Holyoke on the National Register Bicycle Riding Tour

  • Private GROUP TOUR (COSTS) is two hours long for this Holyoke on the National Register bicycle riding tour. Also a one hour indoor presentation can be given.
  • 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 – Holyoke Canal System (district)LOCATION

Use the map above to see what your route will be along our ride or hike about the city. First stop is at the Holyoke Canal System at its Second Level. See the link above to read about the history and function of the canal. It is a vast system so you would have to spend a lot of time on touring the canal.

stop 2 – Clovis Robert Block

The Clovis Robert Block (LOCATION) was built in 1888 in the Quebec ghetto of the city. That ornate roofline is superb. One of the early tenants was a dentist. Clovis Robert was born in Chambly of Quebec and died in Holyoke in 1909. He is buried in Forestdale HERE.

Sanborn map analysis:

Sanborn 1895 map

stop 3 – Friedrich Block

The Friedrich Block (LOCATION) was built by the Friedrich Architectural Supply Company. It is located directly behind the Friedrich Block along Race Street. The Friedrich Block has had many tenants over the century that it has been there but none is more famous that the Weinstein Furniture Company.

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Across the street from this block is the Mount Holyoke Fire Station. This is the only building that has been determined eligible for the National Register but is not on it since the property owner does not want to be on it.

Get back into the route by going behind the Friedrich Block on Race Street. The structure on the other side of the Second Level Canal is the Holyoke Water Power Electric Station. Elite turbine testing was done there from 1880 to 1932.

On the way up Cabot Street to Wistariahurst you can stop at the First Level Canal for a rest and another look at the wonderful canal system.

stop 4 – Wistariahurst

Wistariahurst (LOCATION) is the home of William Skinner the scion of the Skinner family. Skinner brought the Skinner Silk Mill to Holyoke. His home is now a museum and is owned by the city. The home has its own web page HERE. Three buildings on the National Register have federal Historic Restrictions on it. Wistariahurst is one of those.

stop 5 – Maplewood Hotel

The Maplewood Hotel (LOCATION) was constructed for Frank Beebe of the Beebe Wool Mill. He was very much interested in the heritage of Holyoke and in helping the poor of Holyoke. He himself lived on one of the floors. Part of the establishment was the Maplewood Dining Rooms at 16 Essex Street. Next door up was the Maplewood Baths at 18 Essex Street. They used there a method called the Battle Creek Sanitarium System.

Sanborn 1949 map shows the Home Improvement Centre is there along with the Community Welfare Offices and Apartments

stop 5A – Essex Street Historic District

Essex Street in Holyoke is an area of graceful Victorian homes and beautiful institutions. In 2023, it became Holyoke’s 14th entry on the National Registry of Historic Places. LINK

stop 5B – War Memorial Building of Holyoke

The War Memorial Building of Holyoke is a 1937 building to honor the Holyoke World War 1 deaths. It became Holyoke’s 13th entry on the National Registry of Historic Places.

stop 6 – Holyoke Main United States Post Office

The is the third location for a main post office (LOCATION) in Holyoke. The first was the Holyoke Hotel at the bottom of Dwight Street. First is was wood and then it was bricks and mortar. The second was directly behind that location on Race Street. There was a previous post office to these three back when Holyoke was Ireland Parish of West Springfield. It was a branch post office and was at the Crafts Tavern.

stop 7 – Hampden Park Historic District [Veterans’ Park]

Use the link above to read about this wonderful park and campus. LOCATION You can also read the full description of the St Jerome campus at this LINK.

stop 8 – Holyoke City Hall

See the link above to read about the city hall and its area. LOCATION

stop 9 – North High Street Historic District

The entire length of High Street from Essex to Lyman Streets is one historic district. LOCATION There are many buildings of superb architectural style in this district. Included in the district are Holyoke City Hall and the Caledonia. There have been a couple of additions to the historic district – including adding more buildings to the south and adding a Dwight Street building. For a lengthy treatment of this district go to this LINK. The Ball Block is one of the three buildings in Holyoke that has been placed the National Register and that have federal Historic Restrictions on it. It was formerly the home for banks but now is a professional building. If you start at the southern end of this district then start at the back of the Congregational Church. If you start at the northern end then start near the Fuller Block.

stop 10 – Caledonia Building

The Caledonian Benefit Society (LOCATION) purchased this building in 1909. Roswell Crafts had it built in 1874. The top floor is for social function, the ground floor is for retail business, and the middle two floors are for office space. To read more go to its LINK.

stop 11 – Prospect Park (district) [Pulaski Park]

See the link above to read about the park and its area. LOCATION

stop 12 – Hadley Falls Company Housing District

See the link to read about this area. LOCATION