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.

  • Private GROUP TOUR (COSTS) is of variable length for this Brightwood and Neighborhood walking tour. Also a one hour indoor presentation can be given..
  • A free public tour comes up every five years.
  • A self-tour is available for anyone using the maps and text seen below.LOCATION
  • A booklet is available for this tour in either B & W or color, go HERE for the information needed to buy it.

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. In 1953, a new Mont Marie structure was built here and this location became a permanent home.

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Before 1894 there was another structure at this location. It was called Ingleside. It was a resort but only lasted from July 4 1868 to July 26 1875. The structure burned on the latter date. The hotel was located outside the fire limits of the city and so there was no water to draw upon. Only the furniture could be saved.

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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. Some of the babies have stones with names on them and some have blank stones.

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 gold 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. The board was dedicated on October 19 1947. Sister Mary Christi Cain made the board over a course of a month.


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 year 1900 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 blew 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 Parish 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. The Holy Family Parish was started in 1892 but did not have its own pastor until 1904. On January 29 1949 Holy Family Parish became a canonical parish. 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. Still since it was an official parish, it needed an official rectory so in 1969 the Edward Whiting home on Northampton Street was moved to Holy Family Road and used as a rectory and as a chapel.

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

stop 9 – Holy Family School, Orphanages, and Convent

The original Catholic orphanages were in the downtown Holyoke area. When the Sisters of Charity nuns arrived in 1873 from Ontario they were teachers and ran a tiny orphanage. The first one was in the Providence Hospital in South Hadley that had been used as a hospital for one year and then as an orphanage for a year. The orphanage was then moved to a house in Holyoke for about a year. Then it was moved into the top floor of the Providence Hospital for a year. Then into the second floor of the Saint Jerome Institute (on Hampden Street) for a few years. Finally, in 1880, into the Ingleside area at the Mount Saint Vincent Asylum.

The orphanages in the Brightside or Ingleside area were made for the children of Holyoke. The girls had a orphanage called the Mount Saint Vincent Asylum which was started in 1880. The boys had an orphanage called the Holy Family Institute (or also known as Brightside) started in 1893. It was dedicated October 18 1893. From 1880 to 1893, both orphaned boys and girls were at the Mount Saint Vincent Asylum. 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 (when the boys’ orphanage moved). 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.

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 (her obituary)
  • Foundress Sisters of Providence Holyoke
Mother Mary of Providence
Reverend Mother de la Salle1953
Sister Mary Consilii1941 to 1949 at least
Sister Mary Caritaus1971

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 (123 acres in all) 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 homes. 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. 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.

LIST of boys at the Holy Family Institute School in 1911.

Between the motherhouse and Brightside is a new place called Mary’s Meadow (IMAGE) and it opened in 2005. It is a 40-bed, small house concept skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility.

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. It 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. Also La Finca is there. La Finca has a labyrinth like the Mont Marie Cemetery has but is smaller.

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

From June 1880, this home housed 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 the new house built in 1881. It was dedicated February 22 of 1881. At first it had 25 boys, 30 girls, and 20 adults. 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.

LIST of girls at the Mount Saint Vincent School in 1911.

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.

Brightside Pool – LINK

Sanborn map analysis

Sanborn 1895 map

Sanborn 1915 map

Sanborn 1949 map

Sanborn 1956 map