May 15, 2018
From the Front End
Hopedale in May
Thanks to Jim Grant of Mendon for a collection of photos of the 1955 flood in Hopedale. Most are of
Hopedale Pond, the Draper plant, and the Draper parking lot. Seven of them show the flood in Spindleville.
Here is a page with flood pictures not previously on this site.
Thanks to Diane Grant for photos of the welcome home to service men and women celebration in Mendon
after World War II.
Thanks to Mike Cyr for sending Hopedale photos from the American Antiquarian Society.
Recent additions to pages on hope1842.com: 1967-68 school safety patrol (Mike Connelly sent some
names for the picture.) Tree Planting, 1981-1983 (Plaque with names of donors to the project )
The keeper of a billiard, pool, or Sippio room or table or bowling alley, or place in which pictures are
displayed upon the deposit of money in a mechanical device known as the nickel-in-the-slot machine or
penny-in-the-slot machine, or in any other similar device for displaying pictures, who admits a minor thereto
without the written consent of his parents or guardian shall forfeit ten dollars for the first and twenty dollars
for each subsequent offence. Massachusetts Revised Laws, Hopedale Town Report, 1915
For 1893, we would recommend an appropriation of $1200. The present hose carriage of the department is
in very poor condition. It has been in use for at least twenty-five years, and very liable to go to pieces in
going to a fire, when it will most needed, and cause much delay. We would recommend the town buying a
hose wagon in the near future. Our fire alarm is in perfect condition. It is tested at least once a week, and
never yet has failed to respond. Board of Engineers, January 31, 1893
From the Front End
By Gordon Hopper
The G&U Railroad meanders through a most picturesque and scenic section of Massachusetts. It does not
travel through any cities or even near any heavily populated areas. Rather, it passes through four small
towns, it skirts fruit orchards, pastures and fields, it travels through wooded areas, it crosses streams,
swamps and culverts.
Freight trains travel an exclusive route to reach a point of embarkation for the product it carries. After
delivering its cargo, the trains head back with a load of cars carrying various materials for delivery to points
along the route. Train lengths vary from as few as one or two cars to as many as 15 or 20. Freight cars in
the Milford yard are brought to Hopedale each morning, the train is assembled on a departure track and the
caboose coupled on. After the conductor has received dispatch orders from the trainmaster, the crew
boards the train and the run is started.
Each trip that rumbles out of the Hopedale yard carries a three-man crew which has 70 or 75 combined
years of railroading experience. Two men ride in the cab of the diesel, the third man rides in the caboose.
Shortly after clearing the South Yard, the train passes an abandoned coal yard site and an old siding
roadbed belonging to the Hopedale Coal & Ice Company, once a good customer of the G&U when coal
was in demand. After leaving the North Yard, a flag man leaves the diesel cab to stop automotive traffic at
the Bancroft Park crossing. As the train gathers speed, it is recalled that this is the area where the Milford to
North Grafton trolley cars once joined the railroad main line.
A short distance north of the Freedom Street crossing the train passes through a sizable cut in rocky ledge.
Hopedale Pond, a scenic spot fronting some beautiful Hopedale homes, the Hopedale Parklands, and the
old railroad bed of a Hopedale icehouse siding are passed on the outskirts of Hopedale. The route climbs
through Hopedale and Upton passing through wetlands and woods where many old stone walls are plainly
visible, especially during the fall after the trees have shed their leaves. The Hopedale-Upton town line is
crossed and signs of the old Holbrook crossing and the unused Brooks farm crossing are still to be seen.
Another ledge cut was navigated as a point slightly north of the Chestnut Street crossing.
As the train approaches Brook Street, the Old First Cemetery is visible through the trees. Further down the
line is the site of the old Brooks Street shelter and trolley stop where the Upton trolley "loop" once joined the
G&U main line tracks. After rounding a long sweeping curve and crossing Grove Street, the train arrives at
the site of the old Upton depot and a siding which is still occasionally used.
Plain, Mendon and Pleasant streets are crossed and the Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational technical
High School is approached. Maple Avenue has the only double track crossing on the railroad, and after
crossing it, the train arrives at the West Upton depot in the center of the West Upton yard. Several kinds of
bulk products are unloaded at this yard using a trestle owned by the railroad. For instance, a complete
railroad hopper carload of salt weighing 130 tons can be unloaded into trucks within 20 minutes. Usually,
there are empty coke or salt cars on yard sidings awaiting return to their point of origination.
The old William Knowlton and Sons hat shop building built in 1872, later used by Kartiganer Hats and more
recently occupied by Lish Enterprises, Inc., is seen from the cab of the diesel within moments of starting. A
minute or two later, the West River comes into view. a Narrow section of the river is crossed on a long filled
in area which contains two large concrete and two huge metal culverts, plus the buried remains of a steel
bridge which once spanned this river. After a straight and gradual climb toward Grafton, Williams Street is
left behind along with memories of the northern end of the Upton trolley "loop" having once joined the
railroad main line at this point. The Grafton and Upton Railroad, Gordon E. Hopper, pp. 10-11.
Click here if you'd like to read that part.
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Hopedale Station - 1994