Four Churches in the Highlands Walking Tour

Holy Cross Church

The Holy Cross Church was started in 1905 as a mission church of the Saint Jerome Church of Holyoke. The first pastor John Ivers served for many decades.

Holy Cross Mission Church and Its Rectory

This mission church is still in place at the corner of Appleton and Pleasant Streets.

John Ivers was the first pastor of Holy Cross Church. He was pastor for 33 years at this church. He raised it from a mission church to a regular church and started many of its institutions. Holy Cross never never its own school system since the Saint Jerome School was only a short trolley ride away.

Holy Cross Rectory – Old and Modern

After only three months, Holy Cross got its second rectory. The second location for the Holy Cross Rectory was the George Ewing house. The Ewing home was bought and used as a residence for the pastor and his assistants. It was once located where the Holy Cross Church is now but was moved in 1923 to its present location on Clinton Avenue. Since there was a desire to build a large permanent church, this Ewing home was moved a couple of hundred yards to the east. It stayed as a rectory after that move.

The third location for the Holy Cross Rectory is the former Caspar Ranger home on Appleton Street. The home was used as a rectory from 1917 until the 1940s. It then became a parish hall for the church. When the trolley came to Holyoke in 1882. People knew where it would develop next. This is since the McKnight neighborhood of Springfield was the first planned residential neighborhood in the USA. Holyokers knew the trolley would come up Appleton Street so Casper Ranger built his home here as advertisement. The fourth, last, and current rectory for the Holy Cross Church is at the west corner of Appleton and Sycamore Streets. This is the Frank Towne House and was built in 1904.

John Kennedy Plaza

The plaza has memorials for the Grand Marshalls of the St Patricks Day Parade in Holyoke. It used to be called Ranger Park but the city bought it and changed the name and the aspect.

Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church – Their church web page is found HERE.

The congregation of this episcopal church started out in 1863. They had their own church by 1868 at the southwest corner of Suffolk and Maple Streets. In 1904 they built this gothic style church.

Saint Paul’s Episcopal Rectory

The rectory was built in the same time period as the church. It is made in the Elizabethan architectural style. It was build for Henry Morrill their rector for a home in 1906. The second rector to use it was Franklin Knight who stayed here from 1915 to 1930. There is a social hall around the back of the church and rectory. This building was also used as daycare.

First Congregational Church of Holyoke

The First Congregational Church of Holyoke started out in the 1700s as the Second Congregational Church of West Springfield and was located where the KMart Plaza is today. By the 1820s he had moved to where the Lynch School is today. It started its own cemetery in 1828 across the street at the corner of Hampden and Northampton Streets. That cemetery was moved in the 1880s to mostly Forestdale Cemetery. The church also changed location – this time to the church that now stands on Pleasant Street. The Second Congregational Church of Holyoke was opened in 1853 at the corner of Dwight and High Streets. It moved in the late 1800s to the corner of Appleton and Maple Streets. The churches began to unify and that recent history is at this LINK.

Methodist Episcopal Church

This church is at the southeast corner of Lincoln Street and Nonotuck Street. Its original church in Holyoke was on Main Street. In 1886, the members of that church started a mission church for itself at this location. The church last until 1926. At that point it was sold to the Christian Science religion. That sect lasted here until the 1940s when it became a home.

Highlands Neighborhood

The Highlands have many beautiful mansions and structures. There was great growth in the Highlands when a trolley route was made up Appleton Street and up Lincoln Street. The neighborhood grew so quickly that it needed a school – The Highland School. This was as an auditorium for the Holy Cross Church for its signing groups. The Highland School was built in 1905. It was a large three floor building.

Perhaps the most beautiful home in the Highlands is on Pleasant Street. It is the home built for Joseph Houston. He was married to one of the three nieces of Whiting Street. Upon his death in 1878, he gave his money to many towns in the area as charity and to his nieces. This Queen Anne Victorian house is from 1895.