First Presbyterian Church

The church as seen in 1895 from Chestnut St, shortly after its completion. The apartment building seen in the background no longer stands and the tapered roof over the righthand doorway has since been shortened. Image source: Holyoke Past and Present (1895)

Early History

Holyoke’s Presbyterian Church got its start in May of 1886, when an ad placed in the Daily Transcript by the Boston-based Reverend Joseph Sanderson generated an immediate response in the city.

The church held its first services just a week later in the old YMCA building on Suffolk St, with over 100 total people attending its two Sunday sermons. Services then moved to the new YMCA building on High St for several weeks, before finding a home in the now-demolished Forester’s Hall on the corner of Essex and High Streets.

The church moved quickly to build a permanent meeting place, laying the cornerstone of the current building in December 1887 and formally dedicating it in March of 1889. Membership topped 500 within 5 years, and the congregation notably received funding for their new organ from famed industrialist Andrew Carnegie. In 1921, the congregation purchased the home at 215 Oak St to serve as a clergy housing, also known as a Manse. It was one of the earlier homes in Holyoke to have a telephone.

This undated postcard shows the Presbyterian Church with now-demolished apartment buildings behind it along Cabot Street. Image source: Holyoke History Room

Present Day

The building underwent renovations in 1934 that brought about better heating, lighting, and aesthetic upgrades and continued to serve the community until 2002, when the building was sold. The building is now the home of a Pentecostal church, Centro De Restauración Emanuel.

The Presbyterian congregation moved to the Skinner Memorial Chapel across from the War Memorial Building on Maple St until its new building in Granby was completed in 2006.

The Presbyterian church at its present location on Route 202 in Granby