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The Skinner Coffee House served the Holyoke Community for over 100 years. Established by Belle and Katharine Skinner in 1902 in honor of their father William Skinner, the Coffee House was originally used by women employed at the William Skinner & Sons Silk Mill for educational, social, and service activities. The Coffee House was one of many institutions established throughout the country around the turn of the 20th century to serve the needs of recent immigrants who worked in mills and factories.

Lunch cafeteria at the Skinner Coffee House c. 1920

Front of the Skinner Coffee House on Hamilton Street and Main

Since 1902, the location and control of the Coffee House has changed, but it remained a place to create and sustain community.

1902 – 1918 Skinner Coffee House at
480 Main Street, Owned by the Skinner Family

1916 – 1942 Skinner Coffee House at
402 Main Street. Owned by the Skinner Family

1942 – 1989 Skinner Community Center
Owned and operated by the City of Holyoke

1989 – 2005 Nueva Esperanza Offices
operated out of the building

2005  Building was torn down

Organizations at the Coffee House : “I have enjoyed every hour·” There were over 20 clubs and organizations associated with the Skinner Coffee House. Along with providing entertainment through pageants and musical revues, organizations created a community through regularly scheduled meetings and luncheons. Many girls joined the same clubs years after their mothers· involvement.

 Organizations at the Skinner Coffee House

Women·s Club
French-American ClubAssociation for the Blind
Italian Women·s Club
Homemakers Club
Negro Women·s Club
Polish Women·s Club
Children·s Dramatic Club
Junior Reading Group

Polish Folk Dance Group
Children·s Glee Club
Neighbor·s Club
Ukrainian Women·s ClubBusiness Girls Club
Quilt Club
Merrymakers Club
Dancing Club

Revelers ClubOld Timers Club
Corrective Posture Group

The Jayargees
4H Club
Mother·s Club
Men·s Club

Cosmetics Club

Bridal fashion show


Quilt Show at the Skinner Coffee House

Quilt Show


Girls of the Skinner Coffee House

Girls of the Skinner Coffee House


In the kitchen at the Skinner Coffee House

In the kitchen at the Skinner Coffee House

Musical Review at the Skinner Coffee House

Musical Review at the Skinner Coffee House

Children at the Skinner Coffee House

4-H Club meeting at Skinner Coffee House

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