Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Passport to Pioneer Valley History - Click here

Well, at long last, it's here!

Download your 2009 Passport to Pioneer Valley History from our home page:(

The passport contains relevant information about our member locations and it should guide your summertime visits to the Valley's historical sites and museums. As you tour each location, be sure to ask your host to sign and date the appropriate page in your passport! Have fun!

Over the next few weeks, we will be distributing a limited number of printed copies to historical and tourist locations throughout the Valley. Please let us know if you need more. Thanks.

Cliff McCarthy
Chair, PVHN Steering Committee

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Project to Demolish the Former Texon Mill Building

date Tue, Jul 28, 2009 at 4:04 PM mailed-by

Just checking to ensure the Historical Society knew the City of Holyoke Gas and Electric Department put an announcement in the Central Register (dated July 29, page 23) for Demolition of the former Texon Mill Building in South Hadley and site clean up. I know there were statements earlier this month that indicated there might still be a developer for the building, but looks like that fell through.

They estimate the cost to take the building down and clean up the site at $664,000. That should be quite a sight.

Two mandatory pre-bid meetings at 9 Carew Street, on August 11 and August 18 at 11 a.m. (bidders only have to attend one).

General bid deadline is 8/26/09 at 2 p.m.

Thought you might like to know.


Bob Williford
Reference Librarian
South Hadley Public Library
South Hadley, MA 01075
(413) 538-5045
FAX: (413) 539-9250

Saturday, July 25, 2009

"Electric Cars Collide on the South Hadley Falls Bridge"

From the Springfield Republican, July 27, 1896:

On the South Hadley Falls Bridge - Turners Falls and Holyoke Men injured, the Former Quite Seriously.

There was quite a serious collision on the Holyoke bridge at South Hadley Falls late yesterday afternoon, one electric crashing into the rear of another with considerable force. Two men were injured and both cars were quite badly damaged. The cars were going toward South Hadley Falls, the being No. 60 in charge of Conductor Bess and Motorman Cameron. Car No. 15 with Conductor Welch and Motorman Ritchie was a short distance behind, when a horse became frightened at the first car and the motorman brought it to a sudden stop. Motorman Cameron was unable to stop his car soon enough to avoid a collision.

Both cars were well filled with passengers and the crash caused considerable confusion. John Herre of Holyoke and Martin Kneip of Turners Falls, who were riding on the rear platform of the front care, were the only ones injured. Mr. Heere was struck with the brake handle, injuring his thigh quite badly and Mr. Kneip was injured internally. He was taken to the Elm house, and Dr. Franz attended him. He was suffering considerably and peritonitis is feared. Mr. Kneip is grand master of the Cheruskee German order, which is holding a convention at South Hadley Falls.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"For Holyoke natives, the relationship between Holyoke and South Hadley is hardly newsworthy."

Click here for the story and more. Thanks to Laurel O'Donnell!

For Holyoke natives, the relationship between Holyoke and South Hadley is hardly newsworthy. Though they are located in two different counties — Hampden and Hampshire — there long has been a connection between the two places. Precious Blood Church, for example, was located in Holyoke while their burying ground is in South Hadley. Another interesting example is John S. Mackenzie, the recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery during WWI. Though Mackenzie was born in Bridgeport, CT, he later resided in South Hadley and then in Holyoke. After the receipt of the Medal of Honor, there was some apparent competition between Holyoke and South Hadley in terms of bragging rights of Mackenzie being their “native son,” a clear source of pride to both towns.

My own family research has revealed countless instances of migration back and forth between Holyoke and South Hadley. This may have been — in part — housing- or work-related. But for whatever reason, as my research of Holyoke-based families continues, I never forget to look at South Hadley data.

So why mention this? Given this intrinsic connection between both towns, today I learned of a good history and genealogy related blog with a South Hadley focus. Bob Judge’s The South Hadley Historical Society blog is well worth a serious look for both South Hadley and Holyoke area history and genealogy researchers. It is filled with photos, links, and much more. Adding the link to my blog role.

Birthday honorees shaped South Hadley history

Birthday honorees shaped South Hadley history

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

If there is such a thing as birthday party protocol, this was one celebration that went just fine without following it to the letter.

Had the accumulated years of the honorees at the birthday bash thrown by the South Hadley Council on Aging for the town's residents who are 90 or older each been represented by a candle, as is customary, the staff would have been lugging 4,460 of the creations into the Dayton Street building.

But none of the more than 55 seniors and their guests seemed to miss, or even care, that they didn't have a chance to blow out any candles on June 24. They were too busy feasting on strawberry shortcake and sharing their joy in being able to celebrate such a landmark together with their family and, in some cases, longtime friends.

"I know they really appreciate it," said COA director Joanne K. Trybus. "The thank you notes I get ..."

The event, now a yearly fixture, began under former head Marilyn G. Ishler in the mid-1990s as a catered luncheon, but grew so quickly that such a format became logistically difficult. Thus, Trybus switched to a party instead, but she said even that may soon outgrow its dining room bounds. More than 160 South Hadley residents are 90 and over; each was invited to the party.

Along with the requisite party trappings - balloons aplenty bunched above each table and robust renditions of "Happy Birthday" - as well as congratulatory speeches, special citations for the partyers from state Rep. John Scibak's office and proclamations for two 100-plus honorees issued by Scibak and state Sen. Stanley Rosenberg, the fete also served as unintentional festivities for many of those who helped shape much of the town's recent history.

In essence, many who shaped everyday life in 20th century South Hadley were at the heart of the celebration. Teachers, engineers, restaurateurs and homemakers, among others, were sprinkled throughout the room. Their common denominator: lives devoted to one town for most, if not all, of their 90-plus years.

Like 93-year-old Norman Reed, whose homes on Granby Road, Lamb Street, Kenlee Gardens and Alvord Place constitute a virtual road map of older and newer South Hadley. After being born "on a kitchen table at midnight," according his wife, Pauline, he later served in World War II before embarking on a 36-year career as a steam engineer at Western Massachusetts Electric Co.

And Bernadette "Bernie" Blood, who has been interviewed at length on South Hadley cable TV about the town's history. At age 94, she still lives in her childhood home on South Street and attends St. Patrick's Church, which years ago sponsored her fondly remembered youthful outings to Lake Aldrich.

"Oh, those were our big day," she said. "We would look forward to them so much."

At another table sat Rita Perron, 92, the matriarch of the family that owns and operates the Egg & I and The Roost restaurants, a town landmark that is now a three-generation enterprise. Dianne, her daughter-in-law, was in attendance as well, camera in hand this time instead of a menu or plate.

There was 97-year-old Marion Methot, a former elementary school teacher - "always the fifth grade" - at the Center School, who talked of still being recognized by her former students despite her retirement a generation ago, in 1971.

"I don't always remember them, but they know me," said Methot, who was featured in a 2005 South Hadley cable show that documented a reunion of the Class of 1953 from the now-closed school.

From Marion Ittner, her 90th birthday awaiting the lifelong Lyman Street resident in September, to two women who have surpassed the century mark, 100-year-old Bella St. Sauveur and Mary Jane Chartier, at 102 the town's oldest resident, to those in between, the attendees made the afternoon an extraordinary treat, with or without the strawberry sweets.

Including a lot of South Hadley history to go around.

Judy Van Handle is a member of the South Hadley Historical Society.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chinese laundries in South Hadley Falls, 1902 Click here for the full story!

"...A prominent Chinese laundryman estimated the. number of his countrymen in Holyoke at 40, and their laundries, including South Hadley Falls, at 13...."

Monday, July 13, 2009

From "South Hadley in the World War" published by the Town of South Hadley, 1932:

From "South Hadley in the World War" published by the Town of South Hadley, 1932:

Page 27, "Local Activities:

When the United States entered the war, the first committee to be chosen was The Committee of Public Safety, who served during the war period. The members were: Chairman, Fred M. Smith; Secretary and Treasurer, Martin J. Judge..."

Page 37, "Liberty Loans:

In October, 1918, during the midst of the influenza epidemic, the fourth Liberty Loan was launched. This loan...was the largest financial transaction which had ever taken place in the world. It was known as the "Fighting Fourth" and the campaign was in charge of Martin J. Judge, chairman, and Mrs. William O'Brien, chairman of the Women's Committee. The quota was $175,000 and again South Hadley went "over the top" with $225,000...

The campaign for the United War Work fund was launched in October, 1918, under the direction of Martin J. Judge and Mrs. F.M. Smith..."

1892: "An Act To Incorporate and Enlarge the Powers of Fire District One


SECTION 1. The organization now known as Fire District Number One in the town of South Hadley, andbounded as follows : Beginning on the easterly side of the Connecticut river, at the mouth of White's brook, and thence running northeasterly along said brook to the highway leading to the head of the canal, so-called, thence easterly along said highway to the old Falls Woods road, thence northerly along said road to a point opposite the northwesterly corner of land of George E. and Mary C. Lamb, thence easterly along the northerly line of land of said Lambs to land formerly of Adoniram J. Clark, thence southerly along the westerly line of said Clark's land to land of said Lambs, then'ce easterly along the northerly line of said Lambs' land to the highway leading from South Hadley Falls to Smith's ferry, thence, after crossing said highway, easterly along the northerly line of A. B. C. Delaunay to land of Elizabeth B. C. Lathrop, thence southerly along the westerly line of said Lathrop's land to land of Patrick F. Judge, thence easterly along the northerly line of land of said Judge and of Lynch brothers to a stone monument distant four hundred feet westerly from the westely line of the highway leading from South Hadley Falls to South Hadley Center...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Preservation & Organization of Family Records (at South Hadley Public Library)

South Hadley Public Library - Tell a Friend

TO: Robert Judge, Mary Lawler
FROM: Bob Judge   
MESSAGE: Looks interesting! 
EVENT: Preservation & Organization of Family Records

Tuesday July 14, 2009
2:00 PM

Have you researched your family tree? Do you own a collection of priceless family photographs? Preserve the past, for the future- Join staff from the Massachusetts State Archives for a workshop providing information on the care and organization of your family records.
Location: Multi-Purpose Room
Click here to go to the South Hadley Public Library calendar.

Footer Text

Saturday, July 11, 2009

RE: [PioneerValleyHistoricalSocieties] Oral History Projects in Western Massachusetts

Dear Mr. Judge,

Wonderful to hear from you! Thanks very much for your email. This is great news and we will certainly add this to the database, and will keep an eye/ear out for students interested in internship or volunteer work with the South Hadley Historical Society.

I am meeting with Joyce Berkman, who is a Professor of History at UMass and is leading this project, tomorrow afternoon to discuss the next steps. We are still in the early stages of drumming up support and interest in contributing, but I will make sure that all of the information you indicated below is added to the site. And once we get the wiki up and running, I will be sure to let you know.

In the meantime, if you hear of any oral history projects that other individuals or organizations are working on, we would greatly appreciate it if you could spread the word!

Thanks so much for your interest, and I look forward to speaking with you again soon. Please do let me know if you have any questions!

Best wishes,


Quoting BobJudge :

Dear Laura:

I think I met you once at a meeting with Marla Miller.

The South Hadley Historical Society does not now have an oral history project "currently being conducted." However, an oral history project that was begun in 2007 was not completed and the Society would like to complete it.

You can see information about the project at In my opinion, as a non-historian, the main work that needs to be done is to complete the preparation of the written transcripts from the oral interviews, which exist in MP3 files. However, I am open to other ideas about how to re-start the work on the project.

As you can see, the S. Hadley Historical Society worked with Mt. Holyoke College on this project, and that collaboration worked well.

We would look forward to a collaboration with UMASS!

Below I will respond to the information you requested in CAPTIOL LETTERS below each item. I look forward to hearing from you further!


Bob Judge
South Hadley Historical Society
The University of Massachusetts and the Five College Oral History Seminar are working together to build an online database of oral history projects that are currently being conducted in Western Massachusetts. It is our hope that the database will be a valuable resource for individuals and organizations conducting oral histories in the area, by facilitating connections between oral historians and publicizing local projects that they can utilize or contribute to. We also hope that the database will serve as a resource for graduate and undergraduate students with an interest in oral history, providing them with potential contacts in the local oral history community and opportunities to work on projects taking place here in Western Massachusetts.

If your organization in Western Massachusetts has any oral history projects that are currently in progress that you would like to see added to this database, please email Laura Miller at with the following information:

- The title and a short description of the oral history project.
- Whether your organization would be willing to accept interns or work with students interested in oral history, and what kinds of opportunities may be available in this regard.
- Who to contact for more information about the oral history project name, address, phone number, and email address).

The database will be created as a wiki, meaning that once the initial structure of the site is in place any organization or individual will be able to visit the site and add new projects or make changes to existing descriptions of projects.

We are eager to foster a collaborative community of oral historians in Western Massachusetts, and hope you will join us in this endeavor.

Thank you!

Laura Miller
Ph.D. student, Department of History
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Friday, July 10, 2009

Local Preservation Update E-Newsletter - July 13, 2009



From: Skelly, Christopher @ SEC []
Sent: Monday, July 13, 2009 2:41 PM
To: Skelly, Christopher @ SEC
Subject: Local Preservation Update E-Newsletter - July 13, 2009



Published by the Massachusetts Historical Commission

July 13, 2009


This e-newsletter from the Massachusetts Historical Commission Preservation Planning Division has been prepared for local historical commissions, historic district commissions and others interested in historic preservation activities around the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  It is published roughly every other week.  If you have suggestions or items of interest for this newsletter, please contact Chris Skelly at the Massachusetts Historical Commission.



Local Historic District Commission Membership Update Forms were recently sent to local historic district chairpersons.  The form should be updated with current commission member names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses and returned to the Massachusetts Historical Commission.  For new members, we will send out a new member packet including the Guidebook for Local Historic District Commissions.   If you haven’t sent in your membership update form already, please do so.   We will also gladly accept an electronic version of your commission membership if that is easier for you. 



The Massachusetts Historical Commission is currently updating and revising Historic Places for Historic Parties, a not-for-profit publication that provides the public with an extensive listing of historic venues in the Commonwealth available for function rentals.  Previous editions of this publication have been very popular and well received.  MHC has sent letters to managers of properties previously listed in Historic Places for Historic Parties to update their listings.  If you are aware of a property in your community that should be included in the next edition, please contact Kate Danckert at the MHC at 617-727-8470 or by email at   



A new DVD on local historic districts will soon be available through the Massachusetts Historical Commission.  Local Historic Districts in Massachusetts will describe the history of local historic districts, how local historic districts protect significant resources and how to establish a local historic district in your community.  For local historic district commissions, the DVD will include sections on administering local historic districts and design review in local historic districts.  This DVD is in addition to the Local Historical Commissions in Massachusetts DVD currently available from the Massachusetts Historical Commission.  The new local historic district DVD will be available within the next two months. 



A new book from the Worcester Historical Museum, Landscape of Industry, offers a unique and broad perspective on the industrial development of the Blackstone River Valley.  Stretching from Worcester, Massachusetts to Providence, Rhode Island, the Blackstone River Valley began its industrial legacy with the establishment of the Slater Mill in 1790.  From then on, water powered mills spread throughout the valley and New England altering the landscape and work itself.



July 29-30, 2009

    Cemetery Landscape Preservation Workshop, Brookline, MA

 July 31, 2009

Preservation Massachusetts Most Endangered Nomination Deadline

August 7, 2009

Deadline for Boston Foundation for Architecture Grants 

September 17, 2009

MHC Workshop on Demolition Delay Bylaws, Wareham

For more information, email


Please forward this newsletter on to others that may be interested.  If you are receiving this as a forwarded message and would like to receive it directly, please contact the Massachusetts Historical Commission.   The Massachusetts Historical Commission also has a listserve, known as masshistpres, specifically for historic preservation.  You can join this listserve by visiting  This newsletter is posted on masshistpres directly and sent to local commission members.  We welcome your thoughts on what you would like to see in this newsletter.  The website for the Massachusetts Historical Commission is


Sunday, July 5, 2009

South Hadley about 1854

Thank you to for the information below. At that blog, you can see other interesting similar information about other Hampshire County towns around 1854.

"The Connecticut River was both partner and obstacle to settlers along her banks as witnessed by the existence of both dam and ferry in this detail.

When the ink of this map was laid to paper, Mt. Holyoke Female Seminary, founded by Mary Lyon in 1837, was nearing the end of its second decade of dedication to the pursuit of higher education for women. Today, Lyon's dream - now known as Mount Holyoke College - is still going strong in South Hadley."