Holyoke City Hall follows you like the moon.

Night in downtown Holyoke can be a quiet affair: Sometimes you can stand next to a canal and hear little more than the black water below. One night on Race Street this summer, tree frog near a power substation spoke the loudest.a

And on this Saturday night it’s mostly quiet here on the hill. On Bowers, people on the steps of an apartment building talk into the evening, waiting out a brick-oven apartment.
But out on Dwight Street, some welcome weekend noise: the return of Celebrate Holyoke, held for the first time in a decade. I’ve come up here between bands to look for a different perspective on the crowd, and for a way to photograph the event against the backdrop of the city’s most notable landmark.

Construction on City Hall began in 1871. A report from the July 1, 1876 edition of the Holyoke Transcript reads: “There seems to be a small faction opposed to it, but they should not be allowed to prevent a fitting dedication by those whose money spent in the construction of the finest hall in New England.”

A community, like a city, is always in a state of becoming, of being built. It’s always under construction.

There’s always more work to do.•

— Greg Saulmon,