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Annual Holyoke memory calendar is in 17th edition

Date: 12/19/2014

HOLYOKE – On a recent Friday afternoon stop at Highland True Value Hardware & Bike Shop, 2015 Holyoke Memories calendars were being snapped up as area residents were coming in to have a key made or to purchase some bike supplies.

The calendar idea originated with lifelong city resident Harry Craven 17 years ago, Highland’s proprietor, who has collected old photos of the city for many years.

“The old photos show where we’ve been in the city over the years,” said Craven during an interview with Reminder Publications. Craven’s hardware store was started in 1946 by his parents and in 1956 expanded to include a bike shop.

Of course, Craven’s love of the city doesn’t stop at organizing the photographs and captions that grace each yearly calendar, which is printed by the Mansir Printing Company. His collection of postcards and photographs spans more than 100 years of history and many are displayed throughout the store, ranging in size from 8” by 10” to 16” by 20”.

During a quick tour around the store, Craven talked extensively about Mt. Tom.

“Mt. Tom is dear to me,” he said, adding, “It is Holyoke’s national treasure.”

Relics from Mt. Tom and Mountain Park also adorn the walls of the hardware store, and vintage bikes from companies including Columbia, Keating and Warwick also are suspended from the ceiling of the bike shop.

“Holyoke was the manufacturing capital of the world at one time,” he said, adding he likes to share that history with those who come into the store.

The 2015 calendar boasts photos of old paper mills on the canal, Mountain Park, trolleys through the city, aerial views of well-known streets, Mt. Tom, stately buildings, and the famous Kenilworth Castle.

“It’s a nice gift to also give someone who lived in Holyoke at one time and will remember these memories,” he said.

A minimum donation of $6 is requested for the calendar which is available at the store at 917 Hampden St. Since Craven donates his time to put the calendar together and Mansir Printing generously prints it at no charge, all proceeds each year benefit a local charity. This year, all proceeds will benefit the Providence Ministries Service Network, based on Hamilton Street.

“In years past, proceeds have benefited the autism program in the city schools, the children’s museum, youth baseball, Holyoke Hospital, the senior center, the Boys and Girls Club, and the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round,” he said.

Store hours are weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call  539-9314.