Springdale Park Walking Tour

stop 1 – John Prew house

John Prew built his beautiful home in this neighborhood in the 1880s. He was a developer and a contractor that wanted to make this neighborhood populated. He bought all the land and made plans for streets. He then gradually sold off the land to home builders. The park across the street he made into a race track for horses. He loved horses and he loved profits so he started a racing track program. He knew all along that the trolley would come through this neighborhood and land prices would go up. His father Nicholas Prew was the first settler into Holyoke from Quebec. His father brought about 500 Quebec pioneers down into Holyoke in the 1850s. The home directly across the street is also very old being from the 1870s. It was owned by Prew also. There were two old farm homes about 100 yards south of here that were older still but they are not around any more.

stop 2 – Residences

The Parkview is the first building that you met as you leave the parking lot. It was owned by the same family for many decades. Frank and then Ralph Vogel owned this building since it was built in the early 1900s. Just past the Vogel building is the Guenther Block and the Alfred Paquette Block. To the south of the Vogel Block is the Springdale School.

stop 3 – Horse Racing Track

The horse racing track was in this park from 1895 to 1905. It was a half mile track and was oriented quite like the track that was only a few hundred yards to its north. It was taken over by the city in 1905 and changed into a park only.

stop 4 – Olmsted Park

The city of Holyoke asked the Olmsted Brothers to design a park here. In 1907 and 1908 they designed and helped Holyoke implement the park. There was a large driving track for cars and walkers. To the north was a wading pool, an open outdoor gymnasium, and an open play area for young people. All of these features are gone.

stop 5 – Sports Fields

After the Olmsted style park started drifting away, many baseball fields filled the void. There is also a basketball court.

stop 6 – Levee

After two harsh floods in the 1930s in Holyoke, the Corps of Engineers designed the implemented a flood control plan. That plan included four pumping station in case of another large floor and one of those pumping stations is in the Springdale Park. Also the plan included a system of walls and one levee. The levee is clearly here in this park and is still in great.

stop 7 – Connecticut River

The Connecticut River is the longest river in New England. Across the river at this point is Chicopee. The river is very bland at this point since the banks are straight and the river is placid.

stop 8 – Springdale Pumping Station

The Springdale Pumping Station is just one of 5 in Holyoke. These are to pump water out of the flooded fields. This was put in place in 1941 as part of the flood control plan.

stop 9 – WPA Building

The Works Progress Administration had many projects in Holyoke during the 1930s and early 1940s. One of those was to build this nice building.

stop 10 – Jedediah Day Ferry

The Jedediah Day Ferry is one of 4 ferries that ran across the Connecticut River within Holyoke. Two of those ferries were actually in the northern part of Holyoke at a time when that region was still part of Northampton. This Jedediah Day Ferry ran from the Holyoke side near here over to Chicopee.

stop 11 – Springdale Industrial Park

Acme Chain formerly was located in the Springdale Industrial Park. Now it is Tsubaki.