HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) –  The planning has already started to celebrate Holyoke’s upcoming sesquicentennial in April 2023. 

The City of Holyoke lay on the bottom of Lake Hitchcock 15,000 years ago. Captain Elizur Holyoke led an expedition up the Connecticut River in 1633 from Springfield to explore the potential for settlement, and two years later, European agricultural settlement began in the region. On March 4, 1850, Holyoke became its very own town.

On April 6, 1873, Holyoke was incorporated as a municipality and was recognized nationally as the “Queen of Industrial Cities” and as the “Paper City of the World,” according to a news release from the City of Holyoke. Textiles were the first major product of the City, which was quickly followed by paper.

“Holyoke has a lot to be proud of being the first planned industrial city in the country if not the world and for the last 150 years Holyoke has seen a lot of what’s happening in the world,” says Mayor Joshua A. Garcia.

Paper grew as the dominant force in Holyoke, and at one time, over twenty-five paper mills were in operation. The population also grew from just 4,600 in 1885 to over 60,000 in 1920.

The City of Holyoke will be celebrating its 150th anniversary next year, and they want members of the community to be involved. If you are interested in supporting the events, visit their website and complete the online volunteer form.

Some of the events that are being planned include a kickoff in January, a Dedication Ceremony in April, the preparation of a Time Capsule, and a Grand Gala Ball in the fall. 

The 23rd annual 3 Kings Day Celebration is being hosted by Nueva Esperanza, Inc. on Thursday, January 5th at Morgan School, Registration is required by December 30th which includes music, games, food, and entertainment.

“As Holyoke works for a progressive and prosperous future, we never lose sight of our extraordinary past,” says Garcia. “The celebration of our sesquicentennial is yet another opportunity to come together as a city to affirm the contributions of the many cultures, individuals, and industries that have made Holyoke uncommonly dynamic.”