August 15, 2018
The Hopedale Community
Hopedale in August
Women's History Project
Vaudeville at Lake Nipmuc Park
Recent additions to hope1842.com pages include: $50M Proposal for the Draper Site (More Milford News
articles and a Boston Globe article added.) Union Evangelical Church (2002 article on church time
Our high school has been a success from the start, and we are satisfied that there are advantages in the
smaller number of scholars that go far toward offsetting any disadvantages. The graduating exercises of the
class of 1887 were held in the Hopedale church, and those of 1888 in the Town Hall. For the School
Committee, Frank J. Dutcher, Secretary, 1888. Click here for more early Hopedale School history.
The clay pigeon shoot in connection with the annual field day of the Draper Co. employees, was held
Saturday at the Freedom Street shooting grounds. Frank L. Dudley duplicated his performance last year
winning first prize, a double barrel gun worth $25, with 20 out of 25 birds. Milford Gazette, August 1, 1912
Where was the skeet range? Perhaps in the area where Draper Field and the dump were later located. At
other times there was a skeet range where the golf course is now, and one a bit west of Route 140 near the
Upton line. Shooting sports in Hopedale.
Hopedale Community History
from the National Register Nomination
Before coming to Hopedale, Adin Ballou (1803-1890) was part of a small group of ministers that formed a
new Protestant denomination, the Massachusetts Association of Universal Restorationists, or MAUR
(1831). In 1838, he converted to a form of pacifism called Christian non-resistance, and, the following year,
drafted with others the “Standard of Practical Christianity.” Followers announced their withdrawal from
governments they judged were contaminated by dependence on the use of force to maintain order. In the
belief that Practical Christians should “begin to fashion a new civilization,”
Ballou and twenty-nine others embarked on the creation of the Hopedale Community, originally known as
Fraternal Community No. 1. According to one biographical account of Adin Ballou, the conservative
Restorationists abandoned both the Practical Christians and the MAUR and fell back upon their Unitarian
connections established over the years. The pro-reform fragment of the MAUR became the nucleus of the
Hopedale Community. Ballou served as president of the Community and edited its periodical, the Practical
Christian, which was published biweekly from 1840 to 1860. His writings include Christian Non-Resistance
(1846); Practical Christian Socialism (1854), his main justification of the Hopedale Community; Primitive
Christianity and Its Corruptions (1870); and History of the Hopedale Community (1897, completed by his
son-in-law, William Heywood, and published posthumously).
With the Rev. Ballou’s reputation in the widening circles of social reform, Hopedale attracted many
reformers. Ballou declared himself an abolitionist in 1837, and made anti-slavery lecture tours in 1846 in
Pennsylvania and 1848 in New York. Nelson’s Grove, a small pine grove in Hopedale located on the Mill
River south of the village, was the scene of abolitionist meetings each August. Those who spoke in
Hopedale included William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Charles Burleigh, Lucy Stone Blackwell, Abbie
Kelly Foster, Anna Dickenson, and former slaves Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth. Many escaped
slaves reportedly lived with the families in Hopedale, en route to Worcester, Boston, or Canada
The Hopedale Community ran a Home School for boarding and day students, irrespective of race. Opened
by Morgan Bloom, the Home School was later run by Ballou’s daughter, Abbie Ballou, and her husband,
Practical Christian minister William S. Heywood. Reformers William Lloyd Garrison, Charles F. Hovey, and
Samuel May each sent sons to the school in Hopedale. In 1854, all three men, as well as Ebenezer D.
Draper, were elected officers at the annual picnic and rally of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, held at
Harmony Grove on Farm Pond in Framingham.
Hopedale Village today retains vestiges of the original utopian settlement. The village was organized on the
rectangular street grid that survives immediately northeast of the present Draper plant. The names of
several streets in this grid – Freedom, Social, Union, Peace, and Hope – reflect Hopedale’s utopian
beginnings. As the community grew, Hopedale Street was extended southeast to Mendon Street and
developed. Most of the houses built on Hopedale Street were located on the southwest side with their rear
elevations facing the Mill River.
Houses in the village that date to the period of the Hopedale Community may be found in the street grid
northeast of the present plant, and in the vicinity of the Hopedale Street – Mendon Street intersection at the
southeast end of the area. Chief among them are, in the street grid, the Adin Ballou House, now 64 Dutcher
Street (1843) and the Ebenezer D. Draper House, 45-47 Hopedale Street (ca. 1843). The Rev. Ballou built
his house, the third constructed in the village, after he and his wife had grown “much worn and weary with
their experiences in the Old House.” Originally located on Peace Street at Hopedale Street, the house was
moved ca. 1900 to its present location to allow for the creation of Adin Ballou Memorial Park, 43 Hopedale
Street (1900]. Ebenezer Draper’s house served informally as the community’s headquarters for visiting
reformers “with varied causes [who] came to present their ‘isms’ and secure a following.” Draper remained
in Hopedale until 1868 The Utopian Community House, 155 Hopedale Street (ca. 1850,), survives at the
southern end of the village, or the portion nearest to Nelson’s Grove. It has been suggested that this
building may have served as a station on the Underground Railroad.
Another important survival from the Hopedale Community is Hopedale Village Cemetery, 2 Fitzgerald Drive
(1845, 1887) on the opposite side of the Mill River from the center of the utopian settlement. The earliest
industrial building in the village has associations with both the utopian settlement and the Draper business.
The Mechanic Shop (also known as the Red Shop), 12 Hopedale Street (ca. 1843) housed not only the
operations of E. D. & G. Draper, but other Hopedale Community workers who made hat and shoe boxes,
sawed lumber, and operated a forge. The Draper Company, later the Draper Corporation, moved the
building three times to make room for expansion of the plant or construction of employee housing. Finally, in
1950, the Draper Corporation moved the shop to its fourth and present location on town parkland located
northwest of the intersection of Freedom and Hopedale Streets and near the entrance to the plant. The
building houses a collection of Draper textile machinery. Kathleen Kelly Broomer, Hopedale Historic
Village National Register Nomination, 2002
seemed unnecessary to include them. Most were from Hopedale Reminiscences, with some from Peter
Hughes in Dictionary of Unitarian and Universalist Biography, and one from John Garner's Model Company
Town. Anyone interested in seeing them, or the entire Nomination, can see it online at http://mhc-macris.
net/Details.aspx?MhcId=HOP.L When you open the page, click on NR which is to the right of "Inventory no."