Recent additions to pages on this site: $50M Plan for Draper Site (More Milford News articles added.)     Deaths


    Twenty-five years ago - August 1993 - The Great Mississippi and Missouri Rivers Flood of 1993 (or "Great Flood of
    1993") comes to a peak at the beginning of the month.

    A federal judge sentences LAPD officers Stacey Koon and Laurence Powell to 30 months in prison for violating
    motorist Rodney King's civil rights.

    Fifty years ago - August 1968 - The Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida nominates Richard
    Nixon for U.S. President and Spiro Agnew for Vice President.

    France explodes its first hydrogen bomb.

    Police clash with anti-war protesters in Chicago, Illinois, outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which
    nominates Hubert Humphrey for U.S. President, and Edmund Muskie for Vice President. The riots and subsequent
    trials were an essential part of the activism of the Youth International Party.

    The news items above are from Wikipedia. For Hopedale news from 25, 50 and 100 years ago published in the
    Milford Daily News and Milford Gazette and obtained at the Bancroft Library, see below this text box.


                            "This town is a very private affair" - Hopedale resident

    HOPEDALE - If Norman Rockwell could have paid a visit to this Worcester County town of just five square miles, he
    would surely have found a picture to paint. In the spring, on the opening day of baseball, Rockwell might sketch the
    excited expressions of Little League players as they parade down the main streets in town. On a hot sunny summer
    afternoon he might capture the mood of happy kids riding their bicycles around Hopedale Park, or the smiling faces of
    residents as they keep time with the band during the weekly concerts given there.

    These scenes and others like them are some reasons why many of the 5,666 Hopedale residents speak highly of life
    in this tiny Blackstone Valley town, just 30 miles southwest of Boston. Many who live here on the tree-shaded streets -
    lined with handsome homes, stone walls, manicured shrubs and multi-colored flowers - describe this town, once
    featured in Yankee Magazine, as a safe, restful haven set apart from the hustle and bustle of the world around them.
    "This town is a very private affair," said resident Joanne Dutra.

    And the residents here would like to keep Hopedale just that way - much the same as it was back in 1841 when Adin
    Ballou, a Unitarian minister, started a Utopian society in a section of what was then part of Milford known as the "Dale."
    By 1842, the commune, and experiment in social reform, based on the principles of Practical Christianity and
    socialized industry, had 28 members.

    Two brothers, Ebenezer and George Draper, owned about three-fourths of the joint stock in the society. George, being
    of shrewd mind when it came to business dealings, eventually talked Ebenezer into pulling out of the experiment and
    pooling their money to start a business manufacturing automatic looms. By 1856 the society failed. (Actually in the first
    years after the end of the Community, the Draper brothers were producing loom parts and a few other products. The
    company sold their first automatic looms in 1892.)

    The rest is history for the Draper family, who had already given the birth to the Draper Corp, in the "Little Red Shop" that
    still stands. By the late 1880s, the Draper Corp. was the largest employer in Milford with more than 3,000 employees.
    In January 1886, the Draper family went to the state legislature and asked that their section of Milford be separated
    from the town. The request angered Milford residents because the town stood to lose a large portion of its tax base.
    The Milfordians laughed at the Drapers and said the separation would never happen.

    But due to the Drapers' influence in the State House, the request was granted and on April 7, 1886, Hopedale became
    a town. Hopedale is the third youngest town in the state.

    The Draper family built a whole town around the needs of the residents. Still standing today, in the center of town
    around a rectangular green, is the Draper Gymnasium, the Community House, Hopedale High School, and an old
    stone Unitarian Church, all built by the Drapers.

    Not far from the center on Adin Street, are many elaborate homes - all designed by architects from Boston and
    Worcester and unique in style - built for the upper management employees of the Draper Corp.

    Many other workers lived in duplexes, all built within walking distance from the shop. Once a year the Drapers would
    pay for three rooms to be refurbished if the occupants so desired. (That would be pretty amazing. I believe it was
    actually one room.)

    The Drapers supported the town until 1967 when the Rockwell Co. took over and eventually liquidated the business.
    The 1.2-million square foot, red brick building, now empty, still stands.

    "It's too expensive to tear down and too expensive to run," Dutra said.

    Since the late 1960s, Hopedale has made the transition from a company town to a bedroom community for those
    working in Boston and Worcester. Route 495 passes through abutting Milford and the MBTA commuter train to Boston
    is 10 minutes away in nearby Franklin.

    The town has little industry and because many residents here have chosen to maintain many services other towns
    have cut, Hopedale now has the highest tax rate in the state.

    About 60 percent of the tax many goes to the 1,000 student school system that many parents say offers an education
    comparable to one obtained by private schools. Because one of the elementary schools has become overcrowded,
    the town recently approved plans for a $7 million addition.

    "The school is the lifeblood of the community," said Superintendent of Schools Donald Hayes.

    Even though some residents say living in Hopedale is costly, most agree that they enjoy all the services the town has
    to offer.

    Despite the high taxes, 79 homes sold in the town last year. Twenty homes are currently on the market ranging in price
    for $87,000 to $850,000.

    According to Realtor Virginia Larkin, the median house price is $150,000 which will buy a 1,700 square-foot home with
    a one-car garage and one-and-a-half bathrooms on a half-acre lot.

    The town has little space left for building and no subdivisions are currently being constructed. However, the town does
    have Laurelwood, a 227-unit condominium complex. Some of the units in Laurelwood are as large as 1,600 square
    feet and those who live there have the convenience of their own post office. Larkin said the units usually sell almost
    immediately after becoming available. Boston Globe, date not on clipping, but it appears to have been 1994.

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Hopedale News - August 1993

Hopedale News - August 1968

Hopedale News - August 1918

From the Boston Globe article below.

    Dutcher-Hope intersection, shortly before the Draper
    Gym was built on the lot on the left side of this photo.

    The Boston Globe will be publishing an article about
    the Draper proposal this week. (sometime after July
    30) The reporter has asked me if I could put her in
    contact with anyone who would like to give an
    opinion on the subject. If you'd like to, email me (email
    link on home page) and I'll put you in contact with her.