Trolleys in Holyoke

There were many trolley lines in Holyoke. They led to the many towns and cities that surround it. Also they led to parks and neighborhoods and in fact caused the development of those locations. The staggered black and white lines on the map at this LINK are the trolley lines of Holyoke. Read more about the history of the lines at the Wistariahurst ARTICLE. The trolley lines were vast throughout the state. There were more miles of trolley tracks than of rail tracks in Massachusetts. No other state could state such a fact. Holyoke acquire much rural lines and still was profitable. See the 1899 trolley lines in Massachusetts at this MAP.

Downtown to Mount Park to Northampton line

This line went to the base of Mount Tom near the north of Whiting Street Reservoir. It was a long line and busy line. After going to the park it went on to Easthampton and to Northampton. It followed along the eastern edge of Route 5. A spur from Mountain Park led to the bottom of Mount Tom. Then a tramway went to the top of the mountain. This tramway used both gravity lift and a motor. The cars – called the Elizur Holyoke and the Thomas Rowland – would meet in the middle. In order to pass that had two tracks separated by a large bedrock. At the top of the mountain there was a beautiful hotel.

Downtown to Highland Park

This shorter line went from the Downtown area up Appleton Street into the Highlands and proceeded onto Pleasant Street. Its destination was Highland Park. This was a city owned park. At first when this line started in 1886 if went only to the juncture with Lincoln Street. By the late 1890s Highland Park was made and the line was extended to that destination.

There are 4 definitions of a trolley park and Holyoke had all 4 types within the city. Type 1 is a park owned by the trolley company that has a trolley line run to it. Mountain Park is a type 1. Type 2 is a public or private park that is not owned by the trolley company and that nevertheless has a trolley line run to it as its main destination. Highland Park is a type 2. Type 3 is a park that is on the route of the trolley line and the park was built because the trolley was know to pass by that route. Again it must be a public or private park that is not owned by the trolley company. Springdale Park is a type 3. Type 4 is a park that predates the trolley line and just happens to have the trolley line pass by it. Veterans’ Park is a type 4.

Trolley Barn to Springdale Park

This trolley line created an entire neighborhood and a park. The neighborhood was made by John Prew who built his house alongside the route in order to be an example to the residents of what their home could be like. This line went onwards to West Springfield. The park was at first owned by Prew but after 10 years it was taken over by the city.

Trolley Barn to Chicopee

This trolley line created the trolley neighborhood of Willimansett. The line went from Main Street onto Cabot and then across the bridge to Chicopee. It extended all the way to Chicopee Center. There was an additional branch that went to Chicopee Falls.

Trolley Barn to South Hadley to Amherst to Sunderland

This trolley line is the oldest of them all. It was at first a horse-drawn route but became a electric one. This horse drawn route went partly up Main Street almost to North Main Street.

Later added Amherst and Sunderland as destinations from the South Hadley Center hub. This did not create a new neighborhood since both parts of South Hadley – the Center and the Falls was settled. That is why the first route even went to South Hadley since it had many people. Later routes of the Holyoke Street Railway did create trolley suburbs but not this South Hadley one. See the purple route to the north on the map.

Trolley Barn to South Hadley Falls to Fairview (in Chicopee)

This route left the trolley barn of Holyoke and when it got over the County Bridge took a right on to Main Street. It went onto Bolton Street (now a one way street). Then right onto Hartford Street and quick left onto Ludlow Road. From there it quickly entered into the woods by bearing right. It came out on Britton Street. It stayed on Britton St for about a half mile when it took a left onto Royal Street. Then back onto Ludlow Road in Chicopee where it ended.

Downtown to Westfield

This trolley line went up Sargeant Street and then Northampton Street. When it got to Cherry Street it went up hill to the start of Jarvis Avenue. Then instead of taking a right it took a left and went into the woods behind Homestead Avenue. Its final destination is Westfield. Part of the trolley bed is still visible in the nature trails behind Holyoke Community College.

Elmwood Circuit

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This line went up High Street to Chapin Square and passed onto Brown Avenue. It took a left onto Laurel Avenue a short right onto Northampton Street and then a left onto Hitchcock Street. Three quarters of the way up Hitchcock Street it took a right onto a dirt path that allowed the trolley to go straight onto Hillside Avenue. This dirt path does not exist any more. This line is marked in blue on the map.

This is a summary of the lines. They stopped in 1937 and the tracks pulled out in 1940.