Holyoke Heritage State Park and the Canal Walkways

Holyoke Heritage State Park was made in the late 1980s on the former railroad yard of the Holyoke and Westfield Railroad. This tour is an expanded part of the Holyoke Canal tour.

  • Private GROUP TOUR (COSTS) is one hour long for this Holyoke Heritage State Park and its Neighborhood walking tour. It is fully outdoors.
  • A free public tour comes up every five years.
  • A self-tour is available for anyone using the maps and text seen below.LOCATION

stop 1 – Whiting Coal Company

William Whiting brought his large family to Ireland Parish in the mid-1840s. There he developed a coal business with one of his sons – Edward Gustavus Whiting. Another of his sons – William Whiting – would develop a large paper mill and also enter politics.

stop 2 – Holyoke and Westfield Railroad Passenger Station

Holyoke would have two railroad companies vying for passenger and freight business. One was the Connecticut Railroad and the other was the city owned and made Holyoke and Westfield Railroad. This latter concern had both of its stations within the boundary of this park. The northeast corner held the passenger station.

stop 3 – Holyoke and Westfield Railroad Freight Station

The Holyoke and Westfield Railroad had a large freight station at the southeast quadrant of the park. Each mill in Holyoke had spikes of the railroad companies going into the storage areas. Most mills had the Holyoke and Westfield Railroad spikes toward the east of the mills. The Connecticut River line had spikes toward the west.

stop 4 – Holyoke and Westfield Railroad Turntable

Around the Merry-Go-Round area there was a turntable for the Holyoke and Westfield Railroad. This was required since the engines had no reverse and the train would need to way to perform a 180 degree change of direction.

stop 5 – First Level Canal

This is the first level of three of the Holyoke Canal System. It is about one mile long. It lowers via races or tunnels into the Second Level Canal.

stop 6 – Merrick Turbine

This is the largest turbine of about 200 sites that had turbines in Holyoke. It was used by the Merrick Thread Mill.

stop 7 – Second Level Canal

The Second Level Canal both collected water from the First Level Canal and distributes water into both the Third Level Canal and the Connecticut River.

stop 8 – Wauregon

The Wauregon Mill was a maker of fine paper.

stop 9 – Massasoit

The Massasoit Mill was a maker of fine paper.