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The History of the Summit Houses Atop Mount Tom

To look at the top of Mt. Tom today, it is hard to believe that it was once home to one of New England's most spectacular summit houses. Built by the Holyoke Street Railway, the Summit House provided a cool, mountain escape from the sweltering mill city of Holyoke.

 

 

The first Summit House lasted only a year before it caught fire and burned to the ground. A new Summit House of a more lavish design was built in it's place. The unique design of the new building received national attention. A huge facility, with observation decks and a dining room, the Summit House on Mt. Tom was visible from miles away. But in 1929 another fire completely destroyed this second structure.
 

The Summit House was quickly replaced by, what was generally agreed to be, an unattractive, fireproof pavilion. But it was too late. The stock market crash of 1929 heralded the beginning of the Great Depression and the crowds never returned to the mountain. In 1938, vandals destroyed the last Mt. Tom Summit House. The trolleys that once carried visitors to the Summit House were now used carry it's remains off the mountain. Later that same year, the inclined railroad was dismantled and the trolleys stopped running to the Mt. Tom summit.


 

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Major funding for Mountain Park Memories provided by:

Additional funding provided by: Commonwealth Registry of Nurses, Inc., Holyoke Gas & Electric Department, Holyoke Hospital, The Lathrop Retirement Communities of Easthampton & orthampton.

Photo Credits:  
Wisteriahurst Museum (Holyoke, Massachusetts); Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division; Detroit Publishing Company Collection; 
Holyoke Public Library