Hopedale History
    February 1, 2011
    No. 173
    Tour of Hopedale, 1906

    Hopedale in January   Snow on January 13        January 18        January 27   

    Here’s a link  sent by Peter Metzke to a history of Bellingham, written in 1919.   

    Now and Then – The Bancroft Memorial Library   

    Old posters          Hopedale business ads, 1965   

    Vote for Hoover!   

    HHS girls' basketball team, 1951   

    Here’s a video sent by Pete Eaton in Pennsylvania showing a Draper loom at work. Pete restored it to
    operating condition in the last couple of years. Click here to go to a page on my site that shows and tells a bit
    about what Pete had to do to get it working. Click here to go to the Eaton’s site, where you can buy items
    made on the loom.

    Recent deaths:

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                                                                            Tour of Hopedale, 1906

    The following piece is longer than I usually send, but I’ve shortened it as much as I could without losing any
    of the basic points. Click here if you’d like to read the entire article.

    It is difficult to give an adequate idea of the town, with its quiet atmosphere of content, peace and plenty.
    Everywhere are trees to keep the walks cool, and to add beauty to the vistas. Between the curb and the
    sidewalk is a narrow strip of grass, as soft and smooth as if just cut; as it probably has been. On all sides of
    me are the cottages of the Draper employees, now and then jostled by the larger and more impressive
    mansion of some official of the company. Such is the first impression, and after the most careful inspection,
    and prying search, this impression will remain.

    I walked up the street until I came to a little gem of a lake. There was a silvery-gray, shingled building on its
    shore, all buried in shrubbery and vines, and surrounded with such a green lawn as I had, by this time,
    learned to associate with Hopedale. It was the public bath house, supported by the town through its park
    department; and during the last year it catered the needs and pleasure of over 3,300 patrons.

    I strolled along through a pleasant thicket on an agreeably "crunchy" gravel path, and let my thoughts fly
    whither they would. I bumped into a venerable old gentleman and ventured to ask where I might be. "You are
    in our park system, sir," was the reply. "What next?" I thought, "2,000 people and a park system!"

    Finally I found myself back upon the street, and turned toward the center of the village. The side streets
    looked so cool and comfortable that I was unable to withstand the temptation to explore; and it is well that I
    did so, or I should have missed seeing one of the most interesting features of this remarkable town. That is
    the playground, covering five or six acres. It is laid out into tennis courts and baseball diamonds, which were
    then deserted. While I stood wondering what purpose a seemingly useless pile of stones, lumber, and lime
    barrels served, the clock struck twelve, and boys and men began to hurry by on their way to the midday meal.
    Some of them brought their lunches to the numerous benches with which the playground is provided: and it
    did not take these long to dispose of the contents of their dinner-boxes. This done, a ball was produced from
    somebody's pocket, and in less time than it takes to tell it a game was in full swing.

    From one of the spectators I learned, between bits of advice offered to the players of both sides impartially,
    that my useless pile of lumber was by way of becoming a new "gran' stan' for de ban'," to replace the one
    then standing near it. The Hopedale band is in steady demand to play in the neighboring towns, and has
    earned for itself an enviable reputation. During the summer it gives evening concerts, which are attended by
    all the population. The Draper Company employees hold an annual field day, comprising field and track
    sports, baseball games, and the like. The "big men" of the company are no bigger than the veriest 'prentice
    hands, on this gala day.

    On the way back to the main street, I pass the new grammar school, a building that would put to shame
    many of those erected in cities of ten times Hopedale's size. Further along is a building which a resident
    assured me was a "boardin' 'ouse," though its sign claimed the title of "hotel" for it. Here many of the younger
    and unmarried employees live. Its ivy-covered walls certainly gave earnest of comfortable rooms and
    bounteous fare within.

    I popped around a corner, and found myself once more in the center of the village, with a little park full of
    apple trees. Here is a statue of Adin Ballou, and also the old front doorstep of the Jones house, over which
    he passed so many times. Full of bright flowers, and with the customary green lawn, Ballou Park is a delight
    to the eyes, on a hot summer's day.

    Almost opposite the park is the Bancroft Library, given to the town by J. B. Bancroft, and containing as almost
    to be classed as part of it, is the beautiful Susan Preston Draper fountain. No words can portray its exquisite
    beauty, its marble figure of Hope shimmering in the sun, and the dolphins and Medusa's head spouting forth
    cool water, for the benefit of dogs and cats as well as humans

    The church situation in Hopedale is unique. There are but two churches, the Unitarian and the Union. The
    membership of the Union Church includes all those adhering to the evangelical beliefs. Those who are not
    disposed to accept the ministrations of either of these churches can find representatives of nearly all
    denominations in Milford, ten minutes away by trolley. The Unitarian church occupies a building presented to
    it by George A. and Eben S. Draper, in memory of their parents, while the Union Church has a building
    recently constructed.

    The particular feature of Hopedale which is bound to catch the stranger's eye is the lovely residence streets.
    On every hand are cozy and artistic cottages, surrounded by well-kept yards. They are as different from the
    usual workingman's home as they could well be. They are well and beautifully built, and show what can be
    accomplished in solving the housing problem when it is given sympathetic attention. They have nearly all
    been erected by the Draper Company, which rents them to its employees at charges varying from $10 to $15
    a month, the higher rents being for those houses equipped with furnace and bath-room. Ashes and garbage
    are removed free of charge to the tenant.

    The physical welfare of Hopedale's citizens is as carefully looked after as is their mental well-being. The
    town is sewered. Water, electricity and gas are furnished by the Milford corporations. The fire protection is
    excellent, Hopedale being one of the few places where automobile apparatus is in regular use. This is
    made possible by the well paved streets and the absence of steep grades.

    What has been done in Hopedale can be done elsewhere, when the man with the motive and the right kind
    of genius arises. Welfare work, so-called, does not rest entirely with the employer; the man at the machine
    must show an inclination to do what he can. When both work together, what is the result? A livable, lovable,
    beautiful village, like Hopedale. The Village: a journal for village life, Roger DeLand French, January 1907,
    Google Books.

    For another description of Hopedale in that era, see Hopedale As I Found It.   

                                              
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