Irish Parish - Holyoke Heritage State Park - Holyoke, MA
Posted by: Groundspeak Charter Member neoc1
N 42° 12.331 W 072° 36.418
18T E 697552 N 4675367
Quick Description: The story of the Irish immigrants to Holyoke is recounted at the Holyoke Heritage State Park.
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 9/19/2011 5:43:28 AM
Waymark Code: WMCKZY
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Marine Biologist
Views: 0

Long Description:
In 1684, Irish immigrant John Riley purchased 16 acres of land and became the first person to settle on land which became known as the Irish Parish of Springfield. In 1786, the Irish Parish was made a part of West Springfield and in 1850 became a separate town named Holyoke.

In the wake of the potato famine of 1845, Holyoke experienced a large influx of Irish immigrants, attracted by the growing employment opportunities of the area. In 1848, construction began on a dam across the Connecticut River and a system of canals that provided water power to mills and factories that produced, among other products, paper, textiles, steam boilers, cutlery and wire. Irish immigrants provided the bulk of the labor that built the dam and canals and worked in the mills. The area became known locally as "The Ireland Depot".

The Holyoke Heritage State Park has a museum with exhibits explaining the home and working lives of the Irish immigrants. From here you can walk along the canals built by Irish laborers and view the mills that employed Irish workers.
Website with background information about this Waymark: [Web Link]

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