Holy Rosary Church

Holy Rosary Church was a Catholic church in the Flats section of Holyoke. It was built in the early 1880s and taken down in 1974.

A one hour indoor presentation can be given.

Churches of Holyoke


stop 1 – Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church

On Ely Street (at the corner of Center Street) is all that remains of the former Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church – the church bell.  The parish was formed on Passion Sunday April 11 1886 as an extension of Sacred Heart Church.  During that year and in 1887, the parish meet at the corner of Main and Mosher Streets at the old Baptist Church. In the summer of 1887 Father Howard purchased land for the parish. The cornerstone was laid October 22 1887. By August 26 of 1888 the basement was finished and pastor Michael Howard served the first masses there.  He died that year and was buried alongside his church.

Stop 1A – Rosary Chapel

The Rosary Church had a chapel that was located in the basement. Its name was the Chapel of the Infant of Prague. In 1931 this chapel was renovated.

stop 2 – Rosary Convent

In 1901 the convent was built joined to the church. Both the church and the convent had their own chapel. The convent was occupied by the Sisters of Saint Joseph from 1902 onwards. They taught at the school and were the only nuns to do so. In 1931 the Sisters’ Chapel was renovated.

stop 2B – Rosary Churchyard

stop 3 – Rosary Rectory

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The rectory was built at the corner of Mosher and Center Streets.  Michael Howard lived at 18 Mosher Street for a couple of years and then Thomas Beaven lived there for a couple more years beyond that. (The building is gone now.) The official rectory (50 Mosher Street) was started in 1889 and finished in 1890 for Thomas Beaven. The school was completed in 1903 and was comprised of both an elementary and a high school.  The school started in 1902 and that first year the classes were held in the Lyman Street School.    Saint Mary’s Home for Young Women was attached to the back of the church.  This was a home for girls and young women from Ireland that had no family in Holyoke.

1stMichael HowardMarch 26 188616 Sept 1888Rosary Churchyard (Holyoke)
2ndThomas BeavenImage188918 October 1892Saint Augustine Mortuary Chapel (Springfield)
3rdDavid McGrathThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is BOSTONSH18950921-01.1.23-2145-246-712-1084-178w.jpg18921903Saint Mary’s Cemetery (Milford, Massachusetts)
4thEdward S Fitzgeraldmonsignor Dec 19 1910190430 January 1911Calvary (Holyoke)
5thJohn F Griffin19111929Saint Thomas Cemetery (Palmer)
6thDaniel H McDermott19291931
7thJohn J McCarthy19311942
8thJohn McMahon19431951
9thAndrew Sullivan19521970
10thJohn Mara19721974Saint John’s Cemetery (Worcester)

stop 4 – Rosary School

The grammar school opened in the fall of 1903 with a freshman class too. The Rosary High School had its first graduate in June of 1907. In 1931 after the death of Father Griffin, the auditorium is named after him.

The high school joined with two other schools in 1963 to form the Holyoke Catholic High School. From 1971 to 1974 Rosary School joined with Immaculate Conception School to form Mary Immaculate School.  Rosary was the middle school and Immaculate Conception was the primary school.  In the spring and summer of 1975 the entire campus of the Holyoke Rosary Church was razed.  The body of Michael  Howard had been disinterred and reinterred in the Calvary Cemetery in 1974.

Rosary School graduation

stop 5 – Rosary Church Bell

The church bell was saved and is still in the Lyman Street School lot. In 1902 to 1903 the Lyman Street School was renovated into the Rosary Club.

stop 6 – Hadley Mills Workers’ Housing

see this LINK

stop 7 – Saint Mary’s Home for Young Women

 Saint Mary’s Home for Young Women was attached to the back of the church.  This was a home for girls and young women from Ireland that had no family in Holyoke. The Sisters of Providence ran the St Mary’s Home. It was only opened from 1909 to 1917. At that point it was turned into part of the Rosary School (under John Griffin’s direction).

stop 8 – Neighborhood

Wander around this neighborhood to get a good feel of what it was like in the past.

Cool facts:

  • The Rosary Lyceum was founded on September 14 1891. This was for the education of the parish members. It meet at 8 West Street.

Dominick Reis a janitor at the school witnessed the Fatima miracle. In the 1940s he had made a statue of the Infant Jesus of Fatima.

Rosary was a pioneer in sports in Holyoke.

Sanborn map analysis:

Sanborn 1884 map shows the Ely Street School and nothing more

Sanborn 1889 map shows the church for the first time

Sanborn 1895 map shows the stub of a convent and a St Mary’s Home connected to a tenement home

Sanborn 1915 map shows the convent in its full state and the home connected to classrooms that once was a tenement home

Sanborn 1949 map

Sanborn 1956 map