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Mount Holyoke, a traprock mountain, elevation 935 feet (285 m), is the western-most peak of the Holyoke Range
Holyoke Range
and part of the 100-mile (160 km) Metacomet Ridge. The mountain is located in the Connecticut River Valley
Connecticut River Valley
of western Massachusetts, and is the namesake of nearby Mount Holyoke
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
Mount Holyoke
is the home of J.A. Skinner State Park which is accessible from Route 47 in Hadley, Massachusetts.[2][3]

Contents

1 History

1.1 Origin of name 1.2 The Mount Holyoke
Mount Holyoke
Summit
Summit
House

2 Geology and ecology 3 Recreation 4 Conservation 5 See also 6 Cultural references 7 References 8 External links

History[edit]

View from Mount Holyoke
Mount Holyoke
Summit
Summit
House

Origin of name[edit] The mountain was named after Elizur Holyoke, an early resident of Springfield, Massachusetts
Massachusetts
and immigrant from Tamworth, England, who first explored the mountainous region that came to bear his name. The city of Holyoke, Massachusetts, the Holyoke Range, and the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary (now Mount Holyoke
Mount Holyoke
College) were all named after this mountain, Mount Holyoke, and not directly after Elizur Holyoke.[4] The Mount Holyoke
Mount Holyoke
Summit
Summit
House[edit]

Mount Holyoke
Mount Holyoke
Summit
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
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
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
Mount Nonotuck
across the Connecticut River, and on Sugarloaf Mountain and Mount Toby
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
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
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
Mount Holyoke
south ledges along the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail. Connecticut River
Connecticut River
in background

Geology and ecology[edit] 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
Triassic Period
with the rifting apart of the North American continent from Africa
Africa
and Eurasia. Lava
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] (The Metacomet Ridge
Metacomet Ridge
article has more information on the geology and ecosystem of Mount Holyoke). Recreation[edit] The summit automobile road is open from April through November, and the hiking trails year-round. The Summit
Summit
House is open weekends and holidays from Memorial Day
Memorial Day
through Columbus Day.[8] A number of hiking trails also cross the mountain, most notably the 110 mile (180k) Metacomet-Monadnock Trail
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
Westover Air Force Base
in Chicopee, Massachusetts, crashed into a cliff on the side of the range, killing all ten crewmen. A memorial plaque on the summit of Mount Holyoke
Mount Holyoke
eulogizes the disaster. The crash site itself is a half mile away toward the southwest.[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
Connecticut River
Oxbow (now a lake), immortalized by the famous landscape painter Thomas Cole
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
Mount Holyoke
in 1836.[10] To the south are the cities of Holyoke, Springfield, and Hartford. To the north are the University of Massachusetts
Massachusetts
in Amherst and mountains in Sunderland. To the east is the Holyoke Range
Holyoke Range
and the town of South Hadley. To the west are the foothills of the Berkshires, the Connecticut River, and Northampton. Conservation[edit] Most of Mount Holyoke
Mount Holyoke
is located within the Skinner State Park. The Mount Holyoke Range
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
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
Metacomet-Monadnock Trail
in Massachusetts
Massachusetts
and the Mattabesett Trail
Mattabesett Trail
and Metacomet Trail
Metacomet Trail
trails in Connecticut.[12] See also[edit]

Metacomet Ridge Metacomet-Monadnock Trail Robert Frost Trail (Massachusetts) Adjacent summits:

< West East >

Mount Tom Range

Seven Sisters (no image)

Cultural references[edit]

Mount Holyoke
Mount Holyoke
is mentioned in Henry James's 1875 novel Roderick Hudson, in chapters II and IX.

References[edit]

^ DeLorme Topo 6.0. Mapping software. DeLorme. Yarmouth, Maine. ^ a b Farnsworth, Elizabeth J. "Metacomet- Mattabesett Trail
Mattabesett Trail
Natural Resource Assessment. Archived 2007-08-07 at the Wayback Machine." 2004. PDF wefile cited November 1, 2007. ^ a b The Metacomet-Monadnock Trail
Metacomet-Monadnock Trail
Guide. 9th Edition. The Appalachian Mountain Club. Amherst, Massachusetts, 1999. ^ Mount Holyoke College
Mount Holyoke College
Cited Dec. 6, 2007 ^ from the personal correspondence of W. Rolfe Brown, August 23, 1931 ^ a b *Mt. Holyoke Range
Holyoke Range
Historical Timeline Cited November 20, 2007. ^ Raymo, Chet and Raymo, Maureen E.
Raymo, Maureen E.
Written in Stone: A Geologic History of the Northeastern United States. Globe Pequot, Chester, Connecticut, 1989. ^ "J.S.Skinner State Park" Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Department of Conservation and Recreation. Cited Dec. 25, 2007. ^ Mount Holyoke College
Mount Holyoke College
Archived 2006-03-04 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Roque, Oswaldo Rodriguez (1982). "The Oxbow" by Thomas Cole: Iconography of an American Landscape Painting. Metropolitan Museum Journal. pp. 63–7. ^ Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Department of Conservation and Recreation. Cited Nov. 20, 2007. ^ Monadnock, Metacoment, Mattabesett National Scenic Trail Study. Archived 2007-10-08 at the Wayback Machine. Cited Nov. 4, 2007.

External links[edit]

U.S. Congress New England National Scenic Trail Designation Act. Geology of the northern Metacomet Ridge
Metacomet Ridge
region State website for Skinner State Park Guide to the Robert Frost Trail[permanent dead link]

v t e

Mountains of Massachusetts

The Berkshires

Hoosac Range

Crum Hill

Others

Bakke Mountain Borden Mountain Crum Hill Massaemett Mountain Monument Mountain Pocumtuck Mountain Tekoa Mountain

Holyoke Range

Bare Mountain Long Mountain Mount Hitchcock Mount Holyoke Mount Norwottuck Round Mountain Seven Sisters

Metacomet Ridge

Bare Mountain Crag Mountain East Mountain Farley Ledges Mount Grace Mount Hitchcock Mount Holyoke Mount Lincoln Mount Nonotuck Mount Norwottuck Mount Orient Mount Toby Mount Tom Northfield Mountain Pine Cobble Mountain Provin Mountain Round Mountain Seven Sisters Sugarloaf Mountain

Mount Tom Range

Mount Nonotuck Mount Tom

Pocumtuck Range

Sugarloaf Mountain

Taconic Mountains

Alander Mountain Berlin Mountain Berry Hill Berry Mountain Brodie Mountain Doll Mountain Holy Mount Honwee Mountain Misery Mountain Mount Everett Mount Fitch Mount Fray Mount Frissell Mount Greylock Mount Race Mount Raimer Mount Williams Pine Mountain Poppy Mountain Potter Mountain Round Mountain Rounds Mountain Saddle Ball Mountain Shaker Mountain Smith Mountain Tower Mountain White Rock

Wapack Range

Mount Watatic

Others

Faggot Hill Great Blue Hill Little Tom Mountain Mount Institute Mount Jefferson Mount Pisgah Mount Wachusett Peaked Mountain Pine Hill Tully Mountai

.