Mill 1 was one of the first mill buildings built on the canal system in Holyoke, with the first brick laid way back in 1848! At it’s height, Holyoke earned the name “Paper City” because of the many mills dedicated to producing paper (some of the original mills began with textiles and converted over to paper with new machinery and the advancing canal system). In 1847, the South Hadley Falls company began the endeavor to make Holyoke the first planned industrial city in the country by utilizing water diverted from the Connecticut river; they worked for over 4 decades digging out 4.5 miles of canals to run under the many mills and factory buildings. Energy from the flowing water was transmitted from the waterwheels under the buildings through a system of gears, shafts, pulleys, and belts to power the factories’ machinery. The early canals were dug by men (and many children, some under the age of 12) with picks, shovels, and horse-drawn teams – and if you like the supernatural, there have been reports of old spirits residing in the buildings! Open Square is one of the few properties that still have working water wheels, harnessing green energy to this day to fully power Mill 1 and the adjacent buildings.