city, Hampden county, west-central Massachusetts, U.S. It lies on the Connecticut River just north of Chicopee and Springfield. Settled in 1725 as part of Springfield, it was included in West Springfield in 1774 until incorporated as a separate township in 1850. It was named either for an early settler, Elizur Holyoke, or for the Reverend Edward Holyoke, president (1737-69) of Harvard University. It began to develop industrially after 1848, when the first of several dams was completed across the river. A system of canals was built during the latter half of the 19th century, attracting paper and textile mills.
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