May 15, 2014
The Country Club
Hopedale in May
Hopedale High students win $2,500.
Mary Perry's aerobics project
Helene Draper - articles on her debut, other parties, and her wedding.
extraordinary work supporting those who have supported our country; Project New Hope
(projectnewhopema.org) and Veterans, Inc. (veteransinc.org). Please visit us on Memorial Day at the
Hopedale Community House. You may also drop off your donation prior to the event at one of our
collection locations in town. Thank you for supporting our Veterans!
During the last two weeks, I've made additions to existing pages on: Milk Wagons of Milford,
Hopedale and Mendon (Milford News photo of Don McGrath with his milk wagon) Billy Draper's
Store (Milford News article and pictures from 1983) Harrison Block (article - George Mongiat sells
building) Hopedale Community Menu (Ernest Dalton obituary) Dr. Verner Johnson (obit) Bristow
and Queena Draper (genealogical info on their three children) Hopedale Community Chapel and
School (two paragraphs from Ballou's History of Milford about the school) The old recycling center
(Milford News article on the opening in October 1990) Bancroft family (memories of Anna Bancroft by
Lucy Day) Long-gone Octagons (an 1870 map showing the location and owners of two Hopedale
octagon houses) Recent deaths
Fully 500 persons attended the circus on the lawn of the Union Church Friday evening. Harry Davis
made a creditable ringmaster, and performances of trained animals, rope walking, bar exhibitions,
etc., were in the program. "Teddy in Africa," with C. E. Nutting impersonating Teddy and Donald
McCaslin as Kermit was one of the principle features and created much merriment. Milford Gazette,
August 16, 1912
A seven room Draper house can be rented for $50 per month. Other dwellings are priced accordingly.
Boston Traveler, June 28, 1953
The Country Club
Summary of an interview with Ed Condon
This article is from a 2003 booklet celebrating the fiftieth year since the founding.
The Hopedale Country Club was built on the former Parkinson Nursery and Howard Farm property.
Chuck Lowe bought the large home on Mill Street across from the 7th hole. He and Chippy Fitgerald
were very important in conceiving the idea of a golf course in Hopedale. Draper Corporation had over
5,000 employees in 1953 and the company showed great concern for them. (The number usually
given for Hopedale is around 3000. Perhaps 5000 includes Spartanburg and other Draper facilities.)
They provided recreational activities such as ping-pong, tennis, horseshoes, softball and a card room.
They also provided a ski area with a tow and the baseball field was a first class operation.
Golf, gaining great popularity at the time, seemed to fit into the Draper philosophy as the Draper Golf
League was being played at Milford C.C. and Pine Ridge in Upton. Men like Bob Donnelly, Roy
Rehbein, Ham Thayer, Earl Simmons, Sr., Joe Chamberlain and myself worked with Chuck Lowe and
Chippy Fitzgerald as they convinced the Draper executives that we could built a golf course together.
The task would have been impossible without all of the help from Draper Corporation. They provided
trucks, machines, materials and employees throughout the building of the course. People like Jean
Stare and Ray Stewart went through the shop to solicit volunteers for the task ahead. By the way, it cost
$20.00 to "volunteer." The $20.00 was used to purchase materials and services and was the "dues"
for the first few years.
The Board of Directors organized the work orders for projects as teams of employees cut trees,
moved boulders, raked, planted and did all that was necessary to create the first six holes on the east
side of the river. Roy Rehbein logged 612 hours working on the course and beat me by one hour over
the construction of the course. Roy would later indicate that because he and I had the most hours
logged was the primary reason we would be the "beer pros" that the clubhouse would have in 1955.
Getting back to the building of the course...we suffered a very bad drought in 1954 and experienced
problems with the town regarding the use of water. We installed a pump into the river and that helped
us out considerably. As we were nearing completion, a lot of work remained on the hill of our current
1st hole (formerly #7) and Varneys came through for us with some heavy duty earth moving equipment.
Many of the initial "volunteers" had fallen by the wayside during the long stretch of work and the Board
of Directors made an excellent decision by voting all of the people back. It was felt that the club would
benefit by having several hundred players far better than having a much smaller number. In my
estimation, Chuck Lowe and Chippy Fitzgerald were the co-founders of Hopedale Country Club. It was
a "grass roots" effort and cut through all departments of the shop. Executives working with foundry
workers created a special spirit from the very start. Finishing the course was a great accomplishment
because a lot of folks said we couldn't succeed.
The year 1955 was a year of jubilation for the approximate one hundred and fifty founder members
who had worked and sweated for nearly three years to complete the building of the nine-hole golf
course. The two finalists in the first club championship, Joseph Leoncini and George Bushnell, both
founder members, are still active in the club.
One memory from the early years is the 36-hole championship finals being played the weekend
following what was perhaps the worst hurricane to hit this area since the big one of 1938. The flood
waters produced from this storm inundated cars in the parking lot behind the former Draper
Corporation plant. The water eventually flowed into Spindleville Pond, and then through our current 1st
and 3rd fairways, while winding its way to the Blackstone River. The rushing waters overflowing
Spindleville Pond washed away the roadway at the entrance to the country club leaving a crater
estimated to be 20 feet deep and twice as wide.
The house located on the corner at the entrance to the club was undermined by the water which
claimed it and its furnishings. What a sight....with the brook filled with building materials and
household furnishings including beds, chairs and a refrigerator. This may present some idea of the
conditions under which the championship match was played. As per Joe and George's recollection,
both played near par golf with George clutching the victory on the 35th hole. The turning point of the
match according to Joe was the second hole, fourth time around (currently the fifth hole) when he was
one down to George. It seems that Joe was lying handsomely on the green in two in what looked to be
a sure win to even the match, while George's drive was in the tall grass in what is now our practice
area. As Joe put i, George hit a "screamer" out of the tall grass that caught the flag and landed inches
from the hole for a birdie and a two up advantage which he held through the 35th hold. What a turn of
events...but that's the game of golf! George would successfully defend his title in 1956 in a close
match with Steve McDonough.
Now and Then - The Country Club Ezine Menu HOME
Cover Credit: Dick Volpe has captured our co-founders Arthur "Chippy"
Fitzgerald, the planner, and Charles "Chuck" Lowe,the player, in an original
oil painting that pays tribute to the contributions made by these two men.
Their leadership, determination, and hard work paved the way for the
Hopedale Country Club that we enjoy today.