Hopedale Pond, 1945

    Hopedale History
    August 15, 2016
    No. 306
    Park Commission, 1940s

    Hopedale in August   

    During the past two weeks, additions have been made to the following pages on hope1842.com: William H.
    Barney (Obituary for Bill Barney, Jr.)     Now and Then - Oak Street (Information from the National Register
    Nomination)     The Hopedale Manufacturing Company (An excellent explanation by William Maas of how the
    "Draper family feud company" operated.)    The Hopedale Community Post Office (Information from a stamp
    catalog on Community stamps  - listed as $800, with one presently for sale for $1200.)     Deaths   

    Link to video sent by Mike Rodrigues. Mike wrote, "Here's a video of the Hopedale 6th grade basketball team I
    coached when we played on the TD Garden floor at a Celtics game. Date December 12, 2012."


    There are still a few good seats left for "Fighting for Freedom," to be produced tonight at Hopedale by
    Hopedale Players. Tickets at Rice's drug store, Milford, during today and at box office, Town Hall, Hopedale,
    after 7 p.m. Any good? Ask the fellow who saw it before. Remember too, it is for a mighty good cause - the W.
    R.C. Dancing after play. Milford Gazette, April 8, 1910.

    A well attended conference was held in Town Hall yesterday afternoon under the auspices of the state league
    of women voters, a non-partisan organization. Mrs. Trueworthy White spoke on "What women need to know
    as voting citizens," Mrs. Frederick P. Bailey on "The foreign born woman voter," and Mrs. Schuyler Herron,
    "Federal control on necessities of life." Milford Gazette, October 1, 1920


                                              Park Commission Report, 1944

    The Park Commissioners report that during the 1944 Season, the facilities provided in the playgrounds were
    used to great advantage by the residents of Hopedale. Due to curtailed travel brought about by the war, many
    people took advantage of the fine weather that prevailed during the summer to play tennis or baseball, or to
    watch the games being played. The introduction of softball teams of both sexes created abundant
    enthusiasm and interest, which was evidenced by the number of fans witnessing each game. While softball
    was becoming increasingly popular, hardball games were not abandoned. During the course of the summer,
    games were played on the diamond with out-of-town teams.

    The tennis courts maintained their popularity during the summer months and into the fall of the year. Due to
    the excellent foundation which had been provided in pre-war years, the courts did not need rebuilding when
    the playgrounds were opened in the spring. The Park Commissioners feel that the courts will again be in a
    satisfactory condition during the coming year, and that the players can count on another excellent season.

    The bathhouse, as is usual during the hot summer months, was taxed to capacity. In spite of extremely
    unfavorable labor conditions, competent attendants were obtained for the summer, and all adequate
    safeguards were maintained. A swimming meet was held at the end of the year and proved to be a complete

    The fireplaces maintained by the Park Department in the Reservation were used to good advantage during
    the cool of the evenings and on weekends. All fireplaces were inspected at the end of the season, and were
    found to be in excellent condition.

                                              Park Commission Report, 1945

    The Park Commissioners report that the year of 1945 proved to be a successful one from all angles.
    Although the interest of the spectators and players of softball seemed to be smaller than during the year of
    1944, the hardball games seemed to be coming back into their own, one of the most interesting games of
    the season being the "Old Timers" annual contest.

    The tennis courts enjoyed their usual popularity during the summer months, and the Park Department
    employees, by dint of much work, were able to keep the courts in excellent shape.

    The bathhouse was a popular spot during the hot summer months, being the center of interest for the
    children during the day, and used to good advantage on weekends and during the long evenings by adults.
    Due again to the curtailed travel conditions, as a result of the war, the bathhouse was kept open on Sundays
    and Holidays. This summer the Park Commissions were fortunate in being able to procure the services of an
    instructor, and the following number of individuals were successful in passing the tests for the various

    Beginners................   27
    Intermediate............   11
    Swimmers...............    9
    Junior Life Saving.....   2

    During the year, the Town purchased, for the use of the Park Department, approximately 31.5 acres of land,
    with a frontage on Overdale Parkway, and adjoining the Old Salt Box and other land already under the
    jurisdiction of the Park Department. The Town also purchased approximately 12.367 acres from the
    Hopedale Coal and Ice Co., a portion of the land located near the Ice House recently torn down.

    The purchase of the land completes the holdings of the Park Department of land located around the pond. It
    is now the intention of the Park Department to construct a road, and paths, so that it will be possible to walk
    completely around the pond. The road so constructed will also be used to aid in the prevention of fires which
    might be started in or near Park woodlots. As soon as it is feasible, the Park Commissioners also hope to
    clear the underbrush, clean up dead trees, and generally make the area more presentable and further
    encourage the growth and development of good standing timber.

                                             Park Commission Report, 1946

    During the year of 1946, the Park Commissioners were successful in obtaining the services of Mr. F. C. Miner
    as swimming instructor at the bathhouse. That this was a decided improvement over the conditions which
    had existed during the war years is indicated by the fact that 137 children successfully passed the various
    courses, and the number attending the classes was especially large. The following table gives the classes
    and numbers who passed the various tests:

    Beginners..........................   60
    Intermediate......................   24
    Swimmers........................   30
    Advanced Swimmers........    5
    Life Saving........................   18

    During the year, the attendance was 8,282, of which 4,055 were girls, and 4,227 were boys.

    No radical changes or alterations have been made during the past year, or are expected to be made during
    the coming year, to the physical structure of the bathhouse. The beach is kept as clean as possible, and
    sand is replaced whenever the conditions warrant such action.

    The tennis courts were enclosed late in the year. Through material difficulties, the contractors were unable to
    maintain the schedule originally set. The wire screening is now in place, and should serve to separate the
    courts much more than has been possible, as well as to eliminate some of the danger from baseballs
    rolling on the court or hitting the players.

    Because of the difficulties of obtaining the necessary labor and the fact that the Park Commissioners have
    been unable to obtain the necessary technical and professional advice, no attempt was made to actively
    begin a long-range campaign to farm the woodlands, including the cleaning up of the lots under the
    jurisdiction of the Park Commissioners. Plans are under discussion and steps are being taken to make the
    woodlots productive, to decrease the fire hazard to the lowest possible point, and to make them thoroughly
    enjoyable by the citizens of the town.

    Park Commission Reports above from Hopedale Town Reports of 1944, 1945 and 1946.

    I found the following sentence from the 1945 report confusing. "It is now the intention of the Park Department
    to construct a road, and paths, so that it will be possible to walk completely around the pond."  I thought the
    road completely around the pond had been constructed long before then, and that seems confirmed by the
    following sentence from the Park Department history. "1907 - Road constructed connecting Rawson's Bridge
    to Freedom Street." Reports from other years indicate that earlier in the decade, roads had been built along
    the east side, connecting the area by the bathhouse to Rawson's (aka Rustic) bridge, so it would have been
    possible to follow Parkland roads completely around the pond by 1907.

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