As it turns out, the Farr Mansion is much more than meets the eye.
The neighboring Greater Holyoke YMCA wants to tear it down in order to build a parking lot. “At any rate, I couldn’t believe it. At first, I thought it was a ridiculous idea. The historical commission gave a 6 month demolition delay ordinance in June so we got 6 months to raise publicity, because this is a historical building that needs to be saved. It was a functioning office when they bought it,” said Daphne Board, who has been living in Holyoke for the last 10 years.
Built in 1881, it was home to Herbert Farr’s Farr Alpaca Company, which, at one point, employed 25% of Holyoke. The YMCA says the space would allow it to provide their over 4,500 members with safe, on-site parking. However, it’s possible that the home could be declared a historical landmark.
“It meets the qualifications to be on the national register The Y now owns the building so they would have to go through that process this would also trigger if they did want to rehabilitate the building, there are historic tax credits,” Board added.
A statement from Greater Holyoke YMCA CEO Kathy Viens, goes on to say, “We’ve established many options to address the need for parking so people can improve their overall health. This solution is ideal, as it is adjacent to our facility across a not too busy street and within eyesight of our main entrance. This is especially important for aging adults and young children. The Y looks forward to continuing our conversations with the Historic Commission.”
Board has posted signs on buildings around the city, and started a website. If successful, Board would like to see the mansion become a café, or a 2 family home.
If the YMCA agrees to sell the property, she says several community members would be interested in buying the property, including her.
A Change dotIf you’d like to get involved with trying to save the Farr Mansion, click here.