Alcohol in Hopedale
declaration, or oath, taken by Community members included the words, "...never to manufacture,
buy, sell, deal out, or use any intoxicating liquor as a beverage..."
During the debate on the matter of Hopedale's bid to break away from Milford, "Hopedale lawyer
Selwyn Z. Bowman raised the "moral" question of liquor, saying it was unfair for the prohibitionist
residents of the Dale to be hooked up with Milford.
"Abstinence from liquor was one of the hallmarks of the Christian socialists who founded the
Hopedale Community commune in 1841, and Bowman said the residents in 1886 were 'almost
unanimous' in support of that tradition.
"We say that we are a temperance community. We say that we are a different community from the
town of Milford...with its 63 saloons. And if we desire to build up here a model New England town,
where no liquors are sold, industrious, thrifty, prosperous, I say we have a right to do so," he said.
in Hopedale's first town report in 1886, Town Clerk Frank Dewing wrote, "Among other peculiarities
there has never been in the village a place where intoxicating liquors could be purchased, and it is
hoped by us that this peculiarity may long continue."
an unmarked vehicle for deliveries in Hopedale. The idea, of course, was to prevent the neighbors
from knowing what was being delivered, but of course they did.
of evidence for that is this sentence about Eben S. Draper in The Drapers, Prestons and Allied
Families. "In 1930 he advocated the repeal of Prohibition and made that his principal issue in his
campaign for the Republican nomination to the United States Senate and was defeated by less
than 5,000 votes."
The Hopedale-Milford town line ran right through the Larches, George Otis Draper's mansion on
Williams Street. When Draper Corporation took it over to use for company functions and overnight
guests, it had a bar on the Milford side.
I don't know when state law was enacted that allowed each town to vote on the matter, but when it
did, and for many years, Hopedale voted to be a "dry" town. Times change, and in the election of
1970, a majority of Hopedale residents voted to go "wet."
The vote to allow the sale of alcohol in Hopedale always lost
until 1970. The more than 2 to 1 against in the 1934 vote
shown above was similar to the results for many other years.