Black clouds erupted from the rooftop, rising into the steel gray sky.
For the next six years, HCC would operate out of a hodgepodge of buildings and disparate classrooms all around the city. By nightfall, the site was a grotto formed by the exterior walls of the former building, which were now filled only with rubble and enormous mounds of ice. Everyone got out safely, though one firefighter was hospitalized after suffering a heart attack.
Above An empty shell is all that remained after fire gutted the original downtown HCC campus building 50 years ago. To preempt that effort, President Frost and Holyoke mayor William Taupier launched a campaign to keep the college in Holyoke, and they ed with business, education, and civic leaders to do just that under the name "Friends of Holyoke Community College.
Six hours later, despite the efforts of nearly firefighters, the blaze had essentially destroyed the year-old downtown landmark on Sargeant Street, formerly Holyoke High School, on the hill where the Holyoke Senior Center now stands.
That January, with a week to go in the college semester and finals yet to come, the Holyoke community rallied to find space and equipment so classes could continue to operate. The following Monday, Jan. About 1, students showed up.
Holyoke community college Homestead Ave. According to news reports from the day, there were about students and faculty in the building when the fire started in the attic, the cause later attributed to a faulty ventilation fan. That was 50 years ago, on January 4, Some might remember the date if not the day; many have probably never heard the story before, about how the great fire forever altered the history of HCC and how the Holyoke community saved the college from an uncertain future.
After those tumultuous years, he said during a interview, the new campus, when it opened inseemed like "Disneyland. The day after the fire, in fact, Taupier, on behalf of the city, optioned a parcel of land, a former dairy farm in a hollow off Homestead Avenue, where a campus could be built.
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An advertisement in the Jan. Let it be known that we cherish and are very proud of this home-grown Community College. Speak up they did, and, with support from some important state officials whose names should be familiar — Maurice A.
Live Help Chat. Emergency Alerts. At the time, the college had 1, students and more than 60 full-time teachers.
According to Ashley, a few staff and students were able to save most of academic records from offices on the lower floors "as fire raged above them," but many professors lost their personal libraries, collections, and doctoral dissertations. Within minutes, flames had engulfed the upper floors of the main college building.
The alarm sounded at p. At the meeting, according to Ashley, President Frost said the school would be rebuilt: "We will have to start from scratch However, there was great fear in the community that, rather than rebuild the college in Holyoke, state education officials would prefer to merge HCC with the newly created Springfield Technical Community College.
Keyword: Loading Holyoke Community College was burning. Fifty years ago, a fire destroyed the original HCC campus building in downtown Holyoke.