[Drive along Race Street until you are halfway between Dwight Street and Appleton Street. Brick walk on the right has parking near it. Get out and walk along walkway over bridge and take a left at end of bridge. At this location, please, stay on the brick walk and do not go over the black chain fence. At the end walk up to brick walk on First Canal.]
This is part of the Holyoke Heritage Trail so after visiting here get back onto the trail.
Views of the west branch of the second level canal can be had in both a northerly and a southerly direction from the former railroad bridge. To the north along the second level canal is the Beebe-Holbrook Mill. This building was the original Hampden Paper Mill but after two years became the Beebe Paper Mill. The Newton Brothers from Hubbardston Massachusetts built this in 1862 as their second mill in Holyoke. Today it houses both the Beebe turbine and the marijuana dispensaries.
The large Merrick turbine is and always was exposed in a pool at the end of the second level canal walk. Its race is along the only Merrick mill left in this location. Only a small amount of water flows in it since it has a large amount of sediment. Walk uphill along the Appleton Street sidewalk to intersect with the first phase of the Canal Walk. This has views of the Holyoke Heritage State Park to your northwest.
To your south is the former Skinner Silk Mill but it is now a computer center called the MGHPCC. The Farr Alpaca Mill was where the computer center is now and also across the first level canal from that center. Those Farr Alpaca Mills were constructed from former mills that predated it. Beyond the computer center along Bigelow Street was the former Massachusetts Screw Company. This building later became the Ford Auger Bit Company. It was razed and became the new Technifax. Behind you on Race Street is the former American Electric Cable Company. It started as American Braiding Company in 1918 but changed in 1922. In recent history it is owned by Cubit. To its south still along Race Street but across Appleton Street is the Steam Building – a former radiator pipe and plumbing supply store. The Steam is now multi-purpose. To its north is the Russell Hall Building.
There have been about 100 deaths in the canal. See the LINK here for details.
In a couple of years, it is hoped that the Canal Walk will be extended south to Cabot Street with new sidewalks on both side of Race Street. At the corner with Cabot, the walkways will turn east along Cabot. They will reach the Third Level Canal. In the distant future, there will be walks alongside each side of every part of the canal system.
Walk now into the Holyoke Heritage State Park up Appleton Street.