June 15, 2019
Hopedale in June
Twenty-five years ago - June 1994 - Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Lyle Goldman are murdered
outside the Simpson home in Los Angeles. O. J. Simpson is later acquitted of the killings, but is held liable
in a civil suit.
Members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult execute the first sarin gas attack at Matsumoto, Japan, killing eight and
An Airbus A330 crashes during a test flight near Toulouse, France, where Airbus is based, killing the seven-
person crew. The test was meant to simulate an engine failure at low speed with maximum angle of climb.
Fifty years ago - June 1969 - While operating at sea on SEATO maneuvers, the Australian aircraft carrier
HMAS Melbourne accidentally rams and slices into the American destroyer USS Frank E. Evans in the South
China Sea, killing 74 American seamen.
The National Convention of the Students for a Democratic Society, held in Chicago, collapses and the
Weatherman faction seizes control of the SDS National Office. Thereafter, any activity run from the National
Office or bearing the name of SDS is Weatherman-controlled.
The Cuyahoga River fire helps spur an avalanche of water pollution control activities resulting in the Clean
Water Act, Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and the creation of the federal Environmental Protection
Warren E. Burger is sworn in as Chief Justice of the United States by retiring Chief Justice Earl Warren.
The Stonewall riots in New York City mark the start of the modern gay rights movement in the U.S.
News items above are from Wikipedia. For Hopedale news from 25, 50 and 100 years ago, copied from
albums at the Bancroft Library, see below this text box.
Hopedale Bridge is Gone
By Gordon E. Hopper
Milford Daily News
HOPEDALE 1979 - The Hope Street bridge is gone, after nearly 80 years of different kinds of use, disuse,
out of use, misuse, town meeting arguments, financial appropriations, replace and repair, and finally
condemnation - the bridge is gone, a victim of the steel cutter's torch. Always a local town controversial
subject, its days became numbered when the announcement was made that North American Rockwell
properties in Hopedale were to be sold.
Whether the town or the large industry owned the bridge or who was responsible for its maintenance and
upkeep as brought up earlier seems immaterial now that it no longer exists.
Documentation showing the last days of the bridge has been excellent as indicated by the fine photographs
which recorded the progression of the destruction recently published in the Milford Daily News.
Construction of the bridge took place during 1901 and 1902 and with the approaches it extended between
the Bancroft Park area and Hopedale Street.
The entire connection was 1800 feet long, and 800 feet of it being the long, curving steel trestle bridge. It
spanned part of the Draper Corporation parking lot, the Grafton and Upton Railroad's large Hopedale yard
facility, and the Mill River. Nineteen spans, or sections, were erected, the longest was 40 feet and the lowest
part of the bridge was 18 1/2 feet above the Grafton and Upton Railroad tracks. The first four steel sections
were put in place on May 9, 1902. The roadway was 20 feet wide and each sidewalk was six feet wide, Cost
of the bridge, not including approaches, was about $25,000 and it was built by the American Bridge
Company of Berlin, Connecticut. It had a load carrying capacity of three tons, often exceeded.
G. Cenedella was awarded the contract to build the stone abutments and approaches to each end of the
bridge. A considerable amount of blasting and excavation was necessary before they could be built.
One known casualty has been associated with the Hope Street bridge. Frank M. Howe, a conductor on the
Grafton and Upton Railroad, died after striking the bridge while standing on top of a moving freight train. The
accident took place on July 3, 1902, while the bridge was still under construction.
Even in its dying days, the bridge continued to create a problem - namely as to who was going to demolish
it. Although one company started and then stopped its destruction, it was inevitable - demolition was
completed by town employees and a dismantling company. Final removal of the bridge was delegated to L.
P. Sweeney and Son, a dismantling company based in Ashland. They were expected to take three months to
complete the job, but were able to take advantage of the good weather that year before the severe winter
conditions set in. By working through the weekends, this company was able to remove the bridge in slightly
over three week's time. Their trucks, bulldozer, and large crane had become a common sight around parts
of town during those three weeks.
As the torches cut through the steel sections of the bridge, they were lowered into trucks and carried away.
Wooden timbers were also sold and many of those were taken away on trucks. Wooden rubble left on the
ground, although much of it was salvageable, was not sold. By the middle of December, only about 50 feet
of the long steel bridge remained standing and the crane was loading the rubble into huge trucks. These
trucks carried the residue to a site off Freedom Street near the ball field (the "dump," no doubt) where it was
believed that they would be burned at a later date.
Today, the site were the bridge was, is marked only by the stone abutments which once supported each end
of the bridge. Those old stone structures are the only physical reminders that remain of a change that was
marked by the passage of time.
Some people favored the retention of the bridge, while others wanted it to be destroyed, claiming that it was
an eyesore, a tax burden, and other reasons. There were two sides to the story of the bridge. Sadly, there
were no winners; the bridge is gone, and Hopedale no longer claims the distinction of possessing an
unusual curved steel bridge within its borders. At the same time, it has curtailed the necessity of additional
taxation to the townspeople.
More about the bridge Now and Then - The Hope Street Bridge
Ezine Menu HOME
The bridge during the 1955 flood.
Dismantling the Hope Street bridge, 1979.
Hopedale News - June 1994
Hopedale News - June 1969
Here are a couple of the top songs from 1994.
Click here for much more on Draper's production
of howitzers during World War II.
Al Jolson - I'll Say She Does
Hopedale News - June 1969