Mount Holyoke

Mount Holyoke

View of the Connecticut River Oxbow from Mount Holyoke summit. 1836 painting by Thomas Cole.
Elevation 935 ft (285 m)
Location
Location Hadley and South Hadley, Massachusetts
Range Holyoke Range / Metacomet Ridge
Coordinates 42°18′03″N 72°35′13″W / 42.30083°N 72.58694°W / 42.30083; -72.58694Coordinates: 42°18′03″N 72°35′13″W / 42.30083°N 72.58694°W / 42.30083; -72.58694
Geology
Type Fault-block; igneous
Age of rock 200 million years
Climbing
Easiest route Auto road

Mount Holyoke, a traprock mountain, elevation 935 feet (285 m), is the western-most peak of the Holyoke Range and part of the 100-mile (160 km) Metacomet Ridge. The mountain is located in the Connecticut River Valley of western Massachusetts, and is the namesake of nearby Mount Holyoke College. The mountain is located in the towns of Hadley and South Hadley, Massachusetts.[1] It is known for its historic summit house, auto road, scenic vistas, and biodiversity. The mountain is crossed by the 110-mile (180 km) Metacomet-Monadnock Trail and numerous shorter trails. Mount Holyoke is the home of J.A. Skinner State Park which is accessible from Route 47 in Hadley, Massachusetts.[2][3]

Contents

History

View from Mount Holyoke Summit House

Origin of name

The mountain was named after Elizur Holyoke, an early resident of Springfield, Massachusetts who first explored the mountainous region that came to bear his name. The city of Holyoke, Massachusetts and Mount Holyoke Female Seminary (now Mount Holyoke College) were both named after the nearby Mount Holyoke and not directly after Elizur Holyoke.[4]

The Mount Holyoke Summit House

Mount Holyoke Summit House
Mt Holyoke Hotel, showing summit house and covered electric tram circa 1931

In 1821, an 18-by-24-foot (5.5 by 7.3 m) guest cabin was built on Mount Holyoke by a local committee—one of the first New England summit houses. The property changed hands several times between 1821 and 1851 when it was bought and rebuilt as a two-story, eight-room hotel. Local entrepreneurs John and Frances French were the primary owners; between 1851 and 1900, the hotel and property were subject to a number of upgrades and related construction projects including a covered tramway to the summit of the mountain (first drawn by horse, then mechanized), a railroad from the base of the mountain to a steamboat dock on the Connecticut River, and the construction of a number of outbuildings and trails. With passenger steamship to the connecting summit railway established, the Mount Holyoke "Prospect House" became a popular tourist destination. The steamship would pick up guests at the Smiths Ferry railroad station across the Connecticut River in what was then Northampton, ferry them to a tramway leading to the Half Way House. From there guests could take a steep (600 feet long, rising 365 feet) covered inclined tram to the summit (shown in drawing at right[5]). The track for this tram was first laid in 1867 and the system electrified in 1926. Competing establishments were soon built on Mount Tom and Mount Nonotuck across the Connecticut River, and on Sugarloaf Mountain and Mount Toby to the north. The Prospect House property passed hands again in the early 1900s, to chain hotelier Joseph Allen Skinner, who eventually donated the hotel and property to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for a state park in 1939 on the condition that the park be named after him (now the J.A. Skinner State Park).

The summit house's 1894 annex had suffered from storm damage during the Great Hurricane of 1938 and had been demolished; in 1942 the enclosed tramway to the summit house broke down. A heavy snow storm in 1948 collapsed sections of the roof. Despite proposals to repair the tram it never ran again. The tram was finally demolished in 1965. State funds for maintenance of the summit house during the 1950s and 1960s were never adequate and by the mid-1970s there were proposals to condemn and demolish the summit house. This led to a public outcry and in the mid-1980s the summit house, consisting of the original 1851 structure and the 1861 addition, was restored by the state and through the efforts of local volunteers.[6]

View from Mount Holyoke south ledges along the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail. Connecticut River in background

Geology and ecology

Mount Holyoke, like much of the Metacomet Ridge, is composed of basalt, also called trap rock, a volcanic rock. The mountain formed near the end of the Triassic Period with the rifting apart of the North American continent from Africa and Eurasia. Lava welled up from the rift and solidified into sheets of strata hundreds of feet thick. Subsequent faulting and earthquake activity tilted the strata, creating the dramatic cliffs and ridges of Mount Holyoke.[7] Hot, dry upper slopes, cool, moist ravines, and mineral-rich ledges of basalt talus produce a combination of microclimate ecosystems on the mountain that support plant and animal species uncommon in greater Massachusetts.[2] (See Metacomet Ridge for more information on the geology and ecosystem of Mount Holyoke).

Recreation

The summit automobile road is open from April through November, and the hiking trails year-round. The Summit House is open weekends and holidays from Memorial Day through Columbus Day.[8] A number of hiking trails also cross the mountain, most notably the 110 mile (180k) Metacomet-Monadnock Trail and the 47-mile (76 km) Robert Frost Trail.[3]

Every year in early fall, since 1838, students from nearby Mount Holyoke College participate in Mountain Day. On that day, at the sound of ringing bells from Abbey Chapel on a random Autumn morning, all classes are cancelled and students hike to the summit of Mount Holyoke.[9]

The area around the summit house has many picnic tables. Also, there are trailheads and memorials. One notable memorial is that to the men aboard a transport plane that crashed into the flank of the mountain. On May 27, 1944, a B-24, flying a night training mission out of Westover Air Force Base in Chicopee, Massachusetts, crashed into the side of the range, killing all ten crewmen. A memorial plaque on the summit of Mount Holyoke eulogizes the disaster. The crash site itself is a few hundred feet away.[6]

The views from the top of the mountain are some of the best in Massachusetts. They have inspired artists and poets. The nearby Connecticut River Oxbow (now a lake), immortalized by the famous landscape painter Thomas Cole just four years before natural flooding and erosion separated it from the Connecticut River, was composed from sketches the artist made from the summit of Mount Holyoke in 1836.[10] To the south are the cities of Holyoke, Springfield, and Hartford. To the north are the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and mountains in Sunderland. To the east is the Holyoke Range and the town of South Hadley. To the west are the foothills of the Berkshires, the Connecticut River, and Northampton.

Conservation

Most of Mount Holyoke is located within the Skinner State Park. The Mount Holyoke Range State Park is a sister park occupying the east side of the Holyoke Range. Its visitor center is located at "the Notch", where Route 116 crosses the range in Amherst.[11]

In 2000, Mount Holyoke was included in a study by the National Park Service for the designation of a new National Scenic Trail now tentatively called the New England National Scenic Trail, which would include the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail in Massachusetts and the Mattabesett Trail and Metacomet Trail trails in Connecticut.[12]

See also

< West East >
Seven Sisters
(no image)

Cultural references

References

  1. ^ DeLorme Topo 6.0. Mapping software. DeLorme. Yarmouth, Maine.
  2. ^ a b Farnsworth, Elizabeth J. "Metacomet-Mattabesett Trail Natural Resource Assessment." 2004. PDF wefile cited November 1, 2007.
  3. ^ a b The Metacomet-Monadnock Trail Guide. 9th Edition. The Appalachian Mountain Club. Amherst, Massachusetts, 1999.
  4. ^ Mount Holyoke College Cited Dec. 6, 2007
  5. ^ from the personal correspondence of W. Rolfe Brown, August 23, 1931
  6. ^ a b *Mt. Holyoke Range Historical Timeline Cited November 20, 2007.
  7. ^ Raymo, Chet and Maureen E. Written in Stone: A Geologic History of the Northeastern United States. Globe Pequot, Chester, Connecticut, 1989.
  8. ^ "J.S.Skinner State Park" Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Cited Dec. 25, 2007.
  9. ^ Mount Holyoke College
  10. ^ Roque, Oswaldo Rodriguez (1982). "The Oxbow" by Thomas Cole: Iconography of an American Landscape Painting. Metropolitan Museum Journal. pp. 63-7.
  11. ^ Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Cited Nov. 20, 2007.
  12. ^ Monadnock, Metacoment, Mattabesett National Scenic Trail Study. Cited Nov. 4, 2007.

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mount Holyoke College — Seal of Mount Holyoke College Motto That our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace  Psalms 144:12 Established Seminary, 183 …   Wikipedia

  • Mount Holyoke Lyons golf — Contents 1 Team history 2 Orchards Golf Course 3 Coaching and Schedule …   Wikipedia

  • Mount Holyoke College Art Museum — The Mount Holyoke College Art Museum (1876 ) in South Hadley, Massachusetts is located on the Mount Holyoke College campus and is a member of Museums10. It is one of the oldest teaching museums in the country, dedicated to providing firsthand… …   Wikipedia

  • Mount Holyoke College — Vorlage:Infobox Hochschule/Logo fehltVorlage:Infobox Hochschule/Mitarbeiter fehlt Mount Holyoke College Motto That our daughters may be as corner stones, after the similitude of a palace – Psalms 144:12 Gründung 1837 Trägerschaft privat Ort …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mount Holyoke Female Seminary — Das Mount Holyoke College ist ein äusserst selektives, privates Liberal Arts College für Frauen in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Es wurde am 8. November 1837 von Mary Lyon als Mount Holyoke Female Seminary gegründet, ist die erste der Seven… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mount Holyoke Range State Park — The Mount Hoyoke Range State Park of the Pioneer Valley region of Massachusetts, encompasses the eastern half of the Holyoke Range to traprock mountains. The park is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. The… …   Wikipedia

  • Mount Holyoke College — 42° 15′ 20″ N 72° 34′ 28″ W / 42.25558, 72.5745 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mount Holyoke College — Private liberal arts college for women in South Hadley, Mass. Founded by Mary Lyon as a female seminary in 1837, it was one of the first institutions of higher education for women in the U.S. Baccalaureate courses are taught in the humanities,… …   Universalium

  • Mount Holyoke College Botanic Garden — The Mount Holyoke College Botanic Garden, in South Hadley, Massachusetts, USA, encompasses the Mount Holyoke College campus, an arboretum, numerous gardens, and the Talcott Greenhouse. It was first designated a botanical garden in 1878. Principal …   Wikipedia

  • Mount Holyoke College — College (colegio universitario) privado de artes liberales para mujeres, con sede en South Hadley, Mass. , EE.UU. Fue fundado en 1837 por Mary Lyon como un seminario dedicado exclusivamente a estudiantes de sexo femenino y fue uno de los primeros …   Enciclopedia Universal


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.