[Park in the South Hadley Library parking lot. Walk into either the library or the northern attached park as you wish.]
The South Hadley Library and its attached park sometimes have a view of the wooden dam of 1848 but in winter you can notice its affect on the ice flow pattern since it stops most ice. From the central stairwell of the library notice the view down the spine of the granite dam. Near the door of the History Room on the second floor check out the schematic of the Holyoke Dam technical drawing. This History Room has some information on the dam. The wooden dam had its back constructed in 1848 and its large front apron constructed in 1855. It crossed the Connecticut River fully but had a gatehouse in Holyoke to divert water into the Holyoke Canal System and a double spillway in South Hadley Canal System to lead water into the navigational South Hadley Canal and into the industrial Bardwell Canal.
Check out the park since you can have a close view of the many features of the dam. See the double gatehouses to the right.
Further Locations to Explore about the Holyoke
and South Hadley Canals:
James Newton home – This Victorian mansion is on Chestnut Street between Appleton and Suffolk. It is on the western side of the street and is now called the Holyoke Day Nursery. The nursery started in 1916 and is the first nursery in Western Massachusetts. James Newton was the head of the powerful and rich Newton family. Five of his brothers lived nearby.
Lower Appleton Street Industrial Park – This area west of Canal Street and east of Main Street had many mill powered by steam engines for its power. Buchanan Bolt and Seymour Cutlery were down here. Deane Steam Company was along Canal Street. This company joined with another to become Worthington Pump and later became Edaron a jigsaw puzzle firm.
Wistariahurst – The original Skinner home was from Williamsburg. It was transported here after the Mill River Dam Collapse of 1874. William Skinner and his children lived here. It is now a museum owned by the city.
Holyoke Public Library – Information on the canal system is found in the Holyoke History Room. You can use it as reference source including maps, city directories, city histories, and photographs.
South Hadley Canal Park – Canal Park is at the northern end of Canal Street and has fine views of old South Hadley canal. It is three quarters of a mile north of the library.
South Hadley Fire House Museum – This building houses a Canal Room that has a display of the South Hadley Canal. It also has a museum devoted to South Hadley history and old fire equipment.
South Hadley Boat Launch – Views of the mills at the north end of the canal but now from the reverse orientation. Be careful when leaving since the road starts soon after the hilltop.