Then in 1979 the Holyoke Mall moved into the area. Even the size of the neighborhood has contracted since Springdale and Whiting Farms neighborhoods have some into being.

Toward the river one finds a few homes but most of the land is called the Land of Providence is owned by the Trustees of the Reservation. Read about the LAND at the link. Also there is a hiking trail on the land so download their MAP.

The Connecticut River is a great place to visit. The Sue Ellen Panitch River Access Center is along the river near the Land of Providence. The Holyoke Rows program is run from there.

stop 14 – City Farm

The city farm of Holyoke was located where the Holy Family Road cuts into the Mont Marie area. It was owned by the city and used as food for the poor. Both Holy Family Institute at Brightside and Mont Saint Vincent Asylum used food from the farm. The location were the City Farmhouse was is now the Geriatric Authority of Holyoke. It is a home for old people. Across the street is the Devonshire Place Apartments. Farther along the road is the ballfields for the Donahue School.

stop 15 – Mount Saint Vincent Girls’ Home

This home houses not only orphan girls but also elderly men and the nuns. So it was an orphanage, an old age home, and a convent all in one. The Sisters of Providence ran the home. It was the first building ever that the Sisters of Providence used in the Ingleside area. They had it built in 1881. It was also a novitiate for young nuns. Mother Mary of the Providence designed the building. Its formal name at first was the Mount Saint Vincent Hospital and Diocesan Orphanage. It remained mostly an orphanage for decades until 1954 when all orphans were moved to the new buildings at the Sisters of Providence Child Care Center.

From 1954 to 1968 the Mount Saint Vincent area was a home for old people. Then at that location in 1972 was built the building that is there now – the Mount Saint Vincent Care Center. It is a rehab center and a rest home.

Before 1881 there was another structure at this location. It was called Ingleside. It was a resort but only lasted from 1868 to 1875.

Sanborn map analysis

Sanborn 1895 map

Sanborn 1915 map

Sanborn 1949 map

Sanborn 1956 map