94-96 Freedom Street
June 15, 2017
Hopedale in June
Google Earth views of White City, 1995 - 2016
L. HILLS, PRACTICAL PHRENOLOGIST and Agent for Fowlers & Wells Phrenological Journal, will remain in
town for a short time, for the purpose of delineating Character, and giving advice respecting the Management
of Children. He will also give advice to Young Men, in regard to their Business Pursuits, and directions to
those who are in a debilitated condition of Health. The Practical Christian, Milford (Hopedale Village), Sept.
We have had a very strenuous year in combating the Gypsy Moth and considerable time has been devoted to
this part of the work, having destroyed many thousand Gypsy Moth clusters. The Gypsy Moth menace will
probably be very serious the coming year, and cooperation will be imperative to successfully combat this
common pest. Report of the Tree Warden, Charles E. Nutting, 1917.
I grew up in the duplex home at 94 and 96 Freedom Street. My Hopedale was the Hopedale of the 50’s and
60’s. Fresh off the victory of World War II, it was a time when the US still had manufacturing dominance and
the Draper Corporation was still in full operation. It was however a pivotal time when all of the company
housing had been sold off and “The Shop” was becoming less of a controlling factor in the personal lives of
its employees. (Draper Duplexes - for the sale of them, see news clippings near the bottom of the page.)
The Hopedale roots of my family go back to the turn of the 20th Century, when my great-grandfather Domase
Cyr arrived in the area from Orono, Maine with his wife Sophie and many children. My grandmother’s family,
(The Munyons) was already living in Hopedale, I think perhaps going back to the late 1800’s. My great-
grandfather, my grandfather and his brothers and sister, and my father had all worked at the shop at one
time or another. My grandfather however was a lifelong employee of The Draper Corporation.
During that time, for town residents, Drapers was called “The Shop,” neither The Mill nor The Draper
Complex or anything else. The Shop held great power over its employees. During the late 19th Century and
first half of the 20th Century the shop owned the houses, so your employment at The Shop would dictate
where and what kind of home you lived in. At the time of the First World War, Great Grandparents Domase
and Sophie sent all of their sons off to France from the tenements of the Prospect Heights neighborhood.
My Grandfather Henry returned home from the Great War to marry Violet Munyon and went to work at The
Shop, as a painter in the Maintenance Department. In addition to painting needs within The Shop, The
Painting Department was charged with the painting, wallpapering and other maintenance of employee
housing, both inside and out. Henry and Violet were assigned company housing in the White City
neighborhood where Violet gave home birth to five children, one of whom died during infancy. The White City
homes had only two bedrooms so things were a little crowded for a family of six.
Grampy, as we grandkids called him, eventually became head of the painting department, reporting to the
Director of Maintenance. This allowed the family to take up residence at 96 Freedom Street, a much bigger
home, and right across the street from The Shop. He was “Movin’ On Up!"
As Drapers began to divest itself of company homes, employees were given right of first refusal on the
purchase of the home they were living in. Grampy Cyr hopped right on the opportunity and bought both 96
and 94 Freedom Street. My parents and I moved into the 94 side of the duplex in early 1955. As a young child,
living in a house owned by your grandparents was really neat! You see, the basement of the duplex had no
wall separating the two units. As a youngster I was able to go from our kitchen through the basement door
up the stairs on the other side and be in Grammy’s kitchen for those treats that grandparents give to kids that
parents don’t want them to have. The other thing that was cool was that we always had extended family over.
Aunts and uncles would all come to visit and bring the cousins with them. Being at the epicenter of family
dynamics leaves me with many stories to tell. But not all of it here. Mike Cyr, May 2017
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