Dick Grady's latest Mendon history article - Fire at Sky Farm.

    Milford Historical Commission Annual Open House.   

    G&U Railroad Discussion on Railroad.net  including much on the LNG proposal for Grafton.

    During the past two weeks, additions have been made to the following pages: Other Hopedales
    (Photos added)     Now and Then - The Post Office (Photos and articles.)    Hopedale HIstoric District
    (Two Milford News articles printed in 2000 about plans to create a National Historic District in
    Hopedale)     Harrison Block (Article - site of former drug store discovered to be selling drugs.)     Mill
    Town or Shop Village? (Milford News article explaining why the Draper complex shouldn't be called a
    mill, while continuing to call it a mill.)      Now and Then - The Larches (Articles on the use of The
    Larches in recent years.)     Recent deaths     


    Twenty-five years ago - October 1989  - Friday the 13th mini-crash: The Dow Jones Industrial
    Average plunges 190.58 points, or 6.91 percent, to close at 2,569.26, most likely after the junk bond
    market collapses.

    The Loma Prieta earthquake, measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale, strikes the San Francisco–Oakland
    region of Northern California, killing 67 people and delaying the 1989 World Series for 10 days.

    The Phillips Disaster in Pasadena, Texas kills 23 and injures 314 others.

    Fifty years ago - October 1964 - The 1964 Summer Olympics are held in Tokyo

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. receives the Nobel Peace Prize, awarded for leading non-violent resistance
    to end racial prejudice in the United States.

    A 5.3 kiloton nuclear device is detonated at the Tatum Salt Dome, 21 miles from Hattiesburg,

    For Hopedale news from 25 and 50 years ago, see the lower section of this page.


                                                  A Plaque for Willard

                                                                    By Virginia Cyr

    A much-loved and highly respected gentleman, Willard Taft, of 90 Dutcher Street, was honored
    Saturday morning by this town. Taft, who is heading for his 92nd year, thought that he was attending
    Saturday's unveiling of the monument commemorating the completion of the Parklands Nature Trail.
    He was surprised to learn that the trail was being dedicated in recognition of his many years of
    dedication as a park commissioner and for his love and concern for the Parklands and Hopedale
    Pond, for the people who enjoy the area, and for the wildlife which find refuge there.

    Taft candidly admitted he was sent into a state of shock when Selectman Chairman Al Sparling
    presented him with a proclamation declaring Saturday, October 19, was to be observed as Willard
    Taft Day in Hopedale. The morning sky was sunless and the wind was blowing heavily across the
    pond as the guest of honor was surrounded by more than 30 town officials, relatives, friends and
    neighbors who gathered to say thank you to Taft.

    The dedication was sponsored jointly by the Board of Park Commissioners and the Hopedale
    Foundation. A plaque on the monument reads, "Hopedale Parklands Nature Trail, dedicated to
    Willard W. Taft for his many years of dedication in preserving this special landscape for the enjoyment
    of all."The inscription is followed by a quotation from Thoreau's "Walden, the Ponds, 1854" - "If the
    forest features of the landscape are to be named after men, let them be the noblest and worthiest
    men alone."

    Talking to Taft at his home following the dedication, he was still pretty much speechless. He admitted
    that he was completely dumbfounded when he learned the dedication was being made in his honor.
    "I saw that darn stone being brought into the Parklands' entrance and I thought to myself, "What darn
    fool thing are they doing now," he said. Taft's Dutcher Street home is located in front of the pond and
    entrance to the Parklands. He said he then proceeded to forget about it.

    "I was so happy to see so many of my friends present. I didn't know anyone cared. I am fortunate to
    have good friends," Taft said.

    Taft, who is a twin, was born in Upton and spent his early years there. He also spent time in Hopedale
    with his aunt, the late Etta Lurvey. Because of family deaths, Willard moved to Texarkana and he
    attended Texas A & M. He returned to Hopedale in 1928 to reside with his aunt who had, by that time,
    moved to 90 Dutcher Street, the duplex Taft now owns.

    Taft went to work in the Draper Corporation where his designing and organizational skills were put to
    use. He received many words of commendation for his work there. His interest in the well-being of
    people, especially youngsters, and in wildlife and nature-related issues, have always prevailed.

    Taft taught many youngsters how to ski on the now non-existent ski tow and how to appreciate the
    Parklands and the pond. His love is for natural beauty and its preservation. He served as a park
    commissioner for several years, having retired from the political scene a couple of years ago.
    His twin brother, Harold, who resides on Cape Cod, was unable to attend Saturday's dedication.
    However, a cousin, Ken Wood of Upton, was present to share in his cousin's honor, as was Willard's
    long-time friend, Carl Anderson, also of Upton.

    Among the town officials present were Selectman and Hopedale Foundation director, Al Sparling,
    Hopedale Foundation directors William B. Gannett and Peter Ellis, Park Commissioners Rick
    Espanet, Bob Colcord and Mark Sesona, Commission on Disabilities chairman, Peter Ellis, Jr. and
    Fire Chief David Bliss.

    The sponsors of the dedication acknowledged the many people who contributed materials, time and
    effort to make the event possible.

    The granite block was donated by Kimball Sand & Gravel of Blackstone. The plaque was provided by
    the Hopedale Foundation; landscaping design and materials were donated by Swift's Creative

    The Highway Department and foreman, Bob DePonte, played an essential role in the effort, moving
    the granite block to its present location.

    A special note of thanks went to George Labadie, Taft's next-door neighbor, who was charged with
    diverting Taft's inquisitive nature away from the covered granite. Milford Daily News, October 21, 1996.

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The Milford News clippings below are from the Bancroft Library.