Remains of the car path in Hopedale, near Draper Field.
November 15, 2012
Remains of the Trolley Path
Hopedale in November
Council on Aging Breakfast for Veterans.
Unidentified World War II vets photos – Can you help?
Chestnut Hill Meeting House
The G&U Railroad, Past and Present by Gordon Hopper, 1978.
The Home School – the boarding and day school of the Hopedale Community.
During the last two weeks I’ve made additions to several web pages including Now and Then – The
Dutcher Street School Hopedale Chronology The Uxbridge-Hopedale Connection Pistol, Rifle
and Skeet Shooting Mill Town or Shop Village? Trains in Hopedale this fall
Baron Emile de Cartier de Marchienne was the husband of Alice Draper Colburn and the son-in-law
of George and Hannah Draper. Thanks to Debbie Carnaroli for sending a link to this Wikipedia page
on him. He died in London in 1946. Here’s a link to a video of his funeral, which appears to have
been quite a big deal.
For candy lovers, sent by Victoria Regina, a history of the NECCO Company.
When I was in fifth grade, the Hall family at the corner of Northrop and Oak streets moved to Mendon.
Their oldest son, Billy, was a good friend of mine. During a school vacation, not long after the move,
five or six of us decided to visit him. Since he was living on North Avenue, close to where the trolley
tracks, or “car path” came out, we decided that would be the way to go. We took our bikes, but I don’t
think we rode much of the distance. Most of the ties were still there and the path was pretty rough. The
bridge that had crossed Muddy Brook had collapsed long before our trip, so we had to drag the bikes
down into the remaining jumble of stones and cross as best we could, while trying not to get too wet. I
think we must have had a good visit with Billy, and maybe with his brothers Wayne and Galen also,
but I can’t say that I remember it as well as I remember the trip over there. Here’s an article by
Gordon Hopper on the trolley line, written almost twenty-five years after we traveled over it.
Trolley Line Between Hopedale and Uxbridge
By Gordon E. Hopper
Comments received from a previous historical feature relating to the loss of what had once been a
street car private right-of-way in Holliston has resulted in a search of the former electric car line
between Hopedale and Uxbridge for additional losses being caused by changing times.
Starting on Freedom Street at the former Draper complex, a pair of stone abutments remain on the
shores of Hopedale Pond where a steel bridge had carried streetcars across a portion of the pond
for nearly 40 years.
Streetcars traveling toward Uxbridge, after leaving the bridge, crossed the tracks of the Grafton and
Upton Railroad and after going up a slight grade and a curve, made a long run toward North Avenue
in Mendon on what is believed to have been one of the longest straight runs on the Milford & Uxbridge
Although the tracks were pulled up some 55 years ago, some sections of the roadbed have
remained visible until construction of various types have caused their disappearance. What had once
been a land cut and grade on the roadbed near the Grafton & Upton Railroad crossing adjacent to the
large Draper building, has been reworked by earth equipment to now include a buried sewer line, It is
not known whether or not this will become a new street.
After the sewer line crosses a stone-walled brook, the roadbed curves into an area where new
homes are presently under construction. The trolley roadbed separates from the sewer line on this
curve and enters another area where the roadbed had been cut through some elevated land. Fallen
trees lay across the land cut today with enough room under them to still walk on the old roadbed.
After passing through some improved land, the roadbed crosses Westcott Road, a new street
located in a large development of new homes. The roadbed becomes wet and is visible for a short
distance at the rear of homes on nearby Ballou Road, another new street in the development here
that is called “Neckwood at Eight Rod Road.” (Now there’s a bit of Hopedale trivia for you. Maybe that
was a little too wordy so they settled on Pinecrest instead.)
According to Mrs. George Howarth, who lives on Eight Rod Road, the street and a trail in the area had
been a section of the old Hartford Turnpike.
The roadbed continues toward North Avenue and crosses a natural gas pipeline owned by the
Tennessee Gas Company. A few hundred feet further and a metal pipe that carries Muddy Brook
under the roadbed is crossed. While the trolleys were in operation, there had been a small bridge at
this stream and a portion of one of its stone abutments remains in place.
The roadbed runs up a grade again, and through a cut in the land that includes stone walls. Gravel
repairs have been made on this grade and the road is used by equipment engaged in a logging
Starting at a point on North Avenue near a high voltage electric line, several hundred feet of the
roadbed has become driveways to homes owned by Albert and Dennis Shaheen. John J. Porter, who
lives at 33 North Avenue, confirmed the location of the electric car right-of-way in this area and
traveled a portion of it with the writer.
None of the roadbed is recognizable from North Avenue, but when Lake Nipmuc is reached a portion
of it can be seen. It appears to be an embankment that was built as a filled-in area along a section of
the lake’s shoreline. Some stone work beside the highway opposite the entrance to the Myriad
Ballroom cannot be identified.
Approaching Wheelockville (a village in Uxbridge) from Mendon on Route 16, a pair of granite block
abutments remain in place on the north side of the highway where a trolley bridge once crossed
Rock Meadow Brook. A long length of roadbed is still recognizable near the abutments. At
Wheelockville near the old mill on Route 16, a short, but complete concrete bridge on the trolley
roadbed remains on its abutments across the West River.
Approaching the Stanley Woolen Mill in Uxbridge from Milford, but on the opposite side of the
highway, no signs remain of a long wooden trestle which once crossed the wetlands. However, a
short distance further on toward the center of Uxbridge, a single stone abutment remains where the
car line crossed the Blackstone River together with a length of roadbed. Milford Daily News, January
Milford Journal articles on the M&U Street Railway
Hopedale History Ezine Menu HOME
Trolley bridge over Hopedale Pond.
The ground at the middle of this picture rises a bit above the
snow-covered lawn in the foreground, where it was graded
for the trolley tracks, between the bridge and Soward Street.
You can just barely see the trolley path about a third of the way up from
the bottom in this picture. It's in Mendon near the intersection of Route 16
and Old Taft Avenue. About 100 feet or so of the path has survived here.
Trolley cut in Mendon across from Alicante Restaurant.
(For those of you who haven't been in the area for several
decades, that's where Millie Mitchell's was.)
This appears to be the location on the Blackstone River in Uxbridge
described by Hopper in the last sentence of his article below.
Soward, Progress and Lake streets during the summer of
2010. Thanks to John Gagnon for sending the pictures.