HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – It was the end of an era Thursday: a remnant of the Industrial Revolution in western Massachusetts.
Up and running since 1863, when Abraham Lincoln was president, the equipment at Holyoke Machine finally fell silent in February.
“Our primary market is paper and textile mills, throughout the country, primarily in New England. Last year, two large paper mills in Maine closed,” owner Jim Sagalyn said.
During the years of its peak performance, Holyoke Machine employed dozens of workers in the heart of what was once Holyoke’s industrial Main Street heartland.
Just before its closing earlier this year, there were but 20 employees. Alan Bernier of South Hadley was employed at Holyoke Machine Company more than 30 years. He is still stunned by the closing.
“The first thing I did was go to a bar and get drunk, and that was because I was shocked. And then, I called my buddy down in Florida and told him the bad news,” Bernier said.
An auction of the remnants of the factory was held on Thursday. First, the small items were auctioned-off, followed by the massive machinery which helped drive Holyoke’s robust economy for more than 150 years.