The Holyoke Historical Commission was established on November 20, 1972 to preserve and develop the historical and archeological assets of the town.
This 3 year term, is appointed by the mayor with city council approval.
The Commission maintains an inventory of buildings, areas, and sites of architectural and/or historical importance in Holyoke. It collects reference information and can assist those seeking National Register Nominations for their buildings or neighborhoods. The Historical Commission administers the demolition by-law.
The Commission works in cooperation with other municipal agencies to insure that the goals of historic preservation are considered in planning for future development of the community. The Commission also coordinates with other local groups whose interests involve history or historic preservation; the Commission serves as the liaison between these groups on matters pertaining to historic preservation programs; and is mandated to be the local municipal "watchdog" for state and federal preservation agencies, alerting them to local preservation issues.
Chapter 40, Section 8D of Massachusetts General Laws identifies five responsibilities for all commissions established under this Chapter:
- Conducting research on places of historical or architectural value
- Cooperating with the State Archaeologist in conducting surveys and reporting on sites
- Coordinating with other preservation organizations
- Keeping accurate records of its actions and filling an annual report and
- Maintaining a membership of not less than three or more than seven members, duly appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the city council.
- Holyoke Historical Commission By-Laws
Optional responsibilities include:
- Prepare and distribute publications
- Make recommendations to the mayor, city council, and Massachusetts Historical Commission
- Hold hearings
- Enter into contracts and other agreements
- Accept gifts to further its work
- Hire staff
- Acquire property in the community's name
Ben Murphy - Development Specialist
The Commission can help you with these other items:
- National Register application
- Historic House Plaque Plaque application - sample plaque - Contact: City Historian Penni Marotell
- Demolition Delay Ordinance information
- HHC Historical Significance Assessment
- Technical Preservation Services
- Massachusetts Cultural Resources Information System
- Online resources for Holyoke
City Hall tours and walking city tours are available upon request. Please call 413-322-5655 for more information.
Please check the city calendar for our monthly agenda.
Holyoke Historical Commission meetings are generally held at 6:30 pm on the second Monday of the month in City Hall Annex Rm. 403.
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The Historical Commission is a three year term and is appointed by the Mayor with City Council approval.
Interested individuals are asked to attend several commission meetings before requesting confirmation and appointment by the Mayor and City Council. The Chair will have more information and packets to aid in the better understanding the components of the Commission.
- Richard Ahlstrom, Chair – term expires May 1, 2021
- Paola Ferrario – term expires April 1, 2021
- Joseph Paul – term expires Jan 1, 2021
- James Sheehan– term expires Jan 1, 2020
- Frances Welson – term expires April 16, 2021
- Chris Gauthier – term expires May 1. 2021
The Holyoke Historical Commission meetings are generally held at 6:30 pm on the second Monday of the month in City Hall Annex Rm. 403.
Please check the city calendar for our monthly agenda.
Local Historic District Commission
Fairfield Avenue is the first Local Historic District in Holyoke. (Mass. General Law Chapter 40 C)
Composition: The Local Historic District Commission is a seven member board established in 2007 (2010) and was duly appointed by former Mayor Pluta and confirmed by the Holyoke City Council.
Purpose: The commission’s most important goal is the preservation of Holyoke’s first local historic district- Fairfield Avenue. The purpose of the District Commission is to aid in the preservation and protection of the distinctive characteristics and architecture of the buildings and places significant to the history of the City of Holyoke, to maintain and improve their settings as approved in the City Ordinance and to encourage new building designs compatible with the existing architectures, enlargement or reduction of boundaries, and filings of maps.
Means of Operation: The Local Historic District holds public meetings once a month and public hearings as needed. The District Commission reviews any changes to the exterior of the properties on Fairfield Avenue; reviews/amends the guidelines for the local historic district, upholds the ordinance as amended and approved by the Holyoke City Council, and works in cooperation with other municipal agencies to insure the goals of historic preservation are considered in the planning for future preservation of this street. The Commission also coordinates with other local groups whose interest involve history or historical preservation.
The District Commission also serves as a liaison between these groups on matters pertaining to historic preservation programs and is mandated to be the local district commission for state and federal preservation agencies alerting them to local preservation issues that pertain to the Local Historic District. The existing Local Historic District Commission may be asked to survey and research any new historic districts in the city.
We respectfully request that interested individuals attend several commission meetings before requesting confirmation and appointment by the Mayor and City Council. The Chair will have more information and packets to aid in the better understanding the duties of the District Commission.
Downloadable PDF documents
Please note: Application for exterior changes must be approved before permits are issued.
The City of Holyoke was awarded a Survey and Planning Grant from the Massachusetts Historical Commission to update the city’s 1991 Preservation Plan based on current conditions in the city. Matching funds for the project were sought and provided by through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
The Office of Planning and Economic Development in collaboration with the Historical Commission, hired the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission to assist with the project.
Additional Historic Preservation Resources
Marcos A. Marrero
Director of Planning & Economic Development
Holyoke City Hall Annex 20 Korean Veterans Plaza, Suite 406 Holyoke, MA. 01040 Map
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Posted on December 20, 2012 by Planning