Hopedale History
June 15, 2011
No. 182
Hopedale Schools – The Early Years

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Hopedale High graduation   

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                                             Early Years in the Hopedale Schools

After the 1886 separation from Milford, Hopedale had to establish its own school system. Elementary classes
were held in the Chapel Street School and the South Hopedale School. For a while, high school classes were
held the Chapel Street School and later at the Town Hall. There were two graduates in the first class, the Class of
1887, and one in 1888. The following paragraphs, except for the sentences in italics, are from annual reports of
the Hopedale school committee. All of these reports were signed by longtime committee member, Frank Dutcher.

1886 – The outhouse (at the South Hopedale School) was so far gone that we had to replace it with a new one.

One of the first problems to be solved after the incorporation of Hopedale was that of High School
accommodations. There were seventeen pupils from Hopedale in the Milford schools, but a canvas showed that
more would attend our own. The vacant room in the north part of the school house
(the Chapel Street School)
was partitioned off, giving a room with seating capacity for about thirty scholars, and a recitation room for the

A few scholars living in the extreme northern part of town have been received in the Milford schools, near their
homes, and we have taken an equal number of Milford pupils as an offset.

1889 - The most important event of the year is the completion of the new High School building. This is a gift from
the Hopedale Machine Co., George Draper & Sons and the Dutcher Temple Company. (
In 1896, these three
companies and several others were reorganized and operated under the name, Draper Company. In 1916, it
became the Draper Corporation.
) Its cost was $6200, exclusive of land and furnishings. To secure an artistic
structure which should contain all the requisites for school work and keep within the amount stated, seemed
quite difficult, but by making certain modifications we finally succeeded. Nearly all those furnishing materials or
labor made specially low prices, and our thanks are due to them for their hearty co-operation. The building has
ample accommodation for fifty scholars, and should meet the wants of the town for many years to come.

It is a matter of regret that our High School grounds have been invaded by
the new railroad. A fill of twelve to
fourteen feet passes diagonally through the premises creating a blemish upon the landscape, and spoiling what
would otherwise have been a desirable ball-ground for the boys. There seemed no alternative but to make the
best of the situation, and in our arrangement with Mr. E.P. Usher, President of the Grafton & Upton R.R. Co. we
have aimed rather to have the grounds left in the best practicable condition than to simply obtain pecuniary award
of damages. A planting plan of the front school yard will soon be ready, and it is expected that the scholars will
assist in beginning the work this spring.

There were six graduates of Hopedale High School in 1889; three in the English and French course, one in the
classical course and two in the English, French and Latin course.

Arrangements have been made with the Hopedale Machine Company to have a storm signal struck upon the
shop bell in case of very severe weather necessitating a close of schools.

1891 - The graduating exercises of the senior class in the High School were held in the Town Hall, and reflected
great credit upon both teachers and pupils.

We have again to report the loss of teachers who have left us to take more important positions elsewhere at
increased salaries. Miss Barrows, who had charge of the High School from its start, resigned at the end of the
spring term. To her untiring efforts is due much of the present success of the school, and pupils, parents and the
committee alike regretted that she decided to make a change. As Miss Bancroft was familiar with the general
routine of the work she was promoted to the head of the school, and Miss Grace E. Sprague, a graduate of
Wellesley College, elected assistant. Miss Low, who had done excellent work in the South Hopedale School,
also resigned in June, following the example of her predecessors, who had each taught but one year at the
building. Miss May C. Collagan, a graduate of the Framingham Normal School, was secured to fill the vacancy.
Teacher turnover was high, and paragraphs such as this were part of each report of the school committee in the
early years

Our textbooks have been in use longer already than was prophesied to be the average life of a school book in
constant use, at the passage of the free text book law.

Two changes have been made in the town by-laws in regard to schools during the past year. The first, in
accepting the new county truant school at Oakdale, West Boylston, Mass., as the place to which our truants, in
case we have any, are to be sent, instead of the school at Lowell, with which we had formerly made an
arrangement. The second change inserts the words, “And such children as persistently violate the reasonable
rules and regulations of the common school,” into Section 1, Article 5, in accordance with the acts of 1889,
Chapter 249. Under this bi-law, as now revised, a child who persistently annoys the teacher and disobeys the
reasonable rules and regulations of the school, may be sentenced by the court to the truant school the same as
in case of truancy.

1894 - Because of the overcrowding of the primary room, we have engaged an assistant in that department, as is
required by the law in every room having more than fifty pupils. For this reason, we would ask an increase of
$150, making the entire appropriation $5,750 for the year 1895.

1895 - There has been but one case for the year of corporal punishment. While this is still allowed as a last
resort in extreme cases, the committee discourages its use, and in the long run feels that the result is more
satisfactory without than with this means of correction

Now and Then at the Original Hopedale High School   

Now and Then at the Chapel Street School Block   

The South Hopedale School   

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The original Hopedale High School. In
1935, it became Sacred Heart Church.

 The Chapel Street School