Above - early Parklands photos by the firm of landscape
    designer Warren Henry Manning.

    Below - Parklands map drawn in 1913. Click here to see
    a larger version of it.

    Hopedale History
    September 15, 2015
    No. 284
    The Parklands

    Hopedale in September   

    Dick Volpe - Memories of the Navy, Draper Corporation, A.T.F. Davidson, and Data General.

    The tree in center field at the town park.   

    Philip Roberts - Obituary and family pictures.

    During the past two weeks, additions have been made to the following hope1842 pages: Francis Wallace
    (Accepted at Anapolis.)     The Boston Post Cane (Clippings on several more early recipients added.)     


    Rev. C.A. Henderson, Rev. Richard Peters, Dr K.A. Campbell and 15 or more boys, organized a local branch of
    the Boy Scouts, Friday evening, at the home of Albert Ingham. R.D. Lemon was chosen scout master and Mr.
    Ingham assistant scout master Milford Gazette, Sept. 24, 1915. This was almost certainly the first meeting to
    form a Boy Scout troop in Hopedale. I thought it would be interesting to find the house where Ingham lived at
    the time, but so far I've been unable to do that. There were no street listing books before 1921. There are poll
    tax lists for some of the teen years at the Bancroft Library, but not for 1915. Albert Ingham's name isn't in the
    other years or in the street listing books for the twenties, although there was an Alfred Ingham at 115 Jones
    Road. Typo maybe. Rev. Henderson was the Unitarian Church minister at that time. I've checked on the history
    of the Union Church, but didn't find Rev. Peter's name. Dr. Campbell was the well-known "country doctor" in
    Hopedale for more than fifty years. Raymond D. Lemon lived at 9 Union Street.

    Ten children enjoyed a Halloween party at the home of Mrs. Robert Billsbury, in observance of the fifth
    anniversary of her son, George W. Billsbury. The usual games and refreshments provided entertainment for the
    little people. Milford Gazette, 1920.The Bilsburys lived at 22 Union Street.

                                                               The Parklands

                                                       From Model Company Town

                                                              By John S. Garner

    Because the "recommendation as to the land near the pond was not so definite in character," progress toward
    finalizing a park plan proceeded slowly until 1898. By now landscape architect Warren Henry Manning had
    conceived a much larger plan incorporating not just the area at the base of the reservoir but the entire shoreline
    of the upper privilege, an area of nearly two hundred acres. Engineer Gordon M. Taylor surveyed the site, and
    Manning drew up the plans for which he received  $454. A Park Commission, consisting of Frank J. Dutcher,  
    Charles F. Roper and George Otis Draper, accepted the extensive proposal and appropriated fourteen
    thousand dollars in 1899 to carry out the plan.

    The achievement that followed was unique: no other company town, or for that matter, small industrial town had
    conceived such an extensive park system. Within a period of ten years Hopedale's parkland swelled to more
    than a thousand acres, almost a third of the total acreage of the town. (No, no, no. I don't know if this was the
    origin of this error, but it turns up elsewhere, including on the Blackstone Valley Heritage Corridor site. The
    Parklands doesn't cover a thousand acres and it's nowhere near one-third of the town. According to the town
    website, it's 179.68 acres. A study of the pond done this spring reports, "The Parklands is an approximately 273-
    acre park in the northwest area of Hopedale." Perhaps that includes the area of the pond.) But more significant
    that the size was the design or landscaping. Manning drew upon training he received form Frederick Law
    Olmsted before establishing his own practice as a result of the park project. The Hopedale commission
    provided him the opportunity on a small scale to do what Olmsted and Eliot did in Boston with the Muddy River
    development, which emerged as the nation's first regional park system in 1892. Although there is obvious
    difference in scale, the idea and application were no less advanced for the date. Landscaping Hopedale's park
    system entailed combining several properties, surveying and planning, and ground reclamation through
    draining, filling, and replanting. First, "an extensive system of subdraining, with catchbasins, etc. was put under
    the charge of Solon M. Allis, the entire work being done with accurate leveling methods, and a plan preserved
    by which to trace any possible error in working." Allis received $2,766 for performing when can be categorized
    as draining the land, but this was simply a starting point. Next came excavation and cleaning, which required
    the removal of obstructions like ledges and boulders. Then grading and manuring prepared the site for
    replanting varieties of trees and shrubs. Manning stipulated the use of different kinds of trees, including maple,
    ash, birch, hickory, pine (hemlock), tulip, Carolina poplar, black alder, willow and Japanese barberry. Though
    designing the park demanded a tremendous effort entailing many changes in the original landscape, the
    foremost requirement was to retain as much as possible the natural character of the site, avoiding the
    appearance of formal gardening.

    They succeeded in keeping the natural beauty of the site while having extended its use.

    Through careful landscaping, the visual potential of the site, with its rock outcroppings and myriad plants and
    trees, was fully brought out. Each year until 1914,Manning made an addition or an improvement of some type,
    and the park commissioners continued to support him in carrying out his plans by annually appropriating
    twenty-five hundred dollars. What is more, they hired a  park supervisor or gardener who at times employed up
    to forty men in grading and planting. The most attractive aspect of the park was designed in 1907 and
    consisted of a ribbon of trails that wound in and around the irregular shoreline for more than a mile in length. At
    the southern end of the park, near the boat marina, a beach had been prepared for swimming in 1899, and in
    1904 a bathhouse was erected. Chapman and Frazer designed it for the modest sum of fifty dollars, though it
    only cost $1,050 to build. The investment was well worthwhile, for men, women and children took advantage of
    it during the summer months. Apparently, one of the duties of superintendent Walter F. Durgin was to keep a
    count of those who used it. "During the season (1905) there were 3,100 baths taken by males, 222 by
    females." The poor showing for females can be accounted for by the fact that a matron had to be on hand to
    supervise them, and then for years they maintained separate swimming schedules from the men, which must
    have been discouraging. Model Company Town, pp. 192 - 194.

    I had doubts about the statement in the second paragraph about "... establishing his own practice as a result of
    the park project." I asked Jane Roy Brown of the Library of American Landscape History about it. Here's  part of
    her reply.

    What is incorrect in the sentence you quoted was “… establishing his own practice as a result of the park
    project.” There is no causal relationship between working on the Hopedale park system and leaving his
    practice that I am aware of. He took several other important jobs that he was also engaged in. Many factors
    caused Manning to launch his own ship, not the least of which was that he was passed over when the Olmsted
    brothers invited Charles Eliot to become a named principal.

                           More Parklands history.                    Parklands history by Gordon Hopper            

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