Unveiling of Historic Gearwheel

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Linking Holyoke’s past and future, city officials and the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC) today unveiled a gearwheel used to power a mill located on the MGHPCC site 140 years ago. The exhibit, located outside the entrance to the data center, also includes an interpretive panel explaining the role of water power in Holyoke’s industrial history.


Holyoke, Massachusetts, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013 – Linking Holyoke’s past and future, city officials and the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC) today unveiled a gearwheel used to power a mill located on the MGHPCC site 140 years ago. The exhibit, located outside the entrance to the data center, also includes an interpretive panel explaining the role of water power in Holyoke’s industrial history.

Water Power in the City of Holyoke“It is so fitting that this exhibit is found in the heart of the arts and innovation district of downtown Holyoke,” said Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse. “As the momentum in our City continues to build during its revitalization, this beautifully renovated piece of Holyoke’s history complements the bright future that lies ahead. I commend the Holyoke Restoration Guild for preserving this important piece of history, and thank the MGHPCC for understanding the importance of investing in not only Holyoke’s future, but also its past.”

“The MGHPCC represents Holyoke’s future, yet it is Holyoke’s historic investment in green energy that has brought it here,” said Rep. Aaron Vega. “This exhibit is a symbol of our past respectfully placed in the heart of our future. I applaud the MGHPCC for siting this exhibit and members of the Holyoke Restoration Guild for bringing it to fruition.”

10213239533_61fc6c01b7“It is important for progress to create our future with open minds, creative thinking, passion and courage. It is equally important to preserve our history that inspires us with the wisdom and ingenuity of our ancestors, gives us sense of identity and teaches us respect and humility,” said Vitek Kruta, president of the Holyoke Restoration Guild. “This 5,500-pound gearwheel with wooden teeth is an example of ingenious engineering and incredible skills from time long gone by. It was an honor for the Holyoke Restoration Guild to contribute to the preservation of this important piece of our history.”

“Innovation helped power Holyoke’s economy a century and a half ago, and we are excited about being part of the innovation economy that is emerging in Holyoke today,” said John Goodhue, the executive director of the MGHPCC. “This exhibit reminds us of the legacy we inherited and our responsibility to the future.”

The seven-foot-tall gearwheel, part of a water-powered electric generator, was originally the property of Farr Alpaca, a manufacturer of wool products that operated a mill on the current site of the MGHPCC from the 1870s through the 1920s, The MGHPCC is using the same source of power as did the mills a decade ago – the Connecticut River.

The restoration of the wheel and creation of the exhibit were the work of several people and organizations from Holyoke. Kruta and John Gutowski of the Holyoke Restoration Guild oversaw the restoration, which was aided by Holyoke Gas & Electric, Siegfried Port Architects, Paul Tower Welding, and Pete Korenewsky of Northeast Steel Erectors. Images and text for the interpretive panel were developed by Eileen Crosby of the Holyoke History Room, City Historian Penni Martorell, Sarah Larose of Holyoke Gas and Electric, and Sarah S. Kilborne, author of American Phoenix, a biography of silk manufacturer William Skinner, whose first building was located on the MGHPCC site.