The History of Holyoke High School


Taleishka Morales Babilonia, Photo Editor

Holyoke High School has been around for years and years. It has grown and changed in so many ways, including the separate buildings that are a part of Holyoke High like the North and Dean Campuses, Pathways, and the Opportunity Academy. Do people know the history of Holyoke High School and how it was established? It all starts in the year of 1852. Holyoke High covered several different buildings before moving into the high school building 10 years later. It was located on Elm Street, between Dwight and Suffolk Streets, and it was used as the high school until 1898. However, the city’s population had begun to increase during that time, from around 5,000 into over 45,000. This resulted in the need for a much larger school.

The new high school was then built in 1898, it was designed by architect George P. B. Alderman, and featured a Classical Revival design with a stone exterior on the first floor and yellow brick on the upper floors. The school grounds occupied an entire city block, surrounded by Pine, Hampshire, Beech, and Sargeant Streets. This building was used as Holyoke High School until 1964, when the current high school opened a few blocks away on Beech Street. The old school was then renovated and reopened as the home of Holyoke Community College.

Holyoke Community College was founded in 1946 it had over 1,500 students by the 1967-1968 school year, but the building didn’t last very long. On January 4, 1968, a fire started in the attic and quickly spread throughout the building. Around 500 people were inside at the time, but all managed to escape safely. However, the fire burned for hours, completely gutting the building and leaving only the partially collapsed stone and brick exterior walls.

Holyoke Community College was then rebuilt and the new campus is now located off of Homestead Avenue, on the western side of the city. The old site where Holyoke Community College used to be located, is still owned by the city and is now occupied by the Holyoke Senior Center. As for Holyoke High School, it still remains a few blocks away on Beech Street from when it was built in 1898 and continues to improve and grow today.